Tuesday, August 28, 2007

US Maternal Mortality rate on the rise

The US maternal mortality rate (essentially the rate of women dying from childbirth-related causes) was reported as 13 per 100,000 live births for 2004, up from 12 per 100,000 in 2003, which according to this article was the first time since 1977 that it was above 10.

Let's compare that with our neighbors to the north...an otherwise similar culture, by most accounts. WHO cites Canada's maternal mortality rate as 4 per 100,000 live births in 2000.

The US rise in maternal mortality is attributed to (among other things)

  • a whopping 29% C-section rate
  • obesity
  • changes in how maternal mortality is reported
  • older women having children
The first two factors, at very least, are highly addressable.

This is unforgiveable.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

There will not be two moons on August 27

A couple of days ago, someone forwarded me a message claiming that Mars would be so close to earth on August 27 that it would look as large as the full moon. Unfortunately, the message neglected to mention that this would require a telescopic lens of about 75 power magnification, and that the date was actually August 27, 2003.

When I received this message, I did what I always do when I receive emails (from otherwise intelligent individuals) containing outrageous claims or stories of crime victims with morals about precautions I should take in the future. I looked it up on Snopes.

Snopes is one of my favorite sites on the net. It is dedicated to debunking various urban legends and hoaxes. It is clearly written and usually provides lots of documentation of the source of legends as well as how they are debunked. I like this site so much that I've added it to my list of recommended links (see on the right of this page).

Sure enough, the Mars story was there. You can take a look at it at http://www.snopes.com/science/mars.asp complete with the email I received. It seems this story resurfaces pretty often. I guess it's like those "Confidential message for Dawn regarding hidden funds in Swiss Bank" emails -- there's always someone new out there who hasn't seen them yet, and might actually fall for it.