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Dear NY Post, Bacteria and Viruses are Two (Very) Different Things

May 12 2018 - 20:05

As a microbiologist, I have a pet peeve; when the words bacteria and virus are used interchangeably. It is not an infrequent mistake to see. And, a story this week in the New York Post is no exception.

In an article entitled, "Mom dies after catching flesh-eating bacteria on family vacation," the tragic story of a woman who contracted (and subsequently died from) an infection is described. 

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'Double Trojan Horse' Drug Tricks Bacteria into Committing Suicide

May 12 2018 - 04:05

Ironically, from the bacterium's perspective, the very enzyme that it uses to protect itself from antibiotics becomes complicit in its own demise.

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Euthanasia: Discuss

May 11 2018 - 13:05

When one stops to consider the particular circumstances of a 104-year-old's recent decision to end his life, it's difficult for many who sympathize with his plight not to see the judgment as anything but reasonable.

However, that's just one view.

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Big Brother Walmart Is Watching Your Meds Very Carefully. And Not Just Painkillers

May 11 2018 - 12:05

Walmart apparently has some big plans for its pharmacies and they will involve you. A Whistleblower document from the company reveals what steps the company will take to address (wrongly) the overuse of painkillers. You will be graded on your probability of misusing not just opiate drugs, but also sedatives and stimulants. Since when does Walmart tell our doctors what they can or cannot give to their patients? What will this mean for your privacy?

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Integrative Medicine's War on Pain and Science Comes To The Hospital

May 11 2018 - 10:05

If integrative medicine wants to be taken seriously, then they need to provide data obtained from actual scientific studies. There is no complementary science.  

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The Real Cost Of California's New Solar Panel Regulation

May 11 2018 - 07:05

Only 15% of new homes utilized solar panels, the California Energy Commission now requires all homes to have them because they are good for the environment and "save you money." Those "savings" can teach us two economic terms, first-mover advantage and the cost of ignoring externalities in cost-benefit considerations. 

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Should The Elderly Decide How They Die?

May 11 2018 - 01:05

The recent intentional death by 104-year old scientist David Goodall via euthanasia brings to the forefront whether to deem deterioration from advanced aging as another reasonable consideration beyond having an incurable disease.

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Keen Business Minds at McKinsey Say Wealth Causes Homelessness

May 11 2018 - 00:05

I once asked a Seattle businessman what he thought of consultants. "They borrow your watch to tell you what time it is," he said coldly.

That's not an uncommon sentiment. Despite that, management consulting is roughly a $140-billion industry globally. And McKinsey is widely considered the gold standard. People who work for McKinsey receive a golden ticket to top jobs at nearly any firm in the world.

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Wallace Genetic Foundation: Funding Anti-Science Deniers For Hire

May 10 2018 - 14:05

Since you aren't here unless you are a pro-science reader, if I ask you what Center for Biological Diversity, Earthjustice, Center for Food Safety, Environmental Working Group and Center for Science in the Public Interest have in common, you might answer they hate science and actively undermine it. Yes, that is true. And you might also answer they are primarily lawyers who make their money suing companies after they manufacture doubt about them.

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Weapons of Ash Destruction: The Chemistry of Kilauea

May 10 2018 - 14:05

All kinds of stuff is pouring out of the Kilauea volcano. But perhaps the chemical of most concern – sulfuric acid – doesn't come from the volcano itself. Sulfur dioxide, however, sure does, and it's converted into sulfuric acid due to environmental factors. And if that's not enough, we share the secret of how to know how hot the lava is. Something for everyone!

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Factfulness - A Book Report

May 10 2018 - 11:05

Factfulness is all about giving us the means of debunking - separating the reality of life from the dramatic narratives we instinctually create or are told. It continues the teachings and wisdom of Hans Rosling.

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Finnish Adults Benefit from Added Sauna Use. How About the Rest of Us?

May 10 2018 - 07:05

Saunas, for the most part and for legions of adults, enjoy a warm reputation as being good for you. And a recent study of Finnish men and women seems to add more credence to sauna's health benefits, in defending against stroke. But were these favorable results skewed because this activity baked into Finland's culture?

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Panel Power: Solar Advocates Openly Celebrate Crony Capitalism

May 09 2018 - 22:05

In California, Robin Hood robs from the poor and gives to the solar industry.

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Tick-Borne Diseases are on the Rise. Which Ones Should You Watch Out For?

May 09 2018 - 07:05

Finally, the hats and gloves can be stowed away. The summer is almost here and it's time to get outside and enjoy the weather. But, this year, more than any other year, our time spent outside may not be as worry-free. A recent report by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) indicated that the number of vector borne diseases (those carried and transmitted by arthropods - insects like ticks, mosquitoes, sandflies and blackflies) has increased over the last 12 years in a dramatic way. (1) 

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$10 Million Prize as Incentive to Solve America's Algae Crisis

May 09 2018 - 07:05

With all due respect to government officials and their decades of well-intentioned effort to reverse algae bloom, it's now the private sector's time, led by ingenious researchers, to tackle this ever-expanding crisis.

And an eight-figure cash reward as an incentive for the winner doesn't hurt, either.

A scientific competition, which began in July 2016, is seeking to produce a workable solution to the problem of explosive algae growth, which has plagued the Florida coast to the Great Lakes, and beyond, and has been getting progressively worse since the 1990s. 

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Blame & Shame in Healthcare, and Congress

May 09 2018 - 05:05

Shaming and blaming isn't part of improving patient safety or resolving the opioid crisis. Healthcare workers and Congress frequently blame others and rarely take personal responsibility, and that's not a culture that fosters reflection and meaningful improvement.  

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Blame And Shame In Healthcare and Congress

May 09 2018 - 05:05

Blame and shame are not part of improving patient safety or resolving the opioid crisis. Healthcare workers and Congress frequently blame others and rarely take personal responsibility, that is not a culture that fosters reflection and meaningful improvement.  

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Teacher Appreciation Week: My Favorite Science Teachers

May 08 2018 - 23:05

In high school, I took organic chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and anatomy & physiology. Without a doubt, I received a world-class science education, despite growing up in a largely rural area that was not wealthy. For Teacher Appreciation Week, I would like to thank the middle school and high school teachers who greatly shaped my life.

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"Synthetic" And "Opioids" - Two Useless, Confusing Terms That Need To Go

May 08 2018 - 12:05

As if our government and press haven't screwed up the story of the so-called "opioid crisis" thoroughly enough, why not add some meaningless and confusing terms to the mix so that absolutely no one knows what the hell is going on. 

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Hey Media, Can We Get Past Politics? Melania Trump’s ‘Be Best’ Highlights Much Ignored Opioid Issue

May 08 2018 - 11:05

It's time to prove we really care about the children.

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