Tuesday, August 30, 2016

To Vaccinate or Not to Vaccinate?? Not Really a Question

The American Academy of Pediatrics released a report yesterday discussing doctors, parents, and vaccinations.  If you read through the summary, you'll find a few relevant facts:

  • 11.7% of pediatricians today refuse to have non-vaccinated children as patients. 
  • More parents hesitate or refuse to vaccinate because of not thinking the vaccines are needed or because they don't want their child to be discomforted. i.e. The misconception of vaccines causing autism is going away.
  • 87% of pediatricians encounter parents who either hesitate or refuse vaccines.
While I am more than happy that the myth about vaccines and autism is disappearing, I have to wonder about parents who believe that vaccines aren't necessary.  Let's do a reality check.  The only disease we've eradicated from the general population is smallpox (which we don't vaccinate for anymore).  Otherwise, the other diseases we vaccinate for are still alive, well, and active in different parts of the world.

The irony of this situation is because of vaccines people don't realize how necessary they are.  If we hadn't virtually eliminated polio, tuberculosis( Tb), mumps, measles, rubella, etc... from the U.S., then we would have grown up knowing someone who became paralyzed from polio, lost a lung to Tb, or simply died from one of these nasty diseases.

I don't think these people fully understand that we keep polio, Tb, mumps,... away from the U.S. through herd immunity.  When someone from another country visits or when an American visits another country where these diseases still exist, the disease can't get a foothold here because so many people have immunity through vaccinations.  But herd immunity only works if enough people are vaccinated.

By refusing vaccines for their children, these parents are putting all children at risk.

So if you know someone who doesn't want to vaccinate their kids, please discuss the ramifications with them.   We don't need anymore children living in iron lungs, wheelchairs, or graves.

You Know You Live in a Rough Neighborhood when...

Friday, August 26, 2016

Freaky Friday News: August 26, 2016

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
- The Life of Reason (1905), George Santayana 

France Gets a Clue

Yesterday I wrote a brilliant article on France and the banning of the burkini in terms of how this legislation parallels various points in history where government tried to control religion.  Sadly, this almost always leads to violence of some flavor.

So imagine my surprise when I read the headlines this morning:
France Suspends Burkini Ban
  I supposed that after all the brouhaha with the police asking the lady at the beach to remove her burkini top, the French government (or at least the court system) decided that trying to ban clothing based on religion actually steps on personal liberties.

Go France!

Maybe we can learn from the past.

Sony Offers New Online Service

Sony, maker of the Playstation line of consoles, recently began a service called Playstation Now, which allows anyone with a Windows PC to play Playstation 3 games online.  The list of over 400 games includes ones that previously were exclusive to the Playstation.

I see this move as strategic on Sony's part.  In a time when more and more people are dropping their cable or satellite subscriptions to only view TV through the Internet, it makes sense for a gaming company who previously relied on specific hardware to move to an online platform.  The only problem might come from the price tag.  At $19.99 for a month or $44.00 for three months, the service costs more than Netflix, HuluPlus, Amazon, or Gamefly.

Heroes of the Week:  Tom Hiddleston and Chris Hemsworth

These two actors took a break from filming the next Thor movie to visit a children's hospital in Brisbane, Australia.

Thursday, August 25, 2016

It's So Hot Outside....

The ice cream trucks are melting!!!

The Importance of Being Earnest (when voting)

I have purposefully avoided talking about the election this year because in my honest opinion there is too much media coverage, too much speculation, too much gibberish, and not enough useful debates.  But I've noticed something happening that needs attention.

While I enjoy a good joke, especially political jokes that don't target a specific person, I think that it can go too far.  I saw a petition trying to add Cthulhu to the presidential ballot (because why vote for the lesser evil when you can vote for the greater evil?). There is also a great meme going about the Internet:

These jokes act as a vent for people wanting more palatable choices for president.  It feels nice to laugh along with others; I laugh too.   

But when November rolls around, I ask that you vote in earnest.  I know it's tempting to do a write in vote for Bugs Bunny, Stewie  or Peter Griffin from Family Guy, Elvis Presley,... in order to send a message to the establishment that you don't like what's going on.  Just like it's tempting to vote for one of the few minor political parties for the same reason.  

But I ask you - is it worth it to risk a Trump presidency?

More than one British person stated after the Brexit vote that he or she voted "yes" to send a message and not because of a desire to leave the E.U.  Look how that turned out.

Just please think about who you are voting for this year, and remember that each vote does count.  

Thank you.

Friday, August 19, 2016

Yes Virginia, There is a Sant... I mean, Global Warming

Global warming - two words that can ignite a social firestorm today the way that "interracial marriage" did in the 1970s.  Ironic, because global warming is also causing literal firestorms in California at the moment.  Now some people would say that my second sentence isn't correct, because California has fires every year.  Seriously, Katfrog, why blame climate change for this year's fires?

First, the current Blue Cut fire burst in on Tuesday, burning too fast and too hot for the firefighting operations to keep up for two days.  So far this fire has burned over 30,000 acres and as of now it's only 25 % or so contained.  This is only one out of the 3,874 wildfires that have burned California in 2016.  Second,  the traditional Southern California brush fire season doesn't start until the hot Santa Ana winds arrive this fall.

But, I digress.  Effects of global warming have, are, and will continue to devastate different parts of the world.  In the U.S. alone, Texas went from a drought so severe the lack of groundwater caused sinkholes to form, to flooding so severe people died.  California is in the fifth year of a nasty drought (another factor contributing to the wildfire situation). Extreme winters, extreme droughts, extreme summer temperatures, and extreme rain hit over and over again.

Which brings me to the latest news on the global warming front - July 2016 is now the hottest month in recorded history.  That's right, people began to record temperatures in the 1880s, no month has been hotter that this past month.

But Katfrog, you say, some month has to be the hottest month.  This doesn't mean that global warming is to blame.

Granted, yes, there has to be a highest temperature just as there has to be a lowest temperature.  But 2014 was the hottest year on record, with that record broken in 2015.  Now it looks like 2016 will be the hottest year on record.  This is what you call a trend.  Yes, it's an exceedingly short trend, but as we only have data back to the 1880s, it's long enough.

So what can I do about it, Katfrog?  Seriously, I'm just one person.

Well, one person can make a difference.  The first thing you can do is to call your Congress critter and tell  him or her to start addressing the problem of global warming.  Then comes the tricky part.  You have to keep calling your Congress critter, every week would be best but every month or two works just as well.  Keep asking what is being done to stop global warming.  If enough people do this, something will be done.

We just can't give up.

Freaky Friday News: Unicorn Licenses

Los Angeles County Gives a Young Resident a Unicorn License Last month, a resident of Los Angeles county, Miss Madeline, sent a handwritte...