Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 5.8

Amanda

Amanda is a science grad student in Boston whose favorite pastimes are having friendly debates and running amok.

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20 Comments

  1. According to a paleontologist friend of mine, the Rock Hyrax is a relative of the modern elephant. So the wee fangs you see are better described as wee tusks. And they’re so damn cute!

  2. The autism/vaccination controversy lives on because people are looking for something to blame. They also believe that if they can figure out the cause of autism then they are one step closer to finding the cure for it. Unfortunately, they are looking down the wrong path. Props to Amanda Peet, we need some sane celebrities to balance the force (of stupid). Maybe she can be an honorary skepchick? Good Discover article.

    And re: homo erectus, he must have been popular with the ladies, amirite? Err, well, nevermind :(

  3. Vaccines are also scary for parents – most people don’t like getting shots, and we’re programmed to flip out if our kids scream in pain or fear.

    The article on “my child has autism and I vaccinate” references the MIND study where they look at home videos of kids who are later diagnosed with autism. We’ve got a program similar to that at Washington U in St. Louis – you can see signs of autism way before vaccinations.

  4. @teenbra: The puppy’s mother is a catahoula/jack russel mix and we don’t know what her father was. (Her mother was a stray.) Echeaux (the puppy, pronounced “Echo”) seems to have features of a bulldog and a pit bull.

  5. The Rock Hyrax is one of my favourite animals. Around here it’s known as a Dassie, which roughly translates to “small tie”, tie like in “bow tie”. I’m sure that it actually comes from some Dutch word, but that’s what us south africans call it.

    Some useless info there for ya.

  6. @Outsider: I think you have a very relevant point. That thought kept coming to me as I read the article.

    The trouble is, placing blame usually does nothing to solve the problem. It does make people feel better at times which is cold comfort indeed to the “blamee.”

  7. @Briarking:

    Tip: as a person who is the blissful property of a beautiful pit, I can tell you that, as wonderful as they are, keep the pit suspicion a secret for as long as you can.

    Unfortunately, as you may have noticed, there is a bit of a bad rep attached to that breed… and discrimination abounds.

    I have a YouTube of Zoe kissing Moose’s hand when he was 3-weeks old… I hilariously titled it “Pitbull Attacks Baby” or something equally as ridiculous. The comment section is filled with comments that I am an irresponsible parent and I should have my child and my dog taken away from me.

    Good luck taking the kid… I have a pit bull guarding him!

  8. I have no problem with most Pits. They are sweet dogs when bred and trained properly. At least, I can read a Pit pretty well. Not so with a few other breeds, like Chows.

    Those commenters are ignorant idiots, as you well know Elyse.

  9. @QuestionAuthority:

    I never have problems with pits… I do have problems with some of their owners, though.

    Shar-peis scare the muthaluvin shit out of me. As someone who used to work with dogs for a living… I can tell you there is no use for those dogs. They’re weird and mean.

    Pits however, make great pillows. And they’re great if you need to unload a few kisses on someone’s head.

    I believe Phil Plait said it – 5 minutes spent reading YouTube comments is 10 minutes wasted.

    I’ve left my kid alone in a room with my pit (yeah, I know, but a girl’s gotta pee). However, I have never, not once, never left him alone in a room with my mother-in-law.

  10. One thing really irks me about the Discover article on the faux vaccination/autism controversy is that the author refers to Jenny McCarthy as “former Playmate.” Neither Jim Carrey or Charlie Sheen is referred to as “actor,” so why the necessity to pull an ad hominem attack on Jenny McCarthy? I assumed Discover would be above that and could easily destroy her position alone.

  11. @psparrow: I assume you’re talking about this sentence:

    It has had a particularly strong life on the Internet, including the heavily trafficked Huffington Post, and in pop culture, where it is supported by actors including Charlie Sheen and Jim Carrey, former Playboy playmate Jenny McCarthy, and numerous others.

    where it does call them actors?

    Either way, I’m not sure how mentioning any of their professions, or claims to “fame”, is an ad hominem. They wouldn’t have nearly the public platform to spread their nonsense if they weren’t who they were. Would it also have been an ad hominem if they had mentioned that, a hypothetical, Jane Doe local antivax activist was employed by the local bank that’s how everyone in town knows her?

  12. @psparrow:

    I don’t think it’s a cheap shot. If someone doesn’t know these names, they want to know who are they?

    Is Jim Carrey a scientist? Is Charlie Sheen a doctor? Is Jenny McCarthy a statistical analyst? No? They’re celebrities? Oh, like what kind? An actor, an actor and a former Playmate.

    If they were to talk about me for some activist thing that I were doing, they’d say “Elyse Anders, a 31-year-old stay at home mom (or blogger or obsessive twitterer)…”

    Former Playmate is not a “cheap shot”- it’s an explanation of her credentials, why she’s famous enough to be the face behind the germ-laden megaphone.

  13. @psparrow: OK good to know. So, actor, banker, blog commenter are unnecessary cheap shots also, right? Pointing out that people handing out medical advice have no training or education in medicine by highlighting their own career choices is bad form. Got it.

  14. @pssparrow:
    If you go back and reread Aristotle’s Rhetoric, he points out that someone must have the ‘ethos’ (standing or expertise) on the subject at hand to be taken seriously. None of these “spokespeople” have any ‘ethos’ in this case. No standing, expertise, nada. Therefore, no rational hearer is under any obligation to take them seriously on this subject.

    I think Discover may have written it that way because not everyone knows who McCarthy is, but most people do know who Charley Sheen and Jim Carrey are. It’s name recognition, IMHO.

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