Readers of denialism blog have long enjoyed the Hoofnagle brothers' determined war against the evils of denialism. Their new co-blogger Dr. Peter Lipson, also known as PalMD, joins them in the fight for scientific truth. Page 3.14 interviewed him and discovered, among other things, a fondness for waffles and Homer (the poet, not the Simpson).
What's your name?
What do you do when you're not blogging?
I'm an internist, husband, and father. It's probably in that order, but I'd like to change that eventually.
What is your blog called?
I joined up with the Hoofnagle brothers at denialism blog. I was writing on my own at whitecoatunderground.com before that.
What's up with that name?
When I started writing, I stayed anonymous, and anticipated sharing an insider's view of medicine. I did that a bit, but I've broadened out my writing.
How long have you been blogging, anyway?
My real blogiversary will be around May 22nd. At that point it will be a year.
Where are you from and where do you live now?
I'm from the Detroit area, but I've had the opportunity to live in lots of interesting cities, such as San Francisco and Chicago.
Would you describe yourself as a working scientist?
Nope, thankfully not. I was going to become a working scientist, but circumstances took me toward the practice of clinical medicine. I haven't closed the door on doing clinical research in the future, but bench research is out.
Any educational experiences or degrees you'd like to mention?
Besides the BA and the MD and the board certification? Nah.
What are your main academic interests, in or out of your field?
Medicine has undergone a slow revolution over the last 20 years or so, from a reliance on experts, anecdotes and observation to evidence-based medicine. It's hard to be a good internist without having some working knowledge of how evidence-based medicine works, and how to apply it. I've always been fascinated by biology in general, too, and I like to read as much as I can as long as it doesn't go too far over my head.
Last book you read?
Hmmm...from cover to cover? I have a vacation coming up, have any suggestions?
I'm thinking about picking up the Aeneid. I've read Homer in several different translations, and a few months ago read Dan Simmons's Ilium and Olympos.
What is your idea of a perfect day?
Wake up with my daughter and make waffles with maple syrup. Drink coffee and read the feeds. Once my kid is up to it, take her for a hike and see how many trees and plants she remembers. Meet my wife for lunch, and all go home and take a good nap.
What's your greatest habitual annoyance?
Not being able to get as much done in a day as I'd wish. And people reading over my shoulder.
Who are your favorite heroes of fiction?
When I was a kid, I'd have had to say John Carter of Mars, or Gandalf, or some such, but I don't really do heroes.
Your favorite heroes in real life?
OK, I lied. My dad. He's a terrific dad, a terrific grandpa, and a great doctor.
What's your most marked characteristic?
You'd have to ask my wife.
What's your fatal flaw?
Yeah, she'd know that one, too.
Who are your favorite writers?
I haven't been reading as much as I'd like lately, but I've always liked Wallace Stegner, Kurt Vonnegut, Ernest Hemingway and Stephen Jay Gould. I've stayed away from novels that I know are going to be depressing...I see enough depressing stuff every day.
What would you like to be?
Exactly what I am.