Quickies: Vaccine preventable diseases, a history of sex dolls, and suits

  • It’s August: A time to be aware of vaccine-preventable diseases – From Anna, “A really powerful post by a former Peace Corps volunteer, who writes of the devastation of vaccine-preventable illness in Africa and her own brutal experience catching whooping cough (probably due to an anti-vaxxer — she was living in a state with a high exemption rate).”
  • A (straight, male) history of sex dolls – “Owning a sex doll is not a violent act. But as these creations come to look more and more realistic, their lifeless, prone silicone bodies are reminders of unequal gender power dynamics that play out in the real world.”
  • When suits become a stumbling block: A plea to my brothers in Christ – “Every time I pass a man in a well-tailored suit, I try to keep my eyes averted to avoid the evil, lustful thoughts that will surely creep into my head. Sometimes I’m successful. Other times…I’m in an office building and I find my senses assaulted by a sea of men in strutting around in well-tailored suits, smelling of cologne and after-shave and…” (Yes, this is satire.)
  • Australian Senator Eric Abetz suggesting link between abortions and breast cancer – “Cabinet minister Eric Abetz has denied drawing a credible link between abortions and breast cancer, but he says the proponent of the theory is qualified and has a right to express her views.” From Jack99.
  • Cute Animal Friday! Crimean zoo welcomes a baby zonkey. And how cute is this otter who knows how to play dead?


Amanda works in healthcare, is a loudmouthed feminist, and proud supporter of the Oxford comma.

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  1. Wow! Can I say that I’m impressed that the Australian politician who claimed a link between abortion and breast cancer was forced to backpedal?

    “Let me make this point very, very clear: at no stage have I made a link between abortion and breast cancer,” he said.

    “There’s a very simple reason I have never made such a claim, and that is I am not qualified to do so.

    “I will leave that to the medical experts to determine as to what the body of opinion is.”

    I can’t imagine an American Republican doing that, They tend to double down.

    1. Amanda, thanks for posting that link.
      @ anabolic, perhaps, don’t be too impressed.
      Can I quote here one of the best comments, from coloru2 (9:05 AM on 08/08/2014)

      “I would go as far as suggesting this was all a very cleverly arranged reverse psychology attempt. Government have been doing this for decades.
      You take a piece of misinformation that inadvertently supports your cause (poor science that supports women having less abortions), then you have a interview on the issue where you ambiguously disagree with the science, then you receive a heap of press which puts the issue of abortion back on the table – with the clever addition of an underlying fear that maybe the science was right – maybe if I have an abortion I really will get breast cancer.
      Another clever play by fundamental Catholic government that DOES NOT represent me or any other un-indoctrinated Australian.”

      and also this one from apolitical (10:23 AM on 08/08/2014)

      “For all those that would deny Abetz is a supporter of Lanfranchi, please click on this link


      Look at the esteemed company he will be in, funnily enough his old loony chums Cori, Kevin and Fred will be there too!”

      Not long ago, only the extreme wingnut fringe would have made comments like Abetz did, but now it’s a cabinet minister, This is the shape of things to come.

      1. People tend to remember disproven false claims as true. I’m sure I’ve heard this discussed on numerous podcasts (SGU, Inquiring Minds, etc.) and read about it on the Web (here, SBM, etc.) and in books and magazines (Skeptical Inquirer, etc.) but can’t currently find a good reference, except this relatively small study. (The PDF or server seems to be having problems. The first time I downloaded it, the last 2 or 3 pages were blank, so there were no references or foot notes, Just tried it twice more and only got 1 page and then nothing.) So my claim that when people are told that something they’ve heard about is false, and it is proven to them, they often later remember the original claim but think it was true, is all based on my memory, which might be false.

        I hope I’m never a witness at a murder trial.

        1. Left out my main point which is Abetz and company might be deliberately making false claims, knowing full well that even if the claims are debunked and they retract the claims, many people will still remember them as true.

        2. Exactly. So whether they double down or deny, it matters not, so long as they get the press.
          It happens daily in Oz at the moment.

          The idea seems to be to soften up us plebs so we are relieved when their slightly watered down version of reactionary legislation eventuates.

    2. Maybe it’s an Australian thing? There was an episode of The Games* where the press had discovered the Olympics were in serious financial trouble and were going to have to lay off a lot of their staff (who were extremely busy at the time and under a very tight deadline.) One of the reporters asked the organizing committee spokeswoman if there was any truth to the rumor that there were going to be layoffs. “Absolutely not” she replied. The reporter then said “We found a memo, signed by you, explicitly discussing the layoffs.”. Without dropping a beat, she said “I may have inadvertently mislead you. Yes, there will be layoffs.”

      1) Make a completely outrageous false claim.
      2) Get called out on it.
      3) Categorically deny ever having made any such claim
      4) ?????
      5) Profit.

      Americans would:
      1) Make a completely outrageous false claim.
      2) Get called out on it.
      3) Double down on the claim
      4) ?????
      5) Profit.

      [*] A hilarious faux reality TV documentary about organizing the 2000 Sydney Olympics.

  2. wrt: antivaxxers, if anything, it demonstrates First World privilege. Even if they actually had a point (and they don’t, of course), “My living child is autistic” isn’t the worst possible problem you can have. Honestly, there is no medical nonsense I loathe more than antivaxxers.

    Ack, the abortion/cancer woo is going international now?

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