Medicine

They say that truth is stranger than fiction. I never really necessarily believed it, but today is a day that might well serve as anecdotal evidence to support that adage. Indeed, the day was perfectly bookended by two major developments in the case of the so-called “CDC whistleblower,” the senior CDC scientist who, if you…

You all might remember, Judy Mikovits and Age of Autism contributor Ken Heckenlively, were releasing a book on ‘their side’ of the XMRV fiasco (the scientific side of the XMRV fiasco). Plague: One Scientist’s Intrepid Search for the Truth about Human Retroviruses and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome, Autism, and Other Diseases Yes, that is really the…

DR Congo #Ebola Outbreak

We can now be pretty sure that the Ebola outbreak in the DR Congo is not an extension of the West African outbreak. The index case seems to have gotten the disease from a mammal she butchered, and the numerous other cases seem to stem from contact with her primary as health care workers and…

Here it is, Tuesday already, and the antivaccine underground is still on full mental jacket alert over the biggest story the antivaccine movement has seen in a while. Fortunately, it’s a story that’s been largely ignored by the mainstream media, which tells me that maybe, just maybe, the mainstream media has figured out that it…

Top Secret Ebola serums, how do they work?

One wonderful thing that has come two US citizens being infected Ebola (and successfully treated for the disease) is *education* the general public is getting about this, frankly, ‘scary’ virus. Im not talking about the bizarre nonsense/missed opportunity posted by Sanjay Gupta and his ‘producer’ Danielle Dellorto. Of course science bloggers have capitalized on this opportunity to educate people (its…

Occasionally, there are issues that come to my attention that need more than just one blog post to cover. One such issue popped up last week, and it’s one that’s kept you all very engaged, with the comment count on the original post rapidly approaching 200. I’m referring, of course, to the alleged CDC “whistleblower”…

City life makes bigger spiders

A new study from researchers at the University of Sydney shows that golden orb-weaving spiders (Nephila plumipes) that live in the city are larger and produce more offspring as compared to country living. When they say the spiders are big, they mean really big. The females can reach up to 20-25mm (males are only ~5mm).…

Here we go again. If there’s anything that ignites the fevered brains (such as they are) of antivaccine activists, it’s a good seeming conspiracy. Indeed, as we’ve seen before, if they can’t find a legitimate one, they’ll either exaggerate one or make one up out of whole cloth. This week, an “alleged” conspiracy has been…

Scaredy snakes?

Dr. Greg Byrnes (Siena College, Loudonville, NY) and Dr. Bruce Jayne (University of Cincinnati, OH) discovered that snakes use more force than is necessary to support their weight when climbing.  To climb, snakes rely on friction and repeatedly contract and extend their bodies, a process called concertina locomotion. To study the forces generated by snakes…

Clinical trials of magic

I’ll partially apologize here. The reason is that I said I’d be back to business dishing out the Insolence as usual, be it in the form of my usual 2,000 word gems, or slightly shorter, or a lot longer. However, fate intervened. First, there were new developments in the Frank Arguello threat machine. Go back…