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Elijah Hill
Elijah Hill

Martian Death Ray Over Edinburgh

By the end of the day on 26 March, the United States had overtaken China for the highest number of confirmed cases. Italy is also poised to surpass China in the coming days. Italy and Spain now have the two highest death tolls, with Italy accounting for more than one-third of the global total.

Martian Death Ray Over Edinburgh

The total number of people who have died from COVID-19 outside China has overtaken deaths inside the country for the first time since the disease emerged, according to reports by the World Health Organization (WHO) on 16 March. The number of confirmed infections outside China surpassed those inside the country on the same day.

Officials in Iran have reported up to 61 cases and 12 deaths. But the figures have been in flux, and case numbers will probably rise in the coming days, given that the number of deaths compared to overall cases is much higher than reported in other countries.

The definition and classification of chronic kidney disease (CKD) have evolved over time, but current international guidelines define this condition as decreased kidney function shown by glomerular filtration rate (GFR) of less than 60 mL/min per 173 m2, or markers of kidney damage, or both, of at least 3 months duration, regardless of the underlying cause. Diabetes and hypertension are the main causes of CKD in all high-income and middle-income countries, and also in many low-income countries. Incidence, prevalence, and progression of CKD also vary within countries by ethnicity and social determinants of health, possibly through epigenetic influence. Many people are asymptomatic or have non-specific symptoms such as lethargy, itch, or loss of appetite. Diagnosis is commonly made after chance findings from screening tests (urinary dipstick or blood tests), or when symptoms become severe. The best available indicator of overall kidney function is GFR, which is measured either via exogenous markers (eg, DTPA, iohexol), or estimated using equations. Presence of proteinuria is associated with increased risk of progression of CKD and death. Kidney biopsy samples can show definitive evidence of CKD, through common changes such as glomerular sclerosis, tubular atrophy, and interstitial fibrosis. Complications include anaemia due to reduced production of erythropoietin by the kidney; reduced red blood cell survival and iron deficiency; and mineral bone disease caused by disturbed vitamin D, calcium, and phosphate metabolism. People with CKD are five to ten times more likely to die prematurely than they are to progress to end stage kidney disease. This increased risk of death rises exponentially as kidney function worsens and is largely attributable to death from cardiovascular disease, although cancer incidence and mortality are also increased. Health-related quality of life is substantially lower for people with CKD than for the general population, and falls as GFR declines. Interventions targeting specific symptoms, or aimed at supporting educational or lifestyle considerations, make a positive difference to people living with CKD. Inequity in access to services for this disease disproportionally affects disadvantaged populations, and health service provision to incentivise early intervention over provision of care only for advanced CKD is still evolving in many countries.

The 65th edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival (site) officially opens tonight with a screening of John Michael McDonagh's The Guard and runs through June 26. "In place of galas and red carpets our focus has been on thought-provoking ideas, experimental events and distinctive collaborations," writes festival director James Mullighan in the Scotsman.One of these is certainly Project: New Cinephilia, which has been underway for a couple of weeks now (catch up with the essays, art and online roundtables and join the discussions) and culminates in a day-long symposium Mullighan will be hosting tomorrow. Discussions and a masterclass will be topped off at 6:30 pm local time (that's 1:30 pm in New York, 10:30 am in California) with a Twitterthon, "a 140-character film critic death match." Omar Kholeif (@everythingOK) will be live-tweeting the full day, and of course, keep an eye, too, on @ProjectNC and, especially during the Twitterthon, the hashtag #pnc11.As for the main event, Nicola Balkind has put together a terrific list of bloggers and Twitterers who'll be all over Edinburgh. Meantime, back in the Scotsman, you'll find lists of must-see events and films as well as Siobhan Synnot's interviews with Ewan McGregor (Perfect Sense) and Brendan Gleeson (The Guard). And of course, I'll update this entry throughout the festival as notable reviews and features appear.

This incident ultimately forces Begbie, Renton, and Sick Boy to return home to Edinburgh, both to avoid further police attention over the assault and to attend the funeral of Tommy (who had died of toxoplasmosis some time after being introduced to heroin). After being reunited with the recently-released Spud, Begbie and Sick Boy reveal a new plan to make money, and though Renton balks at the idea of returning to the lifestyle so soon after Tommy's death, Begbie makes it abundantly clear that his participation is mandatory.

Before long, he hits upon a scheme to escape from prison, and begins planning. In a surprisingly clever move, he studies medical textbooks for injuries severe enough to be hospitalized without risking death, then has his cellmate stab him in the chest with a knitting needle; though his "attacker" gets carried away and injures Begbie a little more seriously than intended, Franco is successfully transferred to a civilian hospital for treatment. As soon as he's recovered from having his liver skewered, he tricks his police guard into leaving him unaccompanied and uncuffed, giving him the opportunity to escape. On his way out, he chances upon a doctor, who he promptly knocks out and switches clothes with, allowing him to escape without raising the alarm.

Renton finally escapes onto the roof, where Begbie throws him down into the half-finished ceiling below. Renton's throat gets caught on a wire, hanging him, and Begbie bear-hugs Renton, trying to make him strangle to death. However, Simon runs to Renton's rescue, covering Begbie with pepper spray. Begbie, by now all but insane, prepares to shoot them both with a shotgun, but Spud knocks Begbie unconscious with a toilet bowl. Afterward, they lock him (unconscious) in the boot of a car and park it outside HMP Edinburgh, the prison he broke out of previously, waiting for the police to find him and send back to prison.

In the 1960s and 1970s, Bradbury's subject matter became more realistic, and his output slightly less prolific. His themes were frequently rather dark, concerning dysfunctional marriages, fear of aging and death, and more warnings on the dangers of technology. Such stories can be found in The Machineries of Joy and I Sing the Body Electric! The author also worked on nonfiction, plays, editing of anthologies, and writing children's stories. Many of his plays are adaptations of his short stories, and they have continued to appear on stage over the years and in many incarnations. Bradbury's love of theater began at an early age; he was cast for the first time in a musical when he was twelve years old. "His second love has always been theater," reported Ben P. Indick in Publishers Weekly. In 2003 Los Angeles theaters featured no less than four of Bradbury's plays.

Not until 1985 did a new Bradbury novel appear: Death Is a Lonely Business, which is based on his years as a pulp fiction writer. The protagonist's optimism and hope of success bizarrely preserve him from the deaths that are striking down many of his contemporaries. Like Death, A Graveyard for Lunatics is a detective novel about a writer, this one working in the Hollywood of the 1950s. Hired as a science fiction film writer at a big studio, he is led to the adjoining graveyard, where he discovers a body frozen in time. Though not as famous as his earlier work, both novels continue his theme of a past that cannot stop haunting the present.


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