Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, December 23, 2007

Blog update

Sorry to have missed a couple of days -- I've had a bit of a cold, nothing major but it's left me at a low energy level and I've had to devote what I had to other projects. In the coming week, I'll be away from Your Intertubes quite a bit as well so I may post only on a couple of days.

From this end, that's probably good -- I need a break to regather my thoughts. In the real world, I've encountered some controversy about the basic concept of public health that demands some processing in the wetware. I often say that public health is everything -- a bit of an exaggeration, since the study of quasars in near ultraviolet doesn't have a lot to do with public health, but I mean that everything connected with human society, the human environment, and the human organism is within the domain of public health. I thought that was a progressive and liberating sentiment which honors toilers in the groves of academe who nowadays don't get the kind of respect and funding that is lavished on biomedical research, from political scientists to art historians. But evidently it can be taken as a kind of arrogance or imperialism.

An essential foundation of the claim is really a semantic point -- I don't think of health as a purely biological concept. Health is biological, psychological, social and yes, spiritual, which is a realm of just as much significance to atheists as it is to the religious, by the way. To think of the human organism in purely biological terms is ridiculous, although I agree that too large a percentage of NIH funding, and health care spending, is based on that obvious fallacy. In the coming year, I vow to be more rigorous in defining the concept of public health, and framing what I write within that definition. (I am allowed, of course, the occasional indulgence.)

So, as I usually say at this time of year, we'll be dark, or at least intermittently lit for a few days, then we'll be back bigger and better than ever. Or at least I hope so.