Author Archives: Food for Thought

Prolong Negative Outcomes due to Falsified Findings – APA Citations

The retracted publication by Wakefield, Murch, Anthony, Linnell, Casson, Malik, Berelowitz, Dhillon, Thomson, Harvey, Valentine, Davies and Walker-Smith (1998) is an ideal example of how fabricated findings that claim to have scientific support have a large impact to the public. Kolodeziejski (2014) discussed how the practices for scientific publishing, specifically the tradition of hedging, help make publications more scientifically acceptable, but leaves gaps. These gaps allow for alternate interpretations to be passed to the public audience such as claims that have insufficient support (p. 166).

Scientific research usually attracts interested scientists and engineers. However, Wakefield et al.’s (1998) article continues to gain attention years later, even after being retracted from the publishing journal (Kolodeziejski, 2014, p. 166). Kolodeziejski (2014) stated that the article by Wakefield et al. (1998) received significant attention because of its link between measles, mumps, and the rubella (MMR) vaccine with the onset of autism spectrum disorders (ASD) (p. 166). Although the article’s explicit denial of proving a link between autism and the MMR vaccine (p. 166), many people still view the article as establishing scientific grounds resulting the Wakefield et al. article as a starting point in the autism vaccine controversy (AVC).

Poland and Jacobson (2011) stated that due to the claim by Wakefield et al. (1998) that the MMR vaccine played a causational role in autism, it led to decreased use of the MMR vaccine in Britain, Ireland, the United States, and other countries (p. 98). Ireland experienced multiple measles outbreaks where there were more than 300 cases, 100 hospitalizations, and 3 deaths (p. 98). By 2002, MMR immunization rates dropped in the U.K. below 85%, with some areas as low as 75% (Kolodeziejski, 2014, p. 166). Although MMR vaccinations rates remain high in the U.S., there is an increase of parents exercising their rights to opt out of vaccinations, with some exemption rates high enough that outbreaks of infectious diseases have occurred (p. 167). Greby, Wooten, Knighton, Avery and Stokley (2012) stated that in 2011, the CDC reported 17 outbreaks of measles and 222 measles cases that were mostly due to unvaccinated persons. It was stated that it was the highest number of measles cases in the United States since 1996 and highlighted the importance of vaccination (2012).

The general public have demonstrated that they believe in things that do not have scientific evidences such as occult beliefs. Alcock (1995) and Singer and Benassi (1981) discussed about how individuals have the tendency to believe in ideas that are not scientifically proven rather than in situations that are more likely to happen and logical. Singer and Benassi (1981) focused on social perspective and stated that media, social uncertainty, and absences of human reasoning seem to be the root of occult beliefs. Alcock (1995) concentrated on areas of how people learn, think, and choose, which agrees with Singer and Benassi’s (1981) statement of human reasoning. However, this may also result in individuals who are quick to believe in situations that claim to have scientific evidence. Wander (1976) noted that scientific research reports not only provide information, but act as a form of persuasion (p. 230). Rather, individuals should be more skeptical in materials they hear and see. However, a higher level of human reasoning and logical thinking may be difficult to achieve. Alcock (1995) stated that experience is often a poor guide to reality and skepticism is ideal to help individuals question their experiences and to avoid being led to believe what is not so.

Skepticism is defined as having an attitude of doubt (Skeptical, 2017). This is an ideal attitude when approaching situations that have bold claims. For example, toothpaste commercials like Sensodyne claim that nine out of ten dentists recommend Sensodyne toothpaste for sensitive teeth (Sensodyne, 2017). However, one should question how many dentists were actually in the study. Likewise, in the article by Wakefield et al. (1998) a sample size of 12 children is too small to display any significances in its findings. Furthermore, after the investigation by the British General Medical Council, it was proven that Wakefield wrote the article alone (Kolodeziejski, 2014, p. 166), which suggests that it is ideal to investigate its sources.

