The Bizarre Spread of the COVID/5G conspiracy theory: cartoon of a train pulling a coronavirus particle and 5G symbol
Science Corner

The Bizarre Spread of the COVID/5G Conspiracy Theory

The COVID/5G conspiracy theory has been around since the early days of the pandemic. How did such an out-there idea become so widely known? The dumpster fire that is social media has a fair bit to do with it, with a combination of misinformation (wrong information spread without manipulative/deceptive intent) and disinformation (intentionally spreading wrong… Continue reading The Bizarre Spread of the COVID/5G Conspiracy Theory

Vaccines, the unvaccinated, and the delta variant: image of the COVID-19 virus
Science Corner

Vaccines, the Unvaccinated, and the Delta Variant of COVID-19

COVID-19 cases are up, the delta variant is plowing through the unvaccinated population, and people are dying. It's scary times, but how scary is it for those who are vaccinated? Some general background Let's talk a bit about variants and vaccines more generally before we dive into the delta variant and the COVID vaccines. What… Continue reading Vaccines, the Unvaccinated, and the Delta Variant of COVID-19

COVID-19 and vaccine hesitancy
Science Corner

COVID-19 and Vaccine Hesitancy

Ever since COVID-19 swept across the planet earlier this year, the race has been on to develop a vaccine. Now there are two vaccines that are just about ready to go, but there seems to be quite a bit of reluctance when it comes to the prospect of actually getting it. So let's talk about… Continue reading COVID-19 and Vaccine Hesitancy

What have toilets got to do with climate change? World Toilet Day 2020
Social Issues

It’s World Toilet Day – Yes, That’s a Real Thing

I love a good toilet joke, but this actually isn't one.  UN-Water's World Toilet Day is observed every November 19, and is an initiative of the United Nations agency that deals with sanitation. World Toilet Day 2019 The theme for 2019 is leaving no one behind, which speaks to the 4.2 billion people worldwide who don't… Continue reading It’s World Toilet Day – Yes, That’s a Real Thing

Science Corner

How Vaccines Work (and What That Means for COVID-19)

While COVID-19 is caused by a novel coronavirus, and there's still much to be learned about the virus and the illness, coming up with a vaccine doesn't mean totally reinventing the wheel.  How vaccines work is based on knowledge about how the immune system works, and the immune system doesn't abruptly change just because a… Continue reading How Vaccines Work (and What That Means for COVID-19)

Spanish influenza epidemic poster from 1918
Science Corner

Spanish Influenza: The Last Big Pandemic

Alberta Board of Health/Public Domain It was 102 years ago that the last major global pandemic happened, known as Spanish influenza, and in many ways, COVID-19 pales in comparison. The Spanish influenza pandemic that began in 1918 didn't actually originate in Spain; that's just where it was first publicly reported.  Its origins are unclear, although… Continue reading Spanish Influenza: The Last Big Pandemic

Tips on how to spot fake news
Science Corner

Separating Reality from Fake Health News

HoIFLA, Wikimedia Commons During this global pandemic, there's a lot of wild and wacky news out there in the world. This infographic from the International Federation of Library Association and Institutions gives some handy tips for separating the facts from the crap.  In this post, I'll go through those tips with respect to spotting fake… Continue reading Separating Reality from Fake Health News

herd of sheep in a pasture
Science Corner

The Science Corner: Herd Immunity

With the anti-vax movement picking up more steam than it ever deserved to have, kids are being put at risk from serious preventable illness.  Unfortunately, the anti-vaxxers aren't just putting their own kids at risk, they're increasing the risk for other kids as well. Herd immunity refers to the extra protection that comes from vaccinating… Continue reading The Science Corner: Herd Immunity

Just Say No poster with two marijuana joints
Social Issues

The Failure of the War on Drugs

National Library of Medicine If you were around in the 80's, you are probably very familiar with the message to "just say no" that was part of the overall war on drugs.  In 1991, Saved By The Bell got on board with an episode that told viewers "there's no hope with dope."  There was also… Continue reading The Failure of the War on Drugs

Tree diagram showing effects of social inquities
Social Issues

Why Social Determinants of Health Matter

Health.gov Social determinants of health represent those factors which, whether we have control over them or not, can significantly influence both physical and mental health outcomes.  Differences produced by social injustice can (and does) produce systemic health inequities between rich and poor, with a "social gradient" in between. The social determinants of health The Government… Continue reading Why Social Determinants of Health Matter