Happy New Year!

by Eszter Hargittai on January 2, 2015

No CT posts in 2015 yet? No wishing our readers a Happy New Year? Let’s fix that. With this video, wishing all our readers and commenters (hopefully the latter a subset of the former ;-) much health and happiness in 2015!



Barry 01.02.15 at 3:33 pm

Well, my 2015 is going well – so far :)


MPAVictoria 01.02.15 at 4:05 pm

Eh I have spent all of 2015 sick and sitting in my apartment in my bathrobe with my partner who is also sick. Not an auspicious start I am afraid.

Still happy new year all! Take care of yourselves.


Lynne 01.02.15 at 4:21 pm

There is a really bad flu going around. Our son ran a fever for two full weeks and even now is taking naps in the afternoon, a week after the last day of fever.

Here’s hoping this year is full of good things for all.


Lynne 01.02.15 at 4:32 pm

And…sorry MPAV if that was tactless. I hope you have a shorter-lived virus and are feeling better soon.


MPAVictoria 01.02.15 at 4:35 pm

Not at all Lynne! Sorry to hear your son was sick and glad to hear he is on the mend.


Eszter Hargittai 01.02.15 at 4:42 pm

Very sorry to hear that people are starting out the year sick. I have had several colleagues come down with things, and of course students, but somehow *knocks on wood* I have been able to avoid it. Two weeks ago I thought it may have finally hit me. I ended up drinking a lot of tea with honey and fresh garlic. It made me feel so much better. I realize I probably didn’t have anything super serious for that to have helped, but I highly recommend it even just to ease the pain. And then there is elderberry and zinc. (Having read up on zinc consumption, it sounds like that’s something you do want to do in moderation for sure.) And to clarify, I’m not a doctor, these are just based on personal experiences and those of some friends.


MPAVictoria 01.02.15 at 4:59 pm

Tea with honey is definitely a nice drink when one isn’t feeling 100%.


J. Parnell Thomas 01.02.15 at 5:01 pm

I got a flu shot…


Lynne 01.02.15 at 5:16 pm

The flu shot is not a match to this flu, apparently. I have success about 80 % of the time warding off viruses with echinacea, if I start it soon enough. I felt like I was getting my son’s flu but fought it off, I believe, with the echinacea.


J. Parnell Thomas 01.02.15 at 5:20 pm



MPAVictoria 01.02.15 at 5:24 pm

Yeah my partner and I both got the flu shot this year but I guess they picked the wrong strain. :-(


J. Parnell Thomas 01.02.15 at 5:25 pm


Tyrone Slothrop 01.02.15 at 6:26 pm

I’m constipated. Happy New Year, my arse…


Eszter 01.02.15 at 7:51 pm

JPT – the same site suggests that the other things we mention don’t help either:

However, those tests seem to be about the flu specifically. Plenty of colds can make you feel miserable enough. And if things that are otherwise healthy such as garlic may help then why not go for it?


Barry 01.02.15 at 7:57 pm

MPAVictoria 01.02.15 at 5:24 pm
“Yeah my partner and I both got the flu shot this year but I guess they picked the wrong strain. :-(”

The way I heard it, a brand-new strain popped up in September and went amok. This would have been long after the current year’s vaccines were manufactured.


J. Parnell Thomas 01.02.15 at 9:25 pm

Well, they had garlic under “Unlikely to be effective,” not “Possibly effective,” “Probably useless,” or “Definitively useless.” I’m personally not inclined to load up on everything that’s not in the last category, unless I really really like how it tastes.


DavidMoz 01.02.15 at 9:39 pm

J. Parnell Thomas 01.02.15 at 9:25 pm
“Well, they had garlic under “Unlikely to be effective,” not “Possibly effective,” “Probably useless,” or “Definitively useless.” I’m personally not inclined to load up on everything that’s not in the last category, unless I really really like how it tastes.”

Science debunked St John’s Wort as a treatment for depression – until they didn’t. A lot of science – and almost all psychiatry in my experience – has a lot of deontology working for it imnsho.

Give the garlic a shot, and add lemon juice for a tastier experience.


ZM 01.02.15 at 10:33 pm

May the New Year be a good one to one and all.

