The Long Emergency: It isn't just climate change
I'm still sketching out the basic challenges facing humanity, in broad strokes. Last week I presented the history of human population in the past 2000 years and a very basic primer on climate. But there are much broader issues of resource depletion. Some people have expected bigger catastrophes sooner than they have actually happened, and it's perilous to make very specific predictions, but we're at the point now where we aren't just making predictions, we're observing what's already happening.Here's the basic problem:If 3 billion people are going to  achieve a standard of living comparable to that of a typical North ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 20, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Badly in need of an editor
In spite of multiple continuity errors, weird interpolations, and repetitiveness, the authors have been moving the plot along reasonably well. Then we get this. First, God talks to Moses again, exactly how or where we don't know, and basically repeats stuff he has already said and also makes a couple of false assertions.Then theLord said to Moses, “Now you will see what I will do to Pharaoh: Because of my mighty hand he will let them go; because of my mighty hand he will drive them out of his country.”Well no, that's not what's going to happen. He won't " drive them out of his country. "2 God als...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 19, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Crime and Punishment
I think it was several years ago that I discussed here a strange jury service. I was actually the foreperson of a jury in Massachusetts for a hybrid civil-criminal trial of a sort that no longer happens.The occasion for revisiting is that a man named Wayne Chapmanhas been ordered by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court to be released from civil confinement. By a most odd coincidence, the man who was the subject of my judgment was also named Wayne Chapman, and the question before us was the same question before the SJC, should he be released from civil confinement. Both men were held at the MassachusettsBridgewater Stat...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 16, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Human life begins at conception . . .
. . .and ends at birth. (Source: Stayin' Alive)
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 16, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Freedumb of Speech, revisited
Hear, hear, professor Campos. This concerns, proximally, Harvard's decision not to continue to have a certain law professor serve as " dean " of a residence hall. Harvard happens to use the term " dean " for this position but that is not the usual meaning of the word, which in most cases (including ours) refers to a person who has responsibility for a school or an educational program. This is really what would normally be called a house parent position -- a faculty member or couple who live in the residence hall and look after the quality of residential life. There appear to have been numerous reasons f...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 14, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

The Long Emergency: Some Basics
Most people, I think, take for granted the basic character of human civilization in the present era. It is, as I'm sure you know, radically different from everything that has gone before. Here is the history of human population in the past 2,000 years:As you can see, the population grew very slowly until something happened around the mid 1700s. There were several notable developments at that time, including the Scientific Revolution and the Enlightenment, a philosophical movement that followed the rise of scientific reasoning. The Scientific Revolution also produced a technological revolution, of which a key event in the m...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 13, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: The plot convolutes
Exodus 5 is mercifully relatively short, though it still displays the repetitive style we've gotten used to. It seems straightforward but with a bit of reflection, it reveals interesting pathology on the part of both Pharaoh and God. And the plot has gotten away from the scribes. Nevertheless, unlike the previous chapter, which has bizarre elements that get left out of popular tellings of the tale, this episode is well known.Afterward Moses and Aaron went to Pharaoh and said, “This is what theLord, the God of Israel, says: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness.’&rdquo...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 12, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Moral Philosophy
Emboldened by the new composition of the Supreme Court,conservative state legislatures are rushing to enact restrictions on abortion in the hope that laws making the procedure almost unobtainable will be upheld, and perhaps that Roe  v Wade will be overturned entirely. Opposition to legal abortion in the U.S. is largely congruent with  particular brands of Christianity, that is also associated with strict sexual morality including condemnation of homosexuality and adultery. (Although lots of their proponents have turned out to be adulterers and homosexuals, but that's another story.) These are most notably right ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 11, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

The Stupid . . .
.. it burns. A few years back I devoted multiple posts to the Upper Class Twit of the Century, delusional moron Robert F. Kennedy Jr. He returns unwelcomed to our consciousness in the midst of the measles epidemic, which as a reader points out iseven more rampant in Europe, particularly Ukraine, than in the U.S. This is a disease which could have been eradicated from the earth, like smallpox, if not for idiots like Kennedy and scammers like Andrew Wakefield.Unfortunately there are people who assign credibility to celebrities, including people whose only claim to fame is their parentage, so Kennedy's anti-vaccine campaign,f...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 8, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

