Monthly Archives: January 2013

Anti-Vaccination Conspiracies and Darwin

Way back in the early 60’s, I, along with my classmates, had to stand in line for a nurse to jab us several times with a pronged needle.  Almost 20 years later, I stood in another line while an Army medic did the same thing.  Yes, I was vaccinated against smallpox.  Today, of course, most people don’t get this vaccine because the risk isn’t worth it.

There are side effects and risks associated with the smallpox vaccine. In the past, about 1 out of 1,000 people vaccinated for the first time experienced serious, but non-life-threatening, reactions including toxic or allergic reaction at the site of the vaccination (erythema multiforme), spread of the vaccinia virus to other parts of the body, and to other individuals. Potentially life-threatening reactions occurred in 14 to 500 people out of every 1 million people vaccinated for the first time. Based on past experience, it is estimated that 1 or 2 people in 1 million (0.000198%) who receive the vaccine may die as a result, most often the result of postvaccinial encephalitis or severe necrosis in the area of vaccination (called progressive vaccinia).

The reason is that smallpox no longer exists as a disease.   There are two known stocks of it in freezers, but as a health threat, it isn’t.  But at the time, the risk of the disease far outweighed the risk of vaccination.

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Categories: science | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Monday Evening Musing

It’s been cold here in the Adirondacks, and today started another snow accumulation, which right now has dropped 6″ and looks to be headed towards 8-10″ by morning.

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Sometimes It’s A Losing Battle

My work takes me into the woods during a good part of the year. While most people are looking at the views, admiring wildflowers, and trying to see wildlife, I’m constantly scanning the area for enemies. When I’m out on the water, or standing on a stream bank, I’m looking for them as well. Am I a paranoid nut, or suffering from PTSD? No, I’m a biologist, and I’m looking for something else: Invasive species. They’re out there, some are here, and some are coming.

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Categories: Environment | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

Webbing Around The Comics

As I said in my first post here, I used to be a serious comic collector.   While I gave up collecting, and for the most part buying comic books, it doesn’t mean that I gave up an interest in comic art.   One of the little “hints” you may have noticed is my blogroll.  It’s a set of webcomics I read on a regular basis.   Yes, I will eventually get around to adding in the “serious” sites, but those are the “fun” ones.  The ones on the blogroll are just a small selection of my bookmarks, and that leads me into today’s post.

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Welcome to the workforce!

Over the past 30 years, I’ve had numerous opportunities to supervise young people, new to the workforce.  They’ve been interns;  part-timers;  working a summer job; or were just starting out.    Some were dedicated, smart, hard-working, blow-your-socks off good; while some were lazy, incompetent, and stupid.  The rest fell between those extremes, mostly towards the good side. Whatever the specific situation, over that time I’ve developed a set of “things your boss wants you to know” for them.

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Categories: Humor | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Goofing Around On A Weekend

Winter has set in with full force here in the Adirondacks, with subzero temperatures predicted for the next week.

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Categories: Humor | Tags: | 2 Comments

What were you thinking?

I’ve been reading through some recent news stories, and it made me wonder what the hell these people were thinking (or if they did) when they chose their careers.  The first was in a story about hospitals cracking down on workers who don’t get the flu shots.

Cancer nurse Joyce Gingerich is among the skeptics and says her decision to avoid the shot is mostly “a personal thing.” She’s among seven employees at IU Health Goshen Hospital in northern Indiana who were recently fired for refusing flu shots. Gingerich said she gets other vaccinations but thinks it should be a choice. She opposes “the injustice of being forced to put something in my body.”


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Categories: Uncategorized | Tags: , , | 3 Comments

We have no idea of the news!

Back in the mid-80’s my father finally was able to get cable television.    Very quickly he became a fan of C-SPAN, and one program in particular:  The morning news from Moscow.  Back then, C-SPAN used to run time-delayed the morning news show from Russian television.   Since my father was as anti-communist as you could get, often expounding at great length about the domino theory and the evils of the Soviet Union, this was a bit of a shock.   Of course, I had to tease him about it, and he responded.  “No, no, you don’t understand!  It’s really good!  Do you know how much is going on in this world that we don’t know about?”

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It’s the economics

In the middle of this past fall, I was out with a group of fellow supervisors doing “general maintenance.”  As we were headed to one point, the topic of conversation was what weather we might expect this winter.  I said “If we have a good snow, this place will be busy. ”  When one of the others asked what I meant, I pointed out that if we went another few miles down the road we were on, we’d be at the entrance to one of the major wilderness snowmobile trails.   He said “You know, I really hate snowmobiles.  They’re noisy, polluting, and I wish they weren’t allowed up here.”   I replied “Yes, but you have to understand something.  They also drop a hell of a lot of money on the local economy.”

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Categories: Adirondacks | Tags: , | Leave a comment

Technology Qualms

Early last year, I left a site I’d been a member of for almost 6 years – Digg. Why? Well, because they changed their user system. Instead of having a Digg account, you had to use your Facebook account to log in. They’ve since changed this to allow you to use your Twitter or Google Plus accounts as well. The problem? Quite simply, I don’t have a Facebook or Google Plus account, and have absolutely no plans to get one. I do have a Twitter account, so I could return, but that first announcement was the “last straw.” But it points out something that’s becoming an increasing problem: The assumption that everyone has a Facebook account.

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Categories: Technology | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

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