Lethal Ignorance I

“Fanning the flames of anger and fear and sabotaging our campaign was anti-vaccine propaganda coming from around the world, especially from the US. It’s amazing that this uneducated movement would descend on Israel in the middle of our crisis, convincing our population to turn OPV down. They doubted OPV efficiency and safety. They questioned the […]

Becoming the Plague

Readers may be surprised to learn that the Bubonic Plague, aka The Black Death, is still around. Up to 2000 cases a year are reported to the World Health Organization. Most cases currently occur in Africa (32 people died in a 2013 outbreak in Madagascar), but Los Angeles suffered a Plague outbreak as late as […]

Brave New World

To commemorate the Brave New World of DIY Faecal Transplants (three guesses what’s in BBC.com’s blender),  an excerpt from a 2012 New Yorker article. An MD’s eureka moment with microbial medicine: “It was one of those refractory cases,” Goldberg told me recently. “The doctors had tried everything: several types of antibiotics, antifungal drops, the works. That was […]

Wealthy Vandals

Spotted tinamou egg, collected and signed by Darwin in Uruguay during the voyage of the HMS Beagle.  It is an unassuming object, a smallish, strangely glossy brown egg, and it is broken because of the carelessness of the last person you would expect – Charles Darwin. Though Darwin collected thousands of biological and geological samples […]

The Marquis Cabinet of Curiosities IV

He’s not in there  A nice post by Neuroskeptic on the persistent notion that somewhere in Albert Einstein’s brain there will be found a small arrow that reads Genius Lobe.  The physicist’s gray matter has been through a lot since Princeton pathologist Thomas Harvey harvested it at the 1955 autopsy- including it’s very own road trip and biopic– […]

Welcome to the Jungle

Linnaeus’ classification of life. Scientific American blogger Jennifer Frazer celebrates the birthday (May 23rd) of founder of modern biological classification, Carolus Linnaeus, with a gallery of newly identified species.

A Word From the Wise

“The fact that scientists do not consciously practice a formal methodology is very poor evidence that no such methodology exists. It could be said—has been said—that there is a distinctive methodology of science which scientists practice unwittingly, like the chap in Moliere who found that all his life, unknowingly, he had been speaking prose.” — […]

The Iron Chancellor Tries a Little Tenderness

“Call it socialism or whatever you like. It is the same to me.” Olga Khazan in The Atlantic looks at how Germany has tackled the problem of high cost breakthrough drugs. The solution, the seeds of which were sown by Otto von Bismarck, involves a healthy dose of common sense: “Almost every German belongs to one […]

Hamlet Fly

Olivier as Hamlet. Confused, crafty, mad or mutant? Out today in Science: fruit flies with mutated FoxP genes take “longer than wild-type flies to form decisions of similar or reduced accuracy”– in other words, they waste a lot of time before making a mistake. “We were surprised,” Dr. Miesenböck said. “The original thought was that the […]