Effect Measure

Fifth blogiversary

We just realized that today is our fifth blogiversary. Young if you are a human, prime of life if you are a dog, but Methuselah if you are a blog. We’ve not gone dark for a single day in those five years, although on many we’ve thought about turning off the lights permanently. But we’re still here, the day before Thanksgiving. That’s not a coincidence.

In 2004 Thanksgiving fell on November 25. One of the original reveres (the one tapping these keys, in fact) was making a nuisance of himself in the kitchen as Mrs. R. was trying to prepare one of her virtuouso Thanksgiving dinners. She shooed me out. I retired to my study with my books, my computer and my internet connection. This was just after the tumultuous (and nationally catastrophic) presidential election campaign and I had been compulsively reading political blogs like DailyKos, Eschaton and MyDD (all three of which still exist and are flourishing). As I sat in front of my computer I idly wondered what it would be like to have a blog about public health. At the time the only recognizably public health blog was Jordan Barab’s superb occupational health and safety blog, Confined Space. It was on a platform called blogger, so I went over there and found starting a blog took about 30 seconds. I djinned up a post called The Surgeon General as Appetite Suppressant. The next day I wrote another post because I’d written one the day before. The day after that another, pretty much for the same reason. After a week I changed the original name of the blog from The Confidence Interval to Effect Measure. Don’t ask me why. Another whim. Then more posts, usually two a day. Along the way revere became the reveres and after 18 months we were invited to join the select group at scienceblogs.com. We’ve been here ever since, although about a year ago dropped back to posting just once a day.

We’ve now written about 3300 posts. Five years is a long time to blog every day. We got into the pandemic flu business because we thought it was a lens through which to look at public health. Little did we know. We’re not sure how much longer we’ll want to or need to do it. But no flu season in our lifetime — and we lived through both the pandemics of 1957 and 1968, the latter as a doctor — has been as interesting as this one. We hope it doesn’t kill us or anyone close to us, but with flu anything is possible.

Even blogging some more.


  1. #1 Blake Stacey
    November 25, 2009

    Congratulations on your semidecennial!

  2. #2 Coturnix
    November 25, 2009

    w00t! Happy blogivesrary!

  3. #3 Toni Trilla
    November 25, 2009

    Muchas felicidades!
    It’s a pleasure and a privilege for us to follow your blog from the other side of the Atlantic, well in the south of Europe, on the Mediterranean shore. Thanks for giving us a good dose of common sense day after day.

  4. #4 BostonERDoc
    November 25, 2009

    A remarkable milestone indeed. Congratulations doctors and muchos gracias. You have helped put public health on the world center stage. I have learned so much from you guys and it has improved my patient care.

  5. #5 Jody Lanard M.D.
    November 25, 2009

    Your blog is invaluable, your writing style is engaging and clear, and your will is — apparently — indomitable.

    I learn, and re-learn, so much from your posts. You always inform my thinking, you often challenge it, and you sometimes change it. And it’s intense and fun along the way.

    I hope you continue, I hope you do not burn out, and I hope you find the Golden Mean that will allow you to do that. I can tell that your Super Ego doesn’t cut you much slack, but I wish he would — remember, a la flu pandemics and reforming public health: It’s a marathon, not a sprint.

    Congratulations, and thank you.

  6. #6 Pat Pitsel
    November 25, 2009

    Congratulations – and cheers for you. I’ve enjoyed reading the blog daily – and can tell you it is one of the saner pandemic sites that exists in bloggerland.

  7. #7 DemFromCT
    November 25, 2009

    Blogging’s like coffee. it’s just a tool, and you can give it up any time.

    But not just now.


  8. #8 Paula
    November 25, 2009

    I only discovered your blog a couple of months ago and it was a bolt of fresh air and a breath of sanity. Congratulations on its fifth anniversary and we shall forward to its tenth!

