White Coat Underground

Sanity vs Insanity: cage match at HuffPo

I love Icelandic names. Just reading them makes me think of Vikings and valkyries. One name that I can’t get out of my head right now is “Iris Erlingsdottir”. She’s an Icelandic journalist who put up a pro-vaccine piece on Huffington Post. Not only is the piece pro-vaccine, but it is quite critical of her fellow HuffPo blogger “Dr.” Jenny McCarthy, the actress who, after having a child and doing a lot of googling, decided that vaccines are evil. She is so convinced of the danger of vaccine that she explicitly wishes our children to suffer from vaccine-preventable diseases to try to prove her point.

I’m not sure if Jenny is a liar, or just so damned stupid that she’ll parrot everyone else’s lies. But Ms Erlingsdottir doesn’t seem to be too concerned with Jenny’s lies, but the truth about vaccine-preventable illnesses. Given HuffPo’s history, I’d imagine She’ll get some pretty unpleasant responses. It couldn’t hurt to go over there and give her some support.

Comments

  1. #1 Birger Johansson
    March 27, 2010

    I suggest they settle their differences by the old Norse practice of “holmgång” -you draw a small circle in the ground, none of the combatants are allowed to back out of it and they go at each other with swords until just
    one is left alive.
    Or you try a swimming contest, old-style. The contestants swim out in the ocean and turn back. The one who swam furthest is the winner. At some of those old Icelandic swimming contests, no one came back alive.

    OK, I will go to the HuffPo instead, but my alternative is much cooler….

  2. #2 the Blind Watchmaker
    March 27, 2010

    Just how “hot” is “Iris Erlingsdottir”. Ah-mean, did she pose for Icelandic Playboy and eat Icelandic boogers on Iceland MTV? Not sure she’s up to competen’ with Jenny.

  3. #3 TheDissenter
    March 28, 2010

    Yes more blind worship at the foot of the vaccine altar regardless of the facts. Its turned into a religious war, yet neither side can see it, just like the Protestants and Catholics, or Jews and Arabs. Let’s take a quick look at the article in question without the unquestioning adoration shall we?

    “The agony caused by mumps, measles, polio and other diseases that science had, until recently, largely succeeded in eradicating with vaccines is unimaginable only because we haven’t had to know these diseases existed. ”

    I can hardly wait to see the scientific proof of this assertion. Where is it? Of course, the stock photo of “poor lame child with disease” is always there for subconscious effect. She seems to have lots of links in her article so I know she knows how to make them. Where’s the link showing scientific proof of this assertion?

    “Measles have now become endemic in the UK as a result of the decline in vaccine coverage, 14 years after the disease had practically vanished. In Dublin in 1999, the year after Andrew Wakefield’s “trial-lawyer funded, an incompetent, and quite likely scientifically fraudulent 1998 Lancet paper,” more than 100 children were hospitalized with measles. Three of them died.”

    Scientific proof that measles have become endemic in the UK because of the decline in vaccine coverage? I guess it just couldn’t be for any other reason could it, no? Perhaps the vaccines gave measles to the kids or they suffered an adverse reaction to the vaccine or some ingredient? No couldn’t be. Notice she doesn’t mention the cause of death.

    And a whole 3 children died? I guess she thinks that because 3 children with measles died of “something” that that is reason enough to force every child on the planet to take an untested vaccine???

    This paragraph is really good:

    “In 2008, five Minnesota children became ill after an outbreak of the bacterial infection H. influenza type b (Hib, Haemophilus influenzae type b, a bacterium that causes meningitis and other serious diseases. Hib vaccine became available in 1990; before that Hib infections resulted in about a thousand deaths every year) three of these — including one who died — were infants whose parents had refused to vaccinate them.”

    Notice she doesn’t say what the five children were ill with, hoping the reader will assume its Haemophilus influenzae type b. 3 of the 5 children’s parents refused to vaccinate so I can only assume the other 2 did and those kids still got sick. Doesn’t this prove the ineffectiveness of the vaccine? It didn’t protect 40% of the kids that were sick.

    Did you miss the part at the bottom that says the author is a MOTM (Master of Traditional Oriental Medicine)? Isn’t that the headquarters of woo itself?

  4. #4 History Punk
    March 28, 2010

    “And a whole 3 children died? I guess she thinks that because 3 children with measles died of “something” that that is reason enough to force every child on the planet to take an untested vaccine??? ”

    No, the fact that 3 children died is not reason enough to force all the world’s children to take an unproven vaccine. Everyone here on this blog, over at Orac’s blog, and even Dr. Offit agree with you on that point.

