Profile: Beth Skwarecki
I’m Beth Skwarecki, a science writer based in Pittsburgh, PA.
You’ll find me where health and weirdness meet, where we ask a simple question and get a complex answer. I’ve been told I write far too much about poop (come on, the gut microbiome is the story of the century!) but I’ve also written about sports injuries and antibiotics and robot scientists, to name just a few. See my clips here.
When I’m not writing? I’m a mom to two very little boys. I knit prehistoric sea creatures. I ran a marathon while pregnant. I teach nutrition to college students, and I used to crunch data for bioinformatics (ask me about the tomato genome sometime).
I’m a freelancer and I love to write science-oriented features, news articles, and more. Contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org – or if you just want to keep in touch, find me on twitter as @BethSkw.
NoteStreams By Beth Skwarecki
This post is dedicated to all the anti-vaxxers, vaccine choice proponents, and curious people everywhere who have wondered why parents who vaccinate are threatened by those who don’t. It’s also dedicated to the anti-anti-vaxxers, people who think that those who skip vaccines are weeding themselves out of the population. (Anti-anti-vaxxers, while I admit to laughing at some of your memes–OK maybe a lot of them–you’ll catch more flies with honey and understanding.)
Nutrition is a wonderful playground for people who want to manipulate fear. We need food to live, yet can be poisoned by eating the wrong things. Learning from others which foods are safe and which are dangerous was essential to our survival in the days before grocery stores. We are primed to react to scares about food.
Believe that the government and big corporations are poisoning you? Just shop a little differently. (Then bond with your friends on facebook about the conspiracies you’ve foiled.)
Do we really have reason to fear?
The first disease to get an awareness ribbon was AIDS. Jeremy Irons famously woreone at the 1991 Tony awards, a handmade gift from a group called Visual AIDS. They were, in turn, inspired by yellow ribbons for soldiers. Other colors and causes followed suit, and the New York Times declared 1992 the Year of the Ribbon.
In October, you can buy pink products everywhere, watch pink-accented football games, or endure ridiculous facebook stunts in the name of awareness. But what good does “awareness” actually do?