Lise A. Johnson & Eric Chudler: "Worried?: Science Investigates Some of [...]" | Talks at Google
So. Thanks for having us back it's, nice to get re invited it means we didn't do so poorly the first time around so my name is Lisa Johnson and I am most, recently in Rocky Vista University which is a very small Medical School in Colorado but. I, until recently worked at University of Washington so, I'm very happy to be back in the region enjoying. Some rain again, so. Today we're going to be talking about our, book and the first thing we want to talk about is why, would we write a book about worries, so this is a picture, of my daughter a couple. Of years ago she's much more advanced. These days but. I think, for, me I've, always been kind, of a worrier, a worrywart. Anyway. You want to phrase it I've always been stressed out about things but this really, accelerated. As a problem, for me when I had kids I don't. Know if anybody else has had this experience but I realized, when I had kids that there was like new, categories. Of things that I had never even thought about that I needed to worry about all of a sudden and as, I would google them I would get, a little stressed out because you get a thousand, hits for anything that, you could potentially be worried about and. It. Started to really, become kind, of a problem in my life that I was worrying about all of these things and my husband said to me one day as I was freaking out about something. Trivial, in retrospect, um that. You know as a scientist, you could probably figure, out what you need to worry about and what you don't and I had this realization, that that was actually true and so I started, to. Kind of investigate in a logical way the things that I thought were, important, to worry about and the things that I didn't, think we're important to worry about and as I was in this process I realized lots of other people are stressed out about lots of things as well and. That kind of kicked off this process and then I worked. With eric chudler at the time and he graciously agreed to work on the project with me and that's kind of how we got started well. One of the things that I've noticed is that this is an extremely, timely, topic, every, time I tell someone hey I'm writing this book about worries they always respond with did you write a chapter on fill. In the blank right everybody has something that they're really worried about so, we're going to talk about some of this that, we, discuss. In the book and then we're gonna give some tips on how people can, investigate, worries on their own but. First. We want to talk about what, our methods, were so. Eric and I are both scientists, and I would venture to say kind, of nerdy scientists, at that and so we felt that we needed to have a process. And some defining, principles, as we embarked, on this project so. We thought about well. What sorts of things should you reasonably, be worried about and. We said there are really three, things that. Are important to consider the. First is how likely is, something to happen to you the, second is how. Bad is it going to be if it does in fact happen to you and then finally what, can you do to prevent it from happening to, you and we decided really that, if, something, is likely to happen to you if, it's gonna be bad and, if, you can do something about it then that sort of forms this magic. Space. Of things, that you should worry about everything. Else if it's unlikely you don't need to worry about it if, it's not really gonna be a big deal you don't need to worry about it and if there's nothing you can do about it even if it is really going to be a problem then, you don't really need to worry about that either, because there's nothing you can really do, to prevent it so it's kind of a waste of your time so. We quantified. Quantified. Our, worries, in this, way so, for, each of our, problems. That, we investigated. Each of our topics that we investigated, we created what's called what we call the worry index, so. The worry index is really a very loose quantification. Okay it's really based on we investigated. This we talked about it and we scaled each of these worries with. Respect to each other so. It's. Not something to really, take. Religiously, to the bank it's, a good place to start and so we're going to talk about. How. We, how. We feel about each of these topics and hopefully we'll have a chance for you guys to participate as well. So. As an example we're. Going to talk about asteroid, strikes so that's one of the things that some people worry about in fact millions, years ago the dinosaurs were, maybe worrying, about getting, struck by an asteroid if they had a large, enough brain to worry about things. But. Some people do worry about maybe. All, life on Earth be destroyed again and so, I'm going to give this in this example about the criteria. That we use and then we're going to give you some examples, to do, on your own so, for, an asteroid strike. The, likelihood, of getting.