The Long Emergency
The cold truth is thatthe condition of the planet is dire. The facts are just too frightening and too difficult for people to accept. The radical changes we need to make in the organization of our societies, energy sources, diet, and processing of materials; along with the critical need to limit and ultimately reduce the human population are all so daunting that people prefer to turn away. Meghan Markle's baby is bigger news that the consensus UN report.Here's the link to the primary document, issued by The Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES). They scream at us with the ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 6, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Strange Interlude
There's plenty of competition for weirdest passage in the Bible, but we may have the winner here. Exodus 4 is plenty weird overall, but it contains an interpolation which is weird, bizarre, and very very strange. The chapter is also very problematic theologically, but I think most interpreters pretty much ignore the problems. I won't. Moses answered, “What if they do not believe me or listen to me and say, ‘TheLord did not appear to you ’?”2 Then theLord said to him, “What is that in your hand?”“A staff,” he replied.3 TheLord said, “Throw it on the ground...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 5, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Q & a
Q: If guns in the hands of the people doesn't matter, then why does every dictator outlaw them as soon as they're in power?A: They don't! For example, under Saddam Hussein, Every man and woman 25 and older with a " good reputation and character " was entitled to own one firearm, including a fully automatic AK-47 assault rifle. U.S. administrator Paul Bremer decided to leave the law in place, with the unfortunate consequences of which I trust you are all aware.In Russia,firearm ownership is legal although registration is required. About 9% of Russians own firearms, not all of them legally. There is a substant...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 2, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Odds and Ends
A few items that caught my interest.What's in a name:First, following up on last Sunday's sermonette,here's a fuller discussion of the names for God in Judaism. My very brief summary was essentially correct, but it's a much longer story. Note that the Torah never says that the name of God should not be pronounced, but that idea has grown over time in Jewish tradition.Rabbi Yisroel Goldstein of Chabad of Poway, who was maimed in the terrorist attack on Saturday in which one of his congregation was murderedhas an essay in the NYT in which he vows to stand up against anti-Jewish hatred. I commend it in its own right but it's ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - May 1, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

It's Greek to me
My alma materhas suspended fraternity activity because of some leaked documents that show members of one -- Phi Psi -- celebrating blackout drinking and insulting women, racial and gender minorities and joking about sexual assault. Coincidentally, I had lunch with my mother on Sunday, who is also an alum, and we talked about Swarthmore College fraternities. There are only two, and there are no sororities.When I was there, I had friends who were members of the other frat, Phi Delta Theta, and I went to some parties there -- I got invited because I was on the wrestling team -- but I had no interest in membership. PDT was act...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 30, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

The New Epistemology
Folks at the WaPo apparently have plenty of time on their hands,because they've been keeping track of the lies of the Resident. They have so far tallied 10,000 since he took office, so the turning over of the odometer has occasioned an announcement. The torrent of lies has accelerated, from 601 days to get to 5,000 to 226 to get to 10,000.That's pretty damn weird. He repeats his lies dozens of times even after they have been thoroughly debunked. Truth is not just irrelevant, it seems not to exist. It isn't even a category. Okay, that's disturbing but it's even more disturbing to see the contortions the corporate media, inc...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 29, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: What's in a name?
Exodus 3 is one of the most famous passages in the Bible. By famous I mean that people have some images from it in their heads, particularly the burning bush and the declaration " I am who I am " (KJV " I am that I am). I don't mean that very many people have actually read it and thought about it. So let's give it  a good look. Now Moses was tending the flock of Jethro his father-in-law, the priest of Midian, and he led the flock to the far side of the wilderness and came to Horeb, the mountain of God.2 There the angel of theLord appeared to him in flames of fire from within a bush. Moses saw ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 28, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Administrative Statement
It looks like I'll have to put this in the sidebar, but anonymous comments are not permitted, no matter how wise or appropriate. That includes adopting " anonymous " or " unknown " as a handle. Commenters must choose a distinct name -- it can be your real name or a pseudonym -- and use it consistently. There are good reasons for this rule.Thank you for your consideration. (Source: Stayin' Alive)
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 26, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Too many emergencies
So let's focus on the biggest one.This is a long essay but you are hereby commanded to read it. Columbia Journalism Review and The Nation are jointly sponsoring a conference on April 30 on media coverage of climate change. This by Mark Hertsgaard and Kyle Pope sets the stage.[A] at a time when civilization is accelerating toward disaster, climate silence continues to reign across the bulk of the US news media. Especially on television, where most Americans still get their news, the brutal demands of ratings and money work against adequate coverage of the biggest story of our time. Many newspapers, too, are failing the clim...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 24, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Bring on Cecil B. DeMille
The story we are about to read is not only the foundational myth of the Jewish people. It has also become a foundational myth of American Christian identity thanks to the 1956 movie starring Charlton Heston. The movie actually differs from the Biblical story in minor respects, but more important I think is that it fills in the blanks. The Biblical account is quite vague as to historical context, and offers little in the way of visual detail or specificity of action. It's mostly an outline, concerned with plot but little concerned with character. (The Torah doesn't get subjected to much literary criticism but I'm willing to...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 21, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Norts Spews
Last year I posted about Duh Sawx while they were steamrolling their way to the MLB championship. I reflected on the whole concept of fan loyalty and the seemingly irrational but culturally universal way that people live vicariously through their sports heroes. This year, mysteriously, despite bringing back pretty much the same team that flattened the competition last year, they are an abomination. I mean totally unwatchable. Can't hit, can't pitch, they stand around in the outfield watching balls bounce over the fence, they're listless and boneheaded.There is a lot of psychology in sports. You'll notice that the most expe...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 20, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

