Archive for 2015
Annoyingly Incomplete Research Breeds Annoyingly Alarmist Message
“Why You Should Take Your Shoes Off Before Entering Your Home, Backed By Science”
It opens with:
While it may be commonplace in most Asian countries, the cultural norm of taking your shoes off before entering your home has yet to catch on in Europe and America. In Asian cultures it’s easily understandable as to why people remove their shoes before coming into a home as their meals are typically eaten on mats on the floor, and they sleep on rolled out futons at night.
A new study has researchers suggesting that maybe we might want to be more aware of what exactly we’re bringing into our homes via our shoes.
Bacteria in the home – Research conducted at the University of Houston found that 40% of shoes were carrying around the Clostridium difficile, or “C.diff”, bacterium. Infections caused by C.diff are highly resistant to antibiotics, which can lead to difficult and lengthy recovery times for anyone who becomes infected. C.diff is also able to survive in most areas of the household, including toilets, tops and surfaces, and wherever floor dust is found. Ready to take off your shoes yet?
Kinda scary, right? I’m always going to take my shoes off at home so me and my baby don’t get sick!
The trouble is, the article intentionally sensationalized and misrepresented the results of the research.
I read the research paper. The data and conclusions of the research did not match what the article implied. To paraphrase, the research said, “C.diff can get you sick. 1/3 of all our samples in homes had that bug on them. 40% of shoe bottoms had it, 30% of bathroom surfaces, 30% of floor dust. Wow, that’s a lot… we think… maybe.” And that’s where they left it.
So my takeaway is: don’t lick the bottoms of my shoes, the floor, or my toilet. Thanks for the tip, guys.
If they had compared rates of contamination in the different areas of the house, they might have come to some great conclusions. For example, maybe people that have shoe bugs are more likely to have bugs elsewhere in the house (IE, maybe people track the bugs in on their shoes) . Or maybe not. They’ve got the raw data, why didn’t they crunch the numbers?
They didn’t have a control group. They said that floor dust was contaminated, was tabletop dust contaminated too? Maybe if they had tested silverware, frozen pizzas, and kitchen tables they would have had the same 30% contamination rates. But we’ll never know because they did bad science. I know all about bad science, I did some just last month.
Frickin’ grad students and their research projects.
Frickin’ sensationalist websites and their fear mongering.
You can find the abstract (a short summary) of the research here. You can find the full paper via a library that has access to scholarly journals. I used my San Jose State University library access.
I will try to attend this. See you there?
Workshop Weekend in Oakland! December 12 & 13
Join us on December 12 & 13 to make a robot, dissect a computer, make ice cream or a chocolate mold, learn HTML and plan your website, hack your tastebuds and more. At Workshop Weekend, a flat $40 admission gets you as many workshops as you can handle!
I hope you had a wonderful Thanksgiving!
I’m writing to remind you that the deadline for early bird registration for Workshop Weekend istomorrow, November 29. Use code EARLYBIRD7715 at checkout to get a $10 discount! Don’t delay — some workshops have already sold out.
Register online by Sunday, November 29 and save $10 with code EARLYBIRD7715.Select your workshops at http://workshopweekend.net/
For families coming to Workshop Weekend together, we’re keeping our $10 discount for all parent admissions with the purchase of two or more admissions for children (under 18). Sign up on the same account and the discount will be automatically applied.
We have more than 20 workshops to choose from at this Workshop Weekend — a few old favorites are coming back alongside a number of new printmaking, food, and holiday-themed workshops — and more! Join us for:
- Vanilla Extracts
- Light Blue Bean
- LED Ornaments
- LED Light Belt
- Printmaking: Traditional
- Printmaking: Monotype
- Digital Music
- New Year’s Resolutions
- 3D Printed Cookie Cutter
- Computer Dissection
- DIY Gift Wrap
- DIY Holiday Cards
- Liquid Nitrogen Ice Cream
- Hack Your Tastebuds
Register and select workshops online at http://workshopweekend.net/
I hope we’ll see you in December!
J.D., Shuai, Leah, Kevin, and the team at Workshop Weekend
How Do I Scroll in Adobe Reader?
99% of what anyone wants to do with Adobe Reader is to read a document. 99% of reading a document is the act of scrolling. Is there a keyboard shortcut or mouse gesture that will reliably and smoothly scroll through a document?
Adobe Reader has existed for over 15 years, how can this be a thing?
Advertising for the Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat is intentionally deceptive.
The Chicco website says that it holds a baby “from 4-30 lbs” but they never mention that there is a very important height restriction. This is a dangerous and deceptive lie by omission. (See the Chicco website) (local archive). But the manual is very clear that it supports a baby “4-30 lbs, 30 inches or less.”
You might be thinking, “Yeah, whatever, that is a small matter.” No, it isn’t.
The average baby outgrows the car seat by weight when they turn 30 months (2 1/2 years) old. But the average baby outgrows the car seat by height at 12 months old! (see the CDC height and weight tables) Our baby was 30″ tall at 9 1/2 months!
We’ve had our Chicco Keyfit 30 Car Seat for a few months now and it has performed well. But our daughter outgrew it more than a year and a half sooner than we were led to believe by Chicco.
It is a fine product, they don’t need to stoop to this deception. This deception is dangerous for children because if you were to only read the marketing information, you might use this seat long after it was safe to do so.