Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The best description of Unitarian Universalism I've ever seen...

This article is in the Summer 2009 issue of the Unitarian Universalist publication UUWorld. It was authored by Kenneth W. Collier...

The human condition

Monday, June 1, 2009

Let the buyer beware, WebMD...

Never trust a web site that won't let you post comments, complaints, or alternate views! In fact with webMD you can't even send a private email to an author. That's an obvious signal you're reading plain old corporate advertising and NOT information.

Look at the smoking cessation article by Jennifer Warner for example. Right off the bat you read: "nicotine-replacement therapies are more than twice as effective at helping smokers quit than going it alone."

Yea, right. OK, did anybody ask what "going it alone" means? The phrase is used like it is an accepted technical term, maybe to suggest cold turkey cessation? In the next paragraph you read: "... treatments were more effective than placebo...", but is placebo the same thing as cold turkey quitting? Really? In the first case with placebo, you have a person who thinks they're getting a magic pill, an easy way out. Any wonder why they fail? But the second case describes a motivated person who needs to arrest the addiction, who needs to get free of nicotine. So, you see, it's really not a fair comparison after all, though the author didn't actually refer to any overt comparison--rather it was cleverly insinuated, wrapped in clinical sounding mumbo-jumbo.

Now I am a 40 year smoker who quit cold turkey. I tried using all the tricks: gum, patch, hypnotism, bupropion, varenicline. And they all failed, utterly. I was provided with a nicotine substitute and a thin assurance that this magic bullet could end my misery. But it never did, and I didn't quit. Well, not until I obtained knowledge, the Knowledge, of how addiction works. It was information, not corporate spam, that made the difference. And all the real quitters I know agree.

If you are a smoker and you want to quit try, and leave WebMD to the marketing jerks!

Let the buyer beware.