About me

Bunny suit

I study the genomes of modern and ancient peoples in order to uncover details of human prehistory. You can learn more about my scientific publications and credentials here and here. I’m also a martial artist, currently training (and occasionally competing) in Muay Thai, boxing, BJJ, and MMA.
This is a blog about my passions: science, conflict, adventure, and interesting people. The name was suggested by Jeff Rabhan. 
 
Have a question about science that you’d like to ask me? Please feel free to send it using the email link above.
About these ads

67 responses to About me

  1. 

    Muay Thai, boxing, Brazilian jujitsu, and MMA? Cage fighting. That sounds awesome! You are one bad chica! Keep up those posts!

  2. 

    Are you related to Rudolf Raff?

  3. 

    Jennifer:
    On your Vita page: it should be Principal Fellow, not Principle.

  4. 

    In a кедровый (tiny) nutshell, what’s your take on ‘The Stoned Ape’ as described by Terrence McKenna, or more recently (and controversially on TEDx!) Graham Hancock?

  5. 

    How’d you get interested in martial arts?
    If I had my daughter to raise all over again,
    she’d be a mat rat as soon as she could walk.

  6. 

    I very much enjoy your writing. I have only just found you from another blog. I admire the way you positively take constructive criticism and use it to improve your post.

    I will follow your intelligent and cogent posts with interest.

  7. 

    Jennifer,
    This is an excerpt from a weekly “word focused” email newsletter I get. If, by any chance, this word is not already part of your vocabulary, you might want to add it. :-)

    “Agnotology is the study of culturally induced ignorance.”

    The list, World Wide Words, is by Michael Quinion and this is his website address:

    http://www.worldwidewords.org/index.htm

  8. 

    There is a lot of FDA issues running around right now. Here is one of the latest from Hpost.com – http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/12/18/nuvaring-blood-clots_n_4461429.html. There are many angles to take with these stories, I would love to hear from you any angle you choose to write about on this vast topic(s).

  9. 

    I found you today because a friend shared your most recent vaccine post. I am so happy to have found you. I look forward to catching up on what I’ve missed, and to seeing more to come. I am not in the scientific field, but consuming information and gaining knowledge is my passion. My interests have turned toward genetics in recent years, due to both familial colon cancer (Lynch has not been confirmed; neither aunt’s samples were tested) and an extremely rare form of spontaneous, recurrent OHSS for myself (suggested that this may be caused by a mutation on the FSHR gene, but testing to confirm is not covered by my insurer, so I wait until I can afford such a test for the sake of my own daughters). Finding your blog about vaccines in my facebook newsfeed this morning and then discovering that your passion for science led you to study genetic history has turned what was otherwise a pretty crappy morning, into a refreshing one.

    Thank you for being you.

  10. 
    conspiracy nut! April 4, 2014 at 8:50 pm

    just read your vaccine article. what you said makes some sense but why is my unvaccinated child a threat to a child thats supposed to have the best defense against those deadly diseases? Isn’t that why the child got the vaccine in the first place? To protect the child from the virus? Just asking. Make sure what doing and saying ethical. Im not a religious person but messing with genetics is a slippery slope. You might think your doing the right thing but what are the interests of the people funding your research? Whats their endgame?

    • 

      My research is mostly funded by the National Science Foundation, which funds basic research (http://www.nsf.gov/). I think the rest of your questions have been answered several times over in the comments on the post!

    • 

      In case you didn’t click, I’ll explain. This isn’t like a car seat, where only your own kid is at risk. Your unvaccinated child is a bioweapon aimed at: babies (too young for certain shots), chemo patients, other immunosuppressed adults, and, of course, people who got the vaccine but for them it simply didn’t “take”. (That’s between about 5% and 30% depending on which vaccine.) These people did the best they could. We can protect them by making sure their risk is minimized, by vaccinating ourselves.

  11. 

    http://mynaturesmedicine.com/2014/04/04/baby-monkeys-develop-autism-symptoms-after-getting-popular-childhood-vaccines/

    yeah, you are in a lab and just giving and “honest opinion”. yeah, I trust you. LOL

    • 

      Anonymous, Wendy: I’m giving an informed opinion BECAUSE I work in a lab and I understand how science works. That article you’re spamming my “About me” page with is pure pseudoscientific nonsense…it doesn’t even link to the study it claims to be reporting on!

  12. 

    Do you have children?

  13. 

    my simple question for you- prevention is better than cure but why do most doctors stay in their clinic/hospital and work on just cure. Thomas edison also raised this matter in one of his quotes – ‘The doctor of the future will give no medicine, but will interest her or his patients in the care of the human frame, in a proper diet, and in the cause and prevention of disease.’
    Your response will be well appreciated.

  14. 

