Quickies

Skepchick Quickies 8.7

Amanda

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

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  1. Wait. R. Don Steele writes books on how to get women in the sack which he then sells at Steelballs.com? Ah… I see what he did there. Well played…

    And read the comments on that vaccine article? SicPreFix, you’re a cruel one ;)

  2. I wonder what the team mascot for Sequoia University would be. Sequoia University Galactic Overlords? Thetans? Supercrazy Egomaniacal Movie Stars? Oh the options they would have.

  3. I’ve seen a picture of Sodini, and I’m not surprised that “game” didn’t work for him. I mean, he’s not hideous, but basically average. He feels like he is entitled to date a beautiful young woman, but women apparently aren’t entitled to date a beautiful young man. The problem here (besides the hypocrisy) is that Sodini was just plain too shallow.

  4. As for the sleep cycles and fasting thingy:

    The Wise Bread blog suggests 12 hours might be a decent compromise if you can’t hold off for 16 hours, though Saper seems to suggest 16 is the magic number.

    I think the key word there might be “magic”.

  5. @Imrryr:

    I am. But I was sincerely hoping that tons of Skepchickers would race over and post some science, some links, and some good hardcore Skepchicky slapdown.

    I’m no good at any of that, certainly not in regard to the flu and vaccination issues, but some folks here are heros in that arena.

  6. “Only 40 percent of British Columbian health care workers get flu vaccines.”

    I can’t imagine it being much higher in the Canadian province I work in as a paramedic. Sadly, I don’t know what the solution is. Almost a decade ago the provincial government at that time tried to make flu vaccinations mandatory for paramedics (but oddly, no other health care workers). Unfortunately, this was also a government which had spent the previous couple years “attacking” paramedics in various ways. So had the government told us that we had to wash our hands we would have stopped doing it. Vaccination rates among paramedics plunged and, as this was not long after wakefield and the round of vaccine paranoia that he helped initiate, conspiracy theories became rife among many of those paramedics who (and I am ashamed to say I was one of them) encouraged many paramedics across the province that vaccines were dangerous – dangerous enough that we were willing to lose our jobs over the issue. This kind of thinking continues to this day. Almost a year ago, when the flu vaccines became available for the season, I was sitting in a restaurant with about 25 – 30 paramedics and was surprised to find out that about half were militantly anti-flu-vaccine (some anti-vaccines period) and the rest had no plans on getting the shot either. I was the only one who was going to follow basic medical advice. These were not stupid people, but you can’t reason people out of positions that they did not reason themself into. And I was much the same way – militantly anti-vaccine for several years due to an emotional reaction to the Harris government which I deeply disliked. It was actually not until a doctor who was a friend of mine really lit into me one day about how irrational and gulible I was to hold such beliefs that I slowly changed my views. Not because I wanted to, but because I set out to prove him wrong through using real, high-quality medical research. When I realised that every piece of high-quality medical research showed me that it was me and not him that was the idiot I changed my mind and the more I researched the more I moved from militantly anti-vaccine to the exact opposite position.

    The only solution that I see to this problem is to teach paramedic students, nursing students, medical students and every other health care student critical thinking skills when it comes to medicine and how to properly research medical claims. We don’t do that now (at least for paramedics and having spoken to a lot of nurses and doctors over the years I have doubts that they are taught this either). So how can we expect medical professionals to never view medical claims from an emotional perspective, if we never teach them how to look at those claims from a rational and skeptical perspective?

    That won’t fix everything. My previous work partner of several years does not vaccinate her children and is 100% anti-“western” medicine. I have deconstructed every anti-vaccination claim she has made, but that will not make any difference. Those are not the reasons why she doesn’t vaccinate, but the excuses she brings forward to justify her position (she is not a stupid person, but a brilliant and excellent paramedic). It is a position and worldview I understand, because, of course, I once held an almost identical one and I found that worldview very simple and appealing to me at the time – I could make everything make perfect sense, but that doesn’t make it a rational one.

  7. @mikespeir: The oldest guy I dated is … 14 years my senior, I think. We’re still good friends and he’s good friends now with my best friends. In fact, he’ll probably be at my birthday party this weekend. I still adore that man but, even though I am far younger than him, it was he that was a PAIN IN MY REAR! Seriously. LOL.

  8. When I was in college I worked in a nursing facility for children who were physically and mentally disabled. I never got my flu shot while I worked there. I’m a teacher now and I still don’t. I get all of my other vaccines and boosters, but I don’t get the flu shot. I guess I just thought of the other vaccines as necessary, but the flu shot wasn’t really. I can’t stand needles and will only willingly get a shot or blood draw if it is absolutely necessary and I guess I just never felt that way about the flu shot. But I’ve never had the flu, I’ve managed to avoid it.