    However, those of us not in the thrall of Big Pharma like yourself, also all agree that the tens of thousands of deaths suffered each before the invention of MMR, combined with the tens of thousands of injuries suffered from measles infections, when, combined with the monetary costs of caring for both and the opportunity costs associated with the prior three forms of lost, are enough to mandate every child without a real disorder preventing vaccination be vaccinated with a proven, safe vaccine, like MMR.

  5. #5 Chris
    March 28, 2010

    Again, a reminder to TheDissenter that the measles vaccines are tested. And the testing protocol that he approved of was done at Willowbrook State School in the 1950s.

    The ethics of testing on disabled children was questioned, which is why keeping medical treatment away is no longer done. Most normal people do not approve of medical testing on disabled children.

    Also, there are fewer institutions like Willowbrook because there are fewer disabled children. Many children were disabled due to rubella, Hib, measles, mumps, polio, etc.

  6. #6 Chris
    March 28, 2010

    Those who are screaming about having “safe vaccines” and the need for the “vaccinated versus unvaccinated” studies should put their money where their mouth is.

    Give us a call when Handley, Blaxill, Redwood and friends pony up the funds to do this study. Until stop whining about no studies having been done (because they have been done, except that not to your uneducated specifications).

  7. #7 Texas Reader
    March 28, 2010

    Sadly, the only thing I can imagine that will stop this bizarre anti-science movement is a lawsuit against Jenny McCarthy or someone else in that movement by a parent who has lost a child to a disease that can be prevented by one of the recommended childhood vaccines.

  8. #8 rob
    March 29, 2010

    @thedissenter:
    your post is a black hole of stupdity. It’s like, how much more stupid could this be? and the answer is none. None more stupid.

  9. #9 Shannon
    March 29, 2010

    I commented on the article. I was happy to see many people applauding her. The antivaxers are getting a beatdown in the comments.

  10. #10 TheDissenter
    March 29, 2010

    “@thedissenter:
    your post is a black hole of stupdity. It’s like, how much more stupid could this be? and the answer is none. None more stupid.”

    I love it when like, illiterate people, like, call me stupid. The irony is priceless. God have mercy on your patients.

  11. #11 Molly, NYC
    March 30, 2010

    And a whole 3 children died?

    I’m sorry, is three dead kids not enough? Too trivial for a fearless fighter of the medical establishment like yourself?

    Yes, you piece of shit. A whole three kids.

    Unlike your “perhaps,” the three dead children aren’t rank speculation. Remember word problems, Dissenter? When three kids die of measles out of a hundred kids who get measles, what’s the mortality rate?

    If something like that happened to my kid, I genuinely don’t know what I’d do, and I can only imagine how it affected those three families. The fewer vaccinations, the more of those families.

    3%.

    Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with this particular problem. My kid got vaccinated.

  12. #12 Molly, NYC
    March 30, 2010

    . . . it is quite critical of her fellow HuffPo blogger “Dr.” Jenny McCarthy . . .

    After seeing this, I shall forever think of her as “that foul-mouthed dumbkopf in a spandex dirndl.”

  13. #13 James Pannozzi
    March 30, 2010

    PalMD!!! And NO diatribe against Homeopathy this time. Well, that’s refreshing.

    I must confess I was swayed, for a while, by the arguments of the anti-vaccinistas but after somewhat more reading and reflection I have headed to the middle ground of undecided. There does not seem to be sufficient grounds for connecting increasing growth in the rates of child autism with vaccinations and yet, we have THIS, from Dr. Edward Fogarty MD, whose own child became autistic:

    http://medicalvoices.org/vaccination/articles/a-proposal-on-vaccinations.html

    There is also stuff of MAJOR interest which should be read
    here:
    http://www.nationalautismassociation.org/library.php

    and EXCUSE ME, that’s no matter if you agree or disagree with them, rather than attacking the non-scientist McCarthy.

    The vaccine questions for me lie in the side effects and long term consequences. The rare death or paralysis subsequent to a vaccination CANNOT BE DISMISSED OR IGNORED.

    We cannot rely, unfortunately, on the biased claims of the vaccine manufacturers. That their influence extends in curious ways there can be no doubt. Anti-Homeopathist Ben Goldacre won an award for an article he wrote extolling the virtues and safety of the MMR vaccines and the actual sponsor of that award was a branch of a company which makes (SURPRISE!!) MMR vaccines.

  14. #14 PalMD
    March 30, 2010

    Bingo!