Struck By a, large, asteroid, is minuscule. So, there are a couple sentry, systems here in the United States and also in Europe that are scanning the skies for, large objects. On their way to earth, and, it's. Estimated that the, next significant, one within the next hundred, years has, almost, a, 99.9%. Chance, that, it will miss, earth. So. The likelihood of, a, large asteroid, hitting the earth is, almost, nil, okay so because. It's unlikely nothing. To worry about so, you should be happy about that very unlikely. Can. You do anything to prevent it so, if there was an asteroid coming to earth is there some way that you can avert, this disaster so. How, many of you have seen what. Is it M. Armageddon. With Ben Affleck and, Bruce. Willis yeah, most, of you have seen that one all right would that work no. It's not going to work if you put a nuclear bomb on an asteroid you just instead of one asteroid. Coming down to, earth you're gonna get maybe, a hundred one and it, will still be a big problem we, do not have any technology at this time to, prevent, an asteroid, if it was coming toward, us some, technologies. That are being thought of well maybe, if you can break it up just, tiny tiny little pieces maybe. That would work because our atmosphere. Is being bombarded by asteroids. All, the time but. It's they're small enough they burn up in the atmosphere, and. It doesn't cause a problem other. Technologies. Might be to send something up and rather than break. It apart just, nudge it a little bit off course right. Because if you catch it soon enough because the earth is moving all you have to do is change their trajectory a little bit and the earth will move out of the way right. So they asked or the so, the asteroid won't hit another. Technology would be to put, up a large object, and, gravitationally. Pull, the. Asteroid, again, to divert it off course and that, would also cause it to miss can, we do that now no, so. We can't do anything to prevent it so, nothing. To worry about, now, if it did happen though sorry. If, it does happen just like it happened millions of years ago it, would wipe out a lot, of life on earth and cute including, all human, life alright, so the consequence, is devastated. Right if something like that happen all human life would probably be destroyed. All right so unfortunately, so, when, you add all these up together, this, is where we would place it on that lower left. Side it's unlikely, to happen there's, nothing, you can do about it although, the consequence, would be bad but because of those two criteria. Getting. Struck by an asteroid there's nothing for you to worry about, okay. So those are the methods we use we looked at the data of, the likelihood the, consequence, and can. You do anything to, prevent, it so. Now, it's. Sort, of audience participation time, so all of you should have a, piece, of paper with, a little graph. On it a little plot. And. Your. Job is to assign, a. Little. Dot and the size of the dot is going to be the consequence, and you, should be plotting it on. The to scale so Lisa's going to introduce the first one. Okay. So, the, first thing we're gonna talk about is mercury so everybody play along it's after lunch so everybody wake up participation.
Is Key, and I, want you on your plot to. Make a bubble. Sort, of relative to the size that you think it should be and then, also - oh. Yeah, exactly Erik put up this nice, plot so put. It in at the quadrant, that you think it belongs in and then give it a size relative. To the magnitude of the problem that you think it is I'll give you just a minute to view that and then, we'll. Continue. Everybody. Has to play commit. Okay. So. Raise, your hand if you think that, it belongs in this quadrant down here unlikely, and you can't do anything to stop it. Excellent. How. About unlikely. And you can do something about it yes. Excellent, some people think so likely, to happen but you can't do anything about it this is sort of the fatalistic, category, down here a few and how, about up here likely. To happen you can do something about it therefore you should worry. Okay. Some of you aren't playing but that's fine you'll get into it. So. Here's where we put it okay so we actually put it up here in the worry category, and it gets a relatively, large dot. So. Why, is that I kind of primed you in thinking about this by giving you a picture of a fish so many people are thinking about methyl, mercury which, is part. Of our diet and we worry about it in that sense and that is a problem but, there's also another form of mercury that you might encounter and that would be elemental mercury so, how many people have actually seen mercury, in real life. Yeah. So it's very cool right my, mom tells me stories about when she was a kid in science, class they would actually give her a blob of