  9. “From SicPreFix (who recommends checking out the comments on the article).”

    To be honest I thought the comments were pretty tame considering what I have been reading lately. No comments promoting the David Icke conspiracy that the H1N1 was manufactured by the WHO to force us to get vaccinations which are designed to cull the population (because we are already weakened by chemtrails) type stuff.

    There was a short story in the Toronto Star not long ago about the H1N1 vaccine starting to be tested in the US. The comments were so far off the wall I thought I must have accidently stumbled onto “Prisonplanet.”

    I am also a vegetarian so I often post on some vegetarian forums. I sometimes wonder if I am the only vegetarian alive who is not an anti-vaxer and proponent of every woo “medicine.”

  10. @wayward son:

    I sometimes wonder if I am the only vegetarian alive who is not an anti-vaxer and proponent of every woo “medicine.”

    You are not the only one. I am not anti-vax, or a proponent of any “woo medicine”. I even support GM foods, which I think is exceptionally rare among vegetarians (at least the ones who post on a vegetarian forum, which I do not do).

    Whether you take any solace in having me as company is a different question.

    I am a Hedge

  11. @Jane Grey: Is it really that stupid, though? I haven’t had the flu in like, a decade, and it was probably a decade before that. I just don’t get sick that often.

    I did get a flu shot last year at work, becuase, well, they gave them at work and only $10. I won’t seek it out, but hey, if I’m at work and they are already giving them out, I’m game.

  12. “I also realize that this is completely stupid of me. But I’m not even thinking about getting the h1n1 vaccine or the regular flu shot either. I have no explanation for my behavior other than I’m being an idiot.”

    I don’t think that people who are not planning on getting the flu/H1N1 shot are stupid. However, I do think that we have a society where only about 1% of the population actually understand how the immune system works. That is not their fault because it is something that really is not taught and it also easy – even if you are skeptical of alternative medicine baloney – to have heard a ton of bogus claims about our immune system. I also think that it has been drilled into people’s heads that the over use of anti-biotics have led to super bugs (which is true) and therefore many think that the “over use” of vaccines will lead to the same problem (which is the 100% opposite of true).

    There are some good and generally cheap books out there: Arthur Allen’s “Vaccine” of course, but also Clark’s “In Defence of Self” and Crawford’s excellent “The Invisible Enemy” would give people a far better understanding of the immune system and vaccines than most health care workers have.

  13. @marilove: I’ve only had the flu once and that was enough for me. It’s not so much about protecting myself as it is about protecting those around me (very important when you’re a health care worker, teacher, have elderly relatives or young children, etc.). It took me a month to feel normal again and if it does that to a young healthy person, then I don’t ever want to be responsible for passing it on to someone whose body can’t handle it as well.

  14. I don’t get the flu much, but then I have required flu vaccines a la the military. However, the one year I managed to squirm out of a flu vaccine I also came down with the crappiest flu ever, which was followed by an inner ear infection that left me helpless for a week. Moving made my head spin, so did lying very still. There was no winning with that one. I was pwned by the flu.

    It’s totally anecdotal, but I will never wriggle out of a flu immunization again. Incidentally, in the Air Force we get a nasal spray rather than a shot. Perfect for those with puncture phobias!

  15. “I even support GM foods, which I think is exceptionally rare among vegetarians (at least the ones who post on a vegetarian forum, which I do not do).”

    You are smarter than I am for not posting on vegetarian forums. I have posted my support and reasons for my support of GM on vegetarian boards on a couple occassions. Normally that leads to me losing sleep and getting nothing else done as I spend all of time over the next couple days responding to the barrage of myths, lies and ridiculousness that follows.

  16. @Amanda: Yeah, I don’t have children and don’t work in healthcare or with children, so it’s not much of a concern with me. I’m not around elderly people much at all, either, heh.

    And when I get sick, it only lasts a few days. The last time I had the flu, it was really bad for one day, but by day 4 I was almost 100%.

    I rode public transporation for over 8 years, and I don’t want to know what kind of germs I was exposed to during that time. I still didn’t get sick.

    I HOPE I DIDN’T JYNX MYSELF! :)

    But I’ll probably get a flu vacc this year, since they come to work.

  17. I always get a flu vaccine, even though I’m not around many vulnerable people. If I don’t get the flu, I won’t pass it to other people, and they won’t pass it further to other people who might be vulnerable. I figure it’s worth $25 just for that.

  18. @catgirl: I think women of all stripes — beautiful and average and in between — “rejected” him not because he’s not super good looking, but because he likely put off a VERY creepy vibe. I am just glad that a woman didn’t date him. I wonder what kind of abuse he would have put a woman through.

