There are many things we can do to avoid illness and injury. Given the proper resources and opportunity, you'd think we would all maximize our well-being: eat well, exercise, get your vaccines, and wear your seatbelt for starters. But no, not only do we not do those things, we humans go far out of our way to expose ourselves to all sorts of exotic risks. Four recent illustrations of collective human stupidity from the news: (1) Epidemiologist Tara Smith writes, "Does bestiality increase your risk of penile cancer?" (See Cowen's First Law: there is literature on everything.) These Brazilian researchers should win an Ig Nobel. And true to form for public health, they coin an acronym: SWA (Sex With Animals). Prof. Smith read the paper so you won't have to -- but you should at least read her summary to get the complete mental picture.
(2) Why is Delta Airlines running anti-vaccine in-flight infomercials? Doh-inducing background and petition here.
One of my Hopkins classmates who does not yet have a blog (but should) emailed a small group the following two stories:
(3) Parents in the US are mailing each other chickenpox-infected lollipops, amongst other things, to spread the disease and acquire natural immunity. Her summary: "Because asking your child to exchange bodily fluids with a sick stranger is a great idea!" True.
(4) Finally,though this one strikes me as an example of the "They're calling it [...]!" genre of local news stories about teenaged antics based mostly on hearsay, someone somewhere tried it: "Teens using vodka tampons to get drunk." My friend helpfully notes: "Your vagina does NOT have a gag reflex." Very astute. [Update: For the record, Scopes calls this one "undetermined."] OK, this one was an urban legend -- sorry.
I can't even begin to write an appropriate closing sentence for this post.