mercury, to roll around in her hand and, it was is so exciting because it's silvery and it's neat right, everybody, thinks it's neat and people, have thought that it's neat for thousands, of years actually so historically. It's been used for medicinal purposes, it used to be a very common treatment for syphilis for example, it's. Been used for sort of magical, or ritualistic purposes and, it still is it's used in mining because it forms amalgams, with both gold and silver and. It's used in fillings. Right does anybody have silver fillings you probably. All sore gold fillings also you also have some, mercury in there because it forms an amalgam. So. The problem with mercury that in addition to being very cool it's obviously also very toxic right, and. Mercury. Is most toxic not, when you put it on your skin or even when you eat it but when you inhale it so elemental, mercury, is most dangerous when you inhale it and which is strange because you don't think about a metal, as being particularly, vaporous, but mercury is a strange metal right and so, it's. Most, easily, absorbed, into your body if you inhale it and then it crosses into your blood and then it crosses into your brain and there are a number of negative, side effects associated with that so, elemental, mercury is very much to be avoided, and we don't usually. Encounter. It in commercial products anymore that, used to be in thermometers, but they've, been highly, phased out and. Used, to find it in, science classes and fishing lures and all kinds of places the problem is that even though we don't manufacture those, products, anymore even though we don't describe ute it to science classes for, kids to play with in the palm of their hand it still exists, in a legacy, form, and. Once it is distributed. In the environment, once you break a thermometer. Once, you spill mercury it's very very difficult, and expensive to clean it up you can't sweep it up you can't vacuum, it up you can't just dump it down the drain because it persists, and there have been examples of children finding, it in their science classrooms, and taking it home and playing with it and they have to take their houses literally, down to the studs in order, to decontaminate the house right, there has been an example of somebody who broke mercury. Thermometer, 20, years prior in their home and they were still recording, measurable, levels of mercury vapor in the in, the in the room in the, bathroom, so. That, can obviously be very problematic, methyl. Mercury, which. We're familiar with in the term in terms of fish is. Also, a problem, but it's hard to say how, big of a problem it is and there's lots of confounders. So clearly. Having. Too much methyl, mercury is, toxic, and. We know that because of an unfortunate incident in Minamata Japan a, number. Of years ago. But. It's sort of the in-between levels are harder to quantify because there are so many individual, differences, and because. Consuming, fish which is sort of the largest. Source. Of methyl mercury is also really good for you in lots of other ways so it's kind of this strange balance, between fish is really good for you and your cognitive development, but mercury is really bad for you and your cognitive development, so how do we find.
The Happy. Medium between those two things and. I think it's fair to say that scientists, are still arguing about that but, one. Thing we can say is that fish, that are higher up on the food chain which. Usually means the big ones right that eat the littler ones are, gonna have more concentration, of methyl mercury than, ones, that are lower on the food chain which, means if you eat sardines. You're. Gonna get less mercury than if you're eating shark, or swordfish, for example so, most, experts recommend now, that you should try and eat fish but you should eat fish they're lower on the food chain and fish, that are higher in fatty acids. So. This one gets a frowny face yeah. Sorry. So how do we scale it on the x-axis is, it, it's sort of a lifetime, risk I tend, to think of it as more of like a snapshot in, time so at this point in time if you, assuming. That you have any exposure at all like you are eating, fish, or you are living. In a world where there is elemental. Mercury what, is your likelihood so it's a little bit. Personalized. Right, not everybody's, gonna have the same level of exposure which, is one of the reasons why we, asked people not to read sort of too much into, our worry index, but really to think about how, this might apply to you. All. Right your next worry. Is in. Honor of brain. Awareness Week which is actually an international event going on next week is. Your. Brain eating amoeba and, this was actually something that was in the newspaper just. Very recently there. Was a case in. Washington. And so you may have seen their headlines and