7 Quick Takes (10/14/11)

— 1 —

I’ve been blogging here at Patheos for a week now, and these are my first quick takes in situ, so it seems appropos to give you all a little more of a sense of who I am outside this blog. This is probably as good a sum-up of my life as you can get:
I had a lot of trouble explaining all the rules of roller derby to my language tutor since it was only my third week of ASL classes.

P.S. The derby match this week was wonderful.


— 2 —

Of course, you’ve all been getting a different kind of introduction than I planned with what has turned into a series of posts on marriage and bisexuality. Thanks to everyone for their civility thus far. I appreciate the answers people gave to my open question and I’ll be giving you answers to two of yours.  So, coming up in the next few posts, you’ll get answers to:

  1. Why I believe it’s important for be to be out as a bisexual even if I’m currently dating a boy.  (Katie has already given a solid response in-thread).
  2. What I think legal marriage is for (and your hint here is that I’m a pretty big soft paternalist).

— 3 —

Oh, and speaking of soft paternalism, I was very upset when I saw in the NYT that some towns plan to stop fluoridating their water.

“I’m in opposition to putting a medical treatment into the public drinking water supply without a vote of the people who drink that water,” said Norm Roche, a newly elected Republican county commissioner who spent 10 years doing policy research for the county Water Department and who led the turnaround effort. “We had a dozen to 15 doctors, dentists, dental hygienists and chemists here who want us to continue this practice but who could not agree themselves on how best to use fluoride.”

So because there’s a difference of opinion on the optimal dosage, they should stop altogether?  There’s a reason we don’t hold a referendum every year to decide which vaccinations should be mandatory for schoolchildren — most voters don’t have the technical background to evaluate the risks.

The main concern is cutting costs and avoiding fluorosis – white spots on the teeth caused by excess fluoride.  Let me say, I’ve had fluorosis and so has my brother and I find it massively preferable to losing a good third of our teeth to decay (as my father did, growing up before fluoridation).  By all means try to optimize the dosage, but scrapping the program is insane.  Next thing you know, they’ll try to de-iodize salt!


— 4 —

Oh, ok.  I guess that rant means there’s one other introduction to which Patheos readers are entitled.  Don’t be thrown by occasional health policy and philosophy of medicine rants; there’s a reason I listed my interests on twitter as epidemics, epistemology, and ethics.  Occasionally, I’ll interrupt  ethical or theological discussions with wonky science rambles (though I maintain that my transhumanism posts mesh with the general purpose of this blog).

Anyway, on the general health-beat, I strongly recommend the book I’m currently reading: Siddhartha Mukherjee’s The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer. It’s stellar.

— 5 —

I’m not the only one who likes to blend geekery with comparative religion, but, of all my fellow weirdos, somewhere on the list of my favorites is the guy who presented a talk titled “Did Jesus Die for Klingons, Too?” at a DARPA conference.

— 6 —

These have all been fairly quick takes, so for this penultimate one, I want to point you to a longer article with a strong recommendation to read the whole thing.  “Could You Forgive the Man who Shot You in the Face?” tells how Rais Bhuiyan tried to stop the execution of the racist man who maimed him.  It’s a powerful example of radical forgiveness, and reading the piece is it’s own reward, but, as a more short term reward, the last take is a time lapse video of a bridge being dismantled.

— 7 —

A time lapse video of a bridge being dismantled:

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  • Quid est veritas?

    “Did Jesus die for Klingons too?” assumes that on these other planets comparable to our own, there are sentient beings.
    I kind of like C.S. Lewis’s theory that he explored in Perelandra.

  • Gilbert

    To pick a nit, fluoridating the water supply is hard paternalism. Where the water supply is flouridated at least those who can’t afford cooking with bottled water loose the ability to not ingest fluoride. The default option is not just changed, what otherwise would be the default option is flat out eliminated.

    Not that there is anything wrong with that, our civilization actually overvalues individual liberty. But when we decide the polloi can’t be trusted with making a particular decision for themselves we should own up to the fact we are advocating for the government to decide for them. Calling that soft won’t make it so.

  • Lol everybody talk about dating

  • Fluoride is NOT a desirable chemical to ingest. Modern science indicates that ingesting fluoride does not reduce tooth decay but does expose individual’s to fluoride’s adverse drug effects. See http://www.FluorideAction.Net/health

    If God intended for babies to have fluoride, he would have included it in breast milk. Don’t put fluoride into babies, Here’s why: http://www.fluoridealert.org/health/infant/

    More than 3,825 professionals (including 328 dentists) urge that fluoridation be stopped citing scientific evidence that ingesting fluoride is ineffective at reducing tooth decay and has serious health risks. See statement: http://www.fluoridealert.org/professionals-statement.aspx

    • leahlibresco

      God sure didn’t put penicillin in breast milk either. I’ll still take it when I have strep.

      • Christina

        While this one line comment is true, does it address the science? Also, your comment in the post points out a correlation between your Dad’s tooth decay and a lack of fluoridation, does that mean your Dad’s tooth decay was caused by this?

        Also, consider that it takes effort to buy toothpaste without fluoride, unless you go to one of those “all-natural” stores (which cost significantly more), you are practically guaranteed it. Net result, the poor are guaranteed multiple sources of fluoride (ingested and topical) and the only way to avoid this excess is to be rich.