Snow On Corcoran

Observed on Corcoran Street NW, between 15th and 16th, Dupont Circle, D.C.:

Snow on Corcoran

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Seven Deadly Words At The CDC

So Il Trumpe is doing this to the CDC:

The Trump administration is prohibiting officials at the nation’s top public health agency from using a list of seven words or phrases — including “fetus” and “transgender” — in official documents being prepared for next year’s budget.

Policy analysts at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta were told of the list of forbidden terms at a meeting Thursday with senior CDC officials who oversee the budget, according to an analyst who took part in the 90-minute briefing. The forbidden terms are “vulnerable,” “entitlement,” “diversity,” “transgender,” “fetus,” “evidence-based” and “science-based.”

So I searched the December 2017 issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases for the word “diversity”–a word which is kind of important for microbiology. Why did I pick EID? Because it’s published by the CDC. Out of 43 articles, nine used the word diversity, with six more citing articles using the word diversity in the title. Keep in mind, many of these articles are simply case or survey reports along the lines of “Group B Streptococcus Infections Caused by Improper Sourcing and Handling of Fish for Raw Consumption, Singapore, 2015–2016.” Many of these articles don’t focus on genetic variation, they are simply describing the natural history of illness.

At least Il Trumpe et alia haven’t yet instituted a requirement that every article incorporate a certain fourteen words

Posted in CDC, Civil Liberties, Conservatives, Fucking Morons, Propaganda, Public Health, Resistance Rebellion And Death | 1 Comment

Why This Old Democrat Has Trust Issues With New Democrats

Outsourced to former Democratic Labor Secretary Robert Reich (boldface mine):

The biggest thing that I regret not pushing harder on has to do with labor unions. Bill Clinton, as did Barack Obama, promised the unions that there would be labor law reform. That would be one of the major first initiatives of both administrations, when the Democrats had both houses of Congress. By labor law reform, I mean making it easier to form unions, making it harder for companies and employers to fire workers for trying to form unions.

In both instances, both the Clinton administration and the Obama administration, both presidents essentially said, “No, I don’t want to spend my political capital on that, even though I promised labor unions that I would. They have no real option. They’re going to be with me in the future.” That, I should have fought harder for…

Workers not only needed unions and still need unions but also the Democratic party needed labor unions because labor union members were the ground troops of the Democratic party. Without them, the Democratic party is really just a big fundraising machine. It has no members, no real active membership, apart from people who are party functionaries.

There is a price to be paid for such expediency. We’re already paying it.

Posted in Democrats, Unions | 2 Comments

Links 12/16/17

Links for you. Science:

Archaeologists Are Only Just Beginning to Reveal the Secrets Hidden in These Ancient Manuscripts
The Impossible Mathematics of the Real World
Farmers Seek to Deploy Powerful Gene Drive
Birth Control Pills Protect Against Cancer, Too
A Nasty, Nafta-Related Surprise: Mexico’s Soaring Obesity


The Destruction of Matt Taibbi: How the alt right and sloppy reporting smeared the ‘Rolling Stone’ journalist (important)
Legal victory stops steal in ‘Bama! Well, almost…
I don’t like the GOP tax bill, but now my life depends on beating it
Ken Friedman, Power Restaurateur, Is Accused of Sexual Harassment
A New African Tradition for Hanukkah
It was pretty clear in the days after Hurricane Maria that people were getting sick and dying more than usual.
North Korea’s prisons are as bad as Nazi camps, says judge who survived Auschwitz
Civil war
Nurture Counts as Much as Nature in Success
All Politics is Local
Amid Puerto Rico Disaster, Hospital Ship Admitted Just 6 Patients a Day
Sandy Hook Anniversary: Time for Insurance So Gun Owners Bear the True Cost of Gun Ownership
European Parliament Report Accuses Wilbur Ross of Insider Trading
Consistency is the …
Josh Mandel keeps taking liberties with the truth about Sherrod Brown
Brown University is doing away with student loans
More American Jobs? Broadcom Deal Might Mean the Opposite
Tawdry Tales Depict a Texas Congressman’s Frat House on the Hill

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

In Case You Missed It…

…a week of Mad Biologist posts:

Out Of Touch In Blue America

Once Again, Intersectionality Without An Economic Plan Is Politically Harmful

Is The Plural Of Bacteriophage A “Vile”?

