nos-trum. pronunciation: \nos'-trum\. noun. Etymology: Latin, neuter of noster our, ours.
1. a medicine of secret composition recommended by its preparer but usually without scientific proof of its effectiveness.
2. a usually questionable remedy or scheme.
See here for more discussion.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

What's a Nostrum?

I've been asked why the title of this blog is "Nostrums".  So, I put in a definition below the header.  The point is, I'm not interested in giving health advice (take a vitamin, this diet or that, etc).  The niche this blog explores is the gap between the significance, or value, of what gets done or published in the academic literature, or in the news media, and how that issue is portrayed.  Too often, both media and academia will over-estimate what's been accomplished:  the data won't take you that far, the study was poorly done, or the policy proposal has unintended consequences.  Worse, a good piece of work is often ignored.  I want to go back to the roots: the data and the common sense of what we hear in terms of new science and new policy. Then take that info and analyze it in such a way that it's informative and entertaining.  This almost never gets done.  Everybody could peel back the layers and see for themselves if they had the time, but who does?

Plus, it lets me get some real gripes off my chest.  Almost thirty years of being careful  to reflect the policies of the Air Force or keep my opinion to myself, has left me with a lot of pent up commentary.  Grrr.

This is a dull post.  If this furschenlugginer blog host would allow it, I would put this in an "About" link.  Sorry.

Doc D

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