Category Archives: epidemiology

How Do We Measure Poverty?


A recent Angus Reid study, reported widely in the news, showed that many Canadians are experiencing financial stress. A large proportion report needing to borrow money to buy groceries, eschewing dental care, and are experiencing hardship in ten other money-related scenarios presented to them. While sadly no one is shocked that a substantial fraction of Canadians is struggling financially, what is surprising is that the study’s estimate of that fraction is considerably higher than the official governmental numbers. The study found that about 16% of the population is “struggling”, while a further 11% is “on the edge” (i.e., at risk of struggling). This gives a total of 27% who are in some sort of financial jeopardy. Whereas, according to the official estimate, 4.8 million Canadians  (about 14%) live beneath the line of indigence. Continue reading How Do We Measure Poverty?

Science Communication: Community Based Research

May 28, 2018 — This is the audio of a lecture I gave to a graduate class in Community Outreach and Media Relations in the Sciences. It was recorded using my bluetooth microphone, so the audio quality is not as great as it could be.  A PDF of the class slides (with most photos removed) can be accessed here.

During the class, I conducted a simulated data collection exercise wherein a hat was passed around and students were asked to write questions on pieces of paper. Here are the ones that were legible:


P.S. we have armpit hair because it’s a scent trap.

A Tale of Two Fallacies: the Insanity of Progressive Stacking

As I write this (on a plane en route from Cuba to Toronto), I’m thinking in an undisciplined manner about some recent developments in public intelligentsia.  I’m not quite sure how best to describe what I’m calling something of an “academic rift”, as its nature is only dimly formed in my frontal lobe. But it has something to do with the value of evidence and the extent to which we are willing and able to allow evidence (or what passes for evidence) to dictate our view of social and physical reality. Even as I write those words, I am aware that there will be disagreements about what constitutes “evidence”, and a full appreciation that almost nothing exists in an objective vacuum, immune from the infection of personal bias and value. Continue reading A Tale of Two Fallacies: the Insanity of Progressive Stacking