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).

Talking Tuesday: Jetlagged On Ebola

I'm jetlagged from the trip to Korea, and I'm feeling a little silly. So I recorded this podcast with a lot of complaints over the craziness going on about Ebola. When an elected US Senator tells us that you can get Ebola at a cocktail party, you have to ask yourself two questions: What kind of cocktail parties does he attend? And exactly what science and virology book he read this from? I don't think he read anything about it, personally. Anyway, listen to my rant. Or don't. I won't hold it against you if you don't.

Talking Tuesday, Korea Edition: Smoking Causes Cancer (On Average)

Greetings and salutations form the wonderful city of Seoul, Korea. It's the Korea without the labor camps and despotic dictator-for-life, maybe. (Most dictators are for life, I hear.) Here are 4 minutes of me giving you a quick thought about causality and how smoking causes cancer. I was sitting in a courtyard at one of Seoul's palaces and recorded this. A friend and colleague back home said that there was a discussion in a class on whether we, epidemiologists, can say that "smoking causes cancer" or if we should instead say that "smoking increases your risk of lung and other cancers". She and I agree that we should say that smoking causes cancer, period, when talking about smoking to the public. If you throw in words like "chances" or "probability" or even "risk", the message gets confused. Individuals within the population start asking for their specific risk, or they think that other things they do minimize the risk. (Some people have told me that they won't get lung cancer from smoking because they run marathons.)

Talking Tuesday: What else? Ebolaaaaa!

Yes, I'm late again. Relax. It's not like there are scores of you waiting for the podcast each week. Last I checked (this morning), there were 17 people subscribed to the podcast feed. I don't know how many are subscribed via iTunes, but I'm guessing there's not a lot. Anyway, today's rant is really a rant, and it originated from the madness going around in the media (mainstream, social, and popular) about the case of Ebola that was identified in Texas. We are worrying and sometimes outright panicking too much about this one case in Texas, ignoring the enormous burden of Ebola (and other diseases) on Africa. Also, I managed to get about a minute in of opinion on a satellite radio talk show. I explained to the host that between 3,000 and 49,000 people in the United States will die from influenza, but we don't stop planes from coming here from other countries, and we don't disinfect schools because of it.

Taking Tuesday: School and Friends and Growing Up

I have always loved school, but I never really liked the social interactions that came with it. It wasn't that I didn't like people. The problem was that I was always an outsider, someone who didn't fit in. It was either because I was too young or because I didn't speak English... Or because I didn't play "the right" sport (i.e. not soccer). In today's Talking Tuesday, I tell you about the end of summer and the beginning of school, and how much that hurt when I was a kid. Then I finish by telling you how things have changed now that I'm an adult.

Talking Tuesday: America’s Pastime (Baseball)

I was ambivalent toward baseball for much of my life, only watching in the post-season and when games mattered. Things have changed in the last couple of years. I've started following the Baltimore Orioles more closely, starting about two years ago when Buck Showalter took the manager job with them. It's been a long time since the Orioles have done well in their division, and today they're on the cusp of winning the division. Watching them play the Toronto Bluejays reminded me of a night in October back in the 1990s when my grandmother came into my room and sat down to watch a World Series game with me.