Thursday, December 29, 2011

Things are looking up: Vaccination saves lives

Look up, look up, look up. The massage in the sky is that "Vaccination saves lives".

The appearance of Meryl Dorey at the Woodford folk festival has been a major theme for my recent blog posts. But now it seems to be coming to an exciting climax. Meryl talks today. And the grass roots campaigners have a special surprise in store for the president of the Australian Vaccination Network. All Ms Dorey has to do is look up to the sky.

Above: Ms Dorey's write-up in the online program

At this very moment a "Vaccination Saves Lives" banner is being towed by an aircraft over the festival site. The timing coincides with Ms Dorey's talk, due to start at the blue lotus tent any moment. It should be a treat for the festival goers, while being a poke at Ms Dorey's many cries about attempts to suppress free speech.

We encourage the audience to look up to the sky to see how we used our freedom of expression.

More photos (and a great blog) at Skeptimite 

The pro-evidence, pro-science, medical community have tonnes of literature regarding the efficacy of vaccinations. And with the current rise in vaccine preventable diseases, such as whooping cough and measles, it is vital that children and adults alike are vaccinated to improve herd immunity. Most people don't realise that these diseases can result in hospitalisation, long term health concerns and even death.  This is seriously scary stuff!  There is literally a 'body count' associated with anti-vax lies. Babies dying from something this  preventable simply should not happen in this country. This is why public awareness and education is so important. This is why the Stop the AVN does what they do. This is why the "Vaccination Saves Lives" campaign has been launched.

So Woodfordians, look up to the sky.

Vaccination Saves Lives: Stop The Australian Vaccination Network

In response to the first wave of blogs, mainstream media coverage, public out cry and ministerial condemnation, on Christmas eve the Woodford committee announced a  change to the program.  Dorey is no longer given the privilege of a solo presentation based on her lies about autism. Instead she will now be on a panel with Professor Andreas Subrbier, the head of the immunovirology Lab at Qld Institute of Medical Research. It is so nice to see a real medical mind speaking at woo-ford! Of course, we'd rather the mis-information and nonsense spouted by the Australian Vaccination Network was given no platform at all! This is because we expect Meryl Dorey to lie. Never-the-less, it has provided a wonderful opportunity to promote vaccination. Because they really do save lives.

Festival goers should look up, rather than listen to Meryl Dorey's dangerous mis-information.

Unfortunately, for the festival's PR, I feel that their program change may have been too little too late.
  • Wikipedia already has a "controversies" section on the Woodford folk fest page. 
  • The members of the Stop the AVN Facebook group have banned together to arrange this banner and leaflets to be passed out to those attending the forum.
  • This "vaccination saves lives" message from the heavens is bound to draw even more media coverage. 
  • I also happen to know that an army of tweeters and bloggers are poised computer side- right now!
I think it's time to check the barometers. There's another storm on the way!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

The Smart kids present the Ministerial Statement #woodfordff

If you are just joining in the woo-fordgate schandal, go here first (it's a much more articulate post).

Because this is my 3rd blog in as many days, and because I couldn't say it better myself, below is word-for-word the statement from the Queensland minister for health. (Mamamia has picked up on this news, and run a great article here) Please note that the Minister points out how mis-leading the name of the Australian Vaccination Network is, and also that Meryl Dorey talks "nonsense".

But first: This. From Skepchick @SurlyAmy who creates awesome "smart" jewelry.

And now, I present the much anticipated minister's statement:

The Honourable Geoff Wilson

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Parents should vaccinate themselves and their children, Minister for Health Geoff Wilson said today.

Mr Wilson said fringe groups like the misleadingly named ‘Australian Vaccination Network’ are wrong to discourage people from getting vaccinated.

“I love Woodford Folk Festival. I’ve been numerous times. There’s great music, great food and great folk entertainment. Fortunately, there’s enough wonderful things to do at Woodford that patrons have plenty of alternatives rather than sitting through the nonsense Meryl Dorey spouts about vaccination dangers”, Mr Wilson said.

