Category Archives: Science

Illustration: Common Components of Vaccines

Vaccine Illustration From the excellent Compound Interest, a website all about Chemistry, is this post regarding the common components of vaccines.

The recent measles outbreak in the US has once again provoked discussion over vaccinations, and why some parents choose not to vaccinate their children despite the benefits of doing so. Whilst not the only factor, part of the blame lies with misinformation about the chemical composition of vaccines and the effects these compounds can have. This graphic summarises some of the key components in vaccines, as well as clarifying their purpose and safety in the concentrations present.

A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science

A Rough Guide to Spotting Bad Science:

The vast majority of people will get their science news from online news site articles, and rarely delve into the research that the article is based on. Personally, I think it’s therefore important that people are capable of spotting bad scientific methods, or realising when articles are being economical with the conclusions drawn from research, and that’s what this graphic aims to do. Note that this is not a comprehensive overview, nor is it implied that the presence of one of the points noted automatically means that the research should be disregarded. This is merely intended to provide a rough guide to things to be alert to when either reading science articles or evaluating research.

Concerning the feelings of anti-vaxxers

Robert Moore on the respect anti-vaxxers deserve

A post about your feelings…

So, I’ve been seeing a lot of ‘I’m sorry for hurting your feelings posts’ with regards to vaccines, and I thought I’d make it clear that I’m absolutely, in no way, at all, sorry for hurting any of your feelings if you’re anti vaccination and not telling me.

You deserve to have your feelings hurt.

Your opinion, which you are absolutely entitled to, hurts children. It kills children. So I’m entitled to also have an opinion about you and your poor decision making. I’m entitled to mock you openly when I watch a video of an infant with whooping cough. Because without your beliefs on vaccines today there would be no whooping cough.

Agreed.

Particle Fever

This is a fantastic movie. Imagine a documentary about particle physics that might bring you to tears. So beautiful. The movie documents the CERN particle collider and the search for the Higgs Boson. It illustrates the basic physics that are being studied even as it explores the humanity of some of the scientists that are involved. The art and illustration used to explain the science is very well done. All of it very accessible to anyone regardless of science background. Purchase from iTunes or stream it from the website.

Facebook Science?

I was just speaking to Kaleesha this morning about my vacation from Facebook and then this pops up. On the one hand, science! On the other hand how does it feel to be unwittingly manipulated in such an experiment. Even more, consider the ramifications. Facebook was, previous to this, interested in the potential for manipulating its users and took the time to investigate. Now it has confirmation of what it can do. The first time (?) was for science what about the next time. What do you think?

Scientists at Facebook have published a paper showing that they manipulated the content seen by more than 600,000 users in an attempt to determine whether this would affect their emotional state. The paper, “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks,” was published in The Proceedings Of The National Academy Of Sciences. It shows how Facebook data scientists tweaked the algorithm that determines which posts appear on users’ news feeds—specifically, researchers skewed the number of positive or negative terms seen by randomly selected users. Facebook then analyzed the future postings of those users over the course of a week to see if people responded with increased positivity or negativity of their own, thus answering the question of whether emotional states can be transmitted across a social network. Result: They can! Which is great news for Facebook data scientists hoping to prove a point about modern psychology. It’s less great for the people having their emotions secretly manipulated.

Apple cider vinegar is not a “healing tonic” or cure-all

Another fine example of psuedo-science and misinformation. Unfortunately shared thousands of times on Facebook. At least they admit that actual proof is not important to them:

“Apple Cider Vinegar is one of the most incredible healing tonics you will find anywhere, period. I’m not even exaggerating, I don’t have to. The results that you experience as you put it to use will demonstrate enough that you don’t need a “peer reviewed journal” to tell you that it’s a miracle juice. The proof is in the pudding.”

Proof? We don’t need no stinkin’ proof!