Seattle, Times and on the news so. Again. On your sheets of paper, where. Would this worry be, pick. Which quadrant it should be and, again. Just to help you out, it. Looks like most, people are, finished. So, raise, your hand if this, is a concern, of yours that, it's unlikely, to happen and, there's, nothing you can do to stop it. Unlike. That happen but there's nothing you can do to stop it how about the. Above, that it's unlikely, to happen but there is something, you can do about it maybe. A few more people how. About it's very likely, to happen to you and, you, can, it's. Likely to happen and you. Can't do anything about it so it's, likely to happen that the bottom right hand side. And. How about just above that this, is something that you should worry about. All. Right this. Is what replaced it. It's, something, that it's very unlikely, to happen there, is something, that you can do about it but, it has a large circle, because if it happens to you it's, 97, percent fatal. Okay. So what is a brain-eating, ameba. It's a small, single-celled. Organism. That, is found in warm, freshwater. If. It's in inhaled. Through your nose in many, not in many cases in a few cases it, gets into the upper part of your nose where, it, then. Crawls. I guess if an amoeba crawls through. The. Sinuses, up to your brain where. It starts eating brain tissue and that's, bad as you might imagine, but. It's very unlikely, to happen many waters, are. Contaminated. With this amoeba, but, very few people come down with it in fact for the last about. Thirty years or so there's only been about a hundred and fifty, cases or so so, it's very unlikely, to happen even though a lot of water is contaminated. You. Can also not, contract. The, disease. By. Swallowing. The water it, must go into your nasal passages so just because you swallow the water the, amoebas killed in your digestive system. The. Other way you can get it if you don't if you're not in this freshwater and like a spa or something like that there's, a device, called a neti pot, so. If some people use a neti pot to clean out their sinuses, you're supposed to use purified, or sterilized. Water and. Then you kind of tip the pot into, your nose to clean your sinuses, well if that water is contaminated, then. The amoeba can get up into your nose and then, crawl into your brain and.
I'm. Sorry to say kill you, so. Again. Not, something to worry about but the, headlines make, it as if it is something that you should worry about the Seattle Times had a big headline you know brain-eating ameba doctor. Says it can happen to you right. But very very unlikely even. Though it's a somewhat common bacteria, so. Nothing. To worry about the. Next one okay. So, flame retardants first of all does everybody know what I mean when I talk about flame retardants these. Are chemical, that are added a lot of times to furniture most commonly furniture also, baby, toys, and, bouncers, and stuff and, carpets. And car. Seats in order. Obviously, to stop them from catching on fire so, now. That you know what they are write down quickly what you think yeah. No. That's. A separate job different chapter yeah. Being. Injured by flame retardants yeah. So. Here's our just, to remind you here's our plot so put it in one of these quadrants. Although. That's an interesting question about whether it's being, injured by or the lack of both, obviously. It could be a problem but in this case we're talking about the chemicals. Okay. So. Who. Thinks we belong down here not. Really a problem. Okay. How about up here a. Few. As well so that would be in the unlikely, and you can do something about it so it's. Highly, preventable but not highly likely how about it's likely to happen but you can't really do anything about it so don't worry about it, up. There and how many think it's something to worry about. Okay. So I'll tell you that this is the this is the topic that sent, me kind of over the edge I was. Worried about flame retardants in, our sofa and I actually made my husband, take our sofa out to the garage and, we lived without a sofa for several months and. I'll tell you why so. Before I do the meat let me show you where we assigned it and explain a little bit about this plot okay so first of all this, circle, right here is it, looks like it's slightly off to the left but it's meant to be centered. Right on the 50% line and it's about 50% size. And and, that means actually when I give something at score of fifty-fifty it means I have no idea okay, so this is this is what I like to call in the zone of the uncertainty. All right and the reason for that is because when, we're talking about flame retardant chemicals there are, thousands. Of different chemicals, that are out there in, the wild that are being used and most, of them have actually not been rigorously, studied for.
