All posts for the topic: Medicine

2016: a wishlist for the Flying Spaghetti Monster

[CN: All the things] Dear noodly overlord, I know that 2016 has already started but you’re as generous as the FSMas season is long. I know that if you look at it from one way there’s never been a better time to be alive. Last year was the first year child mortality rates fell below 6 million. The overrall deaths from war and conflict are in decline. We might be able to cross polio off the list soon. Global life expectancy is over 70, the highest it’s ever been. Only 0.4% of the world’s population are enslaved which could well […]

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Bringing Science to Wellness Panel at Sydney Science Festival

Here’s a belated liveblog of the panel, which I thought would be focussed on making our definition of wellness more scientific but was actually about the wellness (ie. CAM) industry. There’s also a podcast about the panel on Radio National. DO NOT READ THE COMMENTS ON THAT PAGE! The panelists were: Natasha Mitchell from Radio National as the moderator (NM in this post) Professor Margaret Allman-Farinelli, a nutritionist (MAF) Christopher Zinn, a consumer advocate (CZ) Dr Sarah McKay, a neuroscientist turned science blogger (SM) Liz Graham, editor of body+soul (LG) Italics are comments from me. NM: How many of us […]

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Anyone up for hearing some good news in 2015?

2014 was not a great year for the world by any means. If you haven’t seen this great cartoon from The Nib summarising just some of the shitty things that happened, you should. So naturally, what did 2015 do so far? Promise to be a much much shittier year, if these trends continue. On which, all I’ll have to say is that there’s been tragedy in Nigeria on an unimaginable scale which (1) deserves the title “War on Terror” a lot more than what it’s normally used for and (2) has been completely overshadowed by [pretty important] discussions around #JeSuisCharlie. […]

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Geography, Ebola and “Africa” as a single place

The idea of Africa as a single place is common in Western countries, which has many consequences. I’ve looked at some of these before in terms of the idea of dividing countries up into first world and third world (here and here). There is a great website focussed around the tropes associated with people’s ignorance of Africa called Africa is a Country. If you look at the graphic above, you’ll see how expansive the continent of Africa is. In the mental map of many non-Africans though, it occupies almost a single point, which probably contains the following 7 features: famine […]

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Near death experiences are evidence for materialism

Near death experiences happen to many people when they’re near clinical death and survive. They’re often profoundly meaningful or life-changing to those who have them. They’re also frequently used to argue that there is an afterlife, a spiritual realm or “something more” out there than scientific materialism posits. A recent Intelligence2 debate on the existence of the afterlife (which I recommend everyone watch) had nothing but the testimony of a neurosurgeon about his near death experience as the case for the for side. I think near death experiences can be pretty good at convincing people that our consciousness is not […]

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Armchair diagnosis and attributing violence to mental illness

You’ve probably seen stuff about the Isla Vista shooting everywhere (I’ll have links to good resources at the bottom of the post). Still, I thought it was worth addressing whether or not Elliot Rodger had a mental illness or not. Here’s a Facebook post by Maddox that has 14,034 likes at the time of writing: 100% of gun massacres occur by people with mental illness. If you disagree with that statement, be prepared to make the case that there are some rational, cool-headed people who, after thinking clearly and weighing the pros and cons, decide to commit mass killings. There […]

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Fuck you, newspapers preying on the elderly

“Whatever you do, stop drinking tap water!” my grandma told my mum over the phone a few weeks ago. When asked why, she said that she read in the paper about how ‘they’ found that Australian tap water has something carcinogenic in it. I use the term “newspaper” loosely. Grandma reads The Horizon, an Australian-based, Russian-language rag (in my opinion). Mum didn’t put any stock in it but told me. When I visited my grandma a few days later, here’s the article she showed me (my translation below): High level of dangerous substances detected in water. Scientists in Australia warn: […]

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Things I take for granted about food

In 2010, John Scalzi wrote a pretty good post of the things that he doesn’t have to think about every day (that other people do). I wanted to try something similar but make it very detailed about a specific area. Food’s really yummy so why not food? Below is a list of all the things I get to take for granted about food. It’s by no means exhaustive. The whole point is that there are many items I’m too sheltered to even be aware of. Still, it’s sobering to go for a deep dive into what I have. Especially since […]

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Why don’t Other People take “basic” health precautions?

First, consider a question you probably don’t think about often and might consider indelicate: how you clean your bum after you do a poo? Hold the thought, it’ll come in handy in a sec later. TED talks. While they might have been an exciting new thing when they first started coming out online in 2006, I’ve found that the signal-to-noise ratio has dropped a lot. If you’re interested, Martin Robbins has a meatier critique of the whole TED enterprise. However, there still are some that are excellent. Here’s one on why humanity hasn’t yet eradicated malaria: Shah lists three main […]

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World AIDS Day – It’s NOT Doom And Gloom

This post was originally published by Mango Salute at http://mangosalute.com/salutetheday/world-aids-day-it-s-not-doom-and-gloom The HIV/AIDS epidemic is one of the most serious health crises in the world – which is something we all know. Even if you’re not seeking out much information about international affairs, it’s hard to avoid the imagery of devastation and despair. The total numbers are of course devastating and incomprehensible. The AIDS epidemic has claimed 35,300,000 lives so far, very disproportionately centered around communities in sub-Saharan Africa. There have been 1,600,000 deaths from AIDS in the last year alone. Beyond the numbers, there are millions of heartbreaking individual stories. […]

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