jm + facts   8

The science behind "don't drink when pregnant" is rubbish
As the economist Emily Oster pointed out in her 2013 book Expecting Better, there is also no “proven safe” level of Tylenol or caffeine, and yet both are fine in moderation during pregnancy. Oster pored through reams of research on alcohol and pregnancy for her book and concluded that there is simply no scientific evidence that light drinking during pregnancy impacts a baby’s health. (In one frequently cited 2001 study that suggested light drinking in pregnancy increases the chances of a child displaying aggressive behaviors, the drinkers were also significantly likelier to have taken cocaine during pregnancy.)


My wife also followed the paper trail on this issue in the past. In the papers from which these recommendations were derived, the level of drinking at which any effects were observed in babies was when women consumed at least *9 units every day* for the entire pregnancy. That's an entire bottle of wine, daily!
booze  alcohol  science  facts  papers  medicine  emily-oster  babies  pregnancy  pre-pregnant  research 
february 2016 by jm
Study: You Can't Change an Anti-Vaxxer's Mind
According to a major new study in the journal 'Pediatrics', trying to [persuade anti-vaxxers to vaccinate] may actually make the problem worse. The paper tested the effectiveness of four separate pro-vaccine messages, three of which were based very closely on how the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) itself talks about vaccines. The results can only be called grim: Not a single one of the messages was successful when it came to increasing parents' professed intent to vaccinate their children. And in several cases the messages actually backfired, either increasing the ill-founded belief that vaccines cause autism or even, in one case, apparently reducing parents' intent to vaccinate.
vaccination  health  measles  mmr  autism  facts  via:mrneutron  stupidity  cdc  papers  vaccines 
february 2015 by jm
From Gongkai to Open Source
This is an amazing post from Bunnie Huang, reverse engineering the Mediatek MT6260 to make "Fernvale", an open, hackable reference platform. Also worth noting for the "facts are not copyrightable" section regarding the legality of extracting memory locations and bitmasks from a copyrighted include file...

'We released Fernvale because we think it’s imperative to exercise our fair use rights to reverse engineer and create interoperable, open source solutions. Rights tend to atrophy and get squeezed out by competing interests if they are not vigorously exercised; for decades engineers have sat on the sidelines and seen ever more expansive patent and copyright laws shrink their latitude to learn freely and to innovate. I am saddened that the formative tinkering I did as a child is no longer a legal option for the next generation of engineers. The rise of the Shanzhai and their amazing capabilities is a wake-up call. I see it as evidence that a permissive IP environment spurs innovation, especially at the grass-roots level. If more engineers become aware of their fair use rights, and exercise them vigorously and deliberately, perhaps this can catalyze a larger and much-needed reform of the patent and copyright system.'

Freedom to tinker!
opensource  china  gongkai  tinkering  reverse-engineering  bunnie-huang  open-source  mediatek  copyright  facts  fair-use  shanzhai  patents 
december 2014 by jm
Ingenious Dublin
Excellent stuff, by Mary Mulvihill:

Where in Dublin can you see a Victorian diving bell? What about the skeleton of Tommy, the prince’s elephant? The site of the world’s first earthquake experiment? Or the world’s sports pirate radio broadcast? Our new e-book Ingenious Dublin has all these fascinating stories and more. It is packed with information, places to visit, and lots of illustrations, and covers the city and county, from Skerries windmills to Ballybetagh’s fossil deer.'


EUR 4.99 for the Kindle e-book. I'll buy that!
kindle  reading  books  mary-mulvihill  science  facts  dublin  ireland  history 
october 2012 by jm
Facts still sacred despite Ireland's spectrum of conflicting views on abortion - The Irish Times - Fri, Jun 29, 2012
Very good data-driven analysis.

"Pro-life” groups claim abortion is a serious mental health risk for women. Youth Defence claims women who opt for an abortion rather than carrying to term or giving the baby up for adoption suffer mental maladies such as depression, suicide and other problems. But this is at heart a scientific claim, and can thus be tested. [...]

Psychologist Dr Brenda Majors studied this in depth and found no evidence that ["post-abortion syndrome"] exists. As long as a woman was not depressive before an abortion, “elective abortion of an unintended pregnancy does not pose a risk to mental health”.

The same results were found in several other studies [...] Essentially these studies found there was no difference in mental health between those who opted for abortion and those who carried to term. Curiously, there was a markedly increased risk to mental health for women who gave a child up for adoption.

A corollary of the research was that while women did not suffer long-term mental health effects due to abortion, short-term guilt and sadness was far more likely if the women had a background where abortion was viewed negatively or their decisions were decried -- the kind of attitude fostered by “pro-life” activists."
pro-choice  pro-life  abortion  data  facts  via:irish-times  research  science  pregnancy  depression  pas 
june 2012 by jm
Facts Are Sacred
A new Irish news site with some familiar names. 'What is a fact? In philosophy, a fact is something that makes a statement true. In science, it is a verifiable observation. In our case, we take a fact to be something that we can provably demonstrate to be true. This means that we can check the truth of a statement about the current state of affairs but we cannot check claims about the future. Inevitably, as the evidence gets more granular, our view of a fact can change but we should take the scientific approach of going where the evidence leads us, rather than the all too common habit today of starting with a conclusion and looking for supporting data. We are holding ourselves to a high standard and we want you to call us on it where you believe we have fallen short. It is more important that, as readers and writers, we collaborate to put verifiable facts into our daily discourse rather than that we save face. We are looking forward to what we’re sure will be a challenging and rewarding experience and hope you enjoy the ride.'
science  facts  news  ireland  politics  data  writing 
march 2012 by jm

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