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Comment: The faster than light neutrino claim was very soft (Score 1) 353

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49774747) Attached to: Can Bad Scientific Practice Be Fixed?

If I remember correctly, the scientists were saying that they MEASURED faster than light neutrinos, and were soliciting community aid in figuring out what was going on. They weren't confident at all of their results.

It's arguable that if they hadn't published their measurements, it would have taken a lot longer for them to have got the help which resolved the issue.

Did I just make a case for knowingly publishing results which are very likely wrong? Does it in fact boil down to simple honesty from the scientist about the likely validity of his claims/observations?

Even in the biomed area: "The subject study is admittedly small, however, if the results can be firmly established in a larger study, then significant medical benefits will accrue...."

--PM

Comment: Re:Higher immunization rates in South America than (Score 1) 545

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49743237) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

Like I said, I'm in favor of requiring travellers to be fully immunized, but it's actually not really possible to stop *all* imported cases unless you're willing to put all incoming people in quarantine for a couple of weeks, whether they've been immunized or not.

90% isn't really good enough when we're talking about measles, which is about the most contagious of the serious diseases. You have a good point about the PBEs being of little significance to increasing immunization rates overall, but that doesn't mean it's not worth doing (see below).

Given my difficulties getting my own kid fully immunized (which I finally succeed in doing), I think we can boost immunization rates far higher simply by making it easier for people to get their shots than going after PBEs. Free clinics operated out of schools, well advertised, would be a good way, as well as permanently open walk-in immunization clinics.

Arguably, then, it's misplaced zeal to go after PBEs at all rather than just improving immunization availability. However, one way in which PBEs are more dangerous than simply lower overall immunization rates is that PBEs concentrate geographically, leading to local communities with, say, 70% or lower vaccination rates. These local communities are capable of supporting an epidemic, which, in the case of measles, could lead to a lot of infections in the surrounding 90% immunized population. Suppressing these *local* fires, which are a threat to the surrounding community, is a good rationale for going after PBEs. (Remember, immunizations don't always work, so an epidemic in a localized population can lead to lots of infections in the surrounding population.)

--PM

Comment: Re:Higher immunization rates in South America than (Score 1) 545

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49734525) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

No, we shouldn't be more focused on travelling citizens and incoming visitors.

Would you rather be fireproof or a tinderbox afraid of ANY possible source of ignition? Because someday, sometime, lightning is going to strike, and that fire is going to be set. When, not if, that happens, d'you want an uncontrollable conflagration or a fizzle?

Immunizing travellers is all well and good, but in a small fraction of those, even if you immunize them all, they're still going to be affected. Measles incubates for up to 12 days. D'you want to hold all travellers for that long? What about subclinical cases? Contagious but not showing symptoms?

Don't get me wrong, it's a good idea to require all travellers get their shots, but the right thing to do is defence in depth and have a resistant population here as well as immunized travellers.

--PM

Comment: Anti-vax not source of most non-vaccination (Score 1) 545

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49697073) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

Let me ask you this. As the parent of a child with a transplant, would you prefer that it be really cheap and easy for every other parent who can, to get shots for their kids?

* What free clinics with free shots? I did a web search for my local area and didn't turn any up. Are these secret or something? I finally *did* get my kid her last HepA shot, but I was only able to do it by finding a new pediatrician for her. In practice I had to have health insurance and fork over a co-pay.

* I'm rather well-off, and it took me 3 months to get my kid her last HepA shot. My original health care provider didn't have it. I called 4 pharmacies but they wouldn't give it to a child. None of them informed me about any free clinics either! Finally I found a new pediatrician. How many parents d'you think are determined enough and have the means to get this done? Neither pediatrician informed me about any free clinics either! WHAT FREE CLINICS??

I *bet* you that MOST of the vaccination non-compliance is because of problems LIKE THIS instead of outright anti-vax BS. I got it done, but it took a while AND it was pretty hard! How about we make it REALLY EASY for people to have their kids fully vaccinated? I mean, how many people are going to comb the web, call 4 pharmacies, and finally switch pediatricians to get stuff like this done?

I *fully* support vaccination, how about rather than decrying/prosecuting parents who are having problems, you HELP THEM GET IT DONE? Like actual free clinics that aren't kept secret? Like vaccines offered in schools 2 weeks before classes?

--PeterM

Comment: Higher immunization rates in South America than US (Score 3, Informative) 545

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49695051) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

Hello,

    I hate to inject some facts into your prejudice, but it's a sad fact that large swaths of South America have higher immunization rates for measles (as an example) than the US does.

    Even Mexico is only 2% behind US vaccination rates on measles. Check it out:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/...

