Effect Measure

Archives for November, 2009

Dogs, cats and swine flu’s promiscuity

Swine flu started in pigs (although we don’t exactly when or where), adapted to and passed to humans who returned the favor and passed it back to pig herds. Then we heard that turkeys in Chile had contracted the virus, followed by ferrets and a house cat. We can infect animals cross species with flu…

Pics of the flu virus and some its components

We talk so much about the flu virus we thought we’d show you some nice pics that CDC has just put up. This is a review for many of you put reviews are always helpful. In these three pics, only one is the actual swine flu virus, the other two being “cartoon” depictions of a…

When the singer-songwriter Phil Ochs took his own life in 1976 he was a year and a half older than me. It’s hard for some of us to believe he’s been gone 33 years. His music and the ideals he fought for are still so strong. Phil was best known for his anti-war songs. Yet…

Galileo in the Digital Age

I sometimes wake up in the middle of the night and think about things. In fact I frequently have a problem with early waking. I think it’s age related. In any event, one of the things I sometimes think about (mainly I think about my research or something connected with it, which is one reason…

It seems swine flu is full of surprises that turn out not to be surprises. Or so it’s claimed. Or not. Here is CDC’s Dr. Anne Schuchat, the agency’s chief health officer and spokesperson on swine flu, responding to NPR’s Melissa Block’s question about what has been her biggest surprise:

The holiday meal

Today is Thanksgiving in the United States, and the inevitable political innuendoes aside, it’s usually a holiday I like. I’m fond of my family — both my own and my wife’s — and glad to see them, although in recent years we have dwindled down to a few. Still, I basically have good memories of…

Fifth blogiversary

We just realized that today is our fifth blogiversary. Young if you are a human, prime of life if you are a dog, but Methuselah if you are a blog. We’ve not gone dark for a single day in those five years, although on many we’ve thought about turning off the lights permanently. But we’re…

Thanksgiving and swine flu

In the US we are about to embark on the Thanksgiving holiday, a 4 day period where families get together for a celebratory meal (at least celebratory unless you are one of the original inhabitants of the continent). There is lots of intergenerational visiting (grandparents to great grandchildren and lots of mingling of people from…

A virus walks into a bar . . .

All geeks love science jokes (one of my favorites: what’s purple and drives to work? Answer: an Abelian grape [explanation, the elements of an Abelian group commute, i.e., a + b = b + a]). Science jokes are good. You can learn some science from them. In particular, the first three or four of this…

The global swine flu vaccine shortage

The US has ordered 250 million doses of swine flu vaccine, mainly from foreign manufacturers. That’s a large proportion of the world’s productive capacity. A couple of the biggest vaccine makers, Glaxo-SmithKline (GSK) and Sanofi Pasteur, have promised to make donations to WHO for use in the poorer countries and with some smaller donations that’s…