Their Effects on human health so. A little bit of history on flame, Harden's they. Were originally added to furniture by, law in the state of California, around I'm, gonna get my date wrong I think it was 1975. Because, there's. A problem with people smoking and when, they fall. Asleep with a cigarette in. Their mouth or close by they, would like, their furniture on fire. And. In, order to get around this problem the. State of California mandated, that, furniture, meet a certain. Flame-resistant. Standard. And the way that manufacturers, achieved, this standard was by adding, flame retardant chemicals and. Because California. Is such a huge market, most, manufacturers, didn't make furniture. For the rest of the world and furniture for California, they just added flame retardant chemicals to, everything, so. The problem is that many of these chemicals are associated, with all kinds, of health problems so enter King problems, and. Developmental. Problems, growth problems, cancer. Obviously is always on the list but, they haven't really. Been. Excellent. Been. Rigorously, tested. And. So we still don't really know how. Big of a problem they are we know that they are persistent, environmental. Pollutants so you can isolate them in a in the fat of Arctic, polar bears which turns out to be like the gold standard, for a persistent, environmental. Pollutant if you can find it in a polar bear then, we. Have a problem right um, and, and. They're. Basically everywhere in the environment, which is why we get a pretty, low preventability, score, right, there in your car there in your house there. Any place that has. Foam. In particular, is often. Treated with, flame retardant, chemicals so recently, about, 2013. The. State of California reversed its. Technical. Bulletin it's called Technical Bulletin 117. And now there's an amendment in 2013. Saying, you don't have to have, the. Same sort of flame. Retardant properties. In your furniture and so now it is legal, to make, furniture, that doesn't have added flame retardants and some manufacturers, do so. You can find a sofa, IKEA, makes them which is where we got our Flint or non flame retardant sofa, is from Ikea and. You can buy. Baby products, that also don't have flame retardants added, to them okay. It's. Probably, worth doing in my opinion, just because of the level of uncertainty, but, I can't say for sure that, this. Is going to hurt you or not hurt you because, the data is really not in on that, does. That make that sort of makes sense as to why it ends up in this particular zone. Of uncertainty, the. Other thing that sort of surrounds this issue it gets back to his, question over here about whether we should be concerned about not having flame, retardants so. Is, there a problem with your furniture catching on fire and the answer is probably yes right, like we build our furniture and many of the things that are in our house out of incredibly flammable materials. And foam. In particular goes, up really fast it burns really hot and it produces lots of really toxic smoke, so. That's. Obviously not. Ideal it turns out that in tests, done by the. Consumer. Product Safety Division. Sofas. That were treated with flame retardants didn't. Actually burn, any. Less quickly any less hot and they were a little bit more toxic, because of the added flame retardants right, so, it's, not that we don't have a problem with our furniture catching on fire it's less of a problem now because fewer people smoke, in bed or in their couches, or whatever but.
We Do have incredibly, flammable. Furniture. It's just the flame attorneys don't really help with that problem, so. Good. News and bad news there so. Now as I promised you we're going to talk about some tips for, doing it yourself right so, the. First thing I'll say is that when we started, on this project at. Least I thought that, it was going to be much easier to. Do than it turned out to be because I thought I have a PhD, and I know how to read a paper I'll just go to the literature and I will read papers and I will decide, and. It turned out to be really hard to do partly. Because it's. Really hard to identify good sources, in a field that is not your own field right. So. We, had to spend some time thinking. About how we really were, going to identify good. Sources and credible sources and then come sort, of condense the information so. We came up with a tip, sheet which, we've actually included in the appendix of the book and I'm gonna give it to you for free right here all my secrets right now, so. The first thing that I would suggest is first, to identify your. Priorities, the, things that you would like to worry about and that's because you know we've created this worry index. But. It's based on what we think is worth worrying about not necessarily what, everybody, else thinks is worth, worrying about and everybody is different everybody's, individual, so you have to make your, own. Sort. Of priorities before you even start because otherwise you can dig yourself into a very deep hole very quickly okay. The, second point is to use credible, sources and this is the part where I really, see people going wrong quickly I have. Seen many. Many. Poorly. Informed people on the internet spreading. Their ideas okay and it's not always. Intentional. I think, people there's a lot of misunderstanding. But. You, don't want to take somebody's misunderstanding. And use, it as the, guide for your life right, and that, means that you need to seek out expertise. And we live in a time right now where expertise, is perhaps a little undervalued. And. I think that's unfortunate, I think that when. People spend all of their time and effort learning, about something they, probably have something useful to say about it and we should seek out those people when, we're trying to make our decisions, anybody. Can have an opinion but, not everybody's, opinion, is equally valid okay. The. Other thing that I would say is to, read laterally, which is a new term to me so I'll just define it you might already be completely, familiar with it so the idea is that especially, on the internet if you're reading vertically. You're starting at the top and you're reading down to the bottom right and that, doesn't always give you as much information about. That source as you would, like so. To read laterally, what you do is you actually open, a new tab and then. You search for the, source that you're looking at and see what other people have to say about it right, because, the, internet being what it is there will probably be other people, who have thought about what that source is and whether or not it's a reliable source and so, whenever, you're, deciding, whether you should believe what. You read you, should think about who, it is that's telling you that why, they're telling you what, their, credentials. Are for telling you that what their biases, are behind that we. Usually recommend that people start with government agencies and. People don't like to hear start. With the government agency right but. Let. Me just say this the, government funds science, out of public funds, which, means that the requirements. For transparency, are very high okay.