Rebecca Solnit’s annual year’s end essay is worth reading :

“It was the most thrilling bureaucratic document I’ve ever seen for just one reason: it was dated the 21st day of the month of Thermidor in the Year Six. Written in sepia ink on heavy paper, it recorded an ordinary land auction in France in what we would call the late summer of 1798. But the extraordinary date signaled that it was created when the French Revolution was still the overarching reality of everyday life…

After that huge climate march, I asked Jamie Henn, a cofounder of and communications director for 350.org, how he viewed this moment and he replied, “Everything’s coming together while everything’s falling apart,” a perfect summary of the way heartening news about alternative energy and the growth of climate activism exists in the shadow of those terrible scientific reports.

The story of this coming year is ours to write and it could be a story of Year One in the climate revolution, of the watershed when popular resistance changed the fundamentals as much as the people of France changed their world (and ours) more than 200 ago.”



Alan White 01.02.15 at 11:08 pm

Belated happy new year to everyone at CT, one of my favorites to visit daily.


Collin Street 01.02.15 at 11:38 pm

> I’m constipated. Happy New Year, my arse…

Akemashitara omedetou.


Collin Street 01.02.15 at 11:38 pm

[which is by way of being a rather terrible japanese pun]


Theophylact 01.03.15 at 12:04 am

!שָׁנָה טוֹבָה


flubber 01.03.15 at 12:42 am

“CT, one of my favorites to visit daily.”

Mine too.
Thanks to all the posters and commentators! And Happy New Year an stuff.


bob 01.03.15 at 1:35 am

Regarding zinc, which Eszter also mentions, at http://www.sciencebasedmedicine.org/you-cant-beat-the-common-cold-and-thats-a-fact/ it says “While zinc has the ability to inhibit rhinovirus replication in the test tube, clinical trials for the treatment of colds have been disappointing. While there was a very modest improvement in symptom score in one study of adults, the benefit was seen only when zinc was taken in large doses 5-6 times per day. At these doses, GI side effects were significant and patients complained of a bad taste in their mouth. Needless to say, 5-6 times per day dosing with these side effects would preclude this as a viable option in children. … ” Nonetheless, I do take zinc, perhaps 5x/day, if I feel a scratchy throat. There is a bad aftertaste, but I find it seems to fend off colds, or reduce their length and severity, though of course that may just be a placebo effect. But if it works, I don’t care if it is just a placebo effect! :)


ifthethunderdontgetya™³²®© 01.03.15 at 3:25 am

Happy New Year!

Not sick…yet…


Bloix 01.03.15 at 3:52 am

A few weeks ago we got a flyer from the Baltimore Symphony Orchestra for a performance of Beethoven’s Ninth, and I realized with horror that my two grown sons had never heard it live. What a grotesque failure of proper parenting! So tomorrow we are going to start the year off right with the Ode to Joy in person. A happy and productive new year to you, Eszter, it’s always a pleasure to read your posts, and may you continue to contribute to this blog for as long as you feel like it.


jkay 01.03.15 at 3:58 am

I hope you enjoyed your holiday stuffing season, and wish you all a fun,
toy-filled, fun new year.


Eszter Hargittai 01.03.15 at 3:58 am

Thank you for those kind words, Bloix. Enjoy the concert tomorrow!

Bob, I read up about zinc a bit when I was not feeling well a couple of weeks ago and received it as a recommendation. Some sources suggest that you definitely do not want to take too much of it.
“Can zinc be harmful?
Yes, if you get too much. Signs of too much zinc include nausea, vomiting, loss of appetite, stomach cramps, diarrhea, and headaches. When people take too much zinc for a long time, they sometimes have problems such as low copper levels, lower immunity, and low levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).”
The zinc tablets I picked up at one of those health food shops are 50mg each even though the above site suggests no more than 40mg per day for adults (and even less for others).


J Thomas 01.03.15 at 4:00 am

Zinc will help you if you have a zinc deficiency.

If you don’t have a zinc deficiency but you take so much that it disrupts your equilibrium to something that neither you nor your parasites are ready for? It depends. Perhaps more research is needed.


