Code for life

A course for all degrees: PHIL 105, Critical Thinking

Grant Jacobs Feb 18, 2010

Some argue that all students should take courses in basic logic. At Otago University any student, from any degree course, can take 'Critical Thinking'. If it's a good course,1 as I suspect it is, they should. [caption id="attachment_1406" align="alignright" width="300" caption="Plato and Aristotle (Source: wikipedia)"][/caption] In an earlier advisory essay I wrote that one … Read More

Another Wakefield paper pulled?

Grant Jacobs Feb 13, 2010

In recent news the Lancet article by Andrew Wakefield that, in part, lay behind the MMR vaccination scare in the UK and elsewhere was retracted subsequent to a ruling by the UK General Medical Council’s Fitness to Practise Panel. (‘In part’ because mainstream media reportage and Wakefield's statements to the media and public also played a role–arguably the larger … Read More

Preconceptual science, the dismissal-ness of it all

Grant Jacobs Feb 12, 2010

All this talk about homeopathy and other “non-science” keeps reminding me of the wonderful short series on “preconceptual science” from the Non-sequitur comic strip. I’ll lead you with the one frame of each strip, with a link to the full cartoon they are from in the accompanying text. Have fun! Danae Pyle says she want … Read More

Positive encouragement for vaccination

Grant Jacobs Feb 11, 2010

Some people feel that government health department messages to encourage vaccination can be too heavy-handed or negative for some people’s tastes. In a recent post I discussed rubella infection and it’s impact in early pregnancy. The illustrations for that article feature a New York State program to encourage children to be vaccinated against rubella. While old-fashioned … Read More

Special edition of Biochemist E-volution: Science and the Media on-line free

Grant Jacobs Feb 11, 2010

The latest edition of Biochemist E-volution hosts a special issue on science and the media with scientists' and science communicators' thoughts about science and the media. [caption id="attachment_1345" align="alignright" width="350" caption="Public chemistry lecture at the Surrey Institute, early 1800s (Source: wikipedia; artists: Thomas Rowlandson and Augustus Charles Pugin)"][/caption] Alerted via twitter by the ever-busy Bora Zivkovic, and … Read More

Rubella, not a benign disease if experienced during early pregnancy

Grant Jacobs Feb 10, 2010

The MMR vaccine is targeted at measles, mumps and rubella. The latter, rubella, is a cause of abortions and developmental defects in children of mothers who are infected with the virus during the first twenty weeks of pregnancy. [caption id="attachment_1341" align="alignright" width="300"] Cataracts in a CRS infant (Source: wikipedia.)[/caption] It is sometimes useful to look at … Read More