- Another Counterintuitive Math Problem [EvolutionBlog]
- Cosmic Bombardment of the Earth ca 2.2 Million Years Ago? [Greg Laden's Blog]
- How to find your very own supernova [Starts With A Bang]
- Top 10 New Species of 2012 [Life Lines]
- Study: Sending nonviolent drug offenders to treatment instead of prison saves money [The Pump Handle]
- AstrobiologyFuture.org: Forum Apertum Sit [Dynamics of Cats]
- Beyond 400 PPM [Page 3.14]
- The Need for Health and Biomedical Science Education Programs Aimed at Grades K–12 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH) [Greg Laden's Blog]
- Quote antivaccinationist Hilary Butler: Non-vaccinators are the “new Jews” [Respectful Insolence]
- Friday Cephalopod: Super-powers! [Pharyngula]
A while back I did a post about counterintuitive math problems. However, I deliberately held one back, since I was using it as my Problem of the Week for that week. So here it is:
Suppose a steel beam, one mile long, is fastened securely to the ground at each end. As the day heats up, the metal expands. Let us assume that at the hottest part of the day, the metal is actually one mile and one foot long. Let us further assume that the beam is fastened in such a way that it can only buckle upward, and not side to side. Your problem is to estimate how high the beam will rise above the ground. Would you be able to slip a playing card under it? A pencil? Would you be able to crawl under it? Walk under it? Could an elephant (roughly 13 ft tall) walk under it? How about a person standing on the back of an elephant? That sort of thing. Be sure to justify your answer!Keep in mind I'm only asking for an approximation here, so feel free to help yourself to whatever (reasonable) simplifying assumptions you want. Or you can just follow the link above. This one was Problem Nine.
There are bacteria that use Iron (and other elements) to make tiny magnets that they carry around so they don't get lost. (I anthropomorphize slightly.) There are isotopes of Iron that are not of the Earth, but are found only elsewhere in the universe. Suppose an event happened elsewhere and spewed some of that cosmic Iron isotope, say Fe-60, onto the earth, and the bacteria who were busy making their tiny compasses at that time used some of it. Then the bacteria died and were trapped inlayers in seafloor sediment and later examined by scientists looking for … well, looking for evidence of cosmic events trapped in bacterial compasses! Well, that happened. A bit of sea floor was found to have Iron-60 in it a few years back. Iron-60 is radioactive and decays into Cobalt-60, with a known (but only recently known as it turns out) decay rate. That bit of rock was taken as possible evidence of an ancient supernova. The event was tied, conjecturally, to human evolution as all things must be whenever even remotely possible:
Cosmic fallout from an exploding star dusted the Earth about 2.8 million years ago, and may have triggered a change in climate that affected the course of human evolution. The evidence comes from an unusual form of iron that was blasted through space by a supernova before eventually settling into the rocky crust beneath the Pacific Ocean. … The team has now analysed a … piece of ocean crust, where the supernova detritus is concentrated into a clear band of rock that can be accurately dated. The researchers found small but significant amounts of an isotope called iron-60 in the rock, which could only have come from a supernova. "We've looked at all the possibilities and we can't find anything else that could produce such quantities," Korschinek says.The human evolution impact idea comes from a possible cooling effect the exploding star would have had on the earth. Back in 2004 it was estimated that the earth would have been bathed in extra cosmic rays for about 100,000 years which would have, it was said, created condensation in the atmosphere which would have cooled the earth. There was a cooling event around that time (but quite possibly well after this date, so don't hang any hats on this) so I suppose this could be. But, I'm not going to assume that the cooling effects of cosmic rays are a thing at this point. I do know that people have gotten the effects of upper level vapor wrong a few times so I'm going to avoid making any assumptions about that here. Anyway, last April, a paper was given at the American Physical Society conference giving preliminary findings related to some follow up research. Shawn Bishop and his team obtained a core from the Pacific dating to between 1.7 and 3. 3 million years ago. They sampled it at 100K intervals and extracted and separated out Iron in a way that would show Iron-60 if there was any. And …
