When you’re in the dentist’s chair, the power imbalance between practitioner and patient becomes palpable. A masked figure looms over your recumbent body, wielding power tools and sharp metal instruments, doing things to your mouth you cannot see, asking you questions you cannot properly answer, and judging you all the while. The experience simultaneously invokes physical danger, emotional vulnerability, and mental limpness. A cavity or receding gum line can suddenly feel like a personal failure. When a dentist declares that there is a problem, that something must be done before it’s too late, who has the courage or expertise to disagree? When he points at spectral smudges on an X-ray, how are we to know what’s true? In other medical contexts, such as a visit to a general practitioner or a cardiologist, we are fairly accustomed to seeking a second opinion before agreeing to surgery or an expensive regimen of pills with harsh side effects. But in the dentist’s office—perhaps because we both dread dental procedures and belittle their medical significance—the impulse is to comply without much consideration, to get the whole thing over with as quickly as possible
The uneasy relationship between dentist and patient is further complicated by an unfortunate reality: Common dental procedures are not always as safe, effective, or durable as we are meant to believe. As a profession, dentistry has not yet applied the same level of self-scrutiny as medicine, or embraced as sweeping an emphasis on scientific evidence. “We are isolated from the larger health-care system. So when evidence-based policies are being made, dentistry is often left out of the equation,” says Jane Gillette, a dentist in Bozeman, Montana, who works closely with the American Dental Association’s Center for Evidence-Based Dentistry, which was established in 2007. “We’re kind of behind the times, but increasingly we are trying to move the needle forward.”
Consider the maxim that everyone should visit the dentist twice a year for cleanings. We hear it so often, and from such a young age, that we’ve internalized it as truth. But this supposed commandment of oral health has no scientific grounding. Scholars have traced its origins to a few potential sources, including a toothpaste advertisement from the 1930s and an illustrated pamphlet from 1849 that follows the travails of a man with a severe toothache. Today, an increasing number of dentists acknowledge that adults with good oral hygiene need to see a dentist only once every 12 to 16 months.
Many standard dental treatments—to say nothing of all the recent innovations and cosmetic extravagances—are likewise not well substantiated by research. Many have never been tested in meticulous clinical trials. And the data that are available are not always reassuring.
From Mother Jones:
Climate scientists, of course, have been predicting global warming trends for quite a while. So how do their models compare to the predictions made by people who have to put their money where their mouths are? Pretty closely, it turns out. Here, for example, is the predicted number of “cooling days” (i.e., hot days that will require cooling) during the summer for the past couple of decades:
The light and dark blue lines are the two most widely used NASA climate models. The green line shows the equivalent projection based on the futures market. Guess what? When money folks have to hedge the weather, it turns out they listen to climate scientists. Their projections closely match the predictions made by climate models.
From NY Magazine:
No matter where the stories came from they all featured a few familiar beats: A loved one seemed to have changed over time. Maybe that person was already somewhat conservative to start. Maybe they were apolitical. But at one point or another, they sat down in front of Fox News, found some kind of deep, addictive comfort in the anger and paranoia, and became a different person — someone difficult, if not impossible, to spend time with. The fallout led to failed marriages and estranged parental relationships. For at least one person, it marks the final memory he’ll ever have of his father: “When I found my dad dead in his armchair, fucking Fox News was on the TV,” this reader told me. “It’s likely the last thing he saw. I hate what that channel and conservative talk radio did to my funny, compassionate dad. He spent the last years of his life increasingly angry, bigoted, and paranoid.”
Fox News, and all the right-wing, conspiracy theory laden sites out there, changes people. Full stop.
From the Dutch Review:
The company was also the first official company to issue stocks, which peaked during the Dutch “Tulip Mania”, a craze for tulip bulbs that is seen as the world’s first true financial bubble. The VOC’s stocks pushed the company’s worth to a massive 78 million Dutch guilders, which is a pretty solid business even today, but translates to a whopping $7,9 trillion dollar worth today… Yes, really, trillion. That’s 7,900 billion – or 79,000 million!
There’s a reason why more artists support democratic principles. We are inclusive, more welcoming to strangers, homeless, those in need. We embody empathy. Mixing cultures and ideas generates a wealth of beauty and good. With it comes negative. That’s to be expected. There’s no free lunch.
The rising chorus of reasoned voices needs to gain more and more traction. I love that women are leading this country in new, invigorated, strong ways.
This clip of California Democratic congresswoman Katie Porter rocking JP Morgan’s CEO, Jamie Dimon’s pathetic little brain with fucking real world facts. It’s high time the fat cats reasonably redistribute their company’s wealth. For Pete’s sake. It’s not goddamn rocket science.
Or maybe it is. Here’s our first family struggling with some basic math:
I’ll put another amazing clip below the fold of Banking Fat Cats getting grilled by congress. Continue reading “AOC isn’t the only AOC on the Hill”