Tuesday, December 21, 2004

What's Good for the Goose

Orac points out the ridiculousness of telling Big Pharma they shouldn't be able to advertise to the masses, while "alternative medicine" gets to.

Never forget that alternative medicine testimonials exist largely for one purpose: To sell a product. Most of them are advertisements They are no more "unbiased" than pharmaceutical advertisements. In fact, they are worse, because at least the pharmaceutical companies have to be able to back up their claims with science and disclose potential adverse reactions in their ads. No such requirements exist for most alternative medical treatments, mainly because most of them claim to be supplements rather than medicines. The other problem with testimonials is that they don't rise even to the lowest level of medical evidence, the anecdotal report.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Infantilization of the Young

Something that really makes me nuts is how children and young adults are just being treated like they're incapable of being responsible for anything. They turn into adults with the same problems.

You know what? When I was in school, my grades were my responsibility. When I got all A's, I got no reward, other than the satisfaction of making straight A's. When I got a D in English, my mom told me I should probably do better, but she was concerned I got a B in math, because it was obvious I wasn't applying myself. I didn't get punished though. And because of the D in English, was moved out of the honors class. A month in the "regular" class, and I was working my butt off to get back in honors as soon as I could. And did my parents go to the school and beg them to move me back? Of course not. I had to realize that the consequences of my actions was that I'd be stuck in regular-level english for two years. Oh, the horror!

When I was in college, my second semester I had a low (for me) GPA. It was 2.something. I'd just met the man who became my husband, and he worked strange hours, so I found myself out with him at 3 am on a "school night". On a day I'd have an 8 am class. I didn't spend as much time on my studies, and didn't do as well as I could have. But when I finally realized what I wanted to do next -- go to grad school in biophysics -- I realized I had to buckle down. After that I got mostly A's, some B's and I was accepted at Johns Hopkins.

I realized my life and my schooling was my responsibility -- not my parents. They were there to ensure I got all the oppurtunities they could get me. For example, they fought for better programs at the school, they made sure my siblings were placed in appropriate level classes (i didn't have so much trouble with that, due to my personality). They were there to make sure the oppurtunities existed. But it was up to us kids to take what we were given and use it. No carrots, no sticks.

Here's an article about the effects this infantilization is having on the young.

Temperance, continued

Ahh, well. I ate far too much on Sunday. I celebrate the third week of advent with family and I cooked up a storm! Everyone ate too much. On the one hand, I feel guilty for stuffing everyone to excess.... but on the other hand, I adore that I made food so good that no one could help themselves.

As I sit here. With my Starbuck's coffee. Sorry Franklin. ;)

Friday, December 10, 2004

Temperance: Day 1

So far, I've managed to skip breakfast, gorge on sushi (oops), and I haven't given in to my Starbuck's addiction yet. Not too bad.

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Week 1: Temperance

So, I'm going to embark on Franklin's journey to improve myself. I was inspired, watching a two hour documentary on him on Discovery or the History channel or something (they all seem interchangeable to me).

So, I'm starting week one with Temperance:

Eat not to dullness; drink not to elevation.

Probably a very useful virtue to work on now, during the holiday season. I'm off to a good start already -- I've lost 12 pounds in the past 3 months, including one pound lost over Thanksgiving. I can't take too much credit for it, however, since I lost that pound thanks to a little stomach illness my sister and her family gave to me. (It was only fair -- I gave them one for Thanksgiving last year!)

Since it's already Thursday, I'll keep this virtue through the end of next week. It will keep me from pigging out at the festivities for the third week of advent.

"Advent?!" you may ask. "I thought you declared yourself agnostic!" Well, yes, I am, however I come from a long line of Catholics, and I still celebrate in my secular little way. It still has meaning to me even if I'm not sure the nice little baby Jesus was really God's son or not. I still think it's a nice story, and that the "meaning of Christmas" as a time of brotherly love and family time is a valuable thing to have in your family traditions. So we put up a tree, sing moving Christmas carols, exchange gifts, and so forth. And I'm full of bubbly happiness for my fellow people, and hope we can all have a lovely time and honor each other. I send gifts to the Muslim members of my family, just as they send me gifts to celebrate the end of Ramadan. And it all goes splendidly.