“It looks like there’s something there,” Bishop told reporters at the Denver meeting. The levels of iron-60 are minuscule, but the only place they seem to appear is in layers dated to around 2.2 million years ago.And, the iron was concentrated in the target layers by the action of compass-using bacteria. Notice the change in date from 2.8 to 2.2. This is, I think, because the half life of Iron-60 was refigured based on some intervening research. Now, the date is probably too late for a significant cooling event. But really, there were a whole bunch of cooling events from somewhere over 5 million years ago to about 2 point something million years ago, and there is a long list of candidates for what caused them, including numerous big volcanoes, continental movements, and now, a supernova. I don't think anyone is claiming to know what star exploded. ___________________ Photo Credit for picture of fancy science machine: Gottfried not Bouillon via Compfight cc
"Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can't even express these things properly because I have to - I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid limiting spoken language! But I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws! And feel the wind of a supernova flowing over me!" -_Ronald Moore_Well, you probably don't _actually_ want to feel the wind of a supernova flowing over you; trust me on this. relatively recently in our galaxy -- is a fantastic supernova explosion that destroys the previously existing star! are too strong for even gravity to overcome. This is true for nearly all classes of main-sequence star; our Sun is a run-of-the-mill G-class star. Type II supernova explosion!
Image credit: NASA, ESA, the Hubble Heritage (STScI/AURA)-ESA/Hubble Collaboration, and A. Evans (University of Virginia, Charlottesville/NRAO/Stony Brook University).This region is one of the hotbeds of star-formation. I mean, the whole galaxy is, but the blue reflection nebula tells you that there are some extraordinary hot, blue stars in there, as well as some neutral gas/dust, which reflects the light from those hot, blue stars. The thing is, that image is from _years_ ago. Let me take you inside Adam Block's image, now, and see if you can find anything interesting.
Image credit: Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona (bottom), NASA / ESA / Hubble Heritage Team / A. Evans (top).That has _got_ to be a supernova! It's almost definitely a Type II, based on where it's happening, and even though it's probably a rather uninteresting one now that it's almost certainly on the decline (I believe the image dates from April 11th), if you happen to be a professional out there just twiddling your thumbs with clear skies and no targets of interest, take a spectrum of this and give Adam Block, who's created some of the most spectacular astroimages I've ever seen, his first supernova discovery!
The top 10 new species discovered in 2012 has been announced by the International Institute of Species Exploration at Arizona State University.
Tope 10 new species discovered in 2012. Image from: International Institute for Species Exploration, Arizona State UniversityMy favorites: The adorable tiny frog, _Paedophryne amanuensis_, from New Guinea that is only 7mm (pictured above on a dime). It is currently considered the smallest living vertebrate. Glow-in-the-dark cockroaches, _Lucihormetica luckae_, from Ecuador (top right in composite above). Consider them night lights. Species of glow-in-the-dark roaches are mainly found in areas without light pollution. To read more about these and the other 8 species, visit the website. SOURCE: International Institute for Species Exploration, Arizona State University
by Kim Krisberg When it comes to nonviolent drug offenses, systems that favor treatment over incarceration not only produce better health outcomes, they save money, too. It's yet another example of how investing in public health and prevention yields valuable returns on investment. In a new study published in the June issue of the _American Journal of Public Health _(AJPH), researchers found that California's Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act, which diverts nonviolent drug offenders from the correctional system and into treatment, saved a little more than $2,300 per offender over a 30-month post-conviction period. In fact, researchers estimated more than $97 million in savings for the 42,000 offenders affected during the first year of the law's implementation. And even though the law resulted in spending more on treatment, health care services and community service supervision, bypassing incarceration still yielded overall savings, said study co-author M. Douglas Anglin, founding director of the UCLA Drug Abuse Research Center and associate director of the university's Integrated Substance Abuse Programs. "In the long run, we're still saving money because we're not paying to incarcerate people," Anglin told me. According to a 2009 report from California's Legislative Analyst's Office, incarcerating a single offender costs California approximately $49,000 per year. California's Substance Abuse and Crime Prevention Act was enacted in 2000 as a result of a