Welcome to Focal Point
Hello, Big Think. Welcome to Focal Point, a blog about politics, ideas, photography, media, feminism, and more. I'm a freelance journalist in Brooklyn, New York. I do both print and photojournalism, hence the name of the blog.
I didn't set out to become a blogger. I started in 2004 while I was applying to PhD programs in philosophy.
When the applications didn't work out, I drifted into pharmaceutical advertising during the Vioxx era. I became deeply disenchanted when I realized that the industry was literally hijacking medical science to sell drugs. They weren't just spinning the results of studies. I saw pharmaceutical companies conceiving, executing, and analyzing research in the service of marketing objectives. I began to worry that evidence-based medicine was being hacked.
Eventually, I quit to blog and report full-time, but the experience left a lasting impression.
One antidote to the corporate corruption of science is education. As a reporter, I write a lot about science, medicine, and the political contexts in which they unfold. When you're battling deadlines, it's easy to miss the big picture. I hope Focal Point will be a place to explore those larger issues. Expect to read about U.S. health care reform and reproductive rights. Along the way, we'll tackle sex, drugs, and the DSM.
I'm very excited to be joining Big Think. Let's reason together.
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Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
They didn't know it, but the rituals of Iron Age Scandinavians turned their iron into steel.
- Iron Age Scandinavians only had access to poor quality iron, which put them at a tactical disadvantage against their neighbors.
- To strengthen their swords, smiths used the bones of their dead ancestors and animals, hoping to transfer the spirit into their blades.
- They couldn't have known that in so doing, they actually were forging a rudimentary form of steel.
Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.
- The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
- Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
- As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
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