For the greater glory of God
Here's an interesting factoid about rebuilding Notre Dame:The roof and spire of Notre Dame, which was completely incinerated in Monday's fire, were made of ancient oak. There were 13,000 beams in the church's ceiling, and Guerry said about 3,000 trees would be needed to replace them." In the Middle Ages … it was possible to find huge amounts of beautiful strong oak, " but overuse of the material led to the destruction of many of Europe's oak forests, Guerry said. " The ability to find around 3,000 more big, strong trees in the next two decades is going to be tricky. " But Guerry said the very tal...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 16, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

The law and reality
As the Miami Herald reported at the time of the mass arrests in south Florida for prostitution, and as we acknowledged here, proving human trafficking in the case of these Chinese massage parlorsis very difficult.For law enforcement, cracking the rings that are behind the massage parlors is challenging — and bringing trafficking charges even more difficult —because of workers ’ reluctance to testify, cultural barriers and an international business structure that makes identifying the masterminds next to impossible.And so most continue to operate with minimal risk of being shut down despite the occasional ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 16, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Things go south for the Hebrews
At long last, we start Exodus. As I have mentioned before, scholars belief this was written during the Babylonian exile, in the 6th Century BCE, with revisions in the 5th Century. There is no historical evidence for the Egyptian captivity. The work is fiction, but it may be in some ways a response to the Babylonian exile. It is the foundational myth of the Jews, central to identity. Here we go. These are the names of the sons of Israel who went to Egypt with Jacob, each with his family:2 Reuben, Simeon, Levi and Judah;3 Issachar, Zebulun and Benjamin;4 Dan and Naphtali; Gad and Asher.5 The descenda...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 14, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Complications of measles
Since it is not a brief answer, rather than respond to Mr. Bachtell's question in the comments, I'll do a front page post on it.CDC provides information about complications of measles here. This applies to the United States and other wealthy countries. Measles is much more dangerous in poor countries where many children are malnourished or debilitated from chronic infections, but that's a bit off topic.The actual death rate from measles in developed countries is about 1-2 per 1,000. However, 1 in 20 children will get pneumonia as a complication, which may require expensive treatment including mechanical ventilation. An add...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 12, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

We take requests
Someone is interested in laws regarding vaccination in the United States. There is often a tension between the liberty interest and social welfare in public health, at least from many people's perspective. It is a general principle that competent adults cannot be compelled to undergo any medical procedure against their will. Adults can decide to check out of the hospital against medical advice, or to treat their cancer with coffee enemas rather than surgery and chemotherapy, and the state does not get involved. As for people who are ruled not competent, that's a whole other discussion, but I will point out that a judge has...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 11, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

The 4.2 kiloyear event
The title of this post is the weird name scientists have given toa prolonged drought that devastated the tropics, probably worldwide, beginning about 2,200 BC. Wikipedia says it may have lasted for the entire century, but some estimates have it considerably shorter, maybe 30 years. Anyway, that was enough. Important civilizations collapsed, including the Egyptian Old Kingdom and the Akkadian empire in Mesopotamia.You may be struck by the omission in the Wikipedia article of any discussion of the cause. That is because the cause is unknown. One hypothesis is that it resulted from a meteorite strike, although the mechanism w...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 8, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

