"Pilate saith unto him, What is truth? And when he had said this, he went out again..."

Location: Tampa, FL, United States

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Flu Vaccine Myths Ramping Up

With winter approaching flu vaccine myths will be rampant in the media. Mary Shedden used two standard myths in her article today appearing in the 4You section of the Tampa Tribune today. She wrote, with respect to last year's flu season, "about 12,000 Americans died of complications related to the H1N1 flu strain;" The chief medical officer for England
wrote that 2/3 of H1N1-related deaths were in people with sever underlying disease or an incapacitating prior illness. That changes the picture quite a bit. An accurate statement would have been, "about 12,000 Americans died on the heels of being positively tested the H1N1 flu strain; The majority of them had significant concomitant or prior medical issues and it's uncertain what impact the H1N1 infection had in their deaths." This however would be boring reading and not very newsworthy.

Shedden also wrote, with respect to this year's seasonal vaccine, "... early reports show it's keeping flu outbreaks at bay." How does she know? Who knows how much inoculum is in any given geographical region for a given time period. In the people afflicted how much inoculum were they exposed to? What was the condition of the immune systems in the people with the flu? Did they have any other viruses on board? Were they eating a ton of simple carbs? What was their 25-Hydroxyvitamin D level? An accurate report would have read, "early reports show it [flu vaccine] has been received by x # of Americans and flu outbreaks have been light." A true report such as that though is both a chatty way of saying nothing and boring reading. Expect reports to ramp up soon, something along the lines of, "get vaccinated today--don't kill your neighbor's children by not getting vaccinated." Now that's a great story. Harry Potter stuff.

Perhaps Shedden had a gun to her head by her editors. I don't know. You can be certain there won't be any retraction though. Science is mostly a new art form, not science.

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Saturday, December 04, 2010

When is a Penny Not a Penny?

From 1902 to 1958 the US penny contained 95% copper. Today a penny contains 2.5% copper. So the next time you go to the bank ask the teller to cash your check in wheat pennies. Unfortunately, paper currencies are headed for like vaporization. Or, one could make the case inflation has already bankrupted the US dollar. Local farming is headed for a boon in the next few years or decades.

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Michelle Obama and bake sales

It seems public school bake sales are in jeopardy because the federal government wants to keep children healthy. So while the government forces its schools to serve soy protein isolate, aspartame, sucralose, monosodium glutamate, pesticides, hormones and who knows what else, brownies may get banned.

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Wikileaks and Lost Opportunity

The federal government recently missed on a big opportunity with the escapades of the military little guy who was found to have downloaded world government secrets onto a CD labeled as Lady Gaga. Had he been discovered to have snuck it out in his underwear the government could have instituted mandatory enhanced pat downs and x-rays at all music stores... to keep us safe.

"It looks like an Eminem CD but it could be transcripts from the White House war room. Now drop your drawers."
"Here, in the mall?"
"Your pants are still on?"

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