Category: Blog

Sometimes words are better.

Hail to the Bees

When I was a child, I was always afraid of bees and other insects. You can thank the fire ants in Chihuahua for that. They always managed to sting me in the summers that I spent there running around with my cousins. Grandpa would compound the hurt by adding merthiolate (thimerosal and alcohol, basically) to ...

Imagine This, but with Guns…

One of the most common counter-arguments from people who oppose any form of gun control is that people will kill people with other "tools" if guns are not around. They'll say that guns are just "tools" and that it's the "bad" person holding the gun who has a say in whether or not someone will ...

Epidemiological Podcast S0E2: The Weight of the Evidence

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

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 ...

Patriotism and Such

Did I ever tell you the story of my grade school years in Mexico? I was in school there for kindergarten, first, second and third grade. Then I did one year in El Paso, Texas, and then it was back to Juarez, Chihuahua, for fifth grade. By sixth grade, we got our permanent residence and ...

Epidemiological Podcast S0E1: The Perfect Epidemiological Surveillance System

Today, I thought I'd share with you a 15-minute presentation I gave in Mexico City last about two weeks ago. It was on a paper I wrote based off a previous blog post. I talk about what I imagine to be the perfect system for keeping track of the population's health... That is, if money, technology, laws, and ethical considerations were not in the way of such things. Yes, I'm giving the podcast a season and names. The first season runs from now until the end of the year and will be season zero, along with previous episodes. Kind of like "the lost season" if you will. Then, starting in 2018, I'll have a first season of six podcasts with pre-planned topics and a little more preparation. You guys deserve it... And it's a good way to be just creative enough to be doing something but not too busy to forget about the dissertation (which should be almost done when 2017 ends and 2018 begins).

The people who will confuse you

When I worked at that rural hospital in what I affectionately call Pennsyltucky, I met a young nurse who worked in one of the wards there. She was very pretty and very smart. I liked having conversations with her, and -- once or twice -- I got caught talking to her on the phone while ...

Putting things in focus

Once in a while, you need to just focus and see the beautiful things out there. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=731h4B1QGJs

The diseases you’re going to get

When I was in college, I was living on my own in a little apartment and had to commute into the university (about 30 miles) every day. The commute wasn't bad. In fact, I spent most of my day at the university, going back to the apartment late in the evening. Those were the days ...

The laws that you are going to break

The immigration debate has been front and center in my life for almost all of it. There are many people in my extended family who came to the United States illegally, or they came legally and overstayed their visas. They build lives here, living under the radar or with fake documents, and their children are ...