More administrative statements
I have started posting again on another of my blogs,Windham County. It's more personal and located in my own space and time. I'm going to try to post at least a couple of times a week, so check it out if you think you might be interested.I have stopped posting on Today in Iraq and Afghanistan for now. During the height of the U.S. war in Iraq, it was a high-traffic blog, in the blogroll on Eschaton and Riverbend (now also defunct) and many other popular sites, and I got comments and e-mails from Pentagon and State Department officials, Iraqi politicians and activists, and links from all over. Well, U.S. forces are still in...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 7, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: We have read a book
Herewith Genesis comes to an end.Joseph threw himself on his father and wept over him and kissed him.2 Then Joseph directed the physicians in his service to embalm his father Israel. So the physicians embalmed him,3 taking a full forty days, for that was the time required for embalming. And the Egyptians mourned for him seventy days. There's evidently some mystical significance to " 40 days " in the Bible. In one version of the Noah story, it rained for 40 days and 40 nights. (In another version, it was 150 days, but who's counting?) In a while we'll see Moses spending 40 days on the mountain in a ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 7, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

More Soshulisum
I mentioned in an addendum to my previous post on this word that the U.S. is in fact already a socialist country, it's just a matter of what we do and do not socialize.You don't have to take my word for it:“The roads hold such a special position in our brain that we use logic around them that we would never use around everything else,” [Prof. Michael] Manville said.Other countries have socialized health care, parental leave or housing, Jeffrey Tumlin, a transportation consultant at Nelson\Nygaard, pointed out. In America, we ’ve socialized driving — and housing for our cars.“We don’t let...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 5, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Administrative announcements
I would prefer that commenters adopt a consistent handle -- could be their real name or a pseudonym, but it would be best if we keep personae straight.In general, I publish comments if they constitute a substantive contribution to a discussion or to general knowledge. Occasionally, I allow a comment through in order to use it as an illustration of logical fallacy or inappropriate behavior. Obviously commenters won't like it when that happens, but they probably wouldn't like it either if I didn't publish it at all. Best solution: don't offer fallacious or offensive comments.I also may decline to publish something just becau...
Source: Stayin' Alive - April 2, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: The X tribes of Israel
It's something of a puzzle why the Torah puts so much emphasis on the purported 12 tribes of Israel, since most of them never any explicit part to play in the later chronicles. Ten of them are said to have disappeared after the conquest of the region (I can't say Israel because it was not a unified kingdom) by the Assyrian kingTiglath-Pileser III in 753 BC, shortly before Exodus was written. Also, the lists vary somewhat from place to place in the Bible. This is the first one.Then Jacob called for his sons and said: “Gather around so I can tell you what will happen to you in days to come.2 “Assemble and li...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 31, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Soshulisum
" Socialism " is just a word, like all words. But it's a particularly mushy one. It has meant everything from Stalinism, to most of Western Europe for most of the post-WWII decades including what are today the happiest nations in the world (which are Scandinavian, happy despite the long dark winters). Broadly, if it means anything at all, it means believing that government has to manage capitalism for the greater good. In other words it means accepting the indisputable fact (except to libertarians, who are insane) that there is no such thing as a free market ™. Markets are not forces of nature, they are cre...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 30, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Want to set some money on fire?
Then buy Lyft stock. I'm sorry folks, but Uber and Lyft are the most egregious scams since Bernie Madoff. Shills tout their stock by pointing to their massive revenue growth but theylose money with every transaction. The faster their revenue grows, the more money they lose and the faster they burn through their capital. Furthermore they have no discernible path to ever making a single penny in profit.They are already squeezing their drivers as hard as they can and there is not one more drop of juice to be had there. And if they raise prices to the point where they can be profitable, competitors will jump in because the bar...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 29, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Insignificant significance
Here's a new commentary on the concept of statistical significance which I like because it's written in plain language and its accessible to people who haven't taken statistics courses. I have discussed this before but maybe not lately. It's bothered me ever since I studied environmental toxicology back in the 1980s.In a pistachio shell, the basic idea of a P value is that you are looking at a difference between two groups of people or other entities, which differ in some other way. For example, one group has been exposed to some environmental agent and the other has not, and you want to know if they differ in their r...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 28, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Freedumb of speech
No need for a link, everyone is aware I think of the controversies surrounding what is broadly described as issues of freedom of speech in higher education. This is something I think about a lot and in fact I have some personal responsibility for the discussion in our department.First a few important conceptual distinctions. The First Amendment right to freedom of speech pertains only to government. In fact as written it literally constrains only the congress; however the courts have construed it to apply to the executive (which carries out the laws) and to apply to the states, by virtue of the Fourteenth Amendment. And of...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 25, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Matters of great portent that don't matter
A central concern of Genesis, as we have seen, is tracing the line of descent of the people who become the Jews. Who's in and who's out, as determined in large part by actions of the family patriarchs. When Isaac is deceived into blessing Jacob rather than Esau, Jacob becomes the ancestor of the Jews.So now Genesis 48 has a parallel story about Ephraim and Manasseh. It's not quite as portentous -- they're both still Jews, but one gets a bigger share of the inheritance. Okay, but why is this story important? It turns out that by the time it is written, in the 6th century BCE, both of their tribes have long since disappeared...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 24, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

