Traffic report

Posted January 10th, 2006 by Sylvia S Tognetti and filed in Announcements, Ignorance of Ignorance

Welcome to visitor number 10,000*, who followed a link here from Effect Measure, where you can find out everything that is and isn’t known about Avian Flu. So, with kudos to Revere, I’ll take the opportunity to post a few comments on environment and public health. For some reason, there seems to be more general acceptance of uncertainty on health matters than on, say, climate. At least I have never heard Bush say it was necessary to have certainty that the Avian flu has mutated before making decisions, even if his decisions have left much to be desired. And those who have serious ailments have no problem with the idea of getting second and even third professional and other opinions about what to do, and aren’t surprised to get different answers.

There is another observation I have been wanting to make. Public Health docs seem to have no problem taking on the political battles needed to promote public health. In fact, the Code of Ethics of the American Public Health Association requires this:

We promote the scientific and professional foundation of public health practice and policy, advocate the conditions for a healthy global society, emphasize prevention and enhance the ability of members to promote and protect environmental and community health.

as do the AMA Principles of Medical Ethics:

III.”A physician shall respect the law and also recognize a responsibility to seek changes in those requirements which are contrary to the best interests of the patient.”

And its a good thing too. Otherwise, our rivers might still be valued more as sewers, and our lives more miserable and short. In many places in this world, they still are.

So why is it that, in the environmental arena, scientists still dance around taking positions on policy issues? Hopefully, this is changing. The Millennium Ecosystem Assessment is somewhat of a breakthrough in that it explicitly connects ecosystems – which happen to also be the source of avian flu – to human well-being. The connection to human well-being is also implicit in the concept of ecosystem services, which refers to economically significant benefits that ecosystems provide for humans. More on that later.


*At least according to site meter. I have no idea how many visitors this site has actually had. Statistics provided by my webhost show over 40,000 visits and over 12,000 unique visitors. Of course, that includes RSS feeds, admin, and peddlers of poker and piills (I delete about 75 spam comments and trackbacks a day. My apologies if I have accidentally deleted anything legit.) This blog was launched last February.


Posted January 7th, 2006 by Sylvia S Tognetti and filed in Announcements

If you read this blog from an RSS feed, without actually clicking on the page, you probably miss the revisions I always feel compelled to make the next day. Like in the last two posts. Just so you know.

Constructive reconstruction

Posted November 15th, 2005 by Sylvia S Tognetti and filed in Announcements

If you think that almost 100 years of experience might improve response time for a disaster that is well anticipated, see this post by the Questionable Authority (and comments), regarding response to the San Francisco earthquake of 1906.

Once the first responders to a disaster have done their job, and media coverage begins to fade, comes the hard and perhaps the most critical part – the reconstruction, which in the case of the Gulf Coast will shape the future of the whole country. So there is another new blog worthy of a regular read is the Gulf Coast Reconstruction Watch, part of a project of the Institute for Southern Studies, to keep this process accountable and constructive. They are also accepting anonymous tips and monetary contributions towards an Investigative Fund so as to be able to provide comprehensive coverage of both the good and the bad, and identify actions that are needed.

Lastly, for those of you in the DC area, Margie and her band, Disaster Relief, continue their Round the Beltway Tour to raise Katrina relief funds. Next stop, Domku, tomorrow, Wednesday the 16th, 8:30 pm – in Margie’s words:

Hey y’all!!!

Just wanted to let you all know me and my band Disaster Relief are continuing our Refugees Round the Beltway tour. Next stop: deej out at Domku! If you haven’t been to Domku, now’s your chance to munch on some great food, drink butt kicking Belgian beers, and hang with great friends on a Wednesday night! It’s at 821 Upshur St NW in Petworth. Kickoff is at 830p! Join me and my unusual suspects: LT King on Drums, Don Fede on bass, the fabulous Sandy Bishop on vocals, and guest performers Bruce Blaylock on guitar, Paul Hyland of the Oxymorons and Moshe Adler on percussion, and very special guest John Penovich on guitar. (You might know him from a little ol band called the Cravin Dogs!!!) Not that the rest of my band isn’t very special, but you know what I mean. Anyone else want to join the band? Let me know!!!! Doornation is $5 most of which is going to MusiCares cuz they were kind enough to hook me up after the storm [that would be Katrina, you short-memory freaks –ed] Also: Save the date of Tuesday December 13! We’re planning a Christmas Extravaganza at Bangkok Blues with Disaster Relief and the Oxymorons!!!!

Thanks to all of you for your support. So far we’ve managed to raise over $3,700 for Share Our
Strength, Habitat for Humanity and New Orleans Blues Queen Marva Wright. Your contributions are
greatly appreciated. Hope to see you Wednesday!!!!

Regime change?

Posted November 10th, 2005 by Sylvia S Tognetti and filed in Announcements

I just stumbled over another related blog during some late night surfing – Resilience Science – which seems to have started around the same time as PNT – the more the merrier! For your reading pleasure, a good post discussing regime change that may be underway – but not the kind any one wants. It is in the arctic. Roger Pielke Sr. also elaborates. I have added both to the blogroll – along with the blog of James Annan, who has been challenging so-called climate skeptics to put their money where their mouth is, and Stoat (aka, William Connolley) who “takes science by the throat” with good discussion of the latest findings in climate science. In other additions to the sidebar, James Risbey has been added to the PNT Board of Advisors. PNT has also joined the Circle of Science Assessment, where you can find links to more science and policy blogs. Given that I have had some deadlines, this blog has gone off on a few tangents lately – but a number of actual science and policy posts are brewing.