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Vaccines and autism Wed, Feb 17, 2010
A few weeks ago, the British medical journal The Lancet, which originally published the paper linking autism to vaccinations, retracted that paper after a reassessment showed some questionable research and conflicts of interest.  In other words, it would appear that vaccines don't cause autism. 

Update:  The paper in question is now believed to be fraudulent. #health

Tax-funded news Wed, Feb 17, 2010
Most news coverage is entertainment.  That's how stories are chosen over other stories, and that's why everybody covers the same stories.  If it wasn't entertaining, people wouldn't watch, and then nobody would make any money.  It's the same with the weather:  Unless there's a winter storm warning, people won't pay attention.  I think that's why weather predictions are usually wrong.  If they predict a catastrophic storm that will kill all of humanity but it doesn't end up happening, hey at least you watched.  Made you look. 

With this in mind, I think there should be a taxpayer-funded news outlet that simply reports information.  NPR sort of does this already, but they're only partially taxpayer-supported.  They also require listener donations, which I don't do, and which I feel bad about.  A fully taxpayer-funded news outlet could tell you what the president did today, who won American Idol, one major death or natural disaster per day, and the weather, but only the weather that can be predicted to a reasonable accuracy, i.e. if you say it's snowing right now and I look out my window and it's not snowing, you're fired.  The problem of course would be who gets to decide what's newsworthy and what's not.  I don't have a solution for that problem.  The other problem would be who would do the reporting.  Reporters and journalists tend to get big heads based on how many people watch their pseudo news programs.  We don't need another Katie Couric.  I'm thinking we could either go with someone who already has a big head (e.g. Oprah, or Trump, or maybe Bill Gates), or it could just be an asexual colorless robot.  That way no one would get offended. #entertainment

Curved shower rod Wed, Feb 17, 2010
When booking a hotel room online, the description of each room usually includes a phrase or two that describe its use and appeal, such as "king bed with pull-out couch" or "hi-speed internet" or "grab bars in shower."  I keep coming across the inclusion of "curved shower rod," and I can't figure out what I'm supposed to think.  Is a curved showed rod a luxury item?  Am I supposed to be impressed and willing to pay more?  Or is it a safety device for the morbidly obese, i.e. "you'll have no problem fitting in the shower with our magical shower-expanding curtain rod"?  One of life's many mysteries. #travel