Monthly Archives: March 2009

Dying the good death

The LA Times reported yesterday on a study that found that religious patients are more likely to consent to, demand, and recieve aggressive treatment toward the end of their lives. This includes such things as bone marrow transplants for breast cancer (which sounds extremely aggressive, but doesn’t work), life support, and ICU admission. They were also less likely to have living wills, powers of attorney, or DNRs. Given the preoccupation that many religions have with death and the afterlife, this seems a little contradictory; shouldn’t those who expect rewards in the afterlife be most eager to get there?

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Punish parents that don’t vaccinate their kids

Originally published in the Collegian on March 17, 2009 as “Why you should vaccinate your kids.”

This year has not been good to those who oppose vaccination: first one of the most commonly cited (and one of the only existing) papers claiming to find evidence that vaccination causes autism was revealed to be a complete fraud by The Times1, and then the federal “vaccine court” ruled that parents who brought a lawsuit “failed to demonstrate that … vaccines can contribute to … causing either autism or gastrointestinal dysfunction.”2 I hope their year gets a lot worse.

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Not reassuring

The oldest human hair ever discovered was recently found. In a hyena coprolite. It disturbs me a little to find out that we were more “tasty snack” than “threat to be avoided.”


It’s not that extra X chromosome

Amazingly, discrimination and low expectations aren't keeping women out of science.

Amazingly, discrimination and low expectations aren't keeping women out of science.

Looking at most colleges’ graduating classes, you’d think that the gap in science professorships between men and women is primarily generational: women earn a majority of science bachelor’s degrees (some colleges have begun to give preference to male candidates), and no field other than computer science and engineering is made up of less than 40% women. And yet the advancement rates are depressing: over 50% of chemistry bachelors degree’s are awarded to women, yet less than 32% of PhDs and 22% of assistant professorships are. Why the discrepancy? Apparently, it comes down to lifestyle.

 

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