'Tis the season to be jolly? I say 'tis the season to get sick.
I just read an interesting study (http://beta.ca.news.yahoo.com/study-echinacea-common-cold-finds-herbal-remedy-doesnt-20101220-142959-023.html) about echinacea not being as effective in preventing or shortening the common cold as some of us thought.
Personally, I've tried echinacea and while I think it may have prevented me from getting a cold or two in the past, I wonder how much of this perceived "prevention" was due to placebo effect as opposed to reality. Then again, I have at least a friend or two who swears by the stuff. It's really up to your experience and what you believe to be true or not.
This study challenged me to question what previous studies have said, for as a journalist (and a curious person in general), I believe it is important to question everything I read rather than automatically assume and/or believe that it is true. Although I acknowledge that doing so is not always easy as I have my personal views, convictions and biases, I do my best to use my brain efficiently and question things. By doing so, I better understand why I think the way or believe what I do and it makes my beliefs and convictions stronger. "Just because" doesn't cut it for me. Then again, I am only human (as Alexander Pope said, "To err is human...") and will probably never master this area, but at least I can do my best!
I also plan to never stop striving to be more open-minded and respectful of other people's opinions as theirs are as equally valid as mine. The world would be a more peaceful place if we could just agree to disagree rather than argue about who is "right" and who is "wrong" (life is full of grey areas after all) and not put people down because their views differ from our own. If we want to be respected, should we not respect others as well? Alas, I digress...
And for those fine folks who are interested in the animal kingdom, including mating rituals - how 'bout them she-squirrels (http://ca.news.yahoo.com/promiscuous-squirrels-sleep-every-potential-mate-study-shows-20101220-030008-235.html)?
*Updated January 2, 2010