  15. #15 rob
    March 30, 2010

    @thedissenter:

    my post was an allusion to Nigel Tufnel from Spinal Tap. and your post is still filled with junior high level logical fallacy tactics of the glen beck “just asking questions” variety.

    proof? you want proof? you can’t handle the proof!

    but if you think you can handle it, just look at the back posts that PalMD has written on the anti-vaxxers. or go over to the Science Based Medicine site. or skip on over to Orac’s blog and read his anti-vax posts. they are filled with many links to papers that show there is no vaccine-autism link and the drop in vaccination rates has caused a corresponding increase in the diseases the vaccines were to prevent.

    and andrew wakefield is a bad bad person.

  16. #16 Dianne
    March 30, 2010

    Fortunately, I don’t have to deal with this particular problem. My kid got vaccinated.

    You hope. I do too, but the fact of the matter is that vaccines aren’t perfect and a small percentage of people vaccinated with a particular vaccine won’t develop immunity. And a few people will have genuine reactions or contraindications to a given vaccine. Hence the need for herd immunity. And the underlying evil that no anti-vaxer wants to acknowledge: it isn’t only themselves that they are putting at risk.

  17. #17 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 30, 2010

    @TheDissenter

    Are you obtuse or lazy? This isn’t an ad hominem attack, it’s a fact. Because either you were too lazy to click the link about the 5 kids with Hib in Erlingsdottir’s article or you could not grasp the meaning of “5 confirmed cases of Hib, including one death.” [quote from the linked article]

    As to your calculation on the effectiveness of the vaccine, you simply didn’t have enough facts to make an educated guess, so you made an un-educated one that supports your bias.

    Read this: http://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5803a4.htm

    You’ll find that one of the immunized kids was 5 months old and only had two shots, so hadn’t acquired full immunity. The other was 15 months old and hadn’t had his third shot and was also found to have an immunodeficiency. Either way, the sample size is too small to draw any valid conclusions. Not too small for rank speculation, however.

    It took me, a non-medical type, about 10 minutes to find and read it all. You said “I can only assume”. No, you can do a little frakking research.

  18. #18 Molly, NYC
    March 31, 2010

    Dianne– The kid’s 23 now, so I think we’re home and dry.

    I’m old enough to have had measles, mumps, rubella, whooping cough, the whole nine yards, and so did my sibs, all of us at the same time. None of us died, but it was horrible, and I can only imagine how unpleasant it was for my mother with a houseful of itchy, feverish little girls.

    So when my husband and I decided to have a family, I figured it would involve, among other things, toughing it out through something similar. And I remember my relief and delight when the kid’s pediatrician told me no, none of that anymore, only chicken pox.

    Just as the significance of legalized abortion might be lost on women too young to remember what it was like to lose a friend or relation to a back-alley abortion, maybe a factor in this debate is that anti-vaxers can’t remember a time when mothers commonly spent a week or two every few years, barely sleeping, hovering over every younger kid she had, maybe every kid in the house, trying to get them through the measles. Then the mumps. Then diptheria. Then–if she’d had any babies in the interim–measles again. Then another disease. Then another one. And that’s not counting the deaths in some families–just the misery.

    This was not a rare event–it was a pretty-much universal part of parenthood, and not that long ago. A few injections in exchange for missing that whole experience seems like a good trade-off to me.

  19. #19 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 31, 2010

    Dianne,

    Every anti-vaxxer out there should have to watch the video about Dana McCaffery, the 1 month old in Australia who died of whooping cough. She was too young to receive the vax and lived in an area with low vax rates.

    She died in her father arms.

    I have two young children, fully vaccinated. The thought of going through what Dana’s father did horrifies me.

  20. #20 TheDissenter
    March 31, 2010

    I did read that 1991 study. It also doesn’t say what killed the child in question, just that it died. Odd omission don’t you think? Perhaps it died of an adverse reaction to the vaccine. It certainly can’t be ruled out.

    Did you read this one?
    Limited efficacy of a Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccine in Alaska Native infants.

    “http://content.nejm.org/cgi/content/brief/323/20/1393″

    A total of 2,102 infants were either given the vaccine at 2, 4 and 6 months of age or they were given an inactive placebo injection. The rate of Hemophilus influenzae infection in both groups was recorded, and no difference in infection rate was found between the two groups. Despite studies in other groups showing the great effectiveness of this vaccine in preventing disease in infants, the current study found no evidence of protection in this North American population. Blood antibody levels in response to the vaccine, although higher than in the control group, were inadequate. This failure to produce enough antibodies paralleled the inability of the vaccine to protect these children.

