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Doctors Drop Unvaccinated Patients

The decision to vaccinate a child shouldn’t really be a hard one to make. In fact, I don’t really think it should be a decision at all. Vaccines have been proven time and time again to be both very safe and extremely effective. And yet some people still choose not to have their children vaccinated. Personally, I think that’s a very bad decision.

There is SO MUCH bad information out there regarding vaccines, it’s very disheartening. Of course there’s good information, but the bad info is much easier to find. And it’s presented in a way that appeals to that person’s very basic instinct: to shield their child from possible harm. So as I think about it, it seems to me that most (if not all) of these people are doing it for what for them seems like a good reason

The problem is that they not only compromise their child’s health based on faulty information, but they contribute to a loss in herd immunity. This leads to the cases we hear in the news about vaccine preventable diseases affecting communities with low vaccine compliance. These cases are almost entirely avoidable.

Doctors have always taken the matter seriously, but recently, many pediatricians have been parting ways with patients of theirs who refuse to vaccinate. A story in The Wall Street Journal earlier this week reported on a rise in doctors refusing or “firing” patients who do not comply to the CDC and AAAP’s vaccine schedule.

In a study of Connecticut pediatricians published last year, some 30% of 133 doctors said they had asked a family to leave their practice for vaccine refusal, and a recent survey of 909 Midwestern pediatricians found that 21% reported discharging families for the same reason. By comparison, in 2001 and 2006 about 6% of physicians said they “routinely” stopped working with families due to parents’ continued vaccine refusal and 16% “sometimes” dismissed them, according to surveys conducted then by the American Academy of Pediatrics.

I completely agree with the pediatricians’ decision not to see unvaccinated children. Having an unvaccinated child in a doctor’s waiting room full of other children, some sick, is downright dangerous. Both for the unvaccinated child and the other people present.

There’s also an issue of trust. If parents don’t trust their doctor’s medical advice on one subject, why would they trust them on another? There should be a high level of trust there between doctor and patient.

When and if I have children, this will absolutely be one of the factors in choosing a pediatrician. I want to be able to trust that my child’s health is in good hands, and what better hands than someone’s who is willing to give up a select group of patients for the safety of the majority of her or his other patients? I’ll be looking for a doctor who practices science-based medicine.

So what do you guys think? Do you agree with the decision these doctors are making? There is certainly an argument to be made for both sides.

photo by: UNICEF Sverige

SGU Bloopers – Together they form Voltron!

I’ve been working with the rogues behind the scenes for a few years now, and one of my tasks has (had) been to convert the raw audio tracks into SGU 5×5 episodes.  During that time I took it upon myself to grab out some funny behind the scenes clips that never made it to the final podcast.

Here’s a clip that happened during a recording of 5×5 in December of 2009.

For those of you who are wondering, 5×5 isn’t gone.  It’s actually going to make a comeback very, very soon.  So stay tuned.  I will be doing the edits so I’ll be posting some more clips on here as they come in.

Habitable Zone Less Habitable?

The hunt for exoplanets has been heating up for years, aided by new technologies and refined methods for finding smaller and smaller planets that may harbor life.

Integral to this hunt is the concept that the ideal planet’s orbit will be in a habitable zone that is far enough away from its parent star that water doesn’t completely evaporate and close enough for liquid water to exist.

In fact, a new earth-sized planet was recently found that was smack-dab in the middle of this Goldilocks zone and our current best candidate for an earth-like planet that could support life as we know it.

This zone however may not be as capacious as we once thought.
It looks like the heat from a star is not the only limiting factor for the survivability of liquid water. Tidal forces can also have a similar effect. This is called Tidal Heating.

The decline of a star’s gravitational pull on a planet means that some parts of a planet are tugged to a greater or a lesser degree than other parts. This not only deforms the shape a planet’s oceans but also its rocky interior (and even its atmosphere).

This constant kneeding of rock makes the planet hotter, potentially turning a wet world into a dessicated Venus-like planet. In fact, these worlds are being called Tidal Venuses.

To read more on this fascinating topic, check out this link


Want Your Palm Read?

I know I am dating myself, but one of the most memorable lines from any of the hundreds of Bugs Bunny cartoons (which spans over 70 years worth of material) is, while dressed as a “swami”, he asks the antagonist character …

“Do you want your palm read?”

The brute holds out his hand and Bugs proceeds to paint his palm with red paint. Classic stuff for those of us old enough to remember such humor steeped in antiquity.  

As the cartoon world clearly knew back in 1949 that swami’s and palm reading and phrenology (reading “bumps” on the head) and other childish  notions were excellent vehicles to deliver humor, you would think that in modern times, the human race would continue to laugh off the fantasy of  anti-scientific newage such as divination by reading palms.  

Welcome to 21st century China, where ancient superstitions, antiquated habits, prejudices against people with certain blood types or certain last names, any many other forms of pseudoscience are alive and well. So what’s the latest news-making nonsense coming out of China these days?

That’s right … Palm Reading!

Reading the palms of children, to be more specific. According to this Reuters article, in a province in northern China, parents are paying 1200 yuan ($190US) to have their children’s palms read.  According to the reports, these readings can …

“determine the children’s innate intelligence and potential.”

Funny they should use the wording “innate intelligence”, which is the purported vitalistic component of chiropractic. One might dismiss it as a mere coincidence, but the notion that “innate intelligence” exists at all is a column which has been built exclusively for the Parthenon of Woo. Science has can not detect “innate intelligence”, and until someone comes up with a scientifically valid means of doing so, it does not exist.

It is also funny how the counterbalance in the article, a quote from a “pediatric expert”, offers the following retort:  

“This technology remains unaccounted for.”  

How weak. First, its not “technology” at all. It is a combination of mysticism and cold-reading. Second, it is not unaccounted for. Palm reading is well accounted for, and it simply doesn’t work. It is fortune telling. There is no evidence whatsoever for the validity of palm reading.

But this is China, and China is a big place with tons of people and ancient cultures and traditions that will never let go of their ingrained and cherished sacred cows. Take a look at this article for more on the wackiness of Chinese culture.

America and other countries around the world all have their own brands of cultural pseudoscience and woo, but the notion of palm reading strikes a chord of infantile thinking and humor steeped in ridiculousness the likes of which Bugs Bunny would still be proud of today.




The Search for a SuperSolid

The hunt is on for a new quantum state of matter called Supersolidity.

This state has never been conclusively observed but it would resemble another quantum state that has…superfluidity.

A superfluid is incredibly cool (barely above absolute zero in fact). It has zero viscosity which means it can actually climb up an out of a container. It can also flow through the tiniest pores of any container it’s in.

You may think that a supersolid would be super due to it’s incredible density but that’s not the case.

If you want more details. Checkout this article from my favorite science news-site Physorg.