voter-approved initiative known as Proposition 36. The system change means nonviolent drug offenders who meet the law's criteria can be sentenced to probation with substance use disorder treatment instead of imprisonment or probation without treatment. The law gives offenders up to three chances to re-enter treatment without incarceration regardless of initial violations. Study authors Anglin, Bohdan Nosyk, Adi Jaffe, Darren Urada and Elizabeth Evans wrote that the law became a "statewide policy that changed the course of criminal justice processing" for all the individuals and sectors involved. "The law represented a sea change," Evan told me. "It represented taking a real public health approach to substance abuse offenders in the state." The AJPH study noted that in 2002, national estimates put the societal cost of substance abuse disorders at $180.9 billion, with the largest and fastest-growing contributors being criminal justice activities. In terms of public investments in substance use disorder activities, federal decision-makers in 2011 budgeted $7.6 billion for domestic law enforcement, but only $1.7 billion for prevention programs and $3.9 billion for treatment services. S__tudy authors wrote:
Public policies regarding criminal justice interventions with drug-using offenders have largely been driven by the acknowledged association between drug use and crime. The research literature has consistently reported that (substance use disorders) intensify rates of criminal activity, especially among dependent individuals. The importance of treating offenders with a (substance use disorder) is further illustrated by the fact that both severity of drug use and recidivism rates decline during and after treatment. Consequently, a reduction or cessation of drug use has been targeted as a direct method of reducing drug-related crime and enforcement and as an indirect method of reducing other adverse social consequences associated with drug use.To examine the impact of California's treatment diversion law, the researchers compared two different groups: one that met the law's eligibility criteria in the years before the law was enacted (this was the control group) and another made up of eligible offenders convicted within the first year of the law's implementation. The study found that treatment participation was "substantially" greater among the post-implementation group than among the control group. Researchers also found greater incremental costs savings among black and Hispanic offenders due to related disparities in conviction and incarceration rates. The study concluded that diversion from incarceration to treatment should result in long-term savings. Evans, a project director at UCLA Integrated Substance Abuse Programs, noted that the strength of California's diversion program really stemmed from its collaborative nature and having leadership from both the criminal justice and treatment communities working together. "It was a big step toward acknowledging substance abuse as a health issue," she said. The study's findings also suggest that "policy concerns regarding the welfare and rehabilitation of drug users should be seen as aligned with rather than running counter to the notion of fiscal responsibility and public safety concerns," the authors wrote. The fiscal findings are especially important considering California's current budget shortfalls, Anglin said. He noted that in 2009 state lawmakers eliminated funding for the law, kicking the financial burden down to the county level. "These findings can help policymakers when they're trying to decide if a program like this is worth our taxpayer dollars," Evans said. To access the full study, click here. _Kim Krisberg is a freelance public health writer living in Austin, Texas, and has been writing about public health for more than a decade.___
_Over the next 10 years, what research done on bodies within our Solar System (measurements and theory) will be most important for informing our search for life beyond the Earth?_ This is the current topic posed as the Single Question on the Future of Astrobiology at the ongoing NASA Astrobiology Institute Roadmap online exercise. If you want to opine, The Forum is Open
The threshold of 400 carbon dioxide molecules per million molecules of Earth's atmosphere is an arbitrary but still significant milestone, reflecting a near 50% increase in the concentration of the greenhouse gas since humanity first started burning fossil fuels for industry. Sure, the Earth has experienced hotter chemistry before, but Peter Gleick says it all the in the title of his post: _The Last Time Atmospheric CO2 was at 400 parts per million Humans Didn’t Exist_. The Arctic was also free of ice, and CO2 levels were changing 1000 times slower than they are today. Not that we can't survive and even thrive in the midst of an economy that daily poisons and deadens the Earth, but it will be a much uglier place we have paid for.