In addition, the publication of the article contributed to the public trust as it was approved and published by the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet (Kolodeziejski, 2014), which allow individuals to believe the article’s creditability. Although the Wakefield et al. article has been discredited and holds no validity, it continues to circulate and have an impact on the general public (p. 179). For example, many scientists still refer to the Wakefield et al. article as an extension to their scientific contributions (P. 179). There are still individuals who are more concerned about the risk of side effects from MMR vaccines, especially those with low science knowledge (Funk, 2017).

References

Alcock, J. (1995). The belief engine. Skeptical Inquirer, 19(3), 255-263. http://www.csicop.org/si/show/belief_engine/

Funk, C. (2017). Parents of young children are more ‘vaccine hesitant’. PEW Research Center. Retrieved from http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2017/02/06/parents-of-young-children-are-more-vaccine-hesitant/

Greby, S. M., Wooten, k. G., Knighton, C. L., Avey, B., & Stokley, S. (2012). Vaccination coverage among children in kindergarten-United State, 2011-12 school year. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, 61, 647-652.

Kolodziejski, L. R. (2014). Harms of hedging in scientific discourse: Andrew Wakefield and the origins of the autism vaccine controversy. Technical Communication Quarterly, 23(3), 165-183. doi:10.1080/10572252.2013.816487

Poland, G. A., & Jacobson, R. M. (2011). Perspective: The age-old struggle against the antivaccinationists. New England Journal of Medicine, 364, 97-99. doi:10.1056/NEJMp1010594

Sensodyne. (2017). Retrieved from https://www.sensodyne.ca/

Singer, B., & Benassi, V. A. (1981). Occult beliefs. American Scientist, 69(1), 49-55. http://www.jstor.org/stable/27850247

Skeptical. (2017). In Dictionary.com. Retrieved from http://www.dictionary.com/browse/skeptical

Wakefield, A. J., Murch, S. H., Anthony, A., Linnell, J., Casson, D. M., Malik, M., Berelowitz, M., Dhillon, A. P., Thomson, M. A., Harvey, P., Valentine, A., Davies, S. E., & Walker-Smith, J. A. (1998). RETRACTED: Ileal-lymphoid-nodular hyperplasia, non-specific colitis, and pervasive developmental disorder in children. The Lancel, 351, 637-641. doi;10.1016/S0140-6736(97)11096-0

Peer Review

Peer Review of Gillian Lai’s website

Gillian described her website to be about the difference between reality and fiction.

I like how Gillian is able to be comfortable to play with her name despite being teased throughout her upbringing.

I don’t know if it was done on purpose but I like the colour scheme: black, white, and grey. To me, these colours play around the idea of lying. The world is not always black and white just like when Gillian was talking about “white lies” = the grey areas of the world. Although I do enjoy the colours, I would suggest Gillian to maybe choose a darker grey as majority of her website focuses on white, the light grey is really hard on the eyes. I had to focus really hard and missed some of the words such as (what I believe to be) the categories (ex: ASSIGNMENT, POSIEL, PROCESS LOG that is above the title of the blog) when I was scroll the page.

Gillian stated that she is aiming for minimalism in one of her posts which I can see is present throughout her website. However, her website’s background is white and her blog is text heavy that she can do other things that can still be minimal but have a great impact for the reader. I would suggest Gillian to thicken her text, because of the white space surrounding the text is so even that it is straining for the readers’ eyes. Gillian did an excellent job with her text spacing/line spacing. As stated, her blog is text heavy that the white spaces allow the readers to read easily without losing their place.

Although Gillian said her blog is text heavy, the way she constructs her blogs, mainly the “learn to lie” collections is fairly easy to read. I enjoyed the “conversation-like” style as it is really easy to relate.

I look forward to see the changes Gillian makes and for her to continue her “lessons” on lying.

