When it comes to vaccinations, don’t ask, just tell

NPR had report on an interesting experiment in which they found that if physicians, in their interactions with the parents of children, simply acted as if it was a given that the children would be vaccinated, then over 70 parents went along with it. But when the physicians had an open-ended discussion with parents about vaccinations, 83% decided against it. Of course, this ‘don’t ask, just tell’ policy works only with those parents who are unsure or on the fence about vaccinations. It has little effect on die-hard opponents.
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The Daily Show on the anti-vaxxers

Jon Stewart looked at the recent outbreak of diseases that we once thought had been eliminated in the US and some of the reasons given by people behind the trend to not vaccinate children. Potential presidential candidate Rand Paul said the same kinds of things that Michele Bachmann said about vaccination back in 2012, and passed along stories that he had heard about children getting neurological problems from getting the vaccine. She was mercilessly ridiculed for it back then and it will be interesting to see if it will similarly come back to haunt Paul.
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Using nanometer etching to change surface adhesion properties

What makes a surface attract or repel water that comes in contact with it is usually determined by the chemical coating on the surface. Teflon is an example of a chemical coating to which water adheres only slightly. Those waxes that are put on wood and metal surfaces that cause water to bead up and flow off rather than adhere to the surface are other examples of hydrophobic techniques.
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Vaccination suddenly becomes a major political issue

The recent outbreak in measles cases has become a politically hot topic and brought to the forefront the problematic issue of balancing various rights. Politicians, especially in the Republican party, are having to dance around the issue to avoid stepping on the toes of their various bases of support and in the process have sometimes fallen flat on their faces. So as usual, they are trying to muddy the issue by blurring the lines between some fairly clear positions.
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Why do zebras have stripes?

The zebra, which is believed to have evolved from horses more than 2 million years ago, has such an unusual look that it just cries out for explanations and there have been no shortage of attempts to supply them. The one that has stuck in my mind is that the stripes provide camouflage in the long grass. Now another team of researchers have taken a shot at coming up with a different explanation.
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Global warming or climate change?

When I saw the cartoon below, I recalled that there have been times when I too was gently chastised for using the phrase ‘global warming’ and told that it was outdated and that the correct term was ‘climate change’. I was a little puzzled by this for two reasons. One is that I was unaware that there was some kind of shifting standard to be followed regarding usage. The other is that I felt that they referred to two different things so one could not replace the other.
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Silly weather reporting

The massive storm predicted earlier this week for the northeast corridor of the US and caused New York City to pretty much shut down, resulted in a mixed outcome. The storm did hit hard many regions of Massachusetts and the upper regions of New England, though friends of mine who live in Maine said that it was pretty much the kind of bad storm that hits them every winter and not an unprecedented one.
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What happened to Rapa Nui?

The story of Rapa Nui (better known as Easter Island), consisting of 63 square miles located 2,300 miles west of Chile, is one of enduring interest. How a lush island became a wasteland denuded of its trees, bereft of most of its population, and finally ended up primarily as a home for gigantic stone statues, is a mystery that has intrigued scientists for years.
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Who is not vaccinating, why, and who is suffering because of it

At the risk of sounding like broken record, I want to return to a topic that I feel very strongly about, and that is this issue of people not vaccinating their children. In the US at least, the opposition to vaccinations of children seems to be something affecting the affluent. These are the people who seem to have latched onto scary tales on the internet and the media that are warning about the dangers of the vaccines, though those claims have been thoroughly debunked.
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