“For the small number of people who might be entertained by what Ms Dorey has to say, Woodford Folk Festival has a place for everyone. Just don’t take her nonsense too seriously.”

“The fact is vaccinations have saved millions of lives. Their invention was a miracle of scientific achievement.”

Queensland’s Chief Health Officer said Queensland Health remained absolutely committed to delivering its immunisation program to as many Queenslanders as possible.

“In the past year hundreds of thousands of Queenslanders have been protected against deadly diseases such as whooping cough, cervical cancer, diphtheria and measles, as well as influenza.” she said.

“The benefits of vaccination are obvious. Between 1930 and 1988, around 40,000 Australians developed paralytic Polio. Now Australia is Polio free.”

“Vaccination prevents potentially fatal conditions like measles, diphtheria and whooping cough.”
“This program saves lives, and we will continue to urge Queenslanders to vaccinate their children against life-threatening illnesses,” Dr Young said.

“Queensland’s vaccination program is extremely safe and is the most effective way to prevent illness and death from vaccine preventable diseases,” she said.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The "Woo-ford scandal": from outraged masses to mainstream media condemnation

Weblogs are the mavericks of the online world. Two of their greatest strengths are their ability to filter and disseminate information to a widely dispersed audience, and their position outside the mainstream of mass media. Beholden to no one, weblogs point to, comment on, and spread information according to thier own, quirky criteria.
(Blood, Rebecca. 2006. the weblog handbook 2006 [accessed 14 Dec 2011] available from

Less than 24 hours ago a wrote a blog "How Meryl Dorey took the last piece of my hippie soul and squashed it into the Woodford mud." Yesterday I commented about how blogs and social media (particularly twitter) had been outraged by the  inclusion of Meryl Dorey (of the disgraced Australian Vaccination Network) in the program of the Woodford Folk Festival. At the time of posting there had been little mainstream media attention (only a news article from mamamia and a radio segment on 2UE). Otherwise, it was only blogs covering the story. It is important to remember that while the 'shit-storm' was mostly contained within the on-line community Mr Bill Haurtiz, festival director, said "We’ve already entered into contracts with Meryl Dorey and we cannot break those contracts now. We’re 10 days away from opening the gates to the festival. The damage is already done."

That's right, "the damage is already done".

Anyway, I expressed that, in my opinion, it was wrong for the festival's public relations team to ignore the blogosphere. If Mr Haurtiz had heeded this warning, he my have avoided, what will prove to be, already is a PR nightmare.

Blogs are powerful, grass-roots journalism. Coupled with social media networking, blogs can be used as a tool for activism, and for gaining mainstream media attention. In the age of easy-to-use blogging sites (like this one; blogger), everyone can publish and distribute their news stories. Facebook and Twitter make for much faster distribution of that news than the traditional newsagents. And the multi-layering of information via hyperlinks allows the blogger to include  mammoth amounts of further reading. Some blogs reach an incredibly wide audience, some bloggers are very influential or important people, and still more bloggers have contacts in the mainstream media. And before you can say "Woo-Ford Scandal"- *BAM*-, you have some serious bad press on your hands!

The tale of PR woe which follows, is testament to why you don't ignore the bloggers.
Since yesterday, Woodford has taken an international battering. In the local media, the Brisbane Times have called for a medical doctor to counter Dorey's propaganda. Honestly, I think a right of reply is the least the Festival can do. 101.5FM  radio have stated that, apparently, the Morton Bay Regional Council do NOT endorse the "anti-vaccination campaigner".  The Sunshine Coast Daily have commented on the "media storm [which] has erupted over listing Meryl Dorey" at the festival. It was in this article that Mr Bill Haurtiz said that the matter will be referred onto the festival council.

So, let me get this straight, Mr Haurtiz. Yesterday there was nothing you could do. But today you realize that you can in fact refer the matter to the festival council? Interesting.

Woodford, in your arrogant dismissal of the power of the internet to reach and influence a massive audience, you have brought this "damage" upon yourself.

And, dear Mr Haurtiz, there is more direct action to come. We are gathering numbers. Blogs, it seems, can be used a 'call to action' as well.   

