Tag Archives: Bethany Brookshire

More than One Way to Vaccinate a Cat

No, this isn’t about cat vaccinations, but you should make sure all your pets’ shots are up to date, too. It is what we like to call, in the business, word play (technically, the term is “god-awful, hacky word play”).

With the focus placed on vaccinations by the measles screwing with Disneyland, there has been a lot of pessimistic coverage of the research showing that there is not a single, magic bullet, public service message (out of an exhaustive set of four options) that will convince everyone to vaccinate.

Over at Science News, Bethany Brookshire has an excellent post discussing the many ways to persuade people to vaccinate and why certain strategies are more likely to work for some, but not for others.

Research has begun to examine why people fear vaccines, and what can be done about it…But in all of the research, one thing is clear: There is not a single, foolproof way to convey that the benefits of vaccination far outweigh the harms.

Bethany Brookshire at Science News

In the conclusion, Bethany raises the critical point that our public health approaches to vacccination have actually been pretty effective. Vaccination rates remain high, even if they have slumped a bit recently.

We may be at the limits of what can be achieved through public service messaging and need to focus on one-on-one interactions, while keeping the public pro-vaccination message strong.

Luckily, parents who adamantly refuse to vaccinate are in the minority. Unluckily, as the Disneyland outbreak shows, that tiny minority is still needed to keep infectious diseases from rising again. “The reality is that most people do get vaccinated, “Wilson says. “Maybe it’s 90 percent, but you need 95 or 100 percent. It’s challenging to get 100 percent of the population to agree to something. It’s not that there’s a disastrous failure of messaging. It’s that the threshold for success is so high.”

Bethany Brookshire at Science News

Having been in many men’s restrooms, I can state confidently that we are doing a better job on vaccination than we are on hand washing.

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Science for the People: Troublesome Inheritance

sftpThis week, Science for the People is looking at the intersection of race, history and genetics in science writer Nicholas Wade’s 2014 book A Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race and Human History. DNA researcher Jennifer Raff and science journalist David Dobbs share their critiques of the claim that differences between genetically distinct “races” are responsible for global divergence in cultural and political structures. Blogger Scicurious walks us through the (delicious) basics of the scientific method with Cookie Science.

*Josh provides research help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

Stalking Squirrels for Science – A Silent Film

Brought to you by our good friends Bethany Brookshire (aka, @SciCurious) and Scott Lewis with a special thanks to our own Michele Banks’ squirrels.

Please help Bethany and Scott support the #DIYScienceZone at Geek Girl Con 2014.

HT: Brian Switek

5 Very Good Questions

Nature has published a comment by William P. Hanage suggesting ways to inoculate oneself against the hype associated with the burgeoning field of microbiome studies. As Bethany Brookshire (aka, SciCurious) notes, these questions should be applied to any and all research, not just the microbiome.

1. Can experiments distinguish differences that matter?
2. Does the study show causation or just correlation?
3. What is the mechanism?
4. How much do experiments reflect reality?
5. Could anything else explain the results?
paraphrased from William P. Hanage in Nature

Science Caturday: Kitteh Science Week in Review

scilolmap

Our hoomin scicomm friends killed it on the interwebs this week, so all we needed to do was line up a few science kittehs to illustrate their great stories. First up, Bethany Brookshire (@scicurious) in ScienceNews explains the science behind gluten sensitivity, including the meaning of FODMAPS, which are, alas, some kind of carbohydrate and not maps to the fud.

quantumkitteh

Next, Matthew Francis (@DrMRFrancis) explains in Slate why quantum mechanics does NOT explain human consciousness. He can also explain why different kittehs spin in different directions, which may be more useful.

faceplantcat

Finally, over at BoingBoing, Maggie Koerth-Baker (@maggiekb1) delivers a masterful explainer (with gifs!) on the science of faceplanting. If I have a tiny quibble with this piece, it’s that kittehs generally look upon faceplanting as more of an art.

All lolcats via Cheezburger.com