Posts

September 01, 2014

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12:04 PM | NPM 2014: Be Disaster Aware, Take Action to Prepare.
  # 9023   After getting smacked repeatedly by hurricanes in the middle of the last decade (Katrina, Wilma, Rita, etc. . .), and pummeled by huge tornado outbreaks in 2010 and 2011 (see Weathering Heights: A Year For The Record Books), the United States has – comparatively speaking – enjoyed a welcome lull in major disasters.   Disasters still occur, of course.  Last months California quake caused billions of dollars in damage and major disruptions in […]
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3:54 AM | Reading in August
Just a little update on my reading in August. I’ve been jumping around a bit reading on the history of malaria and wetlands.  Lots of interesting bits and pieces! Books John Aberth. An Environmental History of the Middle Ages: The Crucible of Nature, 2013. Gregory of Tours (d. 594): Glory of the Confessors  Gregory of Tours (d. 594): […]
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2:04 AM | Dandruff-Causing Skin Fungi Discovered Unexpectedly in Deep Sea Vents, Antarctica
by Jennifer Frazer | Until relatively recently, the fungus Malassezia was thought to have one favorite home: us. As the dominant fungus on human skin and sometimes-cause of dandruff, the yeast Malassezia was thought to live a simple if sometimes irritating domestic existence humbly mooching off the oils we exude. No more. Thanks to the efforts...

August 31, 2014

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7:57 PM | Should kids be allowed to wash hands at school? Or is sanitizer enough?
Someone wrote me this morning and said at their U.S. elementary school, the 5th graders are not permitted to wash hands after mandatory bathroom times and the teacher stands outside of the bathroom with hand sanitizer squirting it as each … Continue reading →
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7:13 PM | Bacterial occurrence in kitchen hand towels
People don’t use dryers much in Brisbane. It hardly rains, so people use clotheslines, and electricity is expensive. And it’s so natural. My clothsline can usually be found with an abundance of hand (or tea) towels. I use them all … Continue reading →
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6:37 PM | Raw and risky, sprout food porn sandwich edition
Raw sprouts: it’s the stealth ingredient in this California chicken and avocado sandwich with bacon. No thanks.
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6:29 PM | Raw and risky, crypto with your raw milk
As raw goats milk from a Treasured Sunrise Acres in Parma tested positive for cryptosporidium and has been put on hold by the Idaho Department of Agriculture, others continue to hucksterize the safety of raw milk. Enjoy that crypto, and other … Continue reading →
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6:14 PM | Raw and risky: do rewards outweigh risks?
U.S. President Obama may want to think again about those burger outings he does. Obama likes Five Brothers Burgers and Fries, where, “kitchen rules include no timers in the kitchen (because good cooks know when food is done).” Maybe use a … Continue reading →
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5:47 PM | China arrests six from OSI unit in food scandal
Chinese authorities have formally arrested six employees from a unit of US food supplier OSI Group, the parent company over a scandal involving expired meat sold to fast food giants. Authorities have previously announced the detention by police of six … Continue reading →
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2:30 PM | A Few Moments With an Earthly Alien Close Cousin to You
In the comments of the following video on Youtube, a viewer asks, “Is that a real video ? Or Cgi ?” What you will see in this video is very much real, but I can see why someone might get... -- Read more on ScientificAmerican.com
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2:09 PM | TWiV 300: So happy together
Recording together for the first time, the hosts of the science show This Week in Virology celebrate their 300th recording at the American Society for Microbiology headquarters in Washington, DC, where Vincent  speaks with Dickson, Alan, Rich, and Kathy about their careers in science. You can find TWiV #300 at www.twiv.tv.
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12:40 PM | Modest Fissure Eruption Near Bárðarbunga
Source Icelandic Met Office    UPDATED:  See update at bottom.   # 9022   The on again, off again RED aviation alert for the Bárðarbunga volcano is on again after a 1.5 km long fissure eruption overnight, but right now it is impossible to know just how disruptive this event is likely to become.  That said, this  eruption appears to be much larger than the small fissure eruption on Friday.   For now, a long dyke of sub-surface magma […]
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11:31 AM | Mackay On Ebola: Blood, Sweat & Tears
Credit CDC PHIL   # 9022     Ian Mackay, in a follow up to his seminal post on Ebola ten days ago, writes today on the level of EBOV detection (often via RNA, or Antigens) in various human body fluids.    While the blood of  viremic patients is infamously teeming with the virus, Ian describes the (somewhat limited) research to date on the level of EBOV detection in other body fluids – like tears, sweat and saliva.   Although the level […]
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10:31 AM | WHO Update & Timeline On Senegal’s 1st Ebola Case
    # 9022   On Friday we learned that a fifth African nation had been touched by the Ebola outbreak in Senegal Reports 1st Imported Case Of Ebola.  Initial details were sketchy, particularly concerning the timing of the index cases' arrival and diagnosis.   Today the World Health Organization has released an update that, unfortunately, shows this patient was symptomatic, and living with relatives in Dakar for several days before being admitted to the […]
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10:24 AM | Lighting up Wellington’s waterfront
For the last week, Wellington has been positively glowing thanks to the lux festival. This year I collaborated with artist Brittany Byrne to bring a touch of bioluminescence to the proceedings – rather appropriate given the genes that encode bacterial bioluminescence are known as the lux operon. Previously Brittany created Nimbus – a work involving [...]
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8:39 AM | Sprouts still suck, even with social amplification
I know lots about the social amplification of risk as promoted by Kasperson, et al., but I’m not sure the author a new paper examining that theory in Germany’s 2011 E. coli O104 outbreak involving sprouts does. Lots of risk … Continue reading →
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5:39 AM | 41 sickened with Salmonella at Michigan festival
Reading Summer Festival Days lasted from July 31 to Aug. 3, but the outbreak came from one event. “There were eight laboratory-confirmed cases and 33 probable cases” among the more than 250 people who attended an alumni reunion dinner Aug. … Continue reading →