See these feet? They are the feet of grass-roots activism,
 and they're coming 
to a folk festival near you

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How Meryl Dorey took the last piece of my hippie soul and squashed it into the Woodford mud.

This is me with my Mum. We're at the Woodford folk festival. For years I have been going. It's almost a Christmas time tradition. It always rains, and it's always muddy. Unfortunately I moved far away four years ago, and have only been back twice since. I love the music at Woodford. I love the dancing at Woodford. I love the different cultural displays at Woodford. I couldn't wait to take my daughter to the child's festival at Woodford, in a couple of years. I couldn't wait to see how the organizers had integrated the "Dreaming" festival into the folk festival. And the FOOD! Awesome. It's something about the atmosphere (and I don't mean just the 'exciting' smoking wafting around). I even took to saying that "everyone needs a little more woodford in their lives"

On my last couple of visits up to the festival I became more aware of the sheer amount of 'woo' on offer along side the hare krishna vegan lunches and Bollywood dancing workshops. There are palm readings, crystals and reiki . With a little bit of critical thinking, google and logic, one will quickly find that these practices are pseudo-scientific and fantasy. "Buy hey," I shrugged "It's just a bit of fun". It was a hippie festival after-all. And that's why I liked it. It's not like anyone was getting hurt...

You've heard the saying "It's all fun and games until someone gets poked in the eye". Well, the Woodford folk festival is the fun, the person doing the poking is Meryl Dorey of the Australian Vaccination Network and putting children at risk of vaccine preventable diseases is a lot more serious than a poke in the eye!

Let me explain. The Woodford Folk Festival  has invited the anti-vaccination lobbyist, to speak this year. Meryl Dorey has been investigated by the New South Wales Health Care Complaints Commission, and the report for the Australian Vaccination Network wasn't exactly complimentary. So, as a result of her inclusion on this year's "wooford" line-up, the social network sites and blogs have gone crazy! (Check out tweets to @woodfordff ) And so they should. The Woodford folk festival is posing a risk to public health and risking the lives of children. Meryl Dorey spreads mis-information about vaccination. If impressionable festival goes listen to her un-truths they could be lead to believe vaccination is too harmful for their children, and themselves. Ms Dorey, of course, doesn't tell of the dangers of contracting the diseases that these vaccines prevent. Australia is in the middle of a whooping cough and measles epidemic, and it's deadly.

It's not like the organizers are unaware of the public's concerns about Meryl Dorey. There have been copious letters written, tweets tweeted and contact from media for comment. While a public relations officer might believe (wrongly in my opinion) that blogs can be ignored, interaction with mainstream media should definitely be high on the PR priority list. Mamamia was the first to publish an article on their website: "Woodford folk festival allows dangerous anti-vax women to speak" and this afternoon Tracey Spicer publicity pulled them to pieces on 2UE radio.

So, now me. This has been quite a monumental moment in "journey to self identity". I've admitted many times before I was so far down the rabbit hole there seemed little hope I'd ever escape from wonderland. Through my association with some awesome critical thinkers I have grown into a far more reasonable person. Well, at least a more reason'ing' person. But I have held onto woodford. It was the bit of my dark past I wasn't ready ditch just yet. But, alas, it is time to let go.

Thank you Meryl Dorey for taking the last piece of my hippie soul and squashing it into the Woodford mud.

EDIT: oops, There is always something I forgot to say, and here it is:
Since the festival itself is completely non-responsive to both public and media inquiries, attention has been turned to the sponsors. All contact information can be found on "A Drunken wiki".

UPDATE: Festival Executive Director Bill Hauritz says: go ahead and boycott the woodford folk festival. Seems he doesn't care about public health and safety, science or facts. Lame response Mr Hauritz, not good enough

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Judeo-christian values and quality of life

So Ethics classes are a hot topic in the media again. On Saturday it was all about a New South Wales government inquiry, and Fred Nile still wanting to put a stop to the classes.  I actually get excited every-time Fred Nile jumps up in parliament and rips on the secular ethics classes. It always starts this whirlwind of debate about religious education and the benefits of philosophical ethics for children. I think Fred Nile is creating a bit of the Streisand effect, and unwittingly promoting the questioning of the current laws surrounding religion in schools across the country. And so, for a nice change of pace, it was Queensland in the paper today.

