White Coat Underground

Archives for April, 2009

Influenza—virus, not magic

With all the news abuzz about swine flu, it’s important to remember a few things. Influenza can be very, very dangerous, but it’s still just a virus, and one that we know quite well. There have been a number of flu pandemics in the last century, the most famous (and most deadly) being the “Spanish…

Swine flu—don’t panic

So far, it looks like the US Gov’t is on top of this one. If you’re interested in following along with the story, I strongly suggest following the Effect Measure blog. The writers know their stuff, and so far, government websites aren’t all that much health. Some basics: As you remember, the flu virus changes…

PalCast 10—backyard edition

My latest “on location” PalCast is up and ready for your listening pleasure.

I used to teach at a hospital downtown. While on rounds, I’d often ask my residents and students where they were born, and get answers such as, “Alabama”, “Kerala, India”, “Damascus, Syria”. Inevitably, they’d ask me where I was born, and I’d point to the floor and say, “Right here”. “You mean in Michigan?” “No,”…

The other day, I wrote about the fake health experts at the Huffington Post. Prominent among them is “Dr” Patricia Fitzgerald. Now, we already talked about how writing a health piece in a major media outlet and using the title of “Dr” can be deceptive; the reader is likely to assume you are a medical…

Help out science—poll crash

So, this whole animal rights extremism thing isn’t really my thing—I’m not a researcher, and I think the ARA’s like ALF and PeTA are all fucking nuts. Still, they’re bad, bad nuts, so I have to care. Out in California, they’ve been threatening researchers and committing senseless acts of violence. That’s why you have to…

Torture is torture

I’m no expert on interrogation. From what I’ve read, most of these experts find torture to be a modality with minimal utility, but I’m sure there are those who want to keep it around. My personal opinion is that it is horridly immoral, and rather difficult to justify. The “ticking bomb” scenario is vanishingly rare,…

The fake experts of HuffPo

It’s no secret that I think the Huffington Post is an teeming den execrable pseudoscientific snakes. Still, when it comes to fanning the vaccination manufatroversy, they are really off the deep end. Take the latest piece of dreck on Jenny McCarthy, GoD (Google Doctorate). It’s written by the infamous “Dr.” Patricia Fitzgerald, and this is…

Orac’s money quote of the day

Orac isn’t known for his sound bites. He tends to write pieces which, in the blogosphere, might be considered rather long, and for good reason—he has a lot to say, and he says it well. But sometimes there is a gem of insolence that is so apt, it must be reshared: But what really makes…

Jenny McCarthy not dumb enough for ya?

Yes, that’s right, the Huffington Post, that broadsheet of blarney, that tabloid of medical trumpery has done it. Not content to risk our mental health by lending legitimacy to all kinds of pseudoscientific charlatans, they just let Jim Carrey write a piece on vaccines and autism. Yes, the boyfriend of uber-fukwit Jenny McCarthy has drunk…