Grants. Are reviewed by, other scientists, papers. Are reviewed by other scientists, governments. Government. Labs that do research have to post their data and make their methods available okay, that is not the case for. Private think tanks and it may not be clear where their money is coming from why. They're giving you that information. So. Think. What you may about government agencies, but it's at least a very good place to start so I always like the National Institutes of Health there. Are multiple, Institutes of Health they often produce fact sheets which are very helpful the, Centers for Disease Control, the. World Health Organization, while not being truly a governmental agency is also very. Reliable source and the FDA as well okay. Seek. Out expertise, and then, look, for consensus, in the, field so, I say this because I actually, teach at a medical school and I have my students review scientific, papers for me and. I always have a student, that, reviews. A paper about the dangers of vaccines okay. And, here's. My point about, that vaccines. Aren't covered in the book first, of all so, my, point about that is yes, you can always find some. Scientific, literature that will review, the risks and it's not that there aren't any risks, and it's not that those things aren't worth investigating, but, you need to look at the entire, body, of literature. Surrounding. Any topic, before you make a decision okay, there, are lots of different opinions in science and that's good there should be lots of different opinions but. When, you're trying to figure out sort of the, global. Truth. About a topic. What. Everybody, thinks is going to settle closer to the truth than what any individual, thinks, so, it's important to think about what everybody, is saying not. Just what one paper says one, paper is never. Enough. To. Make a decision about anything, um. And then finally, not, finally I have. More next, I would, say understand, probabilities, at least a little bit okay, because scientists. Like to speak in probabilities, which can be very frustrating for people they want to know will, this give me cancer or not right, but, that's not how life works because everything, is multifactorial, so everything has a probability, or a chance, of impacting. Anything. Happening to you and a, scientist will very rarely say, if. You eat this you will die of cancer right. They, will say this, will increase your risk of dying of cancer okay, so. Think about what. That means really how. It applies to you how it applies to your particular risk, category. Right because, not everything is going to apply to everybody in the same way I, would.
Say Be skeptical. And this is a skill, that we. Maybe have lost a little bit right it's, important. For. Somebody to convince, you of, why what they're saying is true right. First. When. You hear something when somebody says to you you should definitely panic about this right now, your, first instinct, should be why, why should I panic about that right now and if you give me a good reason then maybe a little panic about it right um. And. Then actually, my last point is I would say don't panic about it and that's how that's easier said than done even for me right I can stand here and say don't panic about it and then I'll go home and have a little minor freakout about something, right but, for. Me and, I think for everybody it can help to make an action, plan right. And do, something about the things that you can do something about and, stop worrying about the things that you can't do anything about I'm not the first person to have said that I'm just, suggesting that you apply a logical. And rigorous method to thinking about the things that you want to worry about. Would. You like to add anything dr. Gellin oh no. Okay. So. At this point we have a couple minutes so we could go through a couple more examples or we could go, to questions. Hi. I'm so I'm wondering if you have anything to say about, the. Disconnect, between what. You may logically, understand, is something not to be worried about but. Subconsciously. Or. Against. Your loss you are worrying about it anyway and I, think for a lot of people is probably the size of the bubble is, a indicator, of how much they'll worry about it regardless of where it is on that plot so do, you have any of techniques for how to let. Your logical, thinking so to overcome the worry well, I can tell you it works for me but I don't know that that would work for everybody and probably, has a comment on that as well although I don't think he worries in general as much as I worry about things um so. For. Me this process actually, really helps. To go through and look at what the evidence is, and then to make a conscious decision and then remind myself every now and then like I already decided I'm not gonna worry about flame retardants because I can't do anything more about it um, you. Know but. That does it that's not always enough, for everybody especially if you tend to be a higher anxiety, person and there are other techniques, obviously, for just dealing with stress like exercise, is really good at reducing