Seven Quick Takes

1. This is a great take on science reporting, and the news in general.

“…in a news market overflowing with facts, facts by themselves go unsold; they require a story—and that story … needs some kind of bias on the part of the author, ‘a pair of lenses that slide over reality and aim to bring it more clearly into focus.’ You can see what he means: our capacity to produce data on everything requires packaging; otherwise, it is like finding oneself in a library where all the books have been disassembled into piles of paragraphs, sentences and words. Our consumption of information requires an algorithm of narrative and the perspective of bias in order to produce focus. The problem — the presiding problem of our knowledge economy — is whether we end up focusing on something that’s actually true.”

I really love the author of this post – Trevor Butterworth. He has written a lot of good, interesting stuff for Forbes, and posts good stuff on twitter as @butterworthy (extra points for a hilarious handle/last name).

2. Following that piece indicating that bias is what makes us engage on this stuff in the first place, this article meshes pretty well with my biases. And dang, it would have been useful in that vaccine discussion on Jen’s facebook wall a week or two ago. The study the article describes several fact-based interventions aiming to change parental intent to vaccinate. The study authors sum things up well:

“None of the interventions increased parental intent to vaccinate a future child. Refuting claims of an MMR/autism link successfully reduced misperceptions that vaccines cause autism but nonetheless decreased intent to vaccinate among parents who had the least favorable vaccine attitudes. In addition, images of sick children increased expressed belief in a vaccine/autism link and a dramatic narrative about an infant in danger increased self-reported belief in serious vaccine side effects.”

Damn, that’s depressing. It only included 1800 ish parents, and I don’t have access to the full text, so I’m hoping the entrenched anti-vaxxers were a small group of people, thereby hindering broad extrapolation. But, well, it jives pretty well with every facebook interaction I have had ever, basically. Ok, that’s enough science for today (I’m saving y’all from a ranty tirade about BPA. BE GLAD.).

3. Hazel finally learned how to roll over! (On Monday, I think it was.) I will miss wee stranded turtle baby. Partially because it was the one surefire thing I could do if I needed to stash her somewhere for a minute. Girlfriend is on the MOVE. Other achievements recently unlocked: shaking her head no, pulling up to standing (and one ill-advised attempt at standing up unassisted, in the middle of the kitchen. NO MA’AM.), crawling over and frequently beaching herself on all manner of roadblocks. Remaining unsavory features: loud screamy yelling at random intervals, refusal to transition to swaddle free lifestyle, preference for late(r than 9:00 pm) bedtime. Made up for by: being the snuggliest monkey baby on the planet.

4. My brother is coming out to the boonies of central Washington for work next week and gets to stay a night with us, and I’m super excited. Hoping I can find somewhere good between here and Portland (where he flies out of) that we can go snowshoeing. I am REAL BAD at figuring this stuff out, as the funky microclimates of the NW are super confusing to me. Suggestions welcome, if you know of anything good. Also, I have to decide if it makes more sense to bring Hazel or my breastpump with me. To go snow shoeing. With my brother. #awkward

5. Speaking of pumps and my baby, I have several work related trips looming in the next two months, and I’m super curious to see how this pans out with Miss Bertie. Kevin has been handling a lot more of Hazel’s wake ups (or, more accurately, refusal to go to sleep in the first place), and I know he’ll be totally fine – and he is a champ at dealing with lack of sleep, if things go poorly. I distinctly remember my first work trip after Eliza was born. She was about five weeks old, and I remember feeling kind of superfluous as I packed up my pump and had no wise words to impart to Kevin about what Eliza might need in my absence, because he was the one who fed her and put her to sleep every night. It is very different this time, but we’ve made a lot of strides in the past month or so that leave me feeling like a) Hazel won’t miss me THAT much and b) Kevin won’t lose his fool mind trying to keep her fed and rested. Also I know Hazel can be, in many ways, a lot easier and more laid back when I’m not around (goes way longer between feedings, takes legit naps, etc.), so I’m wondering if it’ll just be no big deal. So, you know, now that I’m feeling like she’ll probably be just fiiiine, I’ll move on to worrying about my milk supply and if she’ll decide nursing is for the birds*. Can’t just have my brain sitting around, all idle like, now can we?

6. It is my niece’s second birthday today, and as per usual, I have not mailed her present yet. I am the actual worst at gifts, especially of the on time variety. I was talking with a close friend about this – her love language is timely and thoughtful gifts, and mine is NOT. (The love language thing mostly cracks me up – I’m being tongue in cheek when I use it. My love language is playing with my hair, if you’re wondering.) The conversation centered on the possible completion of the second half of her Christmas gift by the end of the month. The gift was: a pair of gloves. Well, half of a pair. A single glove. Anyway, I have talked about this before, so I won’t beat it to death, but let me just say: if I forget your birthday, or a thank you note, or I remember them but send it a month/year late, I AM SORRYYYY. Truly. I am working on this. I will get better, I hope, before my own kids are old enough to realize how terrible I am in this arena. Also, I take back any and all smirking I did at my father for not being able to spit out my or my brother’s birth dates off the top of his head at any given moment we decided to pop quiz him. I am seriously considering engraving my kids’ birthdays on my wedding ring, next to my anniversary, so I have half a shot in hell. (mental note: get a bigger wedding ring.) ANYWAYS. Lucy, a box will come next week! I’m the worst! But I love you!

7. It is 65 degrees out and I can see a little bit of blue sky, and OH, SPRING. I am so excited. I am taking my kids to the damn park. What are you up to this weekend?

*Well if that isn’t a terrible application of this idiom, I don’t know what is.

This entry was posted in breastfeeding, ephemera, Grumpy Toxicologist, little bears, Me me me, Science!, trawling the interwebs. Bookmark the permalink.

3 Responses to Seven Quick Takes

  1. Jesabes says:

    That vaccine article made me want to bash my head against the wall.

  2. HereWeGoAJen says:

    I am pretty bad at birthdays and anniversaries and the like too. I try to make up for it by being awesome at Christmas (because that is once a year and I can do everyone at once and I always know it is coming) but it’s not really cutting it. My new plan is to make up a huge list of everyone’s dates and buy all the stuff at the beginning of the year. I came up with this idea last year. I have not done it yet.

  3. Robin says:

    Ugh to the Vax article. But I kind of knew that already…. confirmation bias? :)

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