    Your vaccine post is clearly going viral. It is refreshing to read your perspective. What a boost of information for those who are confused about the misinformation! Parents making decisions are scared. It is my hope that those who are making vaccine decisions or choose not to vaccinate will trust science and history over the lies they are told.

  15. 
    Patrick McDonald April 7, 2014 at 1:30 pm

    I enjoy this page and if its purpose was to bring the rational and irrational in proximity, it has succeeded admirably. I trust the slings and arrows directed at you do not faze you. At my age Wu Style Tai Chi is about all I can muster. I do enjoy bringing my telescope to Sci-Fi and Fantasy Conventions and try and show that factual information can be breathtaking too.

  16. 

    Where did you get the sick Science club picture with the crossed pipettes?

  17. 

    Look what popped up! I’d be interested to know your thoughts on this rebuttal. http://www.livingwhole.org/dear-parents-are-you-being-lied-to/
    Why oh why is there such a plethora of information that seems to contradict itself? I sent your article to an anti-vaxxer and she sent this link back.

  18. 

    Can you email me at David.Crowe@theinfectiousmyth.com so I can set up an interview?

  19. 

    Hi! I just read your vaccine article, which was really interesting. In one of my psychology classes we went through the horrors surrounding the MMR vaccine and the incredibly flawed study that caused it. I’m currently studying physics, but genetics is horrifically interesting and I look forward to better educating myself and reading more of your blog!

  20. 

    Do you receive funding from any pharmaceutical companies?

  21. 

    Dear Jennifer I read your article on Huffpost and really appreciated it.Then I read someone attacking you on Facebook and I replied and defended science against homeopathic medicine instead of vaccination. I was thoroughly attacked for my note.
    They said you are a techinician..:) I said no, you have a mile long REsume and published scientific papers.. . thank you for the article.

    • 

      Haha, well, there’s no shame in being a technician. Technicians are incredible and valuable contributors to science, and they don’t get nearly as much credit as they should. I was one about 6 years ago, before I went on to grad school–but you’re right, I’m not one now.
      Thank you, and I’m very sorry about the negativity directed your way.

  22. 

    In your article http://violentmetaphors.com/2014/03/25/parents-you-are-being-lied-to/
    Can you provide your thoughts on circumcision? After AAP updated their stance and guidance in 2012 it should be something considered a medical benefit. We are fighting the anticirc activists who are providing misinformation and guilt saying that parents are mutilating their children. In fact circumcision has many medical benefits and our tax dollars are being spent in the PEPFAR to help circumcise Africa because of medical needs. Those are clear signs we need to incorporate it into standard care and medical checklists for newborn boys.

    http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/observations/2014/01/22/newborn-circumcision-shown-to-be-a-better-financial-choice-in-medical-coverage/

    http://pediatrics.aappublications.org/content/130/3/585

    http://www.pepfar.gov/press/strategy_briefs/138399.htm

  23. 
    Carol Blanchette April 30, 2014 at 11:14 pm

    I am inspired that this blog attracting so much interest in the topic of pseudoscience, and I’m also hopeful that the new education standards in this country will move us away from the epidemic of pseudoscience that is rampant in our culture today. The Next Generation Science Standards focus heavily on developing critical thinking skills in our young people. These standards are focused in 4 main areas –

    1. Ask Questions
    2. Construct Explanations
    3. Engage in argument from evidence
    4. Obtain, evaluate and communicate information

    If we can get teachers and students to be fluent in these practices, we are all in for a better future and one that is truly grounded in science to address issues like vaccines in the realm of scientific thinking.

    • 

      I think that’s great. We need to shift science education’s emphasis away from “these are the facts” to “this is how science works and this is what we currently know.”

  24. 

    Shees you’d probably beat the crap out of me.

  25. 

    Dear Dr. Raff,
    I just read your article on vaccines and it’s awesome! May I translate it to Spanish (I’m from Mexico, currently living in Argentina). Please contact me!

  26. 

    Jennifer, I love your writing and think you should do joint webcasts and Youtube videos with intros by Bill Nye and Neil DeGrasse Tyson! You have clarity, balance, objectivity, a great breadth of knowledge…and your writings are a delightful compelling read. Thank you for doing science such a great public service!

  27. 

    Dear Jennifer,
    Thank you so much for your continuous work to educate people. I am fully vaccinated myself and planning on vaccinating my children, though with the immunization programm in my country – it’s not as extensive as the one in US.

    But I do have a question. Honestly I’ve gone through the plethora of comments – some more entertaining than others – in at least one of your articles but I haven’t found a scientific answer to this. I understand there are different strains of viri and bacteria. Measles, polio etc. Do they ones in MMP vaccine mutate quickly, are there many strains of them? Are some of them more or less dangerous, or contageous? And my most important question really is, are the vaccines attuned to compensate for these strains if they do mutate?