    Hmmmm, no difference in infection rate was found. Interesting. How can this be???

  21. #21 TheDissenter
    March 31, 2010

    “Remember word problems, Dissenter? When three kids die of measles out of a hundred kids who get measles, what’s the mortality rate?”

    Remember reading comprehension Molly, NYC? Three kids died. Of what did they die? The article cleverly neglects to say, only loosely implying they died of measles. Typical of the vax cult members to overlook these ‘trivial’ details.

  22. #22 Molly, NYC
    March 31, 2010

    Dissenter–this is the best you’ve got? A 20-year-old abstract in a single remote population?

    –And look at all the kids in that group who got inoculated and developed autism!!

    No, wait, it doesn’t say that.

    –But look at all the studies of every other population–the vast majority of people who got inoculated still didn’t develop immunities!!!

    Oops–that’s not even close to true.

    –Well, at least this population’s innoculations were a waste of time.

    Uh, no. A 2006–that’s 4 years ago, not two decades, like yours–study of the same population says that their vaccinated kids (i.e., Native Alaskans) under 5 got a 94% drop in H. Inf. ( http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/cgi/content/full/118/2/e421 )

    Look, if you don’t want to believe people who actually do science for a living, that’s your business, but you’re obviously getting your information from some anti-vax Web site (or you wouldn’t be touting a study that’s so obviously cherry-picked). Not exactly objective. You might try Google Scholar or PubMed for a change.

  23. #23 Molly, NYC
    March 31, 2010

    Measles outbreak in Dublin, 2000.

    BACKGROUND: An outbreak of measles occurred in Ireland between December 1999 and July 2000. The majority of cases were in north Dublin, the catchment area of The Children’s University Hospital (TCUH). METHODS: Details of all of the 111 children attending the hospital with a diagnosis of measles between December 1999 and July 2000 were prospectively entered into a database. Charts were subsequently reviewed to extract epidemiologic and clinical details. National figures were obtained from the National Disease Surveillance Centre. RESULTS: In the study period 355 attended TCUH with a serologic or clinical diagnosis of measles, and 111 were admitted (47% female, 53% male). The main indications for admission were dehydration in 79%, pneumonia or pneumonitis in 47% and tracheitis in 32%. Thirteen children (11.7% of those admitted) required treatment in the intensive care unit, and in 7 of these mechanical ventilation was necessary. There were 3 deaths as a result of measles. Public health measures to curb spread of the disease included promotion of immunization for susceptible children nationally and recommending administration of measles-mumps-rubella vaccine (MMR) from the age of 6 months, in North Dublin. CONCLUSION: This outbreak of measles posed a major challenge to the hospital and the community for the first half of 2000. The national MMR immunization rate before the outbreak was gravely suboptimal at 79%, whereas the rate in North Dublin, the catchment area of TCUH, was under 70%. Three children died as a result of a vaccine-preventable illness.

  24. #24 TheDissenter
    March 31, 2010

    “She died in her father arms.

    I have two young children, fully vaccinated. The thought of going through what Dana’s father did horrifies me. ”

    I guess when real science doesn’t back you up you can always resort to emotional appeals.

    “Dissenter–this is the best you’ve got? A 20-year-old abstract in a single remote population? ”

    Ummm…I guess you didn’t happen to notice the study you posted is also 20 years old.

    “–And look at all the kids in that group who got inoculated and developed autism!! ”

    I have no idea what you are talking about here.

    “Look, if you don’t want to believe people who actually do science for a living, that’s your business, but you’re obviously getting your information from some anti-vax Web site (or you wouldn’t be touting a study that’s so obviously cherry-picked). Not exactly objective. You might try Google Scholar or PubMed for a change.”

    Nice try. I guess when real science doesn’t back you up, and your emotional appeals fall on deaf ears, ad hominem attacks are next. You really are a trooper, I gotta give you that!

  25. #25 Molly, NYC
    March 31, 2010

    Dissenter -

    Ummm…I guess you didn’t happen to notice the study you posted is also 20 years old.

    Which one would that be, Mr. Reading Comprehension? The study referenced in #22 is 4 years old. The one in #23 is 10 years old, and documents the deaths of three unvaccinated kids from measles–Dublin 1999, as mentioned in the HuffPost article–which you repeatedly insisted was a misrepresentation by the author.

    This last is, in itself, telling about your own pathetic inability to discern what’s true from what’s not. Your position in this particular detail is that someone would expend that much effort to lie to such minor effect–if she were lying, why not say 10 kids died, or all 100?