Recent reconfiguration of federal funding for STEM education has resulted in important programs at the NIH losing their funding. Below is information on Health and Biomedical Science Education Programs Aimed at Grades K–12 at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). _________________________________ In the proposed FY 2014 budget, President Obama has set a policy that all STEM education funding be consolidated into three institutions, the NSF for graduate and undergraduate training, the Dept. of Education for K-12 STEM and the Smithsonian for informal education. Justification for this policy was improved efficiency and reduction of duplication of efforts, despite the government’s Committee on STEM Education (CoSTEM) Dec. 2011 report, Federal science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (stem) education portfolio, conclusion that “examination of the inventory data indicates very little overlap and no duplication among Federal STEM education investments.” This policy is problematic because it dictates that NIH cease all STEM education programs, which includes the Science Educator Partnership Awards (SEPA) that fund BrainU (that is a specific program that is losing its funding). NASA and NOAA have also been prevented from continuing their STEM education efforts. These agencies have already begun policy implementation as Executive branch employees execute presidential policy. All NIH health education programs will disappear officially Oct. 1, 2013 unless we mobilize Congressional action to reinstate funding for SEPA. A full description of this problem can be found at http://nwabr.wordpress.com/2013/05/01/nih-science-education-programs-at-risk/. This is problematic because a sub-mission of the NIH is to disseminate health information. This policy decision means that NIH will lose the ability to share health science educational materials for K-12 audiences. For scientists like myself who translate health information knowledge directly to teachers and indirectly to their students, this is a major setback. This policy sends the message that my colleagues and I are not supposed to be communicating with you as teachers. Here’s what you need to do to raise your voice in support of SEPA Contact your US Congressional Representatives and Senators. Below is a draft letter being circulated to all SEPA programs and participants, but you may find this letter a good template for making a more generalized show of support even if you are not a SEPA person. It only takes a few minutes to personalize this letter (1- 2 sentences is enough) and paste it into the contact your congress websites (see below). This is especially important for those of you in the south Metro and near SE MN who live in Minnesota’s 2nd District – U.S. Congressman John Kline’s district – as he is chairman of the House Education and Workforce Committee. Our “ask” in these letters is that the funding for NIH health science K-12 education programs (SEPA) be reinstated. We view neuroscience as part of health education since our message has been – and continues to be – that teaching learners about how their brains change through learning will improve their prospects and motivation to learn in all formal education settings AND in life as they move forward. Please go to the websites for your congressional representatives and upload this letter with your personal touches to this campaign to save the NIH Science Education Partnership Award (SEPA) program from which BrainU is funded. ___________________ MORE INFORMATION: Health and biomedical sciences for grades K-12 are critical components of STEM education that help to ensure the nation’s capability to prevent disease and improve health. The proposed 2014 STEM education consolidation plan, however, eliminates K-12 health and biomedical science education from its traditional place in the portfolio of the National Institutes of Health (NIH), and, by default, from the national STEM education agenda. No other federal agency supports programs comparable to those that would be lost. More than 65 NIH-funded, K-12 health and biomedical science education projects currently operate in 40 states. These include “in-person” programs for more than 82,500 K-12 students and 5,750 K-12 teachers each year, and online programs that reach more than 20 million K-12 students and educators annually. NIH-funded exhibitions at some of the nation’s largest museums and science centers reach millions more students, teachers and families. With emphasis on engaging underserved populations, K-12 educational initiatives supported by NIH create thoroughly evaluated, science-rich interactive exhibits, curriculum materials, teacher professional development programs, student and teacher research experiences, and out-of-school learning opportunities. Ongoing NIH-funded K-12 educational programs benefit the nation in the following ways. * Improve preparation for, and access to careers in medicine, healthcare, biotechnology and biomedical research, with a focus on students from under-represented groups. * Address health disparities by increasing access to college and health professions careers for under-served students, who are more likely than their peers to practice in medically underserved areas. * Build public understanding and support of biomedical research and clinical trials through educational programs that emphasize the relationship between NIH discoveries and their translation into positive health outcomes * Encourage and facilitate involvement of biomedical research scientists in K-12 STEM education, and engage the resources of colleges, universities, medical schools and science museums in