November 4th, 2012

planet

why I voted for fluoride

This year Wichita has a measure on the ballot to add fluoride to its water supply. I did a little reading, I was sort of in the middle, then I voted for it.

Wichita is the first city that I've lived in that didn't add fluoride, and this might be a coincidence but it's the first city I ever had cavities in.

Also, my dentist recommended the measure. They had lots of voter guides at their office when I went in for my annual cleaning.

There's been a lot of arguing about it, but honestly I feel like the anti-fluoride side is the same people telling me that the government is reading our minds if you don't wear a foil hat. Or that if I have my baby in a hospital they'll c-section me just to make to the golf course on time. Or that vaccines will give my child autism and ruin her immune system. It's the "don't trust scientists" side. And I'm kind of a scientist, so I relate much better to their side.

The local news stations just kept running fact-checking stories on the stuff the anti-fluoride side said, and found it all to be bunk. It wasn't industrial waste, it wasn't giving us cancer, or lowering our IQ.

The whole idea that we're voting on it kinda reminds me of this presentation I saw from a marketing guy once, where we'd surveyed customers about different wing shapes for our airplanes and asked the customers which one they perceived would be more fuel efficient. Uh... what? We are ENGINEERING, I explained to him, if a certain wing shape is more fuel efficient we'll do the math and testing and tell the customers that, why on earth would we ask customers how they FELT about something that could be proved with numbers?

I told him that if I was a customer, I'd read that question and think he was nuts.

Well, now I've learned that it happens all the time. Odds are, some customer probably thinks we're in with the fuel company and that I get a cut every time we make a shitty wing that takes more thrust to make lift.

So I'm just learning to shake my head and not be too shocked when we put stuff like this up for a public vote. Lots of people just think they're more qualified to make these decisions than people who study the stuff for years, and they like having conspiracy theories about EVERYTHING, so fine, whatever. If it doesn't pass, I don't really care either way.