Posts

August 18, 2014

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4:55 PM | Iceland: Watching Bárðarbunga
Credit Icelandic Met Office   # 8967   Over the past 48 hours more than 1,000 (mostly small) earthquakes have been recorded very near Iceland’s largest active volcano and the Icelandic Met Office has raised the aviation alert status for Bárðarbunga  to Orange.   While an eruption is by no means certain, Bárðarbunga has an impressive geologic history, making this swarm worth keeping an eye on.     First the latest […]
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3:12 PM | AAAS - Blocking Access to the Scientific Literature Even When They Say It Is "Free"
Today, I wanted to show someone a PDF of a paper of mine that I co-authored in 1999.  The paper was, I think, kind of cool.  It reported the sequencing and analysis of the genome of Deinococcus radiodurans, an incredibly radiation resistant bacterium.  Alas, I did not have a copy on me, and the only electornic device I had with me was my phone.  The person I wanted to show the paper to had their computer, a device with a strange little red trackball and running some sort of […]
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1:55 PM | WHO Update – Travel & Transport In Relation To Ebola Outbreak
# 8966   Last week the World Health Organization –  after seeing a number of air carriers refusing to service African nations – began to push back against the idea that air travel to Ebola-affected countries presented a high risk of infection to passengers and crew (see WHO: Ebola Poses `Low-Risk’ To Air Travelers).   The WHO has also consistently argued against the need for, or effectiveness of, of border closings or travel restrictions to affected […]
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11:30 AM | WHO: Full Report Of Ethics Committee On Experimental Drugs For Ebola
# 8965   The extraordinary spread of Ebola in the West African nations of Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone – and the spillover into the highly populated country of Nigeria – has led to numerous calls for the use of untested, experimental drugs on humans in the region.   We’ve already seen one drug – ZMapp – used on a handful of patients.   Last week the World Health Organization convened an ethics committee to consider the idea (see […]
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11:00 AM | A Tale of Two Strategies
by S. Marvin Friedman | Bacteria are for the most part gregarious organisms, living predominantly in dense communities consisting of multiple strains. In fact, the majority of infectious bacteria occur as multi-layered structures called biofilms, many of which are composed of multiple types of bacteria. As one can imagine, neighbor relations in such complex populations can be…
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9:18 AM | Bacteriophage behavioral ecology: How phages alter their host’s habits
Bacteriophages direct many aspects of bacterial behaviour. Continue reading →
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6:42 AM | Russia bans Australian kangaroo meat due to E. coli (or non-tariff trade barrier)
The kangaroo meat trade to Russia was initially suspended back in 2008, and then reopened in November 2012. The most recent ban was put in place in May this year, but Fiona Corke from the Australian Society for Kangaroos says … Continue reading →
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6:33 AM | Food additives on the rise as FDA scrutiny wanes
The explosion of new food additives coupled with an easing of oversight requirements is allowing manufacturers to avoid the scrutiny of the Food and Drug Administration, which is responsible for ensuring the safety of chemicals streaming into the food supply. … Continue reading →
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4:04 AM | Toxo imported meat might alter nation’s behavior, warns Iceland’s PM
Contrary to the claims of The Reykjavík Grapevin, toxoplasmosis is not a virus; it’s a parasite. But according to Iceland’s Prime Minister Sigmundur Davíð Gunnlaugsson, “Because this is such an interesting topic, maybe I will get one more minute to cover … Continue reading →
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3:55 AM | Wu Heng on throwing China’s food out the window
“I hope this book will make you feel that it’s time to throw unsafe food out the window.” So writes Wu Heng, the founder of Throw it Out the Window (www.zccw.info), a website staffed by volunteers that documents China’s rampant … Continue reading →

August 17, 2014

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10:16 PM | Where did Ebola come from? Rooting the un-rootable
As with other emerging viruses, the manner in which Ebolavirus outbreaks appear seemingly from nowhere merely adds to their terror. What is especially intriguing about the current outbreak in West Africa is that it's the wrong virus in the wrong place: as a strain of Zaire Ebolavirus, we would expect to see this virus in central Africa. The modern way to answer the 'where did it come from' question is to compare the genomic sequences of different viruses, and this was one of the first things […]

Dudas G & Rambaut A (2014). Phylogenetic Analysis of Guinea 2014 EBOV Ebolavirus Outbreak., PLoS currents, 6 PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/24860690

Citation
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7:24 PM | Don’t eat dog poop, and don’t run around with sharp objects in your ear
Oh, the Brits. Their science-based food safety agency won’t say, use a thermometer, but a local council tells kids not to eat dog poop. Upon seeing this image, you tell yourself that this park can’t possibly be warning kids not … Continue reading →
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4:00 PM | TWiV 298: MV-NIS de myelo
On episode #298 of the science show This Week in Virology, the TWiV gang answers follow-up questions about the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa, then discuss treatment of  disseminated multiple myeloma with oncolytic measles virus. You can find TWiV #298 at www.twiv.tv.
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1:04 PM | Mackay On Ebola, Pigs, Primates and People
  Credit CDC PHIL     # 8964   Yesterday Dr. Ian Mackay et al. produced a terrific overview called Ebola virus may be spread by droplets, but not by an airborne route: what that means which I blogged about here.     Today Ian is back with another in-depth look at Ebola transmission, this time taking on the much-discussed laboratory experiments that some online pundits have claimed `proves’ airborne transmission.   Ian quite […]
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12:02 PM | UK: Updated Pandemic Response Plan & Exercise Cygnus
Credit ECDC – 125 years of  Pandemic  History   # 8963   Although it is not often front and center in the news, or in the daily threats messaging from most governments, an influenza pandemic is considered among the most likely high-impact global threats that we could face in the foreseeable future.    Earlier this year, in Influenza Pandemic As A National Security Threat,  we looked at a threats assessment by the Director Of National […]
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10:47 AM | Creatures on hop
Three years ago I planted a hop from seed mainly in the hope of attracting more wildlife to the garden. It seems to have worked as I have certainly never seen this caterpillar before. It’s the larva of the Comma butterfly, confirmed by the internet and my guide book as commonly …
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3:24 AM | Better hygiene through humiliation?
I’ve always been a fan of shame and blame, humility and hubris, carrots and sticks. People can be complicated. According to The Atlantic, a number of companies have designed systems that aim to nudge doctors and nurses into washing their … Continue reading →