Personally I hope that more states follow New South Wales' lead and introduce a secular alternative to scripture (RE, SRE, RI or whatever else you want to call it). But, I digress. The title of this blog, "Judeo-christian values and quality of life" pretty much sums up what I wanted to blog about. There is a common argument that Western countries, like Australia, are some of the best places in the world to live because of their Judeo-christian values. I have read this time and time again. I have a couple of observations about this. If it is indeed Christianity which has helped us out so much, I'm at a loss explain the enormous divide in the quality of life between my country and those in Latin and South America. And check out the Gaza strip. Plenty of Jews around there, and surely they at least have the "Judeo" part of the values.

I'm not saying that  "Don't steal, Don't kill, Don't lie" aren't pretty good guidelines and that Jesus didn't have some pretty neat proverbs to help with understanding morals and ethics. What I am saying is that this can't be the only thread of morality holding our society together, and probably isn't the reason for their success. I'm going support this argument with another personal observation:

Civil Rights. Free Market. The Enlightenment

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Bugging my MP about Primary ethics classes.. again

Rev. Fred Nile thinks he has the upper hand an declared war on Primary Ethics classes, again. And again, I have written to my State Member. I urge you to do the same if you are appalled that Rev Nile would use our children as a "trump card" to manipulate the government to get his own way.

The following is an adapted version of my letter:

The issue of Primary ethics is one close to my heart. I've been following it since April last year. I watched the success of the pilot. And now I teach the ethics class at my local school.

I understand that politics often involves power plays and manipulation, it come with the territory. Rev Nile has always made his opinions regarding the Ethics classes well known and this stunt really wasn't surprising. But please allow me to give you some quick facts about the Primary Ethics program and my experiences in the classroom. As of June 2011, Primary Ethics had started 180 Ethics classes in 128 schools across the state, teaching about 2700 students in Years 5&6 each week. Primary Ethics managers claim that there are about 100,000 children whose parents opt their kids out of SRE classes, and we are offering an alternative (it is not compulsory) to that section of each school. 

These classes promote higher order thinking. They are philosophy classes. Ethics is the study of the concepts involved in practical reasoning: good, bad, freedom, virtues, rationality... etc (according to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy). In these classes children learn to investigate how they behave in a moral context, and why they choose to do it. The curriculum puts a strong emphasis on reasoning. Without realizing it (or being able to define it in the same way as a university philosophy text book might), the students in my class have learned to recognise "circular reasoning". Rather than state "Your premise assumes the conclusion", they'll say "you've just said the same thing twice". But in its most simplistic form, the class is learning to see logical flaws in others arguments. While this may have created an issue 6 months ago, being a potential chance to "put someone down" they have also learned to respect each other. Fallacious arguments are pointed out with care and consideration. Students will often then reflect upon the comments of their classmates. Furthermore, the children love the classes. They are held right before lunch recess, and yet there is a communal groan when I tell them it's over.

Now, for my personal opinion. Keeping in mind the critical analysis skills these students are learning, the fact the ethics teachers require formal training and ongoing monitoring and that the curriculum has been approved by the DEC (formerly known as the DET) I can see possible validity in the argument, from those who oppose the classes, that the SRE children are disadvantaged by not attending the ethics course. I disagree that cancelling ethics is the answer. Surely the solution would be to fight for inquiry based learning, and higher order thinking to become more widely spread throughout the entire general curriculum, rather than scrapping the only subject based on philosophy.

I then finished be asking my PM to fight to keep the Liberal Party's promise not to cancel the program.
I ask that you write to your member if this issue is important to you too.

Over, and Out

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

It's a national treasure:

Just a random doodle I drew while on "hold" to a government department.

