February 23, 2009

right now

elliot is running up and down the hall, being generally cheerful and charming and yet looking vaguely dangerous and exhausted around the eyes.  why exhausted, you ask?  well, because he has skipped his afternoon nap.  this is starting to be a thing.  it's happened at least once, if not twice a week for the last several weeks.

brandon and i were both terrible nappers, so i suppose there is a certain justice to this.  but really i don't think elliot is ready to give up his naps...he just ends up miserable and crabby by 5:30, and it's not good for anyone, let alone him.  anyway, we're trying to experiment with different strategies.  if anyone has afternoon nap strategies, i'd appreciate hearing them.

ps: now he is singing this amazing stomping hard core version of "rain, rain, go away, come again some other day."  it's really intense and involves a lot of wailing on his ukulele.  that has nothing to do with napping, though.  i just thought i'd share.

February 12, 2009

Vaccine anxiety has a day in court

To some readers it's self-evident, but perhaps to a lot of others it might be news that there is currently a widespread fear -- surprisingly widespread -- that vaccines (or certain vaccine combinations, or vaccine preservatives) can cause autism in children.

There's now been a court decision rejecting this claim.
The court said the evidence was overwhelmingly contrary to the parents' claims — and backed years of science that found no risk.

"It was abundantly clear that petitioners' theories of causation were speculative and unpersuasive," the court concluded. (AP) (italics mine)
Lots of articles

This all bears a strange resemblance to the way that debates about evolution have also landed in the courts (in Dover, Pennsylvania, for example).

In both cases, the scientific evidence is out in the open, and quite lopsided in its findings, and so it should, in theory (maybe with the help of the press and the academy), be possible to arrive at a general public consensus. But that system didn't work somehow: consensus fell apart.

So now it falls to a court to reaffirm that the studies are sound, and that they show what they say they show: evolution is a really good theory, and there's no causality between vaccines and autism.

(This article links to an intriguing study which suggests that there could be some link between autism and TV. But it's pretty speculative, and it's just one study.)