This has nothing to do with me, but, rather, a news article and it caused me to blow SUCH a gasket, I simply had to
Take a look at this BBC report
on morally dubious field-testing:
A major trial of a vaginal microbicide has produced no evidence that its use
reduces the risk of HIV infection in women.
The gel, PRO 2000, is intended for use before sexual intercourse to help reduce HIV infection. It was tested in a trial involving 9,385 women in four African
The risk of HIV infection was not significantly different among women supplied with the gel than in women given a placebo gel.
Stop and ponder that for a moment. So as to determine the effectiveness of the microbicide being tested, half of the cough-cough participants were provided a substance with no medicinal properties whatsover -- the placebo -- and then sent forth with the instruction to (re)commence sexual activity in a place where the population has a monumentally high incidence of HIV infection.
What the researchers considered mere guinea pigs in this "experiment" were people. People with families, friends, hopes, jobs, loves, children, fears, desires, and responsibilities. Don't forget, people, the cough-cough participants -- necessarily -- had to be uninfected women when the trial got started. It stands to reason the scientists were hoping the test subjects would be inseminated by men infected with "a lethal disease agent."
(It'd be kinda pointless otherwise, yes?)
Somehow (the article does not specify) the women in question were induced to comply (were they given Ecstasy? or told "I really love you and we'll get married as soon as I can move out of my parents' house."?) but they did get "free condoms and access to counseling about safe sex."
Which is nice.
Not clear eitheris if these women were satisfactorily informed as to
1) what "placebo" means,
2) what the chances of being one of those using the medically worthless substance were,
3) how likely the trial medicine's effectiveness would be.
If you think 9,000 volunteers gathered together without the truth being shaded...well, you must have a black belt in naiveté.
Lo and behold, the gel was not particularly effective in bringing down the transmission rate for HIV.
Which leads us to the money quote and the Bald Faced Gall Award.
Lead researcher Dr Sheena McCormack, of the Medical Research Council, which
part-funded the study, said: "This result is disheartening."
What one wonders is how disheartened those women (who were shoved out of the proverbial airplane with what turned out to be a knapsack and not a parachute) are these days.
What's holding up Judgment Day?
Posted by Joke at 3:09 PM
Monday, December 14, 2009
Hold that thought.
Remember that thing I didn't want to jinx? I really don't want to jinx it now.
Just got back from a long-arse trip. Tired. Happy Chanukah to the Jewish kids.
More to ensue.
Posted by Joke at 4:02 PM
Friday, December 04, 2009
Verily it doth sneak up.
We are fast approaching the blackest day in the Googlia boys' calendar: "Making Room" Day.
For those of you who are new* here, or simply maladjusted, Making Room is what we do +/- 2 weeks before Christmas. The kids present their wish list, and are summarily instructed that, should they be really serious about desiring these things, they ought to immediately go through their already colossal pile of "stuff" and cull it without mercy or pity.
This underscores the point the purpose of life is not to accumulate. If you've been blessed with material, um, blessings...fine. Enjoy them. But that's not to the point of this existence. And it also underscores that when we drill them with the importance of sharing we don't mean merely with each other, when we are watching them.
Last year, you will recall, we have a particularly ruthless episode of cleaning out the toy
vault chest, producing a ceaseless parade of bags of toys to donate to poor kids.
The reason I post this is that I was reminded by something the lovely and gracious BabBab mentioned about sometimes feeling guilty that we give our kids too much stuff. There is some of that -- at least with me; my beloved grew up in more straitened circumstances and is missing that gene -- at play here, and this mitigates the guilt.
On a related note, this is the first year that giftage is specifically tied to performance in school and at home. NOS's year-end-review, as it were.
Welcome to the real world, kid.
Posted by Joke at 9:09 AM
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Thanksgiving: The Turkey, Pt. 2 (UPDATED! With pictures!)
As the more assiduous and mnemonic among the assembled may recall, last year-ish I got a BBQ smoker. You will also recall (if not, the last couple of posts should have reminded you) of my love for Thanksgiving.
So, I have decided to combine the two in the cooking of the 3rd* turkey which will alleviate much oven space stress.
For anyone fool enough to try this, here's what my trial run -- yes, I do that -- hath revealed.
12-20lb Fresh Turkey** (not self-basting, or God forbid, "enhanced") I like Bell & Evans, but any turkey you like will do, the more natural, the better.
4 Cups Coarse Salt
1 Cup White Sugar
3 Gallons Water
4T dried sage
2T dried marjoram
1T dried thyme
Heat up 2 cups of water and make a "tea" with the herbs. Mix everything until sugar and salt are dissolved. (This recipe can be cut by 1/3 and used as an injection if time is short. Inject the turkey an hour or so before you're ready to cook.)
Remove giblets, turkey neck and any metal or plastic trussing. Put turkey in vessel (I like a smallish cooler, supplemened with those blue gel freezer packs) and make sure the entire turkey is submerged. Let brine 8-12 hours or overnight in the fridge. Remove turkey from brine, VIGOROUSLY pat dry, rub the outside with coarse salt (and a little baking soda) and, ideally, let rest in the fridge. The day of the cookery, place on the smoker.
One is s'posed to rinse prior to smoking, but I don't. Smoke using a wood of your choice, I use hickory. Smoke in the 245ºF-260ºF range until the breast reads 160ºF and the thighs are at least 170ºF.
Authorities will have you wrap the turkey with foil and let rest 30 minutes - 1 hour on the counter before slicing. I don't wrap, and only rest it 20-30 min. Covering with foil only steams the otherwise shatteringly crisp skin. This is key.
* There ARE 56 people to feed, after all.
** Do NOT brine if you are using a Kosher turkey -- which are delicious -- as the final result will be more like turkey-flavored salt.
Posted by Joke at 6:58 AM