It’s Been a While, But America Has Seen Pandemics like COVID-19 Before — and it’s Likely We’ll See More of Them

With sweeping travel and social distancing restrictions being placed on cities and communities throughout the world in response to the COVID-19 outbreak, most people are facing a reality not experienced in their lifetimes. However, there is a documented precedent of infectious disease outbreaks like this one in relatively recent history — even here in the United States.

SARS, MERS, Ebola, and the so-called “Spanish Flu” of 1918 are all examples of recent infectious disease outbreaks. Some like Ebola had extremely high mortality rates, initially as high as 40%. Still, of these, only the 1918 Flu led to worldwide quarantines and the closing of public gathering places (sporting events, restaurants and bars, churches, etc.) to the extent that we have seen with COVID-19. Since 1918 predates our ability to treat and vaccinate against viral enemies, many Americans may have assumed such drastic isolation measures (which date at least to the plague epidemics of the 13th and 14th centuries) would never be needed again. Unfortunately, the easy transmittability of this virus combined with its very serious effects on older persons forced public health officials across the globe to resort to these measures, in order to prevent medical care systems from being overwhelmed and a corresponding increase in deaths due to the disease.

COVID-19’s initial mortality rate (as estimated by the WHO) appears to be broadly comparable to that of the 1918 Flu. However, with the current world population roughly 4 times greater than it was in 1918, a even a COVID-19 mortality rate similar to that of the 1918 Flu would mean hundreds of thousands and perhaps even millions of deaths worldwide.

While the reality of COVID-19’s impacts are increasingly grim and tragic, it has also drawn attention to the fact that infectious disease pandemics seem to be happening with both increased frequency and greater geographical spread. Globalization, increasing population density, and global warming are all key factors that may make pandemics like the one we’re facing today more and more likely in years to come. Improving citizen awareness of the importance of both routine (handwashing) and emergency (quarantine) public health measures, as well as a much more nimble response from the world’s governments, will be needed to deal with future such outbreaks in a way that best protects both human life and economic activity.

Climate Change in Minnesota: Minnesota River Expanding, Raising Flooding and Erosion Concerns

By Bradley Carlin

There’s no doubt that climate change is having effects on temperatures and weather patterns globally, but here in Minnesota we’re seeing some pressing environmental concerns that are causing policymakers and local residents to seek immediate efforts to help address the side effects of global warming. 

One such concern is the expansion of the Minnesota River. The river’s width has nearly doubled in some areas since the 1940’s, encroaching on and threatening personal property, roads, and ecosystems. Higher-than-average rainfalls are a large contributing factor to the river’s overflow, with last year being the wettest year on record for Minnesota.  According to a 2017 study by Utah State University, the increase of rainfall and severe storms more generally has caused the river’s flow to double since the 1950’s. This added volume of water has raised concerns of both flooding and erosion along the river bank. For instance, in Mankato, Minnesota, the river has expanded outwards over 50 feet, bringing it just 8 feet away from the well the town uses for drinking water. 

Policy makers and local residents are quickly seeking both temporary and long-term solutions to help relieve the river’s overflow, reduce erosion, and improve water quality. 

It is hoped that these solutions, while currently only treating the symptoms of global warming, will spark more changes aimed at a more holistic approach to addressing climate change. 

You can read a great write-up of some of the more pressing environmental concerns related to the Minnesota River in this recent article in the Minneapolis StarTribune

Medium Post – Events in Minneapolis this Weekend (Feb. 7 2020)

Check out the latest Medium.com post with some cool events in Minneapolis this weekend. Here’s the highlights:

Flannel Fest

When: Sunday, February 9th from 12:00–2:30pm
Location: Columbia Manor | 3300 Central Ave. NE, Minneapolis, MN 55418
Event Website: https://www.esns.org/northeast-flannel-fest

Blue Man Group

When: February 5th-9th
Location: State Theatre | 805 Hennepin Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55402
Things to Know: Show times vary | Advanced ticket purchase required
Event Website: https://hennepintheatretrust.org/events/blue-man-group-broadway-tickets-minneapolis-mn-2020/

Family Skate and Bonfire Night

When: Friday, February 7th
Location: Bryant Square Park | 3101 Bryant Ave. S., Minneapolis, MN 55408
Things to Know: Advanced ticket purchase required
Event Website: https://www.active.com/minneapolis-mn/classes/family-skate-and-bonfire-night-february-7th-2020

Full Medium Article: Bradley Carlin on Medium

Bradley Carlin: 3 Events to Check out in Minneapolis-St Paul this Weekend

Winter Fest Craft Beer Tasting

Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild’s WinterFest is going on this Friday, January 17th from 7:00 – 10:00pm. The annual event brings over 100 Minnesota breweries under one roof for a night of craft beer tastings and food pairings. Your $80 admission ticket gets you unlimited beer tastings, unlimited small-plate food pairings, and a commemorative tasting glass. All proceeds go to benefit the Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild.

