All posts by Mike Wolf

Ebola: did “we” make a difference?

“We” = the US or possibly the world.

I offer no conclusions but offer this as interesting information.

Here’s some info:

Graph of Ebola cases. The graph shows the bad patterns.

You have to look twice to realize that the really bad period, exponential growth, was really short lived.

If was followed by rather significant linear growth, which then broke in Nov ’14 in Liberia and Jan ’15 in Sierra Leone.

Graphic showing US (military) action at a glance, here.

That Chocolate Study

Here’s an analysis of the junk science paper mentioned in today’s meeting. The paper was based on badly done science and went viral. The author of the paper, had written it to prove how easy it is to get people to believe things that aren’t true because they want to. Surprisingly, according to this analysis, his conclusion is probably correct, but certainly not justified by his “study.”

“Slim by Chocolate!” the headlines blared. A team of German researchers had found that people on a low-carb diet lost weight 10 percent faster if they ate a chocolate bar every day. It made the front page of Bild, Europe’s largest daily newspaper, just beneath their update about the Germanwings crash. From there, it ricocheted around the internet and beyond, making news in more than 20 countries and half a dozen languages. It was discussed on television news shows. It appeared in glossy print, most recently in the June issue of Shape magazine (“Why You Must Eat Chocolate Daily,” page 128). Not only does chocolate accelerate weight loss, the study found, but it leads to healthier cholesterol levels and overall increased well-being. The Bild story quotes the study’s lead author, Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D., research director of the Institute of Diet and Health: “The best part is you can buy chocolate everywhere.”

I am Johannes Bohannon, Ph.D. Well, actually my name is John, and I’m a journalist. I do have a Ph.D., but it’s in the molecular biology of bacteria, not humans. The Institute of Diet and Health? That’s nothing more than a website.

World War II

Want to learn the story of the 80 million who died in WW II in a way that you will not easily forget?

Want to find out how lucky you are to be living here and now, instead of there and then? Spend 18 minutes, and watch this documentary

As the images, each representing 1,000 deaths, pile up, and up, and up, and up, and up you’ll get of sense of how horrible things were not so very long ago.

And even though there are bad things happening today, the scale of what went on then is hard to comprehend. The documentary is well researched, cites sources, and puts that war and others before (back to Genghis Khan and earlier) and since (Vietnam, Afghanistan, Iraq and others) in historical and demographic perspective. Take some time and watch it.

At the end there’s an easy way to support the project financially.

And, of course, tell your friends.