supporting K-12 STEM education. * Promote health literacy and better decision-making to address preventable health problems among America’s youth, reduce the burdens of chronic illnesses and infectious diseases, and enable consumers to make sense of genetic and other newly available health information. * Increase students’ interest in STEM topics through personally relevant examples from health and biomedicine that are aligned with recommendations of the Next Generation Science Standards. For more than two decades, NIH has invested in the development of human capital and a unique infrastructure that is meeting our nation’s K-12 health and biomedical science education needs. These investments have produced significant, demonstrable outcomes that would not have been possible otherwise. Current K-12 programs sponsored by NIH, including the Office of Science Education, employ rigorous, results-oriented and cost-effective approaches to tackle major national issues, as listed below. Jobs: Healthcare and biomedical science are crucial elements of the economy. The US Department of Commerce estimates that healthcare accounts for $1.75 trillion in revenues and employs more than 14 million people (nine percent of the US workforce). Provider Shortages: The nation faces an acute shortage of healthcare workers in all areas, and the problem is expected to grow. The American Association of Medical Colleges projects that there will be a shortage of more than 90,000 physicians—including 45,000 primary care physicians—by the end of the decade. About 55 million people already lack access to a physician. Wellness and Disease Prevention: According to the Milken Institute, more than half of all Americans suffer from one or more chronic diseases, many of which are preventable. Healthcare spending is projected to reach almost 20% of the US gross domestic product by 2021. Racial and ethnic minorities suffer disproportionately from diseases such as cancer, diabetes and HIV/AIDS, but participate less frequently in programs that could help to reduce disparities. Without K-12 health and biomedical science education initiatives, our nation will be unable to solve many of its most pressing workforce, economic and healthcare problems. ___________________________ Draft Letter May 22, 2013 The Honorable
I write to express my deep concern that the President’s proposed “consolidation” of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education programs will eliminate the health-centered, precollege (K-12) education programs of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). For more than two decades, these programs have been the primary method by which NIH translates its basic and clinical discoveries to millions of children, families and teachers in the US.
As your constituent, I urge you to consider the implications of this change and to support retention of funding for K-12 health-related education within NIH, enabling the Institutes to continue this broad, critically important pathway to health literacy and jobs.
The programs slated for elimination have been a tremendous resource for K-12 students and teachers, especially those in minority and disadvantaged schools, for whom biomedical educational resources are very limited. Equally important, they are unique among all federal programs in enhancing health literacy and are crucial to NIH’s mission of promoting the health of our nation’s citizens. “In-person” programs engage more than 82,500 K-12 students and 5,750 K-12 teachers each year and online programs reach more than 20 million annually. Exhibitions at some of the nation’s largest museums and science centers reach millions more children, teachers and families
None of the agencies delegated to assume responsibility for STEM programs – National Science Foundation, Smithsonian Institution, and Department of Education – have a health education priority. The proposed action will result in the loss of critical, high-impact health-focused programs. Consolidation will greatly reduce the number of students entering health and biomedical research careers, threatening our nation’s overall health and health literacy.
NIH precollege programs enable biomedical researchers, health professionals and educators at universities, colleges, science museums and other organizations to connect with teachers, children and their families across the country. This outreach provides our communities with invaluable learning opportunities related to research, health, and wellness. Biomedical and health sciences are important areas of workforce development for the US economy in the 21st Century. Research demonstrates that NIH K-12 education programs are key to attracting students to these fields, thereby driving a robust biomedical economy and enhancing national health and wellness.
As a participant in the NIH SEPA BrainU program at the University of Minnesota, . Understanding how brains learn and process information is critical health information that learners will use throughout their lives. This message is one from the 80+ programs that will be abruptly ended by the consolidation policy that does not distinguish health literacy from general STEM education.
These essential programs must be retained so that the NIH can meet its unique mission of fostering our nation’s leadership in biomedical discovery and improving the health of its citizens. If this consolidation occurs, these effective programs and expertise will be lost.
Please feel free to contact me about this issue. I would be glad to provide additional insights into how this program has impacted my classroom so we may work together to save these important NIH programs.