J. Parnell Thomas 01.03.15 at 4:00 am

speaking of music holy shit, Nels is supposedly going to be at the Open Gate Theater on Sunday for the 1st time in what, 5 years?


Dr. Hilarius 01.03.15 at 4:51 am

Thank you and a Happy New Year to the principals of CT. Not being an economist, CT is often challenging for me but that’s why I enjoy it.

My New Year is off to a great start. I just brought my cat, Uncle Spook, home after successful spinal surgery to correct trauma of unknown origin. Full recovery expected but he looks like something put together by Baron Frankenstein. No matter.


bad Jim 01.03.15 at 6:15 am

Merry Perihelion! Those of us in the northern hemisphere may not feel as though we’re a few million miles nearer the sun than in July, but we are.


Meredith 01.03.15 at 6:29 am

Happy New Year, Eszter and all CT’ers!

As for zinc and all that: how about Nyquil and Contac or Sudafed (or their analogues elsewhere)? I haven’t had a cold in a long time (much less the flu — 45 or 50 years ago, the one time; treated with sulphurites (not penicillin), which I did not take, hiding the huge pills away from my anxious mother — how anxious I only realized when she discovered my evasion, though I’ll love her forever for not standing by to watch me take the pills). But when I do get a cold, I look for the modern pharmaceuticals that work for me.

Why not? This from someone who grows her own vegetables (and grew up on homegrown vegetables). Honey and tea, even some zinc, fine as soothers. But seriously, why not some modern pharmaceuticals? It’s not as if we’re talking overdosing children with Ritalin.

Really, do listen to the actual medical community on these matters. That’s the CT spirit!

In a grandmotherly spirit, I repeat: Happy New Year!


Maria 01.03.15 at 11:57 am

Happy New Year, one and all!

Sympathetic noises and virtual garlic wishes to Lynne and MPA and their householdes, and anyone else with a cold or the flu. My MIL had a bad go of it before and during Christmas – she’d been at a church thing the week before (is there a moral in this?) with about two dozen others, and they all went down like ninepins with the same dose. Except my FIL who’d had the flu vaccine and was heroically unsmug throughout the prolonged convalescence.

Channeling Meredith, I’m all about the 20th century pharmaceuticals. Every time I reach for a zomig, I think about Bulgakov’s Pontius Pilate suffering through a long pre-triptan migraine as he dealt with the long-haired upstart, and I am profoundly grateful to live when and where I do.

Hope Uncle Spook continues his recovery, Dr H.

I don’t have any new year’s resolutions per se, but a conversation over the holidays with someone talking about all the fun and cool stuff their happily childless relative does made me think I should get out of the house more and do some of this London cultural thing I say I love. So tickets to see late Rembrandt are duly bought. And I’m seriously thinking about queuing for returns for Tobias Menzies’ 28-seater monologue The Fever that starts next week and is already sold out. (I may just have a small crush on him.)

So yes, less illness and more … stuff in 2015.


Maria 01.03.15 at 11:58 am

Then again, every time I get in the shower, I think about Cleopatra and how she may have bathed in asses’ milk, but she never had a hot shower. Sometimes I also think of Cersei Lannister, who seems about as real.


MPAVictoria 01.03.15 at 2:23 pm

Oh yes definitely making liberal use of the Nyquil over here as well. Great stuff, though i am starting to agree with a line I heard once that went something like “Nyquil doesn’t cure anything but consciousness.” Of course sometimes that is just what you need…


Bloix 01.03.15 at 4:21 pm

#32 –
Here’s a fun game to play: ask your adult friends why we have summer and winter, and see how many of them tell you it’s because, due to the tilt of the earth’s axis, we’re closer to the sun in the summer. (Of course, they will hate you afterwards.)


bob 01.03.15 at 4:24 pm

When I was younger I’d happily take decongestants such as Contac for colds. But they increase blood pressure, so at my age now I avoid them. Many antihistamine drugs, such as Nyquil D – although not Nyquil – also contain decongestants.
If you take Nyquil or similar drugs liberally you might want to look at the various effects of their cough suppressant ingredient dextromethorphan http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dextromethorphan – not to be put off by them but just to be aware.

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