    Nice try. I guess when real science doesn’t back you up . . .

    Just out of curiosity–since you apparently don’t think papers from PubMed or Google Scholar make the cut–what do you consider to be “real science”? Dexter’s Lab?

  26. #26 JustaTech
    March 31, 2010

    @TheDissenter: “What did they die of?” You imply that these children might have died of a bad reaction to the vaccine rather than of the disease itself. But here’s the problem with that assertion: Modern medicine and science don’t say “well, these are the visible signs, and these are the reported symptoms, so it must be X.” Now we do tests, culture bacteria, stain for antibodies, so we can be sure of what disease we are talking about.

    So you assertion that doctors and scientist can’t tell the difference between a vaccine reaction and an infectious disease is disingenuous at best.

  27. #27 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 31, 2010

    @TheDissenter

    Strike 3 for you, troll. The Hib study you linked to, which apparently you did not comprehend, is a perfect example of vaccine science in action. You obviously did not grasp the implication of comparing the vaccine to placebo. This was an intial trial of the Hib vaccine PRP-D to determine its efficacy. It was found to be ineffective here.

    Try going to PubMed and reading this study: “Haemophilus influenzae type b conjugate vaccines: a review of efficacy data.”

    What you’ll find is that after the trials, PRP-D was found to be ineffective for children under 2. Other versions of the vaccine were found to be effective for kids under 2, although the anomoly with Native American populations couldn’t be explained fully. The rate of Hib infection is 1/400th what it was before the vaccinations started. Suck on that science for a while.

    “I have no idea what you are talking about here.” That’s the only coherent thought you’ve had.

    By the way, show me where the science doesn’t back me up on Dana McCaffery’s death. When people don’t comprehend the science behind an issue, as you obviously don’t, sometimes you have rub their faces in what their anti-vax stance brings: dead babies.

    If the thought of your infant dying in your arms (and a preventable death at that) doesn’t horrify you then you are a callous ass.

    Good day.

  28. #28 TheDissenter
    March 31, 2010

    The bleating of the vax cult members here only serves to further prove that they really don’t have the solid science to stand on, and so must resort to poor statistical analysis (correlation = causation), emotional appeals (“Think of the children!”) and name calling (I won’t repeat the insults).

    Here is an interesting paper:

    The Alaska Haemophilus influenzae type b experience: lessons in controlling a vaccine-preventable disease.

    “CONCLUSIONS: H influenzae type b vaccination has resulted in a dramatic decrease in invasive H influenzae type b disease in Alaska; however, despite high rates of H influenzae type b vaccine coverage, H influenzae type b disease rates among rural Alaska Native children under 5 years of age remain higher than the rates among non-Native Alaska and other US children. Equity in disease rates may not be achieved in indigenous populations with the current vaccines unless other environmental and household factors contributing to disease transmission are addressed.”

    While the authors toe the line about the effectiveness of the vaccine as you would expect from the CDC, could it be that the vaccines aren’t as effective as assumed but that the publicity of the infectious disease led to minimizing environmental and household factors contributing to the reduction of disease transmission among non-Natives? Increased awareness of the infection, especially when accompanied with the panic inducing publications of the CDC, better hygiene and other environmental factors could likely have more effect than vaccines, as the conclusion above suggests.

    With the recent H1N1 imbroglio, once the CDC announced that we were all going to die within weeks unless we rushed like sheep to the nearest doctor for our shot of tax payer subsidized Tamiflu before its 3 year shelf life expired on the gov’t shelf, (that is if you were considered important enough to get one), pushing Gilead’s share price from $35 to $57, there was so much panic-publicity, hand-washing, sneeze-covering, N95 respirator-wearing, people-avoiding activity going on, that the transmission of any infectious disease would be severely curtailed even though it coincided with the administration of the vaccine.

    Of course all you ‘scientists’ will point to your epidemiological studies and claim “See how effective our vaccines are!!!”, but in reality, much better panic-inspired hygiene and far less human-human contact likely had more to do with the reduction of transmission than the vaccine did. But I guess because that would take real work to study, isn’t all that sexy, and could potentially result in fewer vaccine sales, it isn’t examined with any enthusiasm.

  29. #29 PalMD
    March 31, 2010

    That is some seriously high-grade stupid. It always amazes me the lengths people will go to justify their beliefs.

  30. #30 TheDissenter
    March 31, 2010

    “It always amazes me the lengths people will go to justify their beliefs.”

    Indeed. Some people even go to the trouble of creating an entire blog for the sole purpose of justifying their beliefs. Crazy huh?

