“Talk Less. Smile More. Don’t Let Them Know What You’re Against or What You’re For.”
Posted on February 28, 2019
Literature and the arts have a lot of lessons to teach us about life and how we should (or could) live. I recently listened to the soundtrack to the play about Alexander Hamilton’s life, and the lessons were very interesting. Talk less, smile more? Maybe. But you also need to speak up against injustice. You need to stand for something, or you’ll fall for almost anything.
The Epidemic of Violence in Baltimore Continues
Posted on December 15, 2018
The epidemic of homicides in Baltimore continues. Violence is infectious, and Baltimore’s former “Public Enemy No. 1” is one of the latest victims.
The Sadness of It All
Posted on May 10, 2018
When I was in high school, I participated in a magnet school program called Health Occupations Students of America. The program was aimed at attracting high school students who were looking for a career in, you guessed it, health occupations. Of course, most of the kids in the program wanted to be physicians or nurses. […]
The Risks We Like To Take
Posted on October 6, 2017
With every passing day, the chances that I will die continue to approach certainty. It’s a slow approach to that 100% chance, but it’s happening. All I can do is slow down that acceleration to oblivion (and beyond?) by doing certain things and not doing others. For example, I have to go for a jog/swim/run/bike […]
Epidemiological Podcast S0E2: The Weight of the Evidence
Posted on July 12, 2017
On today’s podcast, I talk to you about a recent tragedy in our family and how it helped me understand anti-vaccine parents a little more. Not completely, but just enough to realize that there is very little in the way of a debate that one can have with them.
See, When people who don’t believe that vaccines save lives tell you that there is no evidence that vaccines are safe, they’re either misinformed or lying. On the flip side, when they tell you that there is evidence that vaccines cause autism, they’re either misinformed or lying again. There is plenty of evidence for both arguments out there, but only one set of “studies” pass the biological plausibility test (not to say anything about ethics).
However, because an injury (perceived or real) to a child triggers such a deep-seeded, primal reaction, it’s hard to be logical or reasonable. When parents see autism as death (when it’s not), their search for answers becomes chaotic and full of inferences that are misguided. Anti-vaccine people looking to make a buck take advantage of that, and then we’re off to the races on trying to stop further harm, encourage critical thinking, and have an actual debate based on facts.
In about 33 minutes, I tell you about the different kinds of studies out there, and I explain to you why we cannot do a vaccinated vs. unvaccinated study like the antivaxxers want, but we’ve done plenty of vaccinated vs. unvaccinated studies in an ethical and scientific way.
Good Night, Good Dog
Posted on July 10, 2017
Callisto, the wonderful dog we adopted seven years ago, passed away peacefully after a short battle with disease. She leaves a dog-shaped hole in our hearts as she was very much our daughter. My wife and I wished she could have stuck around to meet the baby, but the universe has a funny way of […]
Baltimore’s Cycle of Violence Continues Apace
Posted on January 30, 2017 3 Comments
In the first 30 days of January, there have been 32 homicides in Baltimore City. It’s not appropriate to compare these first 30 days to last year’s first 30 days, however, because homicide (like other crime) is not directly related to the time of the year. Or, rather, the time of the year has some […]
Everyone Was Looking For Answers
Posted on July 28, 2016 3 Comments
My wife and I went to a town hall meeting in Carroll County, Maryland, yesterday. The meeting was about the opiate drug abuse epidemic and what different agencies and people were doing about it. The keynote speaker was an agent with the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA). He gave the usual statistics on number of deaths […]
That’s Weird. Radical Islam Is Not an Existential Threat, According to WHO and the World Bank
Posted on July 25, 2016 1 Comment
There’s this thing that you do when you work in public health. You try to look at the top causes of death and disability so you can better understand what you need to do in order to save lives “millions at a time” or some such. To do this, you need to be mindful of […]
The things that will kill you
Posted on July 23, 2016
Just listening to the news, you’d think that all of us were going to get killed tomorrow from a massive terrorist attack. Heck, some of my colleagues have been going on so much about Zika that they make it seem like we’re all going to die from Zika… Or that a whole generation of children are […]