Democrats Should Do This For Every Election


Internalizing The Cost Of Roads

Some Thoughts On Alabama

The Fundamentalist Right Never Went Away

Red Leaves

A Potential Problem For The Business Of Genomic Prediction

Posted in Weekly Roundup | Leave a comment

Links 12/15/17

Links for you. Science:

Sending campus exchanges the other way
Promising to ‘Make Our Planet Great Again,’ Macron lures 13 U.S. climate scientists to France
Why Donald Trump wants to go back to the moon
Judge Halts Razing Of Miami Forest Eyed For Walmart Center
Huntington’s breakthrough may stop disease


Boston. Racism. Image. Reality.
From Territorial to Functional Sovereignty: The Case of Amazon
Wall Street may decide if Trump will get away with firing Mueller
The Market Shock No One is Ready For
Why A Pill That’s 4 Cents In Tanzania Costs Up To $400 In The U.S.
If police can execute an innocent man on video, none of us are safe
Dozens camp out for shot at free medical, dental care in west Houston
This Moment Isn’t (Just) About Sex. It’s Really About Work.
Virginia’s $40 Toll Road Better Be the Future of Driving
FCC Must Investigate Fraud Before Voting on Net Neutrality
In Franken’s wake, three senators call on President Trump to resign (Gillibrand has joined in as well)
You’re the Real Job Creator
The Importance of Dumb Mistakes in College
Fascism Runs in My American Family
Former Facebook Exec: ‘You Don’t Realize It But You Are Being Programmed’
This Erik Prince Transcript Is Unbelievable
How America Is Breaking Public Education
Girl hits back at Aetna after they deny brain surgery insurance request: ‘Screw you!’
The twisted abortion politics of the Senate race in Alabama
The Nazi-Puncher’s Dilemma

Posted in Lotsa Links | 1 Comment

A Potential Problem For The Business Of Genomic Prediction

Hopefully, Gwyneth Paltrow won’t get involved in this (boldface mine):

Recently, Vitaliy Husar received results from a DNA screening that changed his life. It wasn’t a gene that suggested a high likelihood of cancer or a shocking revelation about his family tree. It was his diet. It was all wrong.

That was, at least, according to DNA Lifestyle Coach, a startup that offers consumers advice on diet, exercise and other aspects of daily life based on genetics alone. Husar, a 38-year-old telecom salesman, had spent most of his life eating the sort of Eastern European fare typical of his native Ukraine: lots of meat, potatoes, salt and saturated fats. DNA Lifestyle Coach suggested his body might appreciate a more Mediterranean diet instead.

“They show you which genes are linked to what traits, and link you to the research,” Husar told Gizmodo. “There is science behind it.”

DNA Lifestyle Coach isn’t the only company hoping to turn our genetics into a lifestyle product. In the past decade, DNA sequencing has gotten really, really cheap, positioning genetics to become the next big consumer health craze. The sales pitch—a roadmap for life encoded in your very own DNA—can be hard to resist. But scientists are skeptical that we’ve decrypted enough about the human genome to turn strings of As, Ts, Cs and Gs into useful personalized lifestyle advice.

Indeed, that lifestyle advice has a tendency to sound more like it was divined from a health-conscious oracle than from actual science. Take, for instance, DNA Lifestyle Coach’s recommendation that one client “drink 750ml of cloudy apple juice everyday to lose body fat.”

“Millions of people have had genotyping done, but few people have had their whole genome sequenced,” Eric Topol, a geneticist at Scripps in San Diego, told Gizmodo. Most consumer DNA testing companies, like 23andMe, offer genotyping, which examines small snippets of DNA for well-studied variations. Genome sequencing, on the other hand, decodes a person’s entire genetic makeup. In many cases, there just isn’t enough science concerning the genes in question to accurately predict, say, whether you should steer clear of carbs.

We need billions of people to get their genome sequenced to be able to give people information like what kind of diet to follow,” Topol said.

Here’s what I don’t get: any genomic information these companies–note the word companies–acquire will be proprietary. They’re not going to share this information with each other. So unless there’s a ‘big dog’ that has the lion’s share of genomes (we do like mixing our metaphors), how do these companies expect to acquire enough genomes to say anything meaningful? And they won’t have collected the same patient metadata in the same way either?

Though maybe GOOP! should get into this business:

When asked whether it was possible that DNA Lifestyle Coach’s claims might have any validity, Topol laughed.

One day, he said, it’s likely we’ll have some genomic insight into what types of diets are better suited for certain people. But, he added, it’s unlikely that we will ever accurately predict the sort of granular details DNA Lifestyle Coach hopes to, like exactly what SPF of sunscreen you should be using on your skin.

“There are limits,” he said.

Posted in Bidness, Genomics | Leave a comment