Monday, December 7, 2009

Tiger, Warming, and Vaccines, Oh My!

"She Whose Idea This Was" suggested to me that utilizing bullets (the non-weapon kind) is an effective way of communicating a variety of items, so how about we work our way through my thoughts on a sampling of current events:

- Tiger Woods, alas, has proven to be quite the hit with ladies not his wife. I don't follow much sports, and certainly not golf, but I don't live in a cave. I'm aware of the squeaky-clean image Tiger cultivated for himself, but how hard must that have been for him, having carried on with these women in such secrecy? Of course, we're all assuming these women-without-virtue are telling the truth, which is a bit curious, considering they get paid for being a fantasy. Tiger needs to face the press, since it's the press who have helped cultivate his image, come clean on everything, and then move on. For all of its lust for celebrity gossip and for watching heroes fall, our society also has a tendency to celebrate recovery, particularly for sports figures. What rebuilding Tiger needs to conduct in his home life, however, should be as private as he and his family want it to be.

- Global warming advocates suffered a stiff setback when an English scientist resigned over e-mails in which he belittled opponents and suggested the tweaking of data to further his cause. There seem to be as many respectable scientists opposing global warming theories as there are supporting it. Liberals generally claim global warming is mankind's fault, and conservatives fear draconian economic fallout if industries are forced to cut back on "greenhouse gas" emissions. I'm not sure how the average layman can stake a claim in this debate when eminent scholars can't agree, but I do know that the air is cleaner since environmentalists started calling for low emissions back in the 1970's, and we all benefit from those advancements. And the country's economic health certainly hasn't suffered as a result. Look at China today, and how people were fretting about Beijing's air during the Olympics. Sure, they're economic output is enormous, but pollution is choking their air and water supplies - what kind of quality of life is that? How healthy would America's economy be if polluted waterways still caught on fire (like Ohio's Cuyahoga did in 1969)? What good is economic development if the quality of life is killing you?

- H1N1 vaccines are now so plentiful that doses are being given away for free. Compare this scenario with the panic fomented by the press just a month ago, when swine flu fever gripped the country and people freaked out about the .1 % of victims who died of it. What lessons should we learn from this? First, that pharmaceutical companies need time to develop proper vaccines, and that as much as we want things instantaneously, some things still take time. In the meantime, following logical precautions like washing one's hands, using sanitizers, and simply staying home with the flu can work wonders. Second, we need to turn off the media when they start hyperventilating about a particular topic during otherwise slow news days.

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