(It's a parsnip. If you don't get it, that would be because you don't hang with the cool kids enough. But it's ok, dweebs, today is your lucky day. I'm going to let you in on the joke. During June a current affairs program 60 minutes run this great report on vaccination in Australia. It's worth watching the entire film, but pay particular attention around 2:15. Listen out of the mention of a "National teasure" and see if you can spot the parsnip box. I hope you find it as entertaining as we did )

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Let's admit it, it's not like you'll use it again

It's come up a couple of times on twitter now. The topic of body donation to a university for Medical teaching. Death really isn't something that people like to talk about much. But in my relatively short time in the skeptical and atheist (and admittedly nerd-tastic) community I've found that these reasonable people seem to be the most comfortable with their imminent demise.

These skeptics are overwhelming pro-science and medicine. Many of them have chosen careers in these fields. They understand the importance of medical research and high quality training for student doctors. They are also amazingly generous. With their time and skills devoted to the education and promotion of science, or the public debunking of misinformation and pseudo-science. They are also generous with their blood and tissues (ewww icky bodily stuff) with many proudly proclaiming that they donate plasma, platelets and blood regularly and are on the organ donor register.

However, few are aware that you can make advance preparations to send your body off to the local Uni. Furthermore, the Unis will collect the tab for the transport your life-less form, embalming and cremation. That's right, it's on the house. They only keep you around for about four years. Then they pack up your ashes and send them to your loved ones (I've asked mine to then plant a tree with burnt-up little me at the bottom of the hole for fertilizer. I wonder what your relatives will do with you?)

If you are interested, here are some links for body donation information at a University near you. And why not? By the time those slimy med students get their hands on your body, you won't be around to care.
Brisbane ; Newcastle ; Sydney ; Wollongong ; Melbourne ; Adelaide ; Tasmania   ; Perth

Edit: James Cook University in North Queensland wants you too.
And if you plant a tree on someone's ashes you need to know how acid/alkaline that plant likes its soil, or you could kill the poor thing.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Now we're a criminal gang of hypocrites*

Well, yesterday, Meryl Dorey blogged about the recent false DMCA's filed against the Stop the Australian Vaccination Network (SAVN).  "In two hours, I filed approximately 50 copyright claims against various Facebook members for using screenshots of my posts without my permission." (Dorey, M, 2011). I had wondered how long it would take the person responsible to own up. Only a couple of Days apparently. It is clear that Ms Dorey believes that anything she says or does is automatically copyright. "I know that my words, my images and my posts are my own and they have no right to use them for any purpose without my express permission."(Dorey M,2011) This includes the comments I highlighted, made on the ABC 4corners forum (I wonder if the ABC has Ms Dorey's express permission to archive her forum responses?). It is also apparent that she doesn't understand that concept of Fair Use (as it is known as in the US) or Fair Dealing (essentially the same in Australian). If you've been following this saga, you'll know that the reproduction of material that is copyright is allowable for the propose of criticism, and that I went to some length to ensure the screenshot was properly referenced. There was no doubt about where it had come from, are who had made the statement "Measles is NOT a serious disease" (Dorey M, 2005). 

The blog titled "Hypocrisy- thy name is 'SAVN'" Describes the extreme lengths that AVN members have had to go through to feel safe using the social networking site. I too have worried about my family being victimsed, and blocked access to photos for anyone outside a customised list of approved viewers. I have increased security has strongly as I can, I have blocked accounts of known harassers, I blog and tweet under the alias Eggrings (admittedly, it's not a particularly good alias). One can make the links between the "real" me and Eggrings, but I didn't want it to be easy. My point is, this is nasty. Both sides are feeling that insure on the internet. But, really, learning to protect yourself on the internet isn't a bad skill to have anyway.