--PeterM

Comment: Military service can be mandatory, can cause harm (Score 1) 545

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49694185) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

Even if vaccines CAN cause harm, so what?

I, and every male in this country, can be made to fight, kill, get wounded, die, and suffer innumerable hardships in defense of this country.

If I can be made to risk life and limb to defend this country (no choice), why can't EVERYONE be forced to take vaccines to defend this country too? Or do you think that contagious disease isn't EVERY BIT as deadly a threat to this country as an interruption in our oil supply?

-PeterM

Comment: Your right to be a vector of disease ends (Score 1) 545

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49693957) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

religiously founded or not, where MY right to not be exposed to deadly infections in civil society begins.

I have NO PROBLEM limiting freedom of religion for the defense of society. As someone pointed out, freedom of religion is NOT an unlimited right.

Consider for example a person whose religion involves ritual sacrifice and eating of the hearts of their political enemies.

I consider forcing vaccinations on people over their religious objections as of lesser degree, but in the same vein, as the example I just gave.

--PeterM

Comment: Charged only if actually negligent (Score 1) 545

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49693919) Attached to: California Senate Approves School Vaccine Bill

I presume you would exempt parents of unvaxed children who were unvaxed for reasons beyond their control, such as

1) Could not afford shots
2) No access to health care
3) Child could not get shots for medical reasons

I, for example, COULD NOT get my kid vaccinated vs. Hepatitis A because my healthcare provider didn't have the vaccine, and no pharmacy who HAD the vaccine would ADMINISTER the vaccine to a child, that I could find. (I tried 4.)

This persisted for a few months until I found a new pediatrician for my child.

So, maybe HOLD OFF on the prosecutions of parents until society has TRULY made an effort to make vaccines EASILY ACCESSIBLE to everyone. Like for example, "Oh, your kid is short of shots? We'll administer them in school for you, 2 weeks before classes. Just bring your kid in for their FREE IMMUNIZATIONS."

--PeterM

Comment: How about an almonds+ orchard? (Score 1) 220

I.e., no longer a monoculture, but you also grow long-blooming, multiple varieties of wildflowers underneath your almond trees?

Would that vastly increase the cost of raising almonds (increased water + hassle), or actually decrease it because you'd maintain a good pollinator population and populations of beneficial insects?

Best,

--PeterM

Comment: Re:Rotavirus -- you have a point (Score 1) 278

Actually, I think the appropriate public health measure vs. rotavirus is already in place. Immunize children against it. It's probably a cheaper intervention than stricter water purification standards.

However, there are other possible risks with recycled water, such as residual drugs from human excretions. These should be studied, weighed, and something sane done about them. If the risk is really small, the sane thing to do is nothing.

--PM

Comment: Rotavirus -- you have a point (Score 1) 278

Somehow river water supplies get rotavirus in it, and the treatments in use don't seem to remove it completely.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R...

Excerpt from that article:
"Rotaviruses are stable in the environment and have been found in estuary samples at levels up to 1â"5 infectious particles per US gallon, the viruses survive between 9 and 19 days.[23] Sanitary measures adequate for eliminating bacteria and parasites seem to be ineffective in control of rotavirus, as the incidence of rotavirus infection in countries with high and low health standards is similar.[1]"

So in fact, it seems that "recycled" water is NOT *completely* safe.

That said, it's better to drink recycled water than to die of thirst, or drink untreated water directly from the environment.

--PeterM

Comment: Islam wasn't always violent (Score 1) 1097

At one point in history, the Middle East was the world capital of enlightenment and progress. Back then, it was Christianity which was stained in blood in feudal medieval Europe.

So Islam isn't *necessarily* violent, it's just that any religion can go off the rails if it gets into the hands of radical fundamentalists and fanatics.

I also wonder if it has to do with the concentration of wealth and power in the hands of the very few at the top, which is common in the Middle East nowadays. It's easy to see how that would radicalize everyone else.

Makes me wonder what will happen if wealth concentration proceeds unchecked in certain Western nations.

--PM

Comment: Very tricky issue indeed. (Score 2) 374

by PeterM from Berkeley (#49575825) Attached to: Who Owns Pre-Embryos?

The woman may have her reproductive capability destroyed and so may only have this option to reproduce. However, the guy may not want to be a daddy with this woman.

Personally, I'd try to make some sort of deal to settle the issue, like if she raises any of these embryos over his objection, he bears no responsibility, ever, for the progeny. But if you RTFA, that's already the case, and he still objects to being a father to kids he won't be involved with.

It seems (from TFA) that every state is coming up with its own solution, like following the contract, or "balance of interests".

And what happens if some couple no longer has means to pay for embryo storage, but they assert a right to force the embryo-maintainer to keep their embryo's anyway? Just how much is reproduction a right?

--PM

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