College Admission Fraud: Weirdness Department
The recent flapdoodle has reminded me of a very strange incident my freshman year. That was a while ago, okay? They had us show up a few days before the start of classes for orientation -- you know, which way is south, don't climb the water tower (which we wouldn't have thought of doing if they hadn't told us not to), meet with your advisor, have the athletic department determine if you were worthy of their interest, all that sort of thing.They also tried to engineer ways of getting acquainted with your fellow students. One of these was folk dancing, which definitely did not interest me but for lack of anything better to d...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 21, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Scamming: A Great American Tradition
I don't actually know if the U.S. is particularly susceptible to con artists but they feature prominently in our high culture, popular culture, and actual history. From Melville's lightning rod salesman to The Music Man to Elmer Gantry they're a familiar literary character. Snake oil salesmen are still alive and well, they're mass marketing their wares through  GNC and CVS. WorldCom, Enron, Bernie Madoff - and of course the current Resident of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, whose entire life has been a scam.The new HBO documentary about Elizabeth Holmes has prompted a lot of talk about grand con games. What is perhaps mos...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 20, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Ripoff of the millennium
I'm guessing you've never heard a real sermon preached about Genesis 47. In fact I suspect that very few people are even aware of it. It gets real ugly. Here goes.Joseph went and told Pharaoh, “My father and brothers, with their flocks and herds and everything they own, have come from the land of Canaan and are now in Goshen.”2 He chose five of his brothers and presented them before Pharaoh.3 Pharaoh asked the brothers, “What is your occupation?”“Your servants are shepherds,” they replied to Pharaoh, “just as our fathers were.”4 They also said to him, “We...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 17, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

College Admissions
A commenter on the previous post prompted me to get to this now - I was indeed intending to. Obviously I don't personally have anything to do with admissions here, since I'm just a humble professor, not the synchronized archery coach. I am acutely conscious that a degree from our institution is a golden ticket. Admissions committees at highly selective colleges and universities are sorting people into buckets with radically different life chances.Selectivity is actually the whole point -- an Ivy League degree wouldn't be worth as much if anybody could get one. The ostensible purpose of the four years undergraduates spend h...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 15, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Public Health 101
I have been employed in the field of public health in one way or another for more than 30 years. So I take the term for granted, along with the concepts it embodies and the nature of the work that is done by public health researchers and practitioners. So I continually have to remind myself that many, if not most people, don't know what " public health " means. Often, people seem to think that it means providing medical services to poor people. Some people think it just means infectious disease control. I work at a school of public health and I do public health research and I teach public health. So here are thre...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 14, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Red flag laws
Zeoli and Webster, in the new JAMA, discuss " red flag " laws. These are laws that prohibit gun ownership by people with histories of violent felonies and/or people who have domestic violence restraining orders; or allow concerned family members or others to ask a court to prohibit someone who is at high risk of suicide or violence from possessing a firearm. These mean that yes, the people are required to surrender weapons they own and the police can confiscate them.They have not so far resulted in the shootouts Mojrim fears, and they are associated with modest reductions in homicides and suicides. Not huge, but ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 12, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Useless factoids
Genesis 46 is kind of a strange object. Why do we need this enumeration of male descendants, most of whose names we will never see again and who have no individually identifiable role in the plot? Remember that this entire story is fiction, made up nearly 2,000 years after it supposedly happened. I'll get to that. So Israel set out with all that was his, and when he reached Beersheba, he offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac.2 And God spoke to Israel in a vision at night and said, “Jacob! Jacob!”“Here I am,” he replied.Sometimes the man is named Israel and sometimes he's named ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 10, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Facts are stupid things: gun violence edition
We often hear claims that firearm regulation just doesn't work. People who want to get guns and shoot people are going to do it anyway. Conversely, making it easy for peaceful citizens to obtain and carry guns means that people can protect themselves and make us all safer. This is just BS the NRA pulls out of an orifice -- there is plenty of evidence that it's the opposite of the truth.These investigators ran a regression over 17 years of the rate of mass shootings in states on the permissiveness of their firearm laws. There are various definitions of mass shootings, but they use a relatively non-restrictive one: four or m...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 8, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