    These questions were raised after reading https://sites.google.com/site/vaccineillusion/polio-and-rotavirus
    not sure how valid you think this site is?

    Again, thanks for your efforts.
    Natasha

  28. 

    Your post about vaccines was run in Aftenposten, one of Norways most read newspapers today, translated to Norwegian. Thank you for an excellent article.

  29. 

    Thanks for your work. Both in academia and with this blog. It is nice to know that there are scientists out there who like MMA and practice it too. I am headed back to school to pursue microbiology and I train 10th planet JJ. There is nothing like critical thinking, BJJ and biological science. Except for the other sciences; or my soon to be PhD girlfriend, she inspires me to train and study hard. I can’t wait to explore this blog between Dean Lister and Ryan Hall instructional videos.

  30. 

    I nominated you for an Inspiring Blogger award. Congratulations!! Check it out at: http://urbandoctormom.com/2014/07/04/the-inspiring-blogger-award/

  31. 

    When people like Bill Gates push vaccinations one day and speak of population control the next I have no choice but to question the industry. I am all for keeping our children safe and I underatand the underlying need for immunization, but do you not think the program could be jacked by those who believe the world is over-populated? I have read publications by heads of pharm companies and previous WHO leaders where they openly advocate culling the population 90%. Does that raise a red flag in your opinion?

    • 

      “I have read publications by heads of pharm companies and previous WHO leaders where they openly advocate culling the population 90%. Does that raise a red flag in your opinion?”

      Do share. Please provide the links to those publications.

      Mostly what I have read is that when women get an education and know that their children have a chance to live to adulthood they no longer have a dozen kids, hoping a few will live to adulthood. My own grandmother was from a family of five kids, but both brothers died before they started first grade.

      Do you seriously want us to go back when two out of five kids in a family never get to grow up?

  32. 

    Ms Jennifer Raff, I ‘ve read your articles and I admire your job. Are you a biologist? Because I study biology and I’m very interesting in antropology and genetics and I wonder if I can occupy with these!

  33. 

    Your article on vaccines has some huge holes not the least of which is you post no science or fact just your opinion which does not jibe with the facts. Please address, these facts and write an article on the legal process which has been set up and used numerous times to recover for the damages caused.http://vran. org/about-vaccines/general-issues/doctors-speak/the-truth-behind-the-vaccine-cover-up/

    • 

      Hi Anonymous! I agree, it’s a terrible thing to not cite evidence when you’re talking about scientific matters. Did you happen to see those blue words in every paragraph of my blog post? Those are hyperlinks. If you click on them you’ll find references for every fact that I cite in that article.

      As for the article you request on the legal process, I’m not a lawyer nor do I have any legal training, so I don’t feel qualified to write on it. Instead I asked Colin, who IS a lawyer (got his JD from Harvard), to write an article discussing the vaccines court–exactly what you requested!

      You can find it on my blog here: http://violentmetaphors.com/2013/11/22/why-anti-vaxers-hate-the-nvicp-and-just-what-is-it-anyway-by-colin-mcroberts/

      Hope that answers all your concerns.

  34. 

    Jennifer – I have been following your blog for a few months now, since you provide credible sources and a fresh scientific perspective. I would be very interested if you were to blog about the most recent “Anti-GMO” craze. I am so tired of seeing people spouting “NO to GMO” without citing any credible sources or facts. And it’s getting worse by the day. I do not have a masters or a PhD, but I do understand the scientific method and it is so frustrating seeing the pseudoscience behind their arguments and how it gets passed along and mutated and carried by the lemmings.

  35. 

    Dr. Raff, I deeply appreciate your work in this blog. It’s heartening to see someone explain actual science so very clearly.

    Thanks, and keep up the great work!

    Best regards,

    Daniel Gunter

Trackbacks and Pingbacks:

  1. Readers’s guide for laymen to elaborate to follow? | Scientia Crastina - September 5, 2013

    […] Jennifer Raff – ”Scientist, fighter, reader. In pursuit of the extraordinary.” (and blogger, we must add) – recently wrote a blog post with the title How to read and understand a scientific paper: a guide for non-scientists. […]

  2. Creationists, climate change denialists, and racists and the credentialism strategy » Pharyngula - June 21, 2014

    […] so non-sciencey he doesn’t even have to mention them. Jennifer Raff is a post-doc studying the genomes of modern and ancient peoples in order to uncover details of human prehistory — that couldn’t possibly be relevant. Must be political. Jeremy Yoder is a postdoc […]

  3. Creationists, climate change denialists, and racists and the credentialism strategy – Pharyngula - June 21, 2014

    […] so non-sciencey he doesn’t even have to mention them. Jennifer Raff is a post-doc studying the genomes of modern and ancient peoples in order to uncover details of human prehistory — that couldn’t possibly be relevant. Must be political. Jeremy Yoder is a postdoc […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s