Gillian Lai
GILLIAN LIES A LOT
WEBSITE: http://gillianliesalot.com/

Toronto, Ontario

Summer 2017, I met up with my best friend in Toronto. We went to this Thai restaurant called PAI. When we first went in through those door, there were steps to go downstairs. It was a busy restaurant with people waiting inside and outside. The lighting was a bit dim so be careful of your steps. Don’t “judge a book by its cover”, the food was delicious!

We ordered the Khao Soi (top left), Kung tawt sa-moon prai (Garlic Shrimp) (top right), and Chef Nuit Pad Thai (bottom right). The food was amazing. The curry from the Khao Soi went so well with rice too.

When you order your food you get to pick the spicy level. We didn’t know what to expect, we either order mild or medium but I think we could’ve definitely went a lot higher because I couldn’t taste the spicy level. But keep in mind, I enjoy eating spicy food. When I go to Toronto again, I will definitely make a trip to PAI again. There were still a lot of things on the menu I would like to try.

PAI
ADDRESS: 18 Duncan St, Toronto, ON M5H 3G8
PHONE: +1 416-901-4724
WEBSITE: http://www.paitoronto.com/

Process Post

Process Post #2

  • Adding: “POSIEL”, “Blog”, and “Home” button to help divide and organize the page
    • This took me so long but thankfully Ariel was there to give me guidance
  • Adding a blog post about Okinawa and Peer Review

Process Post #3

  • Normally I work Mon-Sat, Tues off for school however this week was been horrible as I was so sick.
    • Also I had all my follow-up appointments with my specialists: Endocrinologist, Neurologist, and my Family Doctor which I was very pleased I was able to fit into 1 day.
  • Now that I’m feeling a little/a lot better this week I plan to:
    • Font: make the size a little bigger however wanting to keep the simplicity of fonts
      • This should make blog post a lot easy to read
    • Upload more blog posts
    • Hoping to remove the black boxes from the sidebar/reorganize it

Peer Review

Peer Review of Vincent Yang’s website

Vincent’s website focuses on fashion. On the excel sheet he described his website to be about fashion news and personal shares.

The sneak peak of the blogpost dated September 18, 2017 did not capture my attention to read it. However, once I clicked on the post, it is a very interesting post that goes into details about colours, matching, and texture in regards to fashion.

I liked how with each heading that Vincent used displayed the font colour despite the name of the colour. For example, “Grenadine” was the name of the colour but the font colour used was red. This is a great visual cue to help remind readers what the focus of the colour is that is being discussed. The way Vincent organized the photos and text is great too. There’s a lot of visual things to look at and not too much text to read which is great considering the website is about fashion.

Things Vincent can work on includes keeping up with the blog posts. It will be interesting to read more about new fashion such as the Paris Fashion Week that is currently taking place. A suggestion may be to align the images “centered” as there can be some extra white spaces to the right of the images which makes it feel off balanced. The “about” page is empty and having that filled out will give the audience a better idea of what the site will be about, especially when there isn’t a lot of content on the website right now.

Another suggestion is writing a little blurb about himself to give the reader an idea of who he is or at least a persona he wish to present himself as through the online platform.

Text font seems a little less “fashion” so it may be ideal to explore different font type to be more compatible with his website.

Overall, I look forward to reading more posts from Vincent and to see how he changes in the design of his website.

Vincent Yang
FASHION CATALOG
WEBSITE: http://facatalog.com/

Okinawa

During the summer of 2015, I travelled throughout Japan with my best friend. The last stop was Okinawa and we found this lovely breakfast location, C&C BREAKFAST. 

The food was delicious and it was so satisfying to have a nice breakfast. My favourite was definitely the fruit special pancake that we ordered. If you ever travel to Okinawa give this place a try. Don’t worry about not speaking Japanese, their menus have English and pictures to help you decide what you would like to eat. I would definitely visit again when I travel to Okinawa.

C&C BREAKFAST OKINAWA
ADDRESS: Japan, 〒900-0014 Okinawa Prefecture, Naha, Matsuo, 2−9−6 タカミネビル
PHONE: +81 98-927-9295
WEBSITE: http://www.ccbokinawa.com/