  19. @marilove:

    I’m not trying to discount the fact that he had a seriously unattractive personality. However, it bothers me that he wants to have sex with hot women, but he doesn’t think women should have sex with a hot man. It’s a selfish double standard. The sad thing is, if he wasn’t such a jerk and wasn’t so shallow, he probably could found a woman his own age who would date him. He really isn’t hideous. But he thought that dating someone over 35 was the worst possible fate, and yet he expected women to do exactly that.

  20. From the Sodini article:

    He was employed, dressed nicely, in good shape—he even bought a matching sofa set. (“Couch and chair—they match, the woman will really be impressed.”)

    Crap. That’s the trick? That’s what I’ve been missing all this time? My couch and chair do not match.

    Look out ladies, Hedge is getting a new sofa set tonight.

    Oh yeah, and the ‘in good shape thing’. I’ll get right on that next week.

    I am a Hedge

  21. and also:

    “In the referenced article I noted an absence of information or comment concerning the possibility that the vaccine itself could harm the development of children of women vaccinated while pregnant…….. ‘There is no evidence that removal of thimerosal from vaccines has lowered autism rates.'”

    sgtaierghperiuhtaiwjnrgpaiu!!!!! Really?! No way!? /sarcasm

  22. @catgirl: No, I agree with you 100%. Still, plenty of shallow non-super-attractive men get hot women, all the time.

    I don’t think he’s your typical shallow guy. He had a serious disdain for women, and I think that came out. Plenty of men who don’t necessarily have a homicidal rage against women are shallow jerks and still get plenty of action (some get a surprising amount). I suspect it was a mix of that, and a very large mix of his putting off super creep vibes.

    He was also probably not a very positive person on his dates.

  23. @marilove: Sodini’s blog hints at that. From the May 18th, 2009 entry:

    I actually had a date today. It was with a woman I met on the bus in March. We got together at Two PPG Place for lunch. The last date for me was May 1, 2008. Women just don’t like me. There are 30 million desirable women in the US (my estimate) and I cannot find one.

    Notice how he goes from “I had a date” to “I am a failure” to “huge conspiracy of women.”

    Imagine if the woman on that date had asked “So married? Any kids?” Or any other innocuous question. He was fanatical about his celibacy. It would like asking a fundie what they thought of creationism.

  24. Remember when we did the stalker AI???? That’s who the guy that stalked me always seemed like to me….. I got too close, and he just emanated low esteem, screw loose, ‘why don’t you want to date me, even though I do everything right!?’

  25. @Tina: Ugh! That’s creepy enough to raise the hair on the back of my neck.

    Interesting point though. I wonder why the media hasn’t picked up on that. This is similar to the pattern of a dangerous stalker. Except that Sodini didn’t pick a specific target.

  26. @catgirl: That’s the rumors but I don’t think it’s been confirmed. And by “ex-gf” I’m wondering if it was “a girl he had one or two dates with”.

    @Tina: That’s Nice Guy Syndrome. They think they are being so ~nice~ and doing everything ~so right~ and yet…no. They aren’t. They come across as douchebags who think you owe it to them to date them or some shit. I’ve had a few dates with men like that. UGH!

  27. @catgirl: The ex-gf was mentioned in the first news reports but that seems to be a mistake.

    His blog mentions an ex but only in the context of how long it’s been since he got laid. Nothing else in the blog suggests a specific target.

    Marilove, Nice Guy Syndrome. *shudder* The best part about not dating is not having to listen to some self-pitying schmuck with stains on his shirt lecturing me about woman “only dating assholes.”

    Worse because it’s not even a lecture, it’s a dare to prove them wrong by sleeping with them. Nobody likes blatant manipulation and this particular variety slams shut the lady gates faster than quoting Tom Leykis.

  28. Had a friend who brok up with the “nice guy” only to get an email from his saying “Why? how could you? I was willing to love you despite your baggage!”

    So many creepy icky guys out there.

    What I want to know is were there signs of impending killing spree?

    Oh, and the sleep reset thing… makes… no sense…

  29. I’ve done some online dating and I’m not always the best at writing back right away (i.e. within 6 hrs of getting a response to my ad). It became my personal psycho-detection method. A significant number of guys would write back about what a bitch I am and how I’m just like all the rest of them that thinks she’s better than a nice guy just because he’s [short, poor, ugly, fat, or insert other perceived shortcoming here].

  30. MySpace has updated their stone-age messaging system…. and I found this message from that guy from 2007 in my inbox:

    “Subject: Smile for me
    One thing that always makes me smile is how mine and your myspace profiles are always side-by-side to each other’s when we view our mutual friends’ friends lists.”

    Random message… creepy message..

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