Effect Measure

Archives for December, 2008

Every couple of months a major flu paper appears purporting to reveal why the 1918 H1N1 virus was so horrifically virulent in comparison to the other pandemic viruses of the last century, H2N2 (1957 pandemic) and H3N2 (1968 pandemic). It’s not just the H1N1 subtype of the influenza A virus that made it so deadly.…

Bush’s OSHA: 20 days to garbage pick-up

About ten people sent us links to the Washington Post front page news that isn’t news to anybody in occupational health. “Under Bush,” the headline read, “OSHA Mired in Inaction.” You don’t say!

A new refrigerant with a good backstory

The fact that EPA has just approved a safer and more environmentally sound refrigerant is amazing news in itself. But the story behind this new product is even more amazing. The material, called HCR-188c, is a hydrocarbon blend of common materials (among them ethane, propane, isobutene, normal butane) that have no ozone depleting potential and…

Today is bird flu’s birthday

As far as the world is concerned, if any day can be said to be bird flu’s birthday, it’s today. The disease of birds doctors call influenza A subtype H5N1 may have had a long gestation period, but we’re not sure how long. A form of the virus deadly to poultry was isolated from a…

This June we lost George Carlin. He was only 71. We’ve had him often on our little Sunday get togethers, so on this last Freethinker Sermonette of the year of his death, why not again? You’ve seen it. Many times. Classics are forever. Joe Bless you, George:

Madness in Gaza

Israel, a state entity, is committing war crimes in Gaza. They have blockaded and imprisoned an entire civilian population in the Gaza strip, over a million people, and have now launched air strikes against civilian targets with the expected results: the deaths of hundreds, among them women and children and innocent men. The Israeli attacks…

Compared to five years ago, there is a lot of great science on the web, most of it free. New Scientist is one of the best general science publications dand comes from the UK (much like the US-based Science News). While each have subscriber-only Premium Content, there is quite a lot of free access material,…

It’s the end of a year that saw historic election in the United States. An African American was elected President. To many of us felt like a turning point. We’ll have to see. But if it is, it is due to many people, some of whom we know, most of whom we will never know.…

Sneezing and sex

Sneezes occupy the attention of flu mavens because the aerosol created is likely one of the chief ways the virus finds a new host. So it’s a selective advantage to a respiratory virus to make someone explosively expel air from the lungs through the nose. A sneeze even has a medical name: sternutation. The speed…

Bagdad Hack and cannon fodder

The Bagdad Hack is neither a journalist nor a clever trick to get something done in Iraq. It’s a cough. And reading about it is dismaying and maddening. As someone who did a lot of work on unexplained illness following the Gulf War of 1991 — illnesses steadfastly denied by the Pentagon and the Department…