Effect Measure

Archives for December, 2009

Afghanistan: perspective

Last day of 2009, another year of war. A good time to step back and try for perspective. We’ll let a young Nanci Griffith do it for us with this wonderful song by Julie Gold: Happy New Year to all our readers, whether near or from a distance. The Reveres, New Year’s Eve, 2009

What’s next? We fly nude?

Given the usual response to terrorist threats on airplanes, we expect the latest move to protect us will be to require us to travel nude. OK. Probably not. Republicans are too skittish about public nakedness. They prefer it in the privacy of their mistresses’ beds. What we will see, instead, is yet another attempt at…

Afghanistan: conscientious objection

When the US still had “mandatory” conscription for males it was still possible to claim exemption on the basis of a conscientious objection to war. While this usually required a religious basis and was almost impossible for doctors because of a supposed non-combattant role, we were still given full C.O. status as a doctor without…

Bats and fungus

The caves in the Dordogne department in southwest France are most famous for paleolithic cave paintings at Lascaux (the Dordogne is also famous for the being the home of microdot, whose blog The Brain Police is one of my daily reads). Now it has yet another claim to fame: the discovery of the first bat…

Afghanistan: thumb on the scale

Some needs to edit this to add faces from the Obama administration to those from the Bush administration. Because lives are still in the balance and Obama has his thumb on the scale. Jackson Browne:

Crashworthiness and whiplash

When I recently got rid of my 15 year old car for one that is only 2 years old, I was amazed and impressed at the number of genuine safety features, many of them hidden or not obvious. Cars are simply much safer now than they were, even a decade ago, not to mention when…

Afghanistan: one bullet

War can take and spoil lives in many ways. The killing doesn’t stop when the war is over or a combat role is ended. This year again has seen record suicide rates for the US military, but one can assume the same is true for those fighting on the other side and for the millions…

Swine flu: (unfinished) story of the year

It’s the end of the calendar year and the traditional time the media looks back on “the biggest stories of the year.” There are websites about almost any subject (even one on a particular model of running shoe, I am told), but those of us who write specialized blogs (as opposed to ones about politics…

Afghanistan: a war lost before it even began

Nina Serbedzija is the actress daughter of Croatian Serb actor-musician Rade Serbedzija. She wrote and sings this poignant song. If any part of the world knows about cruel and pointless wars, it’s the Balkans:

Ducks and the shape of things to come

The natural home for influenza viruses is aquatic waterfowl, including ducks and geese (anseriformes). So I’ve read a fair amount about swabbing the claocae (rectums) of these animals as part of avian influenza surveillance. Recently it has been suggested that avian influenza is actually a sexually transmitted disease, so the question of anseriform sex is…