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Nearsighted Science

kerry_clark_tick

http://discovermagazine.com/2013/dec/14-southern-gothic#.UxTPl86uDPa

I love science. To me scientists are rock stars. Still, there are some times when I don’t understand the circular logic mainstream science uses to “prove” the mainstream view of things. Like the logic of this article. The vector (link) that moves Lyme disease from animal to human is a certain stage in the life cycle of a certain type of tick, this tick doesn’t bite humans in the South during that particular stage of its life cycle, therefore there is no Lyme disease in the Southern United States.

I see several things wrong with this statement, for instance:

1.There have been cases of Lyme, or something with the same symptoms.

2. Ticks tend to bite no matter the stage or where they are.

3. There can be more than one vector.

4. There can be more than one type of bacteria that causes Lyme.

5. Not all cases of Lyme will present in the same way. Everybody is different.

Any other ideas, opinions?

This scientific debate, or lack thereof, is more to me than just academic. My daughter has a friend who has severe symptoms and blood test documented Lyme Disease, but because she lives in the Southern U.S., and has been repeatedly told her symptoms can’t be Lyme—there is no Lyme in the south. OK, she has Lyme, but there is no Lyme in the South, so she can’t have it. Circular logic.

Wake up, physicians and scientists, you are supposed to let the evidence guide you, not ignore evidence that doesn’t fit in your little world. Get the hell over it.

Anybody out there have Lyme or symptoms that could be Lyme related? Had trouble getting diagnosed with an unusual illness?

Hope your Monday is going well.

Cheryel

 

The Ugly Truth, now available. Secrets of Ugly Creek Secrets of Ugly Creek now available for Kindle and will release worldwide on June 25.

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Superstar Physics

220px-Michio_Kaku_in_2012A few weeks ago, January 23rd to be exact, my husband and I were privileged to attend a talk by Micho Kaku, one of the greatest scientific minds alive today. His presentation, given at Chattanooga State Technical Community College, was titled, “The Mind and Beyond” and he definitely went beyond.

Dr. Kaku offered a definition of consciousness that used a number rating system for everything from smart thermostats to humans. He spoke eloquently on many subjects including artificial intelligence, the Internet, the possibility of aliens, and of course, the human brain. 

I’d seen Dr. Kaku on The Science Channel, and was pleased to find that he is as interesting and funny in person.

Future_of_the_Mind

I can’t wait to read his new book, The Future of the Mind. It can be ordered from Amazon, Barnes and Noble and several other places. See Dr. Kaku’s website for more details. I’d also like to point out that there are science videos and articles on his site—have fun!

 

Have you ever been to a scientific lecture? Would you like to? Do you think the mind has undiscovered abilities?  Feel free to share.

 

Have a great week!

Cheryel

 

The Ugly Truth, now available. Secrets of Ugly Creek available soon.

Truth, Lies, and Mermaids

mermaidRecently I caught a story on the Today Show about how some people had mistaken a “fake documentary” to be the real thing and now believed the existence of mermaids was a proven fact. I did more research and discovered this to be true. Apparently the Twitterverse was packed for a while with folks Tweeting that they now believed in Mermaids. Here’s a link to one of the articles.

Now, anybody who knows me, or who has read my blog knows I don’t have a problem believing that there may be things we don’t understand. For instance, I feel sure there are unidentified flying objects, but I’m not convinced they are alien ships. I believe there is a possibility for creatures like bigfoot to lurk in the dense forests of our planet. And I have no doubt we are not alone in our universe. Whether we will ever visit or be visited by an intelligent species from another world, I have no idea.

As for mermaids, I try to keep an open mind. Although the science-minded biology person inside me feels two such diverse creatures as human and fish are highly unlikely to be combined genetically—unlikely to the point of impossible. Still, I try to keep an open mind. On the other hand, what I am or am not willing to open my mind to is irrelevant. When I see a documentary, especially one on a seemingly legitimate network, the thing should be rooted in fact.

In the reporting of this “documentary,” the bigfoot and ghost hunting shows also shown on Animal Planet are mentioned as other instances of many of us being gullible. First, I resent that. To question whether something modern society has declared “nonsense” is not being gullible. Second, those shows are “reality” shows—which is another blog for another time.

The bottom line is that the Animal Planet network pulled a prank on its viewers the likes of which hasn’t been seen since Orson Wells broadcast “War of the Worlds” in 1938. That radio show caused a huge panic, and media since then has been careful to broadcast fictional works with an obvious disclaimer. From what I’ve read, the only disclaimer Animal Planet offered was in the credits. The mermaid fiasco was even offered up with “scientists” portrayed by actors, giving seemingly serious scientific input.

I have to say, I’m appalled. The United States ranks much lower than we should in science teaching of our children. I was a college biology tutor for a while, and I was shocked at the lack of basic biology knowledge, even from recent high school graduates.

We have to be more science savvy in this country. And we can start with a dialogue about a fake documentary using computer generated images and actors playing scientists. We can ask ourselves and our children some hard questions. Like: How do you know a person really is a scientist? Just because that person is a scientist, does that mean he/she really knows what he/she is talking about? What is this person’s credentials (in this Internet age, it’s fairly easy to check this)? Is this theory one you have heard before? Does it make rational sense? What evidence is put forth to support the theory?

What questions do you think we should ask of a TV show that purports to be presenting science? Where do you feel the line should be drawn between fact and fiction?

Have a great rest of the week!
Cheryel

 

 

If she can’t believe what she sees, can she believe what she feels? When photojournalist Stephie Stephanova visits Ugly Creek, Tennessee to help her best friend, Madison, she expects a boring visit. Then she snaps a photo of something she shouldn’t have seen–and falls for a man she definitely shouldn’t have.
The Ugly Truth available only in ebook from Amazon until August 16 when it will be available in electronic and paperback formats from all major book outlets.

 

Don’t Be Blinded; Use Science

 

What is science? It’s noticing what’s going on in the world and trying to understand what the scientist sees. A scientist notices something and after doing research and putting together the known facts, she makes an educated guess, an hypothesis. If this hypothesis stands up to further research and is replicated by other scientists, her hypothesis can become a theory. Theories then are built upon and altered by further knowledge.

For example, cell theory: the theory that living bodies are made up of tiny cells. Anyone can look in a microscope and see that this theory is indeed a fact. So, why not call it fact? Because even though we’ve known since the 1600’s that bodies (animal and plant) are made of cells, the theory is constantly being built upon. How cells work and replicate is not simple. The DNA at the heart of every cell has only recently been discovered (1953), much less understood. And there will likely be more understanding as time goes on.

Science is like life. For instance, I observe our coworker’s attitude toward us. I form an hypothesis that the coworker doesn’t like me. I speak to a friend whose observations back up my hypothesis. So I form a theory that my coworker doesn’t like me. Later, I find that the coworker recently lost a loved one and her attitude towards me wasn’t because she didn’t like me, but that she was grieving and I reminded her of her loved one. Theory busted.

I admit I love science. Had my life taken a different turn, I would be working as a scientist right now. But life is life, and I am doing something else that I love just as much (maybe more), writing.

What do you love? Are you doing that for a living? Has your life taken a unexpected turn and something good came from it?

Have a wonderful week!
Cheryel