people's stress level or meditating. Or praying or. You, know a lot of other, techniques, the, world is a stressful place and like there's no way that, you're going to eliminate all of the things that, could. Potentially kill, you or hurt you so. In, in some sense you have to you have to come to grips with that in whatever way you can. So. This can help to some extent but maybe not all the way that's what I would say yeah. And you might think yourself well why would someone, have. Worried. About a particular thing if they're really logic. Doesn't point, that direction and, I think part of that reason is because some of these things that happen rarely, for example shark, attacks right, some people are afraid of getting, eaten, by a shark how, many people do you think a. Year. Get. Killed by sharks. Just. Throw out some numbers. 105. In. The entire world how. Many people do you think get attacked, an unprovoked, shark attack, in the world what. Number, no not killed just attack, bit bitten by a shark how many throughout, admit some numbers. Fifty, ten yeah so now you're, kind of going down but. It's right it's about it's less it's less it's less it's less than one hundred in the entire world and think of all the millions of people that swim in the ocean, yeah. People are afraid of shark, attack right, well it's because when a shark attack does happen, it's horrific. Right. So, the. Every, time a surfers. Surfboard. Gets chomped, by a shark it's in the news right, and so the media plays up these things and plays on people's fears and so that might cause some illogical. Fears. And worries and people but, when you look at the real data a lot of these things are nothing to to worry about. Hi. Hi. You mentioned that when. I do research I should look at the entire body of science.
Scientific, Literature and I just read one piece but, I think historically a lot of things have. Been breakthroughs. Because they were in. The minority or unique for, example of Darwin Galileo, I mean it's. And these people have historically always been persecuted, so. I guess my question is. Like. Nowadays the people who are into. And. Tiebacks probably, feel that way right. And I can't. Convince them they're wrong and. I'm. Wondering. How do I interact with people who feel this way I. Feel. Like we have multiple questions in there so let me see if I can unpack them a little bit so first, is the point about science. Has always been. You know the minority, is pushing it forward I don't I think that that's actually an exception, rather than a rule so, it's notable, when. It happens because it happens rarely not all the time right so. Yes. It does sometimes happen so you have to acknowledge that sometimes you, know everybody, thinks there's an ether and there's not right. But. Often, science. Moves forward, through, lots of small steps and a group of people pushing something forward right, so. That's the first thing the second thing is you're, right you will never convince somebody. Against. Their will right, if people have. You. Know people don't, want to be wrong so. You. There's only so much you can do and I think in. Some ways you have to just be at peace with that right like you can't convince everybody, all the time but you can only do what you can do about yourself, and make choices for yourself and make choices for your family and um, at. Least my opinion on how, to interact with people I still. Try I'm a huge sort of sign, to advocate, and advocate, for logical. Thinking and for looking at data. You. Know the, day that our book was released I got an. Angry email from, somebody about fluoride right. And they're you know I can't I can't. Change that person's mind it doesn't matter how much data I show. Them how much data people research that, if you don't want to believe it you don't. Quick. Follow up you don't mind you said you can't change how other people are but, you also said that you're like you, advocate, that scientific, thinking I imagine, you want to pass this on to your children your. Spouse and my, question is how do I help my partner asks, how, do I help my partner worry less and I'm asking for a friend. Your. Friend's, partner. It. Depends, on your friends partner really um so. I, guess I. Would. I would try and stay away from being judgey right, so if you, come, to somebody with, an open mindset and an openness to talk about things you're gonna get a lot farther than if. You, come. Out of the gate swinging is, what I would say. No. No and I think it's a lost skill that perhaps we. May not be able to change, adults. Thinking but trying, to culture, critical. Thinking skills in children. And, and, young, students, perhaps. That's one way we can combat some of this these falsehoods that we know about. Thanks. For speaking. As. Wondering, how like. Preventability. Interacts, with things that are alike as a, group preventable, but as an individual, you can do very little about like climate, change as an example that individually. We can almost do, nothing but. So. In. The book we really. Only thought. About things you can do personally to prevent, obviously. Corporate.
