Archive for the ‘Pisani’s picks’ Category

Po-faced presentations don’t change thinking (22/04/16)

I’ve just emerged from three days buried in a bunker at the Geneva Health Forum, which focuses on health in lower income countries. There was a great cartoonist, but otherwise it was all quite po-faced: power-point presentations, incomprehensible posters and much thanking of sponsors. LOTS of rather earnest, mostly white people suffered from the Public […]

World Health Day: healthy for lobbyists (07/04/16)

Today is World Health Day. Judging from what’s in the Song of Contagion Twitter stream (@songfocontagion), this is above all an opportunity for a lot of lobbyists and marketing specialists to promote their specific cause. Greenpeace has been quite active, because of course you can always make a health issue out of the environment. There’s […]

Madness in music (03/04/16)

Yesterday, during a visit to the thought-provoking Museum of the Mind, on the premises of the Bethlem hospital (still active but now renamed), I was reminded both how far we have come in the treatment of mental illness since the ‘Bedlam madhouse’ was first opened, and how far there is still to go. At the […]

If HIV were music, would it be loud and screechy? (30/03/16)

As subscribers know, I’ve more or less dropped off the HIV map in recent years. That’s in part because there are so many other interesting health conditions out there to think about. And that keeps me thinking about why some conditions are more fashionable than others, why some things that affect very few people (such […]

A good year for Whores, say the BBC and I (03/02/14)

Last week I found myself at the House of Lords in London, discussing what the BBC World Service means to the world. The World Service stands for accuracy in reporting, a lot of very clever people said, it represents fairness and impartiality, it tells it like it is. So I was thrilled to see that […]

Responsible porn hits the Financial Times (08/09/11)

It’s not that often that I sit reading the FT on a Tube full of morning communters. Even less often that the Pink Paper (no, boys, not THAT Pink Paper) carries full page ads from the Purveyors of Porn. The ad is pimping a new internet domain ending: .xxx (Slogan: Coming, now!) The porn industry […]

Brave New Reuters? Apparently not (26/04/11)

Regular readers know that I have little time for the uber-correctness that tries to wipe sex out of our daily loves and lives. But I am more outraged than usual at the price paid by journalist David Fox, one of the best conflict correspondents in the business, for an off-colour remark made in what he […]

More gifts: Wisdom references and footnotes linked (11/12/10)

Okay, okay, I’m more than two years behind schedule. But we’ve finally managed to upload links to most of the papers, documents and visuals referenced in The Wisdom of Whores. You can find anything referenced in the Footnotes here (that’s the notes labeled with asterisks which appear at the bottom of pages in the text). […]

Wisdom eBook WAS free for December 2010 (04/12/10)

I’m very grateful to my publisher, Granta, for allowing readers free access to the eBook of the Wisdom of Whores for December 2010. A little disclosure: I had a bet with Granta staff about how many people would download the eBook. The bet was made in second bottle territory so the details are hazy; one […]

World AIDS Day: get the “Wisdom of Whores” eBook for free (01/12/10)

I’m very grateful to my publisher, Granta, for allowing readers free access to the eBook of the Wisdom of Whores for December 2010. A little disclosure: I had a bet with Granta staff about how many people would download the eBook. The bet was made in second bottle territory so the details are hazy; one […]

PrEP works: Now what? (24/11/10)

It´s official. Taking antiretroviral drugs when you don´t have HIV cuts the risk that you´ll get infected. It´s exciting news, if not unexpected. But it´s going to be a major headache for politicians. The results of the iPrEx trial, were published today in the New England Journal of Medicine (with pdf but not the supplementary […]

Tilting at windbags — it’s AIDS conference time (19/07/10)

Illustration by Fernando Vicente This week, the Great and the Good of the AIDS industry gather in Vienna for the biennial AIDS circus. With delicious irony, the conference, held right next to the barracks of the UN’s Drug Warriors, will focus in part on getting more countries to do the one thing that really works […]

Another Evangelical hypocrite bites the dust (02/07/10)

Meena Saraswathi Seshu was a well-to-do Indian do-gooder who was determined to save India’s sex slaves from their evil traffickers. To her immense credit, illustrated in this nice profile in The Lancet, (pdf here), she changed her mind when she learned the facts. Not so the US Congressman who tried to bully her organisation SANGRAM […]

Own trumpet department: TED talk (19/05/10)

I’ve been taken to task for posting TED talks from the UK’s new Fearless Leader, and neglecting to post my own. Here it is, if you have 18 minutes to spare. If you’ve only got four minutes, I would also thoroughly recommend spending it with comedian Julia Sweeney, as she has the “sex talk” with […]

Do Chicago sex workers need Swedish laws? (20/04/10)

I’m in Chicago for the month of April, just as the Illinois state Senate tries to increase the penalties for buying and selling sex. The bill (which passed the House unanimously last month) will make it a felony to buy sex, so that any vet, doctor, lawyer etc convicted of the crime will lose their […]

“Test and treat” won’t beat HIV, says the witch (24/02/10)

Can we treat our way out of the HIV epidemic? Yesterday I wrote a piece in The Guardian suggesting that the “Test and Treat” approach was a triumph of optinism over common sense. Today, I am a homophobe, a media slut, a cherry-picker of data and over 120 other things, mostly nasty. My favourite, gloriously […]

Zuma shows you get the HIV epidemic you deserve (09/02/10)

So Jacob Zuma is sorry about having unprotected sex with someone three decades younger than himself, who is not one of the five women he’s married. That’s a little better than last week’s “You should be proud that I’ve admitted paternity and paid a fine. What are you all so uptight about?” HIV activists are […]

Is AIDS a mass murderer? Not in Germany (09/09/09)

I’ve been roused from my long summer torpor by a row over a German ad that tries to make Hitler the face of AIDS. Predictably enough, activist groups immediately yelled “stigma”! What we should be yelling is “dinosaurs!”. In Western Europe, AIDS is no longer the “mass murderer” the ad claims. In fact, it is […]

That night in Tiananmen Square (03/06/09)

Off-topic but on memory: 20 years ago today I was in Tiananmen Square, reporting for Reuters on the chaos that was the student movement. It was an odd time — sweaty, rank-smelling but rather jolly. Erica’s photo captures rather well the unbridled hubris and optimism of the students, right up to the last day or […]

Of panics and pandemics (13/05/09)

Earlier this week, I gave a talk in Norway called “Panic in Perspective: Science, Media and the Creation of Pandemics”. I chose the title months ago, and had no idea how topical it would turn out to be. The downside was that instead of exploring the beauty of Bergen in a kayak, I had to […]

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