Ms Dorey also continues to harp on about the pornographic images Personal Messaged to her, and fellow AVN members. This did happen. Ms Dorey has every right to be appalled, offended, and pursue any legal action she sees fitting. At the time that this occurred, I was still new to the SAVN, and didn't really catch everything that was unfolding. What I DO know is that this behavior was never condoned by the SAVN. In fact most members of the SAVN facebook page were appalled and offended too.  Ms Dorey only quickly mentions that this was a "member of the SAVN page (to be fair, SAVN did kick this person off after they were alerted to his abusive messages) "(Dorey M, 2011) As one Facebook member of the SAVN said "blink and you'll miss it".  From Ms Dorey's blog, one could be easily lead to believe this was common practice on our group site "Indeed, abuse and harassment is their stock in trade."(Dorey M, 2011). 

Finally, Ms Dorey has missed the fact that she my in fact be committing an illegal act by lodging these DMCA's. Without an understanding of the acceptable grounds of Fair Dealing and Fair Use of copyright material, it could be easy to see why the posting of someone else's comments may appear to be an infringement of copyright. But, for the reasons I've already outlined, I believe I was within the law when I posted the screenshot. This being the case, Ms Dorey has filed a false DMCA against me- and 50 other images on the SAVN website. This is illegal.

In closing:

The AVN has gone and spoiled all of their fun and they are not going to come out and play any more until Facebook says they are sorry and returns all of their vile posts to where they were previously.   
Nearly right Meryl. I am using the Facebook appeal process because the 'rights and responsibilities' page says that I can. They don't need to say 'sorry', just do the right thing, in accordance with their own rules. But I do want the "...vile posts [returned] to where they were.."(Dorey M,2011) Because you are the author of a great many of the comments contained in these images.    

The following is referenced is using the Chicago system, and has been carefully denoted at the bottom of my blog, for the benefit of Ms Meryl Dorey and her loyal AVN members:
Dorey. M., 2011, "Hypocrisy- thy name is SAVN" in Living Wisdom [blog], May 2, available World Wide Web URL: (accessed 3 May, 2011) 

*Please note that Ms Dorey didn't coin this term. Nor did she call the SAVN 'a gang' at any point in this blog (well, no where that I saw)


Sunday, May 1, 2011

I am NOT a criminal

So, after a full day of Public Relations down at the park in my SES uniform. I've come home and filed a DMCA counter-notice with facebook. Addressing the fact that the image was reproduced for the purpose of commentary and criticism and therefore came under Fair Use under Part 3 Division 3 of the Australian copyright act 1968 . I have also pointed out:

"The Facebook group from which my image was removed has had several allegations made against them. I believe that is it another organisation, or perhaps simply one member of this organisation, misusing Facebook's reporting tool as a way of bullying and intimidating our members"...

..That I consider it harassment. Furthermore, I don't take lightly, the allegation that I was involved criminal activity. I also implored Facebook conduct a thorough investigation, and if it was uncovered that the repeated DMCA submissions were baseless, malicious and false that the offender face appropriate disciplinary actions.  

The free market of ideas will triumph!

That is all for now. 

Saturday, April 30, 2011

My alleged copyright criminal activity:

Logged onto facebook this morning to find this notice:

Turns out that some one was very busy censoring the StopAVN page last night. Resulting in the disabling of 2 accounts of fellow StopAVN facebook group members. In case you were wondering. Here is the post, from the 24th of April complete with referencing:

And naturally there are very few ways of contesting these allegations. Apparently all a user needs to do is report a possible infringement. Then without any checking up on the legitimacy of the claim, facebook pulls the picture. Copyright, of course, allows for what is called Fair use.  This comment was loaded for the purpose of commentary and criticism, which are both terms of fair use.

Nice way to censor the market-place of ideas, huh Meryl?

(Not that I can be sure it was Meryl. However, the likelihood of it being someone from the Australian Vaccination Network is high, due to the large amount of content removed from the StopAVN page.)

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

National Identity replacing Religious Identity as a way of forming "Imagined communities"

This link will take you to the ABC Drum where there is an audio interview with Scott Stephens. Mr Stephens is the Online Editor of Religion and Ethics for the ABC. In this interview, at about 11:10 Scott Stephens mentions that only stupid people would not acknowledge the important role of religion in 'binding people together or creating associations".

Perhaps in the past.