  31. #31 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    March 31, 2010

    The onlookers, their curiosity satisfied, wandered off as the old man continued to shout his gibberish at the mute dumpsters and the indifferent alley cats.

  32. #32 TheDissenter
    April 1, 2010

    “The onlookers, their curiosity satisfied, wandered off as the old man continued to shout his gibberish at the mute dumpsters and the indifferent alley cats.”

    Back to sticking your head in the sand? I guess that would be appropriate. You wouldn’t want to pull it out and read this:

    “Hygiene, Not Vaccine, Seen Best Way to Stop Bird Flu”

    “Getting into the habit of simple respiratory hygiene is probably a better way to combat a future pandemic of avian influenza than following President Bush’s proposal to spend $1.2 billion on a vaccine that may not work, the chief of emergency preparations for Yale-New Haven Health System says.

    Christopher Cannon, system director in the office of emergency preparedness in the multi-hospital group said his office is also recommending that doctors and hospitals not stock up on the antiviral drug Tamiflu.

    “We want a solution to this but all of the magic bullets are not really there. No one wants to hear this,” Cannon said.

    “Whether expending $1.2 billion on a unproven vaccine is effective policy is a good question,” he said. “… We’re strongly suggesting that preventing the spread of the virus is the best way to stop a pandemic,” Cannon said.

    “It’s not rocket science. The best way to minimize your risk is personal hygiene — what your mother told you to do in kindergarten that you didn’t do,” Cannon said.

    Dr. Louise Dembry, Yale-New Haven Hospital epidemiologist and infectious diseases physician, said that there is no way to predict how or when H5N1 would assume a form that spreads from person to person.

    The efficacy of a vaccine based on H5N1 is also questionable, she said.

    http://today.uchc.edu/headlines/2005/nov05/birdflu2.html

    You know those folks at the Yale-New Haven Health System, that cornerstone of woo, they sure have some crazy ideas! An epidemiologist and infectious disease specialist questioning the efficacy of a vaccine? I guess they didn’t get the memo.

  33. #33 TheDissenter
    April 1, 2010

    “Unlike your “perhaps,” the three dead children aren’t rank speculation. Remember word problems, Dissenter? When three kids die of measles out of a hundred kids who get measles, what’s the mortality rate?

    3%.”

    Um…I hate to interrupt your rant with factual information but the mortality rate isn’t a percentage at all, and that isn’t how its calculated. Mortality rate is expressed in units of deaths per 1000 individuals per year. A mortality rate of 9.5 in a population of 100,000 would mean 950 deaths per year in that entire population.

    I’m guessing math/logic wasn’t your best subject so you became a doctor?

  34. #34 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    April 1, 2010

    He looked out his window onto the alley. The old man ranted on, his words shooting out in stoccato, incomprehensible bursts. The cats, once indifferent, now fearful, slunk into the shadows.

    Only the dumpsters remained, still mute and impassive.

    Adjectives, nouns, verbs poured forth like strangers out of an open elevator, destined to go their separate ways, unconnected and alone.

    Ah, but in the old man’s mind these words connected in brilliant starbursts of ideas, as solidly linked as the cars of a mile-long coal train trundling across the wind-swept wilds of the west. Solidly linked and unstoppable. Powerful.

    Other voices joined him. Fellow travelers stepping from the shadows. Yes! he thought. Now, we will show them.

  35. #35 Vicki
    April 1, 2010

    Funny, in my world hygiene and vaccines aren’t an either-or, choose exactly one. (Though, frankly, some days I’d be relieved if I could count on everyone choosing one, given how many seem to do neither.)

    Nor is that how it works in the CDC’s world: the nice posters my company printed from their web site last fall advised us to wash our hands regularly and to get vaccinated. When they offered flu vaccines, they didn’t ask us “do you wash your hands regularly?” and refuse to vaccinate the people who said yes.

    What the person from Yale-New Haven said is that he isn’t confident that they can make a good H5N1 vaccine. Not that it would be a bad idea if one existed. And he has real doubts about the anti-viral medicines for flu. If I read an expert saying that the treatments for a disease aren’t very good, I don’t conclude that this is a good reason not to get vaccinated: prevention is most important when there isn’t a good cure.

    I also wonder what the actual hand-washing rate is at Yale-New Haven Hospital. It’s a good teaching hospital, but even the staff at good hospitals rarely live up to that good advice we got in grade school. And I remain unconvinced that doctors and nurses are consistently worse at this than the rest of us.