The Definition of Science
It's astonishing the rhetorical and cognitive contortions climate change deniers and flat earthers will go through to keep living in their fantasy world's. Climate science is incontrovertibly real science, which by rigorous and multiple lines of inquiry has reached conclusions as certain as any can be that humans, by spewing carbon dioxide and methane into the atmosphere, are causing overall warming of the troposphere and oceans. This in turn causes multiple changes in weather patterns including wetter and more powerful storms, more heat waves, droughts and associated wildfires, and severe ecological disruption, among othe...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 5, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

the labors of Sisyphus
Okay, sosome funder spent big bucks for a nationwide cohort study in Denmark that proves, for the nineteen billionth time, that the MMR vaccine does not cause autism. The researchers followed 657,461 from birth through four years, and they actually found that the autism risk for vaccinated children waslower than for unvaccinated children. However, because the 95% confidence interval crossed zero, they more conservatively reported that " that MMR vaccination does not increase the risk for autism, does not trigger autism in susceptible children, and is not associated with clustering of autism cases after vaccination. &q...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 5, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: The big reveal!
Genesis 45 is the big reveal in more ways than one. It's where we finally get around to what this is really all about. Then Joseph could no longer control himself before all his attendants, and he cried out, “Have everyone leave my presence!” So there was no one with Joseph when he made himself known to his brothers.2 And he wept so loudly that the Egyptians heard him, and Pharaoh ’s household heard about it.3 Joseph said to his brothers, “I am Joseph! Is my father still living?” But his brothers were not able to answer him, because they were terrified at his presence. Well...
Source: Stayin' Alive - March 3, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Art of the Schlemiel
Simon Tisdale in The Guardian runs down the Hanoi summit in which the U.S. president slobbered all over the most ruthless mass murdering dictator currently on the planet and shat his pants in the process. That he is an incompetent fool is not news, but we did get confirmation that he has surrounded himself with sycophants and dilettantes and there is no longer anyone to rescue him from his idiocy.Kim Jong Un stood to benefit from a summit with no tangible outcome by getting propaganda photos of himself hobnobbing with the U.S. president and footage of said president praising his leadership and character. Yep, the same guy ...
Source: Stayin' Alive - February 28, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

We take requests
For some reason I don't really understand, a commenter think I should discuss plea bargaining. I'm not a lawyer nor an expert on the legal system, so I'lloutsource this to Dylan Walsh.In a pistachio shell, the criminal justice system is totally dependent on plea bargaining, it would collapse under the weight of trials. Plea bargaining aids investigations by allowing prosecutors to squeeze lower-level offenders to provide information about bigger fish, which is okay so long as the information they give is honest. We would hope that prosecutors will take pains to get corroboration but they probably encourage dubious testimon...
Source: Stayin' Alive - February 26, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs

Sunday Sermonette: Going round and round in circles
As I have said a few times during this long and tedious story, Joseph's motives for manipulating his brothers as he does are really mysterious. Yeah, okay, he wants to torture them for revenge, but of course Benjamin is innocent of the crime, as is Jacob, and they seem to be getting the worst of it. Furthermore, as we will discover in the next chapter, he isn't actually mad at them at all. So the point of all this eludes me. Anyway, here's chapter 44. Now Joseph gave these instructions to the steward of his house: “Fill the men’s sacks with as much food as they can carry, and put each man’s silver in...
Source: Stayin' Alive - February 24, 2019 Category: American Health Source Type: blogs