When: Friday, January 17 from 7:00 – 10:00pm

Location: Polaris Club | US Bank Stadium | 401 Chicago Ave., Minneapolis, MN 55415

Things to know: No guests under 21 admitted (Photo ID required). No pets.  

Event Website: https://www.mncraftbrew.org/event/winterfest/

Acoustic Guitarathon 

The Minnesota Guitar Society is hosting its annual Acoustic Guitarathon on Saturday, January 18th at 7:30pm. The concert will feature both up-and-coming and established artists from a variety of musical backgrounds. 

When: Saturday, January 18 at 7:30pm

Location: Sundin Music Hall | 1531 Hewitt Ave, St. Paul, MN 55104 

Event Website: https://www.mnguitar.org/sundin-concerts-19-20/2019/mgq-c23lm-l25se-d7k2m-2n6l6

Spring Brook Nature Center’s Winterfest

If you’re looking for some outdoor adventures this weekend, look no further than the Spring Brook Nature Center’s Winterfest in suburban Fridley, Minnesota. Enjoy family-friendly adventures like snowshoeing, trail activities, a medallion hunt, and a visiting dog sled team. The event will last from 12:00 – 3:00pm on Saturday, January 18th. 

When: Saturday, January 18 from 12:00 to 3:00pm

Location: Spring Brook Nature Center | 100 85th Ave, Fridley, MN 55432 

Event Website: https://www.springbrooknaturecenter.org/Calendar.aspx?EID=1152

Minneapolis Live Music: Three Local Music Spots to Check Out this Weekend

The Minneapolis music scene is as diverse as it is ubiquitous. No matter your genre of preference, you’re destined to find a great local spot to enjoy some of your favorite artists, as well as discover new bands and artists just getting started in their careers.

Whether you’re a local or are just passing through, check out this latest Medium.com Post with a few legendary Minneapolis music venues to check out.

https://medium.com/@brad_carlin/bradley-carlin-minneapolis-live-music-three-local-music-spots-to-check-out-this-weekend-1c858a8e7e84

Brad Carlin – “Take Two” – Original Composition

New original composition: “Take Two”
Music and Lyrics by Brad Carlin
All parts played or sung by Brad Carlin *except* tenor saxophone, played by Austin Albert

This song is about making the most of second acts in one’s life. Obviously there is a lot of duality in the song. The main theme in the chorus is just two notes, which are then repeated in the backing vocals (which are sung in two-part harmony). The saxophone echos in this section add a new form of duality. Lyrically, all of the lines in the song rhyme with “two”, something I initially resisted, but finally decided to make into a fun exercise with the help of an online rhyming dictionary. I’m kind of proud of the reference to John and Abigail Adams in the second verse, which was inspired by my family’s annual July 4 viewing of the movie musical “1776”. The last verse also pays tribute to the song “Unknown”, written by my fellow Homeward Bound band member, Susan Thompson.

For more on Homeward Bound and its music please see: homewardboundband.com

Brad Carlin: Four Tips to Make Your Band’s Next Show a Success

Establishing a local band in your hometown or city can be a surprisingly daunting task. This is especially true if you’re in a new city where you don’t have an established family, friend, or musician network. Regardless of where your band’s looking to get started, having the right approach combined with a little (OK, maybe a lot of) persistence can help you start booking more venues and playing more shows.

Here are a few simple tips to help you get started:

Don’t Play Too Often

The instinct for many bands just starting out is to play any show that they can get. While building your experience and exposure is a good thing, too much exposure can actually hinder your band’s growth. You want your audience to feel a sense of urgency when you put on a show, as if missing that night’s show means not being able to see your band for several more weeks. If you’re playing the same venue too often, you may end up making your band too accessible, which could actually hurt your attendance.

Start Small

Playing in an over-sized, half empty room isn’t fun for either the audience or the band. When targeting venues to play, aim for those you are confident you can fill with friends, family, and fans. As your audience grows, you can begin booking larger venues.

Think Diversity

This applies to all aspects of the experience:  the type of music, the type of venue, and perhaps most crucially, the composition of the band itself.  Bands that feature multiple lead vocalists and multiple featured soloists are inherently more interesting.  On the venue side, while the lure of downtown venues and hip nightspots is strong, don’t summarily reject fundraiser and other private gigs; while their exposure they offer may be more limited, it’s still good for networking and an opportunity to see what material works best where.  

Collaborate with Other Local Musicians and Bands

Networking is a huge part of the music industry at every level. Networking with venues, musicians, and other local residents is crucial to your band’s success. Try to attend other musicians’ shows and get to know the local players in your town or city. Once you’ve identified a few bands or musicians that you think might be a good fight, ask them if they’d like to collaborate or do a guest performance. This is a great way to give your own fans something different, as well as expose your band to a different following.