Blog Category

It Was Worth It Just to Learn Some Sleight of Hand

Cartoon in black and white of a man performing a confidence trick.

I reflect on my experiences with falling for scams and the importance of learning to resist them. I discuss how con artists prey on loneliness and biases to gain confidence, and emphasize the need to teach people how to discern and resist scams as they grow up.

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The Fights You’ll Have With Unreasonable People

Image of a newspaper announcement advertising a gathering of people to protest masking requirements during the 1918 influenza pandemic.

In this blog post, I talk about my experiences engaging in charged debates, particularly around topics like abortion, LGBTQ+ rights, and gun control. I tell you about my frustration with encountering falsehoods and half-truths, but emphasize the importance of maintaining composure and presenting evidence and accurate information. I believe in the power of education, context, and organized action to create meaningful discussions and advocate for change on a larger scale.

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I’ve Stopped Taking Things Personally, and It Annoys People Trying to Bait Me Into Arguments or Fights

I have learned not to take things personally, which has made me calmer and less reactive. I share personal anecdotes of how I used to lose my temper, and how I have learned to be more mindful and tolerant. I also discuss how my wife and daughter have helped me become calmer and more mindful. I conclude that most things and people are not worth getting upset over, and focus on what matters to me.

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The Parent Ren, Part XIV: Kids, Huh?

A little girl with a yellow hoodie looks over a valley from a rocky formation on a mountain.

I reflect on parenting after hosting my niece and caring for my brother-in-law’s dog. I discuss the different stages of parenting, from speculating about “the child” before conception to teaching and interacting with our daughter. My wife and I have decided to only have one child due to our professional commitments, but have discussed adoption in the future.

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The AI Revolution Is Here, and I’m All in… Maybe

In this blog post, I talk about the use of AI tools for writing, including grammar and spelling checks, and a program for creating one-minute summaries. I express concern about relying too heavily on AI for communication, and emphasize the importance of human experience and wisdom in conveying complex concepts. Despite my apprehensions, I’ll continue to use AI for tasks such as lecture preparation and inspiration for writing, but will not pass off AI-generated content as my own without editing it. And, when it is all AI-generated, I’ll let you know.

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The Year Since

Two men in front of a sign in a small town in northern Mexico. One wears a green shirt and hat. The other wears a tan shirt.

This blog post reflects on the passing of Andres one year ago, and the impact it has had on me and my family. I also discuss my father’s resilience, my anxiety about receiving bad news, and the difficulty of returning to the ancestral hometown. I also reflect on the prevalence of divorce in my social circle, and the importance of honesty and communication in my own marriage. The post concludes by acknowledging the ongoing pain of Andres’ loss and uncertainty of life.

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The Update You Deserve

A couple looks at the camera with strange expressions on their face. There is green shrubbery in the background.

In this blog post, I reflect on my recent experiences in public health and the challenges of working with different personalities. I also discuss upcoming conferences and plans for a summer vacation. I note a trend of divorce among friends and acquaintances, but express gratitude for my own successful relationship and my daughter. The post concludes with a promise to write again soon.

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The War on LGBTQ+ Kids Is Getting Out of Hand

Two men stand in front of a crowd, looking at the camera. One of them holds a large picture with a caption that reads "Maryland's First Married Couple. Together 37 years."

I don’t remember exactly when I learned that there are people who are sexually attracted to the same sex. Growing up in machismo-rich northern Mexico, I was taught that people (most often men) who were gay were not to be trusted. They were to be shunned, laughed at, and excluded in every way possible. Even […]

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Another Circle Is Now Complete

A plague reads "College of Physicians of Philadelphia 19 South 22nd Street Founded 1787 Medical Library Mütter Museum FC Wood Institute"

The first week I started working at the Maryland Department of Health in 2007, we faced an interesting situation when a person who worked at a government office building came down with legionellosis. Legionellosis is a pulmonary disease caused by the Legionella species of bacteria. It is usually associated with exposures to fine water mists, […]

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Let’s Get Caught Up, Continued

A young man leans back on a red car as he looks at the camera

A horrible nightmare came true. I lost my brother. Vaya con Dios.

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