Russ Ewell

Russ Ewell

Palo Alto, CA, United States

Russ Ewell runs two technology-focused companies, is an author, a preacher, and is a disability advocate.

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About the author

Russ Ewell is the founder of HTG, E-Soccer, and Digital Scribbler Inc. His work focuses on using technology to overcome human limits.

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English
Non-Fiction
Christian (Non-Fiction)

Latest blog posts from Tumblr - Russ Ewell

Allergy Season Explained

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Happy First Day of Spring, Tumblr! 


What better way to celebrate than to **ACHOO!!**….wait, what were we saying?


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Ah, spring! Grass growing, flowers blooming, trees growing new leaves, but if you get allergies, this explosion of new life probably inspires more dread than joy.  


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Step outside, and within minutes, you’re sneezing and congested. Your nose is running, your eyes are swollen and watery, your throat is itchy. For you and millions of others, it’s seasonal allergy time. So what’s behind this onslaught of mucus?


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The answer lies within you. It’s your immune system. Seasonal allergies, also called hay fever, or allergic rhinitis, are a hypersensitive immune response to something that’s not actually harmful. Pollen from trees and grass, and mold spores from tiny fungi find their way into your mucous membranes and your body attacks these innocuous travelers the same way it would infectious bacteria. 


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The immune system has a memory. When a foreign substance gets tagged as threatening, white blood cells produce customized antibodies that will recognize the offender the next time around. They then promptly recruit the body’s defense team. But sometimes, the immune system accidentally discriminates against harmless substances, like pollen. When it wafts in again, antibodies on the surface of white blood cells recognize it and latch on.


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This triggers the cell to release inflammatory chemicals, like histamine, which stimulate nerve cells, and cause blood vessels in the mucous membranes to swell and leak fluid. In other words, itchiness, sneezing, congestion, and a runny nose. 


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Allergies usually, but not always, show up for the first time during childhood. But why do some people get allergies and others don’t? Allergies tend to run in families, so genetics may be one culprit. In fact, errors in a gene that helps regulate the immune system are associated with higher rates of allergies. The environment you grow up in matters, too. Being exposed to an allergen as a baby makes you less likely to actually develop an allergy to it. People who grow up on farms, in big families, and in the developing world also tend to have fewer allergies, although there are plenty of exceptions, partly thanks to genetics. One theory is that as children, they encounter more of the microbes and parasites that co-evolved with traditional hunter-gatherer societies.


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Called the hygiene hypothesis, the idea is that when the immune system isn’t exposed to the familiar cast of microbes, it’ll keep itself busy mounting defenses against harmless substances, like pollen. Another theory is that an immune system toughened up by a barrage of pathogens is less likely to overreact to allergens. Pollen is a common offender, just because we encounter so much of it, but there’s a long list of substances: dust, animal dander, insect venom, medications, certain foods, that can send your immune system into overdrive. Some of these reactions can be scary. An allergy can develop into full-blown anaphylaxis, which typically brings on severe swelling, shortness of breath, and very low blood pressure. It can be deadly.


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But as we who suffer from seasonal allergies know, even non-life threatening allergy symptoms can make you miserable. So what can you do about it? Medications can help reduce the symptoms. The most common ones keep histamines from binding to your cells. These antihistamines stop the inflammation response. Steroids can help dial down the immune system. Another more permanent option is immunotherapy. Deliberate, controlled exposure to gradually increasing amounts of an allergen can teach the immune system that it isn’t dangerous after all. 


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Of course, you can always just wait your seasonal allergies out. The spring pollen onslaught dwindles by mid-summer…just in time for ragweed season!


From the TED-Ed Lesson Why do people have seasonal allergies? - Eleanor Nelsen 


Animation by TED-Ed



Yes it is here!

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Mar 21, 2018 15:45

Latest blog posts from Wordpress - Russ Ewell

Lesser Known Advice about Leadership

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Leadership is a broad word–one that a wide range of people want to adopt and acclaim to themselves. It is a tremendously appealing title to be a leader, but also an incredibly difficult task to be a successful one. So what does leadership really mean and what is the psychological effect of being and working under a real leader? How can a person push others and themselves to be the best and most efficient team possible? Warren Bennis, an American author, and scholar states that “leadership is the capacity to translate vision into reality.” It is the ability to take a vision, and project it, work effectively through it to make it play out in front of you. Here are some psychological genres that every good leader should understand:


Learn the Psychology of Teamwork


Understanding how to get people to work together effectively and productively is a skill that is indisposable to being a leader. You are not a successful leader if you do not have people who are willing to be led by you. Of course, there is a hard line between leadership and dictatorship. Be wary not to be too controlling. Make sure a large part of your power strategy includes putting your team and employees in the best position to succeed.


Maintain and Even Demeanor


Maintaining a level head and even keel is imperative to being a fair and successful leader. This goes hand in hand to allow yourself to take a step back and create distance from whatever you are becoming stressed, frustrated, or angry about. Take a step back and re-approach the information or problem with a level head and a logically driven approach as opposed to an emotionally driven one.


Hold True to Your Values


Something that is a huge challenge is holding true to the values that leadership expect of their employees. It will be impossible to establish a respected and extended leadership if you are making yourself the exception of your own rules, policies, and expectations. You should not look at yourself as above the laws, but instead, you should look at yourself as the prime model of the laws being enacted.


 

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Oct 24, 2018 20:37