August 16, 2014

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2:21 PM | 30 Inspirational Sayings about Life, Fear and Failure
30 Inspirational Sayings about Life, Fear and Failure To be truly alive, we need two capabilities: To swim against the tide and to float downstream. – Zen Buddhist Saying An intelligent person understands others, A brilliant person understands himself….The post 30 Inspirational Sayings about Life, Fear and Failure appeared first on Just Science.
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2:21 PM | Success Has No Age Limit [Infographic]
Do you think your age supports you or is against you? Are you too old (or too young) to reach your dreams? What’s the right age to  change the course of your life? Many times we can get hypnotized by the hollywood image of success;…The post Success Has No Age Limit [Infographic] appeared first on Just Science.
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2:20 PM | What To Do When Your Dog Gets Stung
What To Do When Your Dog Gets Stung   Minor Swelling Is Normal Stings are fairly common for dogs; most of the time it can be relieved by quickly removing the stinger and using some cold compresses for a few hours. As with humans some dogs are severely…The post What To Do When Your Dog Gets Stung appeared first on Just Science.
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2:19 PM | Climate Change Threatens California
The Golden State faces an onslaught from Mother Nature. Two California residents console each other in the aftermath of the Eiler fire on August 5, 2014, in Hat Creek, California. Lack of water has led to more and larger wildfires in the state. SACRAMENTO,…The post Climate Change Threatens California appeared first on Just Science.
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1:05 PM | VDU Blog: Droplets vs Airborne - Demystifying Ebola Transmission
Except from CDC Infographic     # 8962   Almost two weeks ago the CDC released a reassuring infographic (see above) that - among other things - stated that `You can’t get Ebola through Air’, which immediately set off an internet firestorm of disbelief and derision. I considered it a communications misstep at the time, and blogged about it in The Ebola Sound Bite & The Fury.   While I understand the need to reassure the public, and the desire to […]
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11:47 AM | Reminder: September Is National Preparedness Month
  # 8961   After a truly horrendous 2011 – a year that saw a record breaking 14 Billion-dollar-plus weather related disasters (see Weathering Heights: A Year For The Record Books) – we’ve experienced a welcome downturn in the number of major natural disasters in this country.    Credit FEMA as of 8/16/14   With several years of lower-than-normal hurricane activity, a dramatic drop in deadly tornadoes since 2011, and no major seismic […]
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6:24 AM | Holding auditors blameless
The N.Y. Times writes an editorial about financial auditing, but use imagination and substitute food safety audit. Matthew Goldstein of The Times reported this week that an arbitration panel of three former judges has found no basis for a malpractice … Continue reading →
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5:24 AM | I’ve been everywhere: Norovirus transmission between hands, gloves, utensils, and fresh produce during simulated food handling
Human noroviruses (HuNoVs), a leading cause of food-borne gastroenteritis worldwide, are easily transferred via ready-to-eat (RTE) foods, often prepared by infected food handlers. In this study, the transmission of HuNoV and murine norovirus (MuNoV) from virus-contaminated hands to latex gloves … Continue reading →
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5:07 AM | Handwashing is never enough: Minnesota paper says require handwashing stations at petting zoos
I was talking to my friend John this morning at my church – the ice arena – while the women were skating. We talked about getting out of the rat race, and how it was nice we had wives to … Continue reading →
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3:55 AM | Is it an egg problem? 156 sick: UK investigating national outbreak of Salmonella
Public Health England (PHE) is investigating a national outbreak of a type of Salmonella Enteritidis which has affected 156 people. To date, 55 cases have seen in Hampshire, 25 in London, 33 in Cheshire and Merseyside, and 43 in the … Continue reading →
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3:48 AM | Irony can be ironic: 47 resident doctors suffer food poisoning at hospital in India
About 47 resident doctors were admitted at the Sion hospital after they complained of vomit and diarrhea. Authorities suspect sweets distributed at the hospital’s canteen to be a cause. The doctors started fealing uneasy after 12.00 noon on Friday post … Continue reading →
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3:44 AM | UK row as horsemeat file shelved
The official report into the causes of the horsemeat scandal has been shelved until at least the autumn, prompting criticism that the government is not doing enough on food safety. The inquiry by Chris Elliott, professor of food safety at … Continue reading →
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3:40 AM | Metwurst recalled in Australia for E. coli
No information on which E. coli strain or other pertinent facts, but that’s usual for Australian government. Kalleske Meats has recalled Garlic Metwurst, sold at Crystal Brook and Cleve rural agriculture and produce shows on  Saturday 9th Aug and Thursday … Continue reading →
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