Anti-vaccine nut gets nuts chopped

Andrew Wakefield has helped to contribute to the death of children and the rise of a disease that was practically extinct. He did this by promoting unethical research which contributed to unfounded fears that linked autism and other diseases to vaccines. Fortunately, unlike Christopher Maloney, Wakefield’s irresponsible message about vaccines can be regulated more efficiently and effectively because he is a real doctor.

After nearly three years of formal investigation by the General Medical Council (GMC), Dr Wakefield has been found guilty of serious professional misconduct over “unethical” research that sparked unfounded fears that the vaccine was linked to bowel disease and autism.

Parents were advised yesterday that it was “never too late” to give their children the triple vaccine to protect against measles, mumps and rubella, as the case drew to a close.

He has been struck off the medical register in the U.K. over his abuse of science now, but he’s still an unfortunately powerful figure. The hostility towards science demonstrated by the anti-vaccine crowd goes beyond this one quack. One can only hope this issue is big enough news to bring the vaccine rates back to their pre-Wakefield levels (they dropped near 50% for certain vaccines early in the last decade in the U.K.).

Thought of the day

People are composed of ideas. These ideas are what drive personalities, behavior, actions. Remove them and it no longer is possible to define a person. I know, I know. It’s so effin’ obvious, right?

So then why do the religious pretend like it isn’t true? Maybe they want to try to describe a person that is without ideas? I’m not sure.

A show better than LOST

Not that it’s hard to find cable shows that outshine network TV, but here’s one example.

More Facebook lies

Facebook’s failed privacy policies are an ongoing problem for the company. Now that blogs and other media have helped to bring attention to them, Facebook has taken to lying.

In an open letter published Monday in the Washington Post (whose chairman, Donald E. Graham, just so happens to sit on Facebook’s board of directors), Zuckerberg wrote that Facebook has been “growing quickly” and admitted that “sometimes we move too fast.”

“Many of you thought our controls were too complex,” Zuckerberg’s letter reads. “Our intention was to give you lots of granular controls” — uh, you can say that again — “but that may not have been what many of you wanted. We just missed the mark.”

Zuckerberg promised, in “coming weeks,” privacy controls that will be “much simpler to use” — including an “easy way to turn off all third-party services” that can access your account.

The concern is false. It’s a lie. The company is pretending like they’re going to vastly improve things – because any change sounds nice – but they’re going to make slight modifications which still favor the invasion of privacy by default. It may become easier to say “No, don’t take my private info”, but it’s going to remain necessary for people to go out of their way and do it. And that’s the complaint; Facebook just doesn’t get that people are mad because most users sign up with the presumption of default privacy.

Not that the owner, Zuckerberg, cares:

But Zuckerberg is also being dogged by an embarrassing IM thread from when he was a 19-year-old Harvard student, bragging that he’d gathered personal information from thousands of users for the nascent TheFacebook.com. “People just submitted it,” Zuckerberg messaged, “I don’t know why. They ‘trust me.’ Dumb [expletive].” (This comes via Silicon Alley Insider.)

Awesome.