I've never been able to figure it out. Antivaccine zealots seem to have an intense love of Nazi analogies and comparing those supporting science-based medicine to Nazis. While from a strictly nasty point of view, I can sort of understand the utility of such analogies to demonize one's opponents. After all, to political extremists of nearly all stripes (excluding actual real neo-Nazis, of course) Adolf Hitler is the gift that keeps on giving. Antiwar activists liked to try to tar George W. Bush with the Hitler appellation, and, now that Barack Obama is in power, right wing Tea Party types have an even greater tendency to try to paint (or to slime) Obama with the very same brush. So, from that perspective, I get it. Hitler and the Nazis are an excellent all-purpose tool to demonize your opponents. Just compare them to Hitler! It's easy! It's also incredibly stupid in most cases. If you don't believe me, just check out the last couple of times that I've seen antivaccinationists comparing their opponents to the Nazis or likening vaccine programs to the Holocaust. Yes, those two examples were really dumb, but I think I just found something even dumber. It's an article by Hilary Butler. (You remember Hilary Butler, don't you? She has a proclivity for vile analogies.) This time around, Ms. Butler pulls out all the stops, asking Are non vaccinators the "new Jews"? Before we get to the "substance" of her article (such as it is), I'll take ignorant historical analogies for $1,000, Alex:
Most adults tread very lightly when criticising the medical profession, particularly when willing parents put their children forward to be used as instruments of the next emotional blackmail campaign. What these same adults don't realise, is that once the clampers are screwed down, and their right to also say "no" has gone, then they too will be lined up, and jabbed without being able to say "no" for themselves either. And when a person is too scared to say "no", to anything, then choice, … and informed consent has disappeared. And if people stand around and do nothing about it, then they will join Germany in the Hall of Historical Shame. For that reason, this letter has been sent to Fairfax Media.Ms. Butler, of course, is just warming up. What's gotten her Hitler thing on are two articles published by the Sydney Morning Herald. The interesting thing about the articles (to me, at least) is that one of the two (an editorial entitled Immunisation levels a cause for concern - and timely debate) is actually more deferential to the "freedom" of parents not to vaccinate than much of what I can imagine being published in the U.S. In Australia, it informs us, unvaccinated children are not banned from schools except during outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases, which means that, unlike the US, there appears to be no school vaccine mandate. What got Ms. Butler all worked up is the effort on the part of the NSW Labor opposition to introduce a bill to "allow childcare centres and kindergartens the option of banning unvaccinated children." In the U.S., such a bill would be completely uncontroversial. In fact, nearly all U.S. states not only allow daycare centers to ban unvaccinated children but many require it. For instance, the state of Michigan requires the following vaccines: DTaP, hepatitis B, Hib, MMR, PCV, and varicella. It does, however, allow philosophical and religious exemptions. So the hilarious thing is that NSW appears to be proposing to do something that is very reasonable and very defensible. It's only a change from what is done now, which appears to be less restrictive than my country. Of course, what Ms. Butler objects to is that the articles are sympathetic to minimizing argues that the measure doesn't go far enough because it only provides the option of banning unvaccinated children, pointing out, again quite sensibly, that because daycare centers depend on fees there is a financial incentive not to refuse non-vaccinating parents. To Ms. Butler, this is the equivalent of…well, I'll let her tell you. I'll start with her attack on the second article (Vaccine fears could lead to 'epidemic') because it's the one that brings out the most hyperbole-filled analogies and provokes Ms. Butler to let her Hitler flag fly high:
Your second article is tantamount to fear mongering worthy of the Gestapo. If you had talked to the STATISTICIANS in Australia’s Ministry of Health, you would know that vaccination rates in Australia in 2010 which were published in March 2013, were the highest they have ever been at 92.3% though I find it highly ironic that while 99% of Australian children are on the national immunisation register, your experts are THREE YEARS BEHIND in the compilation and publication of their data, so I would challenge the figure of 92%. The real rate could well be 94 – 95%.I do so love me some all caps. It's a sign of only the finest crankery. It's also a misunderstanding of what was actually said. The article actually does mention that immunization rates are 92%. That's irrelevant to the point of the article, which is that, while overall vaccination rates are high, there are areas with very low uptake. For instance, it's pointed out that some areas of New South Wales have "lower vaccination rates that Rwanda." The point, of course, is that such pockets of low vaccine uptake are ripe for outbreaks because herd immunity is degraded. but, hey, what's a little fact or two between antivaccine cranks, particularly when they can really get the Hitler juices flowing:
There is a cynical hypocrisy surrounding the medical professions' silence regarding your published inaccuracies on the Australian vaccination rates. Perhaps you need to consider that, like the Germans before the second world war, Fairfax media COULD BE being used by the medical profession, to mindlessly yell "Heil Hitler" - as in the media campaign orchestrated by Dr Michael Wooldridge in 1997.The first article, as I pointed out, was actually highly deferential in tone to parental rights but ultimately concluded that the proposal to allow childcare centers and kindergartens to ban unvaccinated children didn't go far enough. In fact, Ms. Butler goes beyond just attacking the Herald, generalizing government statements supporting measures to increase vaccine uptake and expressing alarm at low vaccine uptake and likening them to…well, I have to let Ms. Butler tell it again. I just can't capture the combination of spittle-flecked ranting and _argumentum ad Nazium_ with a description:
Are you innocently painting non-vaccinating parents the "new Jews" as a result of the medical profession's complicit silence?And:
Will the next edict from the medical profession be that you publish a demand, whereby parents must sew a yellow star onto unvaccinated children, as well? You remember where the yellow star led, don't you? Isn't it interesting that the current mob attack on the unvaccinated is very like the sentiment which lead to the anti-Jew pogroms? It's ironic that "history" runs the risk of repeating itself….Yes, in Ms. Butler's fevered imagination, the Australian health authorities are Nazis who just can't wait to force unvaccinated children to wear the yellow star that Hitler forced Jews to wear. Of course, Ms. Butler knows as well as the editors to whom she writes and anyone who reads her letter know what ultimately happened to the Jews in Hitler's Germany. The yellow star was a step along the way from marginalization to separation from society to elimination in the Holocaust. It was a direct step on the road to the death camps and gas chambers. Does Ms. Butler really think that the Australian government is planning on sending unvaccinated children to the gas chambers and then to the ovens, the way that Hitler sent the Jews to death camps? Probably not. Playing the Hitler card is just a suitably shocking tactic to use to demonize the government health authorities who want to increase vaccination rates in areas where they are low. If we're going to play the Nazi card, though, it's highly tempting of me to do so with the "autism biomed" movement. After all, what were the Nazis known for besides the Holocaust? Horrific unethical human experimentation (including with children), for one thing. Who in the autism biomed movement is known for unethical human experimentation with children? Why Mark and David Geier, two former "icons" of the autism biomed movement who've fallen on tough times. They first came to my attention several years ago for their rather "original" idea that chemical castration with Lupron would be a good treatment for autism, to help chelation therapy work better. They're also known for running unethical clinical trials approved and overseen by an IRB stacked with their cronies. Indeed, the entire autism biomed movement is little more than unethical experimentation on children using quackery. See how easy it is to play the Hitler card? I can do it too if I want to. Of course, I only did it this time to make a point, not because I really believe it (unlike, apparently Ms. Butler). I'm also in a benevolent mood because I'm very happy to have learned that Mark Geier has lost his medical license in the last state in which he had one, Hawaii. That's right. He's now lost his medical license in all 12 states in which he had a license. Not that that has stopped the quackfest known as Autism One from featuring Mark and David Geier as speakers this Saturday, with a talk that looks like a barely warmed over rehash of their same ol' same ol'. I wonder if they'll mention Dr. Geier's most recent loss of medical license. Now he and Andy Wakefield have something to talk about. In fact, Mark Geier has gone Andy Wakefield 11 better in that he's had 12 medical licenses stripped away, and Wakefield's only been struck off once. In the end, it never ceases to amaze me how little self-awareness antivaccine cranks like Ms. Butler are. It's easy to shout "Nazi!" at your enemies. It's hard, apparently, to see that it's pure nonsens to do so. Still, Ms. Butler has a lot in common with our homegrown antivaccinationists. She'd be right at home at Autism One.