Action Is a much more difficult problem. And you. Know I'm not I'm not I don't, have any great answers for that I think like, vote, is obviously, a big one but. Not perfect and. You. Know community, organization. And a number of other things it, that's, a tough nut yeah that's, the only thing yeah that's the only thing that I thought of its voting for. The types of things that you think people. Should be doing you know vote. So, my, question might be a little bit related I've. Noticed there are certain cases where our war is even though they're on the, unlikely. Site the. Fact that we worried changes, it so. Makes, it unlikely let, me give an example let's. Say turning America, into. Dictatorship. Theocracy. Anything else that it's not today, it's. Not happening, and the priority is low because, we worry about it all the time because, we. Kind of do something about it so. It. It's low right well if, you look at the probability, is low impact, is, high but it's not because of our wars what. Do you think about that I. Mean. So, yeah. I mean when. I see students that are about to defend their dissertations, and they're really stressed out about it I'm like I'm not worried about you because you're worried about it and you know if you weren't worried about it then I would be worried and, I think I think that's sort of a similar situation but I. Actually think that that means that that it is high on the preventability, scale, right and it doesn't happen because it is preventable, and we take action against it and that prevents. It from happening, but. It's long beach, well. It's. Unlikely to happen because it's highly, preventable I guess that's what I would say and. That's, actually interesting but perhaps that's a new, chapter for the book and that would be should, you worry about, worry. And. The answer is probably yes because. Worrying. Does have physiological, effects it, could reduce your sleep and cause, stress, which cause other physiological, problems. So worrying, about worrying, is probably something that we should worry, about. Or. Do something about that yeah. You. Mentioned about the government. Organizations, but you know we have some examples like Flint you know crisis were they. Were untruthful, so how do you. Look. Critically, government. Sources as well so. I guess first, of all I would distinguish between different, kinds of government, organizations so, when I'm talking about governor government, organizations, I'm talking about, research-based. Government. Organizations, not. Necessarily. City, or government, officials that are enacting, policy, I think that's that's slightly, different. But. Again, so I think government. Fact sheets are. Good places to start and, in, some cases I think they're good places to finish as well but if it's something that you're concerned about then there, are other, resources. And you. Know there's other, governments, with other, fact sheets right so that works as well so like the National Health Service and the UK produces, their own set of fact sheets and you can compare but then you can also go.
To The primary literature and, I, think I try. And caution people when they do that because the the chances. Of misinterpretation. If you're not part of that field can be pretty high but. That's always an option. That's out there there are online databases, so Google Scholar is the one that I always use but there's also PubMed. And. You can look there for, primary. Information and seek out those sources and read them for yourself. How. Do you guys factor, in like return, on investment, for preventability, say, something's, very preventable but I'd have to sell my home and move to Alaska. I, mean. So I think that also that, so you, that's where why it's like a three dimensional problem. Right so it's, very preventable but it's very unlikely probably, don't sell your house and move to Alaska right, um you're. Increasing. Your odds of getting eaten by a polar bear so you have to like really factor that in as you're making that decision and also, the, size of the risk and just, prioritizing. Is it really that important, to me that, it's worth, making. A major lifestyle, change and I think that's kind, of what it comes down to is, get, all of the data and then say well what's it what's, it worth to me and is it worth the cost is it really just a very small marginal, return or is it going to make a huge difference in my quality. Of life and nobody. Can make that decision for you you got to got, to do your own thing, well. Thank you very much for coming to talk to us today. You.