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I’m a baaaaaaaaad boy!

It looks my last post was approaching one year ago, and I wasn’t doing so well writing consistently before that!  All right, I’ll try to be better.  I’m not fooling myself though.  I won’t be publishing every day, and maybe not even every week.  But perhaps I can at least start churning out some posts on research again, incentivized by this site.  It’s nice to see that someone out there is making a site that can be a clearing house for good (hopefully) research blogging.

A quick personal update:  I’m now a faculty member at the UUMC, have a few decent publications under my belt, a couple of which have gotten a little attention in my narrow sphere, and am generally doing OK.  Still working on my thesis in epidemiology; just starting the real work actually, and better get a move on because there’s lot’s to be done.  I still see patients, but not all that often; most of my time is spent doing research or educating (or pretending to do one or the other while I good off).

Hope to see you again soon …

More political bullshit

This time from Rudy. Factcheck.org has the story.

Giuliani falsely claims that only 44 percent of prostate cancer patients survive under “socialized medicine” in England.

Summary

In a new radio ad, Rudy Giuliani falsely claims that under England’s “socialized medicine” system only 44 percent of men with prostate cancer survive.

We tracked down the source of that number, which turns out to be the result of bad math by a Giuliani campaign adviser, who admits to us that his figure isn’t “technically” a survival rate at all. Furthermore, the co-author of the study on which Giuliani’s man based his calculations tells us his work is being misused, and that the 44 percent figure is both wrong and “misleading.” A spokesperson for the lead author also calls the figures “incorrect survival statistics.”

It’s true that official survival rates for prostate cancer are higher in the U.S. than in England, but the difference is not nearly as high as Giuliani claims. And even so, the higher survival rates in the U.S. may simply reflect more aggressive diagnosing of non-lethal cancers, according to the American Cancer Society.

Actually, men with prostate cancer are more likely to die sooner if they don’t have health insurance, according to a recent study published in one of the American Medical Association’s journals. Giuliani doesn’t mention that.

If there’s one thing that gets my goat, its the blatant misuse of statistics.  This isn’t even subtle, or an honest error.  It’s the deliberate twisting of facts to fit ones own pre-conceived beliefs and it is simply not acceptable.

Please folks, treat the ‘facts’ of our politicians with healthy skepticism and visit sites like factcheck.org to help dispel the nonsense.

I’ve Finished Harry Potter

Finished about 2 days ago. Don’t worry, I won’t give anything away – spoilers piss me off. But it was a good read. I will say, though, that there are LOTS of hints about what will happen in the other books, and if you’ve read carefully you’ll have a pretty good sense of where things are going. Reading the other 6 books just before reading the last one really helps everything to make sense too. On the other hand, Rowling once again introduces some new elements which help keep you guessing.

Oh, and my timing was perfect! I was just finishing up book VI when book VII arrived in the mail! I went from one right into the other. I think my wife will be very happy that I’m finally finished with all of them; I’ve been a little preoccupied for the last few weeks!

Anyway, if you haven’t read the Deathly Hallows yet, get moving!

Maybe one day I’ll start writing about rheumatology again …

P.S. For those of you who have finished, this site has some thoughts on the book, its good parts and its problems. Some of the writers make some very good points about a few of the latter. Lots of spoilers though, so check it out only if you’re done.

Speaking of Harry Potter Covers …

… have you seen the adult edition covers? Some of them are pretty cool.

Preparing for Harry

… and by the way, I don’t know about you but I’m preparing for the release of Harry Potter VII by re-reading the rest of the series. I hope that it will arrive in the mail right about the time I’m ready for it.

The Logic of the President

I’m posting the following without other comment.  It’s written by Richard Schmitt of the LA Times.  He is quoting U.S. District Judge Reggie B. Walton, who heard the Scooter Libbey case and sentenced him.

“In light of these considerations … it is fair to say that the court is somewhat perplexed as to how its sentence could accurately be characterized as ‘excessive,’ ” Walton wrote.

“Although it is certainly the president’s prerogative to justify the exercise of his constitutional commutation power in whatever manner he chooses, the court notes that the term of incarceration imposed in this case was determined after a careful consideration of each of the requisite statutory factors.”

The 30-month sentence for Libby, Walton observed, was at the low end of federal sentencing guidelines. The Bush administration and the Justice Department, he pointed out, have been strong proponents of those guidelines for judges, which are supposed to ensure that defendants in federal cases receive similar sentences for the same crimes.

“Indeed, only recently the president’s attorney general called for the passage of legislation to ‘restore the binding nature of the sentencing guidelines so that the bottom of the recommended sentencing range would be a minimum for judges, not merely a suggestion,’” Walton wrote.

Killer!

I’ve never heard of either of these performers before (David Armand and Natalie Imbruglia), but this is awesome!

Here’s some more David Armand.

Thanks, as always, to Neatorama.

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