Had my post Bone Marrow Translant MMR Vaccine jab today (together with a Polio, tetanus one)

Feel very privileged that I live in an age & place where I can get effective vaccines for ‘free’

Long-live the NHS, Medical research & science-based medicine.

One cannot underestimate how slowly people grasp the value of some scientific advances.  We’re still seeing a 50% belief in creationism in USA, 150 years after the publication of the Origin of the Species, and overwhelming evidence for evolutionary science.  Homeopathy is BIG business, (the belief that say, arsenic when diluted to the point that no molecules are likely to remain, can help eczema.) Astrology appears in practically every newspaper.  Why the backlash against vaccines?

Simply the power of

1) Naturalistic Fallacy

2) Conspiracy Theory & Confirmation bias

And that’s it.



The James Randi Educational Foundation (JREF) – perhaps the greatest skeptical organization in the world, hold a kinda-annual conference called TAM – The Amaz!ng Metting. Past speakers have included Richard Dawkins, Penn & Teller, James Randi etc. Not big names to all, but big deal to me.

They are holding their first non-US meeting on October 3-4 2009 in…London.

Of course I rushed to buy tickets just 2 hours after the lines opened. But that was too late. Sold out.

So after a TAMtrum, I explored other avenues (begging, hassling, extortion – normal stuff) but to no avail.

However, I came across a scholarship competition, asking for essays (1,500 words max) from students (Check! Thanks to my laziness with PhD) 16 yr and older (Check!! By some margin) and on anything related to skeptical inquiry (CHECK!!!)

Me being me, I started the essay on the day of the deadline. I started at 10am, and had to leave for a friend’s wedding at noon, then straight on to another wedding gig 250 miles away. This was my only chance, and I hadn’t had my eggs or coffee. But I whipped something up and sent it to some dear people for proofreading while I set about my day. The excellent John Gregson took instructions while I drove up to my distant gig, eventually forwarding a pdf to me, which I relayed on to JREF with the last drops of my iPhone battery, and 12 minutes to spare.

Long story short.

I won.

So Bridge & I will be attending, the essay ‘A Life Examined’ will be published at TAM and online, and I will meet some wonderful people as a consequence.

Honoured & thrilled. and also for one grateful for my sloppiness: If I was more organized, I would have bought tickets sooner, If I was more dedicated I would no longer be a student (& ineligible) and if I had the luxury of time to write the essay, my self-doubt would have prevented me from finishing it. Yay for my imperfection.

I will of course tweet (@miltonline) & report back.



This me

… I have figured out (with my brain indicated here – and guru Edd Hannay) some semblance of order to my intertubing activities.

My professional (hmm) site is here or cheekily, has been sterilized  after a long period of isolation. Cleaner, faster, fitter.

MiltLatest is here, well here. All RSS-friendly and fed to both of my, rather hungry, sites.

A new lease of life for MiltCentral?  We shall see,

Oh, me? I’m fine, by the way.