    Washing my hands means I’m less likely to get, and spread, viruses. But it doesn’t protect me from the person who sneezes next to my face on a crowded train, or touches a package at the store with an infected, unwashed hand. A vaccine will help there.

  36. #36 TheDissenter
    April 1, 2010

    “What the person from Yale-New Haven said is that he isn’t confident that they can make a good H5N1 vaccine. Not that it would be a bad idea if one existed.”

    I don’t think this sentence:

    “Whether expending $1.2 billion on a unproven vaccine is effective policy is a good question,” he said.”

    or this one:

    “The efficacy of a vaccine based on H5N1 is also questionable, she said.”

    really require more explanation. Its clear what they are saying despite your putting words in their mouths.

    “Other voices joined him. Fellow travelers stepping from the shadows. Yes! he thought. Now, we will show them.”

    Interesting rant. The last part kind of sounds like a thinly-veiled threat. Makes me wonder if this blog is less about scientific discussion than it is a honey pot for anyone who doesn’t worship vaccines. What other godly reason would a science blog feel the need to plant at least 7 tracking cookies and who knows what else on my computer at every page refresh. What are you trying to track exactly, and why so many from so many different servers?

    Current tracking cookies include:

    media6degrees.com
    outbrain.com
    quantserve.com
    researchblooging.org
    s51.sitemeter.com
    scienceblogs.com
    scorecardresearch.com
    bluestreak.com

  37. #37 JohnV
    April 1, 2010

    option 1: use no script and firefox.
    option 2: wear tinfoil hat.
    option 3: keep being an idiot for our amusement.

  38. #38 TheDissenter
    April 1, 2010

    “option 1: use no script and firefox.”

    Thanks for the help. I am very familiar with browsers, the internet, cookies, trojans, viruses, cross site scripting, etc. Still doesn’t explain the need for 8 or more tracking cookies at a medical blog that is supposed to be about the musings of an intern. Even spyware vendor sites don’t plant that many.

    “option 2: wear tinfoil hat.”

    Yes, tinfoil hat, blah, blah, blah. I guess when its pointed out that infectious disease specialists at major medical centers contradict your position this is all you have left.

    “option 3: keep being an idiot for our amusement.”

    Who is ‘our’?

  39. #39 PalMD
    April 1, 2010

    I knows the internets words!!!! They r in my computing machine, sapping my precious bodily fluidz!!!

  40. #40 madder
    April 1, 2010

    For a pedant, Dissenter, you sure don’t seem to know much. An “intern” is not the same thing as an “internist.” But you keep right on truckin’: the laughs are much appreciated. If you’re a troll, I salute you; it must be hard to keep such a variety of fallacies coming so thick and fast. If you’re not, well, …

  41. #41 TheDissenter
    April 1, 2010

    “I knows the internets words!!!! They r in my computing machine, sapping my precious bodily fluidz!!!”

    Yes, very clever. However, I would appreciate a response as to why you feel your blog needs to plant numerous malware cookies on the machines of people who visit your site. Feel free to use private email in your response if you feel that is more appropriate for this issue.
    Thanks.

  42. #42 PalMD
    April 1, 2010

    Any malware you may or may not encounter is not being “planted” by me or Sb. If you are encountering malware, I would recommend purchasing good security software.

    Cookies are pretty standard fare on the internet, malicious and otherwise. You can change your browser settings to remove and block cookies.

  43. #43 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    April 1, 2010

    Through the night they carried on. Brilliance after brilliance issued forth from the maelstrom of voices. Glorious, unassailable reasoning echoed in the alley way.

    He looked down from his window. The first light of dawn chased away the shadows, but the old man held court still, gesturing spasticly to an unseen audience. “Oh, give it a rest!” he shouted. The old man glowered up at the trespasser then returned to his retinue, but they had returned; melted back into the dank recesses of the alley and the dank recesses of his mind.

    He stood alone. Only the spittle on his matted, greasy beard gave witness to the night’s spectral reverie and revelation.

    Passersby cast glances at the old man as they skirted by with purpose. The old man, bereft of coherent purpose and thought, gibbered on, unaware and uncaring of the pity in the eyes of the passersby.

    His triumphant Dissent, so clear in his fevered mind, gushed out in a melange of half-remembered cliches and fragments of ill-conceived ideas. The guttural mewlings fell upon the alley as another layer of fetid refuse. Foul, incongruous, purposeless, and unheeded.

    But, still, the old man maundered on.

  44. #44 TheDissenter
    April 1, 2010

    “Any malware you may or may not encounter is not being “planted” by me or Sb. If you are encountering malware, I would recommend purchasing good security software.”

