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Autopilot off — here is something more current

The stream of content for the last week was all pre-scheduled. Here is something I wrote more recently, to my colleagues on the Diversity Committee in UW Dept. of Global Health:

From: Abraham D. Flaxman
Sent: Tuesday, November 15, 2016 12:06 PM
To: dghdiversity
Subject: Reflecting on Recent Events in American Politics

Dear DGH Diversity Committee,

It has taken a week for me to start writing a response to the recent turn in US politics. I’m barely ready to start now, but I also can’t wait to say something.

I don’t know who among us voted, or how, but in our department and in our work, it is important to remember that we don’t all have the same views. We don’t all have the same access or power, either. Many of our colleagues are not able to vote in US elections, despite how dramatically the results will affect them. This is profoundly unfair.

Many of those who are allowed to vote chose not to. My brother estimated that around 50% of voting-age citizens did not vote for Clinton or Trump last week.

Time will tell which of President-Elect Trump’s campaign promises were serious and which were “opening bids for negotiation”. Regardless, something is different this week. The extremist views put forth by Trump during the worst moments of this campaign have been validated by our electoral process. I hoped that when the votes were counted it would repudiate xenophobia and racism, reject sexual assault, and basically just stand up against bullying. Far from hope.

Instead, our nastiest tendencies are now elevated. It may seem that we have license to act worse towards each other than last week. As a diversity committee, department, and world, we must work to counter this. In ourselves, in our colleagues, and in our students.


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SIAM Talk on Reproducibility

> Victoria Stodden gave a talk on “Implementing Reproducibility in Computational Science” at the SIAM Annual meeting this summer — audio and slides are available at

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Promising new book

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New report on Vaccine Confidence

This year’s State of Vaccine Confidence study surveyed 65,819 individuals across 67 countries, investigating confidence in vaccine safety and effectiveness, as well as perceptions of vaccine importance and compatibility with religious beliefs. The analysis, published in EBioMedicine, was conducted in collaboration with Imperial College London and the National University of Singapore, and the data was collected by WIN/Gallup International Association.

State of Vaccine Confidence 2016: Global insights through a 67-country survey

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Interesting Article

> Science isn’t self-correcting, it’s self-destructing. To save the enterprise, scientists must come out of the lab and into the real world.

Not about divide between theoretical and applied research. Not got me convinced, but good challenge to my beliefs.

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Policy Brief from my PHAST friends

> Lead exposure is was in the national spotlight. However, public health practitioners, policy makers, and researchers lack timely, comparable, community-specific data to make prompt decisions when extensive lead exposures endanger population health.

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GBD results on Hepatitis

It took a while, but we finally managed to put together all the GBD results on hepatitis:

It has had some traction with the press:

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