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The ethics of opting out of vaccination.

At my last visit to urgent care with one of my kids, the doctor who saw us mentioned that there is currently an epidemic of pertussis (whooping cough) in California, one that presents serious danger for the very young children (among others) hanging out in the waiting area.

June 29, 2013
Ethics at the Zoo: The Case of Marius the Giraffe

Ethics at the Zoo: The Case of Marius the Giraffe

Last weekend, a healthy juvenile male reticulated giraffe at the Copenhagen Zoo was killed. His name was Marius. The reason given was that his genes were already sufficiently represented in the giraffe population across the zoos of the European Association of Zoos and Aquariums (EAZA) his brother lives in a zoo in England, for [...]

February 13, 2014
Elegy for Rural Community Hospitals

Elegy for Rural Community Hospitals

In a pattern being repeated across the country, the Boothbay, Maine peninsula's hospital has been shuttered, and the communities just lost their bid to even have a 24 hour urgent care on the peninsula.

December 11, 2014

Don’t be evil: Obligations of scientists (part 3)

In the last installation of our ongoing discussion of the obligations of scientists, I said the next post in the series would take up scientists’ positive duties (i.e., duties to actually do particular kinds of things).

December 19, 2013

On allies.

Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. –George Santayana All of this has happened before, and all of this will happen again.

November 19, 2013
Face Off! A Debate About Eating Anything With A Face

Face Off! A Debate About Eating Anything With A Face

Is it healthier to be a vegetarian? Or an omnivore? And how much of an environmental impact does livestock really have? These questions can spark a lively debate and thats exactly what happened last week when Intelligence Squared presented Dont Eat Anything With A Face.

December 10, 2013

Questions for the non-scientists in the audience.

Today in my “Ethics in Science” class, we took up a question that reliably gets my students (a mix of science majors and non-science major) going: Do scientists have special obligations to society that non-scientists don’t have?

September 5, 2013

“Forcing” my kids to be vegetarian.

I’m a vegetarian, which is probably not a total surprise. I study and teach ethics. I’m uneasy with the idea of animals being killed to fulfill a need of mine I know can be fulfilled other ways.

September 6, 2013

The ethics of admitting you messed up.

Part of any human endeavor, including building scientific knowledge or running a magazine with a website, is the potential for messing up. Humans make mistakes.

October 14, 2013
Molecules to Medicine: Clinical Trials for Beginners

Molecules to Medicine: Clinical Trials for Beginners

Have you ever wondered about the medicines you take—how they are developed and produced? We'll explore that in "Molecules to Medicine." This new series could be described as "medicine for muggles," intended to take the mystery out of clinical research and drug development and to provide background information so that both patients and physicians can [...]

October 6, 2011
Practicing Narrative Medicine

Practicing Narrative Medicine

Since the first day of medical school, I was in breathless anticipation of my third year. I came to Harvard with a background in creative writing and the big draw of medicine for me lay in its compendium of human stories.

November 9, 2014
The pain of not getting cited: oversight, laziness, or malice?

The pain of not getting cited: oversight, laziness, or malice?

Its time to republish this classic article from Tet Zoo ver 2 (originally published in September 2009). The problem Im concerned with certainly hasnt gone away, and in fact is on my mind right now since Ive seen a couple of recent, egregious examples.

February 10, 2014