  9. #9 Dylan
    November 25, 2009

    Sincerest, profoundest congratulations on your achievement, Revere (I congratulate you on not being a complete slacker). Now, get back to work, if you don’t mind; there are still Republicans out there (everywhere, in fact) who are just as astonishingly stupid, and grotesquely inhuman as they have ever been…just what are you doing about that, I might ask; and don’t forget the utterly intellectually disenfranchised, hopelessly deluded, indignantly self-righteous, intolerant religious whackjobs, either, just look at the damage those assholes are doing to the gene pool; and what, exactly, are you doing about all of this? You can’t expect PZ Myers to do all of the heavy lifting, here…can you?)!

  10. #10 Mary
    November 25, 2009

    Wicked cool. Congrats to the Reveahs. From a fan on the route of Paul Reveah’s ride.

    This really is an important reference point for the battles many of us see and engage elsewhere–on the web or IRL. Thanks for doing this. It matters.

  11. #11 Mike Coston
    November 26, 2009

    Happy Blogiversary!

    Most of what I know about the science of influenza I learned from you guys. If you ever stop writing, I’ll have to start making stuff up.

    We can’t have that, now can we?

    Congrats on your first five years!

  12. #12 anne66
    November 26, 2009

    Happy Blogiversary from France :-).
    It’s a privilege to read you.

  13. #13 JJackson
    November 26, 2009

    Like Mike much the flu science I know (or more accurately think I know) has been gleaned here. More importantly the posts and comments have helped refine my ideas and crystallise woolly thinking. As I type the ‘index by category’ bar on the left disappears off screen top and bottom reminding us of the breath of subject matter covered and it is this wide angle lens, in tandem with the microscope, that makes the canon more than the sum of its parts. Congrats, happy thanks giving (are non Americans allowed to say that?), and follow the Soviet example – every five year plan out performs the last.

  14. #14 Chen Qi
    November 26, 2009

    Happy Birthday Effect Measure!
    We just realized that today is your fifth blogiversary. Congratulations!

  15. #15 Barbara Frost
    November 26, 2009

    I didn’t know when you started this blog, but from your description it looks like I’ve been coming virtually everyday since very close to the beginning — and always glad I do. I’ve learned much here and enjoy your non-religious musings as well. One of the best things for me about the blogs is finding a community of atheists.

    Congratulations on your fifth anniversary and I for one hope that it lasts for years to come. Thanks for all the entertainment and education.

  16. #16 MoM
    November 26, 2009

    I got started someplace in the middle, but before the jump to SciBlog. I have turned as many of my PH collegues on to the site as would listen. Many of them read it everyday (as do I), and even those on the right find it enlightening, if not amusing.

    Congrats on 5 years and please keep at it.


  17. #17 Don in VA
    November 26, 2009

    Thanks Mrs. Revere! Keep shooing him away from the kitchen please!

  18. Congratulations from Ecuador!!!
    I aspire to do something similar… Gradually… Focused on my own corner of the world.

  19. #19 Bonnie Dineen
    November 27, 2009

    Congratulations! Five years of essential reading has flown by in this wonderful community gathered ’round you trusted Doctors, Teachers and Human Beings. Thank you, Reveres. Check the Verb transitive.
    re·vere [ri véer]
    (past re·vered, past participle re·vered, present participle re·ver·ing, 3rd person present singular re·veres)
    treat somebody with admiring respect: to regard somebody with admiration and deep respect

    [Mid-17th century. Via French révérer from Latin revereri , from vereri “to be in awe of.”]
    Encarta ® World English Dictionary © & (P) 1998-2004 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

  20. #20 Ana
    November 27, 2009

    Many happy returns of the day!

    (hopefully, for your readers.)

    Thanks for all the work.

  21. #21 Snowy Owl
    November 27, 2009

    Revere, Hat Tip to you and the other Reveres.

    You said;

    ”We’ve not gone dark for a single day in those five years, although on many we’ve thought about turning off the lights permanently…

    IMHO, this is the True Nature of an Humanitarian, you indeed have the Hearth at the right place.

    Please keep the Light on and a Heartfelt thanks for your inestimable contributions.

    Snowy Owl

  22. #22 SMehta
    November 27, 2009

    Congrats! Keep up the good work!

  23. #23 Martin Dirksen-Fischer
    November 29, 2009

    Congratulation from Hamburg, Germany! Weiter so!

  24. #24 Liz
    November 30, 2009

    Congratulations! You’re an inspiration.

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