I Have No Title For This.

img_2685This is a short but powerful Facebook post from my sister (reprinted with permission) that answers a question I had all my New York life: Why do some homeless guys hit on and harass presumably not-homeless women? When has that ever worked? Well… maybe it’s not about that….

2:00 Wed. afternoon, 40th Street/8th Avenue

Homeless Guy: following me. “Hey lady. Nice ass.”
Me: walks faster.
HG: also increases pace. “Nice ass! Nice ass! Hey Lady! NICE ASS!”
Me: whips around. “I KNOW!”
HG: breaks into toothless grin. “Thank you lady. Thank you for seeing me. You have a good day.”

Why Bernie Sanders Is Amazing On Foreign Policy

photo

Vote Sanders Or Get Off The Pot.

I’m going to keep this short and to the point. Everyone upon everyone says foreign policy is Bernie Sanders’s weakness because he doesn’t seem to want to talk about it.

What is “foreign policy?” Pretty broad brush stroke there, right? It means “The policy regarding not-America. You know… the rest of the world.”

And what do politicians from all American political parties talk about when they talk about foreign policy? Two things: whether or not to build a wall to keep foreigners out and who to kill next. That’s it. That’s the entirety of what we mean by “foreign policy” in this country. Therefore, to not engage this debate on foreign policy is to send a message to the world that you’re not in the business of scapegoating them and/or murdering them. Bernie isn’t going to invade anyone for oil. He isn’t going to keep fighting a non-entity called “terrorism” to line the pockets of war profiteers. He will not abuse the word “defense” as in, In defense of our country…. the way they all do. He just wants to fix things and stop being the world police. Stop pretending that offense is defense. That’s it. The right thing. That’s what he wants to do.

I think that’s a stellar foreign policy the likes of which we have not seen in my adult lifetime. So next time you hear someone give the tired line that he’s weak on foreign policy, ask them what that means. Point them to this post.

The Zika Virus Pandemic and the Astonishing Power of Anecdotes

The Zika Virus Pandemic and the Astonishing Power of Anecdotes

by Guest Blogger,
Dr. Tyler Kokjohn

Look2Zika virus was once an obscure mosquito-borne pathogen primarily of interest only to a handful of virologists.  But a few years ago this essentially unknown virus began spreading and an outbreak that started last May in Brazil may now have involved over a million persons (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/01/16/health/zika-virus-cdc-pregnant-women-travel-warning.html).

The emerging Zika virus pandemic finally captured global attention with reports of an apparent surge in births of children with microcephaly connected to infections during pregnancy.  Strong suspicion that Zika virus might cause this terrible birth defect led the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to issue a travel advisory for persons visiting current epidemic areas and the World Health Organization to declare an international public health emergency (http://www.nytimes.com/2016/02/02/health/zika-virus-world-health-organization.html).

A reasonable abundance of caution have literally forced public health authorities to act based on sketchy reports and uncorroborated perceptions.  Sorting out whether Zika virus infection during pregnancy actually causes or significantly increases the risks of birth defects will take some time.  The hard data required to reveal if the incidence of microcephaly really surged after Zika virus infections is being gathered now.

The current Zika virus situation provides a classic example as to how anecdotal accounts may drive scientific investigations in novel and productive directions.  Still-to-be-substantiated reports suggested something strange and unprecedented was being observed in Brazil.  These accounts compelled fast governmental responses and initiation of full scale research projects to sort out the facts from spurious correlations and possibly erroneous ideas.

Anecdotes can be powerful things.

 

###