Baldwin, et al, Recognize the decline in organised religion in western societies and that westerns tend to create their "imagined communities' around ideas of National identity instead (2004, "introducing cultural studies" Pearson Education Limitied. pp157-158, 167, 289)

At this point I should mention that in sociology, a nation is an imagined community because the members if this community will never meet most of their fellow members, nor will they visit every historically, culturally or geographically significant place. But neither the less, members of this national community find a sense of identity and belonging to each other and these places. "It is only in the imagination that collectivities of this scale can exist" (Baldwin, et al, 2004, p158)   

But it's not like this new 'national identity' isn't without it's issues. It's built just as much upon exclusion as any other imagined community, including religions. But they are territoriality based exclusions. And the idea of national comradeship glosses over any inequalities experienced by the peoples of that nation. And in effect this lessens the social awareness of the plights of marginal groups. But this idea of mateship between Aussies seems to fit more snuggly in with the Australian world-view, than 'Christian based values'. 

Christians might think that the string of tragic world and local events in the past few months will drive more people to church in search of answers this Easter. And maybe so. But I argue that the "binding together of people" and the practice of symbolic rituals will happen down at the Pub, over a game of two-up on Anzac day


I'm so clever.

After creating this on the beach the other day, I think I now consider myself a bit of an artist. 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Eternity seems like a pretty long time anyway

I was driving my daughter home from daycare yesterday afternoon, when it happened. It was in the window of one of those houses that's all 'workers cottage' old and red bricked, but on the most beautiful block: over looking the beach, the mouth of the river and out to the islands. There was a BIG, dodgey- microsoft word print-out that looked a bit like this:

Where will

Be for all ETERNITY?

"Dead, more than likely"- was my instant thought
But as I cruised along, singing wiggles and admiring the clear blue water I realized that my overly-outspoken atheist partner has a rather alarming delusion. He obviously doesn't believe in heaven, but while I contemplate the concept of 'ceasing to exist' and 'nothingness', he clings to the hope that he'll be uploaded into a computer.

That's right. His own personal back-up drive.

Now I've told him that it doesn't seem particularly likely. Although he says he agrees, I think he still hopes. We're all afraid of THE END (and I want mine written in curly writing like in old films). But to consider oneself to be reasonable, and then hope for a science-fiction miracle... well I'm no scientist, or Trekkie so I'm hardly an expert, and  maybe we're closer than I think (not-likely)... But eternity seems like a pretty long time anyway

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Take one Headache to detox the cool-aid

Those who know me, know that in my past life I well and truly drank the cool-aid. Any cool-aid, peddled by any snake-oil merchant. Yes, I was neck deep in the woo. And at the first signs of a head-cold I fell straight back into my old ways. I loaded on the garlic (meant to be an antibiotic), drunk my body weight in orange juice (for the vitamin c) and started my routine of lymphatic drainage massage.

There may (or may not) be some level of credibility in the garlic claim and at least the orange juice was keeping me hydrated, but lymphatic drainage? During a warm shower, which did wonders for my crashing headache, it occurred to me that I learned all about this Lymph-stuff while I was studying at the Australian College of Natural Medicine. Maybe that shower is responsible for finally clearing my mind, but the alarm bells started to ring.

I Googled it.

What I found was that Lymphatic Drainage was used to "detox" and "remove toxins". Oh no. Furthermore, the only clinics to offer a lymph massage service were, you guessed it, Natural therapies clinics. Even Wikipedia said:

" Scientific studies show mixed results regarding the efficacy of the method"
"studies on animals has MLDT (Manual lymphatic drainage treatment) been shown to increase lymph uptake and thoracic duct flow, but the same evidence has not yet been shown for human subjects"

My heart sank. The moment I felt sick, achy and sore I lost all ability to critically think. I reached straight my old pseudo-science, placebo at-best, treatments from my dark past. And just for the record- my debilitating headaches (I would go as far as to said they were migraines)  knocked me out for 2 days, during which time it appears these remedies did very little. Anecdotal or not, the fact remains that, my cold still rages. If anything, it's worse. But I finally have a GP appointment at 3 pm this afternoon. Bring on the Science!