Kids and Vaccinations

The school has an “unusually high number of children” who have not been vaccinated against whooping cough, which is also known as pertussis, health officials said. California law allows parents not to have their children immunized against the sickness.

[From Whooping cough outbreak closes private school in El Sobrante]

I’ve been watching with some curiosity the trend to not have children vaccinated against diseases that are now rare but still serious (and potentially deadly). Just a few days ago I posted about the irrational paradoxes that people often demonstrate through their behaviors, this is just yet another example of this.

The people most likely to not have their children vaccinated are well educated and affluent, the same people who rail against the anti-science sentiments in Washington. The school is El Sobrante that I referenced in the above clip regarding whooping cough is a Waldorf school, not exactly a bastion of poor and uneducated parents.

The aspect of this that should be shocking is the ability of smart people to allow their children to be exposed to serious diseases just because a false sense of security is created from the rarity of such diseases. Nonetheless, these are contagious diseases that can spread rapidly through a population of unvaccinated children, who along with the elderly are always the most at-risk group.

I suspect that if parents actually witnessed the trauma of a child with the measles, whooping cough, or polio, that they might not be so cavalier as to suggest that their children don’t need immunization. I also suspect that in years to come we will see more outbreaks serious diseases among populations of unvaccinated children and that’s really heartbreaking because it is so unnecessary and diseases that were once close to eradication will rebound as a consequence.

The Centers for Disease Control reports a surge in measles outbreaks; almost all the cases are in children who never received the routine shots for measles, mumps and rubella (MMR). Vanquished diseases are rebounding thanks to growing–but groundless–fears over the safety of traditional vaccines.

[From AEI – Short Publications – Measles Madness]

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Digital Hollywood

I spoke on a panel at the Digital Hollywood event yesterday, an event that has grown substantially from years past which no doubt reflects the growth of technology in entertainment. Here’s a flipbook version of the conference agenda… why not a plain ‘ol PDF?

Many of the panels were focused on online advertising, viral marketing, and monetization of content, all topics that capture the imagination of Silicon Valley, however I would offer the observation that the majority of companies were not from the Valley. In fact, most of these companies, some who were doing some really interesting things, I have never heard of. I would caveat that comment by saying I would not consider myself as having an encyclopedic knowledge of startups in these spaces, but having said that, you pick up a lot of chatter in the Valley echo chamber and these are not companies you hear about.

What is going on in the world of online media and advertising is massively disruptive. Big brands, and indeed small brands, are trying to figure out the viral marketing and social advertising game, and although the results have been mixed so far the fact remains that money will flow here to the detriment of print and broadcast mediums.

That may be somewhat stating the obvious but what is not often noted is the phenomenal range of companies that are being created to exploit the intersection of generational shift, online behavior, digital content, and brand management. Also not noted is that most of these companies are not in the Valley but in places like SoCal, Boulder, and New York.