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Posts Tagged ‘Olivia Judson

I like a lot of what Olivia Judson writes

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whether it’s about microbiology, insects, carnivores, or today Social Medicine. Here’s a meaningful excerpt:

If your friend’s friend becomes happy, that increases the chance your friend will become happy — and that you will too. Conversely, if you become obese or depressed, you may inadvertently help your friends, and your friend’s friends, to become fat or gloomy. (Intriguingly, happiness and obesity seem to spread in different ways. Obesity spreads most easily between friends of the same sex who are emotionally close. Happiness spreads most readily between friends who live near each other: a happy friend on the same block makes more difference than a happy friend three miles away.)

To me this Social Medicine stuff feels like a stretch, but Olivia, like the optimist she is, is for it. So who am I to do my contrarian thing about the infectiousness of happiness. There’s never enough of it to go around, especially for too often gloomy wife.

I wish my wife spent some time reading Olivia. Here is an upbeat note in the last para of this week’s essay:

I draw a couple of conclusions from this. The first is that unless you are a hermit living entirely alone, your choices and wellbeing do not affect just you. The second, and more important, conclusion is that medicine isn’t simply about improving the health of an individual here and an individual there. It’s about the health of the whole society.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/11/11 at 05:46

Olivia Judson is a pearl with her insights and essays about science

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BERLIN - JULY 03:  A wax model of Albert Einst...
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She really nails it in my mind in this week’s essay and here is the last paragraph to show you what I mean about her:

But there’s one way in which we should not be limited: imagination. As Einstein put it, “Imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.”

So often conventional wisdom is wrong about how things really are. Real science is like fine art in a very fundamental way. It’s more humanistic than deductive or reductive. Religion should be that way too. But too many religious leaders are looking backwards. Imagination only happens in the forward direction. That’s why I favor the scientific view over 99% of the religious view!

 

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/11/04 at 07:36

“A Language of Smiles” by Olivia Judson

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Photographs from the 1862 book Mécanisme de la...
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This lady has a way of turning my crank with her thoroughly bibliographed articles in NY Times. The latest is definitely a keeper. It’s about a possible connection between facial expressions related to speaking different languages and happiness triggers. How can you not like that kind of research?

Olivia Judson does a facility for seeing animal characteristics in ways that few science writers do. It’s part biology, microbiology, evo-devo and . . .

And her writing is direct and pithy and teasing. Just the way for an interesting woman to be!

 

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/10/28 at 06:39

Alternative or Junk medicine

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Pietro Longhi: The Charlatan, 1757
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I wear a magnetics bracelet and magnetic insoles because I am somewhat convinced that there is somekind of a prevention effect that I get from the usual aches and pains of older age. I will be 74 in less than 30 days and I feel I can use any preventative measure that has a chance of working.

But I have never been to a chiropractor and just the thought of doing that goes completely against the grain for me. In fact, I think that chiros and other alternative medicine stuff is a perfect example of how we “feeble” human beings are susceptible to quack stuff.

I am a greater admirer of the truth speak of Olivia Judson. So this morning’s reading of her latest about the chilling effects of a “libel” suit in the UK pitting a renowned scientist, prolific writer and truth seeker and British Chiro Association fills me with a sense that charlatan‘s will do anything to protect their junk medicine or science patch. It’s a sad story and I suggest you read what Olivia has to say in NY Times.

Having said this I must assure my blog readers that I have great faith in the beneficial effects of the placebo effect and I believe that our mind has more to do with our health or lack of it than we can accept.

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/09/16 at 07:23

They’ve made a movie about Darwin with an ironic title, “Creation”

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Olivia Judson, who writes for NY Times Science section, discusses the many artifacts about Darwin during the 200th anniversary of his birth and the 150th anniversary of the publication of the “Origin of the Species“, his magnum opus.

Click here to view info from the Toronto International Film Festival about the movie!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2009/09/08 at 22:27

Oh how I love the all “the news fit to print”ness of NY Times!

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Tree of life.

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And here is another evolutionary biology piece by Olivia Judson. First the exquisite image in the article which is below:

All Hail the Apple Maggot! - Olivia Judson Blog - NYTimes.com.jpg

And here is the link!

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Written by BobG in Dalian & Vancouver

2008/11/19 at 06:56