Effect Measure

Archives for June, 2007

The British Medical Journal is an odd thing. I was very impressed when they went Open Access a few years ago, only to be disappointed when they stopped, even though their new editor, Fiona Godlee, came over from the world’s leading Open Access publisher of medical journals, BioMed Central. Recently they have been publishing pieces…

Good enough for government work

The Republican wannabees are all making their pilgrimages to a single institution of Higher Learning, these days. Regent University. And why not. As Rudi Giuliani said the other day to the faculty and students there: “The Amount Of Influence You Have Is Really, Really Terrific.” Regent University is Pat Robertson’s place: Christian Leadership to Change…

Vetting the bird flu problem

Emerging infectious diseases don’t appear out of thin air. Mostly (75%), they come from animals. In the language of science, they are zoonoses. So veterinary pathologists see themselves on the front line of early warning against emerging disease and runaway pandemic disease. Consider bird flu:

Armed and pedantic

Since I’m a professor I notice stories about professor’s rights. I’m all for having my rights. But there are some rights I don’t think professors need to have or should have:

When headlines make bird flu

You can’t look at the bird flu news without seeing a new outbreak somewhere, whether it’s in Bangladesh, Ghana, Togo, the Czech Republic, or Germany, or of course the old standbys, Vietnam, Indonesia and Eqypt. Lots of it around and I didn’t give anywhere near the whole list. So it’s curious to find this headline,…

Afghanistan was wrong, II

I hope the Democrats are successful in stopping the Iraq atrocity. Out of Iraq. Now. But I must once again disagree — strongly disagree — with the notion that Iraq has distracted us from the “real” war against terrorism, the one in Afghanistan. This is a talking point of virtually all the Democratic presidential hopefuls…

Q-fever is an acute febrile disease which presents, as do so many infectious diseases, with “flu-like symptoms.” It isn’t cause by a flu virus, however, or any virus. It’s caused by a bacterium, Coxiella burnetii. It is class B biowarfare agent, meant to cause debilitating illness amongst its targets. It rarely causes death, although it…

Birth of the Barclay Beast

Many years ago a strange organism appeared outside a branch of Barclays Bank north of London. The first member of the public to encounter it in the wild was an actor from a TV series. We know how old it is from documentary evidence, but if we didn’t we could still carbon date it. Carbon…

USDA bird’s eye view not so sweeping

The Department of Homeland Security (DHS) may be the most incompetent and dysfunctional in the federal government (Katrina is one example; but only one). DHS also has a very expansive view of its role. Almost everything is a matter of homeland security. That includes epidemic disease, where there remains uncertainty as to who will do…

Nature Precedings

It is infuriating how stodgy biomedical sciences are in terms of information sharing. It’s not clear how much of this is bred of inherent conservatism, the pressures of a very competitive field or just plain technobackwardness. But while mathematics and physics have had preprint servers for years, biomedicine has had nothing or virtually nothing (that…