August 30, 2014

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8:47 PM | Fail: Frozen food trucks in Taiwan
The Consumer Protection Committee (CPC) under the Executive Yuan said yesterday that 73 percent of frozen food trucks failed to meet standards based on the result of random inspections of logistics companies. This situation was first discovered in July, when … Continue reading →
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5:59 PM | Heroin’s Anthrax Problem
This may come as a total shock, but pure forms of illicit drugs can be hard to come by. Certain controlled substances are frequently adulterated, if not outright contaminated, by products that range from the household to the industrial to the pharmaceutical. Of course, some substances are more easily, frequently, and profitably adulterated than others: cocaine […]The post Heroin’s Anthrax Problem appeared first on Body Horrors.
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5:59 PM | Heroin’s Anthrax Problem
This may come as a total shock, but pure forms of illicit drugs can be hard to come by. Certain controlled substances are frequently adulterated, if not outright contaminated, by products that range from the household to the industrial to the pharmaceutical. Of course, some substances are more easily, frequently, and profitably adulterated than others: cocaine […]The post Heroin’s Anthrax Problem appeared first on Body Horrors.
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5:37 PM | A tale of salt and gender: participation of women in halophile research
Interesting paper on women in science of direct relevance to my work: Frontiers | Salty sisters: The women of halophiles | Extreme Microbiology.  I have been working on halophilic archaea for many years (since introduced to them in graduate school) and published papers on this topic (e.g., see The Complete Genome Sequence of Haloferax volcanii DS2, a Model Archaeon and Sequencing of seven haloarchaeal genomes reveals patterns of genomic flux and more coming). […]
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3:39 PM | Mesquite "A modular system for evolutionary analysis" v3.0 released from Team Maddison
Just found out about this on Facebook via Rod Page: Mesquite V3.0  has been released.  Mesquite is from Team Maddison (Wayne and David).  I have been using their software since 1987 when I took Stephen Jay Gould's course at Harvard and they were TAs for the course demoing an early version of MacClade.   Lots of nice features and it is available in Mac, Unix/Linux, and Windows versions.   They describe "What Mesquite Does" on their Wikispaces site in the […]
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3:22 PM | NIH Announces Revised Genome Data Release Policies
Just got notified of this by the UC Davis Med. School grants administration: NOT-OD-14-124: NIH Genomic Data Sharing Policy.  Lots of interesting things in here including a summary of the comments that they received on the draft policy.I have copied some of the more interesting and relevant bits below:Sharing research data supports the NIH mission and is essential to facilitate the translation of research results into knowledge, products, and procedures that improve human health. […]
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11:39 AM | PAHO/WHO: Epidemiological Alert On Chikungunya & Dengue In the Americas
    # 9020   While Ebola garners the bulk of the headlines, other serious disease threats like Chikungunya and Dengue continue their inexorable spread across the globe, infecting hundreds of times more people than does Ebola, albeit with a far lower morality rate.      For 2013, PAHO provides the following assessment for Dengue in the Americas:   In 2013, dengue behaved like a classic epidemic for the Americas region, with the largest […]
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9:55 AM | Referral: Mackay On The Expansion Of Ebola Into Senegal
Credit Dr. Ian Mackay VDU Blog   # 9019   In his blog overnight, Dr. Ian Mackay adds Senegal to his Ebola outbreak map, and makes an important point about the uniqueness of each disease outbreak, the human variables that drive them, and the danger of assuming that the public health responses of the past will always suffice in the future.   First a link to Ian’s blog, then I’ll be back with a comment.   The fifth I give you... Senegal. […]
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9:27 AM | Naked sushi is happening in Vancouver (that’s in Canada), and, yes, it’s what you think it is
Ever heard of nyotaimori? It’s the Japanese practice of serving sushi on a naked body. It’s real, beyond that one scene from the first “Sex and the City” movie. And, for a price, you can now have your sushi served … Continue reading →
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6:20 AM | 304 sick from Cyclospora in US, some linked to fresh cilantro from Puebla, Mexico
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and federal, state, and local public health partners are continuing surveillance to identify and interview additional ill persons and to identify sources of infection. Cyclospora cayetanensis is a single-celled parasite that causes an intestinal … Continue reading →

August 29, 2014

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8:11 PM | Poliovirus escapes antibodies
Antigenic variation is a hallmark of influenza virus that allows the virus to evade host defenses. Consequently influenza vaccines need to be reformulated frequently to keep up with changing viruses. In contrast, antigenic variation is not a hallmark of poliovirus – the same poliovirus vaccines have been used for nearly 60 years to control infections by […]
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7:13 PM | Was it the cabbage? 15 sickened by E. coli O111 linked to Minnesota Applebee’s; know thy suppliers
Green, whole head cabbage was the likely source of E. coli O111 illnesses traced to eating at Applebee’s restaurants in Minnesota this summer, state health officials said Friday. Fifteen people were sickened by the produce, which was likely contaminated before … Continue reading →
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6:56 PM | Before They Were Scientists: Peter Bijl
My second installment in a series of interviews from the Netherlands is with geoscientist and climate change expert, Dr. Peter Bijl. He recalls constantly observing his surroundings as a child and questioning why he didn’t get to use his ice skates as much as his parents. This childhood curiosity translated to a career trying to understand how the Earth works. Read on to learn about how being a scientist is more than just being the smartest person in class, the role of chance in science, […]
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