    Thanks. They all contain this header:

    Referer: http://scienceblogs.com/whitecoatunderground/

    Last time I visited I counted 18 tracking cookies in one session. Most of these are persistent or don’t expire until 2020 or later.

  45. #45 Glaxo PharmaBase 7
    April 2, 2010

    MESSAGE BEGINS

    Shills and minions . . .

    Face it. This “Dissenter” is onto us. He has used his keen intellect and superior computer skills to detect our evil malware. Malware, if he only knew. Though intelligent for a human, he is completely unaware that even now, our so-called malware has jumped through the matter-gate embedded in the “e” key on his computer. No, he can’t feel them yet, the Nanobamas™, but soon they’ll begin to subtly restructure his RNA, and he’ll start to feel less . . . aggressive towards us.

    As the restructuring begins in earnest and the recursive ileal adaption transframulation regulators really get to work he’ll start to think, “say, maybe they have a point about vaccines over there at ScienceBlogs” . . . then he’ll be ours.

    Don’t fight the Nanobamas™ “Dissenter”, soon you’ll be one of our minions and know how it feels to be showered with Big Pharma riches beyond your wildest dreams. Just lie back . . . there, that’s better. Sweet dreams little monkey.

    They’re so cute when they twitch like that.

    As for the rest of you, back to carrying out our evil plans! Gregarious Misanthrope, being a Reptilio-Illuminati Pharma Overlord is such a thankless task, but your fine turn of phrase has pleased us. Look in your driveway in the morning. I think you’ll be gratified.

    MESSAGE ENDS

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001

  46. #46 TheDissenter
    April 2, 2010

    “He has used his keen intellect and superior computer skills to detect our evil malware. Malware, if he only knew.”

    That sounds just a little too threatening not to be taken seriously. Do you really think threatening someone with planting malware on their computer on a public forum is a wise thing to do?

    Fortunately I have caps of all the traffic coming in and out of my computer and have logs of all the packets that come in from the internet. I sort of do that kind of thing for a living. After visiting this blog the last few days I have my work cut out for me.

  47. #47 PalMD
    April 2, 2010

    I’m fairly certain that if you’re too stupid to use your browser settings and security software to protect yourself, you are also too stupid to avoid websites that might be dangerous. Sb isn’t known as a particularly high-risk site, but if it concerns you, no one is making you click that link.

    Knowattimsayin?

  48. #48 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    April 2, 2010

    The old man lay still. Cats approached. The shabby tabby sniffed at his haggard face.

    “Gone,” mewwed he and sniffed again more deeply. “Neurosyphilis dementia, to be sure; a germ theory denier, no doubt.” Amongst the Jellicles, tabbies are reknowned for their diagnostic prowess. “And garlic,” he added, “lots of it.”

    The calico cocked her head quizzically. “Some of them think it will cure anything,” he continued, adding a dismissive chuff.

    She pulled at the old man’s squalid cap. “Foil,” purred she. “Typical.”

    Curiousity satisfied, the practical cats carried on.

  49. #49 Chris
    April 3, 2010

    In the real world, the use of anti-virus software provided by our internet service providers protects us from threats. So far there has been no threat from Scienceblogs.

    Also, Firefox lets you turn off cookies. Scienceblogs is one of the few blogs that lets you read and comment without cookies being enabled.

  50. #50 Glaxo PharmaBase 7
    April 3, 2010

    MESSAGE BEGINS

    That sounds just a little too threatening not to be taken seriously. Do you really think threatening someone with planting malware on their computer on a public forum is a wise thing to do?

    Dang! You’re too crafty for us. The Galactic PharmaCOM Empire is doomed . . . or is it? As my crechemother used to sing to us, “hide in plain sight my hatchlings, hide in plain sight”.

    Have the Nanobamas™ kicked in yet?

    MESSAGE ENDS

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001

  51. #51 Pareidolius
    April 3, 2010

    TehDissenter: Humorless Dumbshit or Poe? You decide.

  52. #52 The Gregarious Misanthrope
    April 3, 2010

    I admit it, I’ve done the unconscionable.

    I’ve played the Andrew Lloyd Webber card.

    Oh, the shame. Lord Zeneca, forgive a humble minion.

  53. #53 Pareidolius
    April 4, 2010

    BEGIN MESSAGE

    Minion GM. We love cats. They’re delicious with g’thraak spread and a little salt.

    MESSAGE ENDS

    Lord Draconis Zeneca, VC, iH7L
    PharmaCOM Orbital HQ
    0010101101001

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