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October 2014 Open Thread

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Zombies!

Browse this list of images…all of them of real, live, genuine zombified organisms. Just in time for Halloween!

The Hot Zone was first released in 1994, the year I graduated high school. Like many readers, that book and Laurie Garrett’s The Coming Plague really sparked my interest in infectious diseases. In some sense, I have those books to thank (or blame?) for my career. But I’m still going to criticize it, because as…

Recent pieces address healthcare workers’ safety and the research behind controlling Ebola’s spread; end-of-life planning; contraception; and more.

“The most amazing lesson in aerodynamics I ever had was the day I climbed a thermal in a glider at the same time as an eagle. I witnessed, close up, effortlessness and lightness combined with strength, precision and determination.” -Norman Foster It’s called the “Eagle Nebula” because the shape of the nebula itself faintly resembles…

What, this is a thing?

A paper that made extravagant weight loss claims for green coffee beans has been retracted. This study had been touted by Dr Oz, of course — no fraud is to ludicrous for him — and rebutted by Scott Gavura, and I’m generally suspicious of any dietary supplement that promises weight loss without reducing calories or…

“Death is the only wise adviser that we have. Whenever you feel, as you always do, that everything is going wrong and you’re about to be annihilated, turn to your death and ask if that is so. Your death will tell you that you’re wrong; that nothing really matters outside its touch. Your death will…

Anders Winroth (born in 1965) is a Swedish historian who received his PhD from Columbia in 1996 and now holds an endowed professorship in history at Yale. He has written several books on the Viking Period for lay readers, the latest one of which I’ve been given to review. The main contents of The Age…

The ‘Nifty Fifty (times 4)’, a program of Science Spark, presented by InfoComm International, are a group of 200 noted science and engineering professionals who will fan out across the Washington, D.C. area in the 2014-2015 school year to speak about their work and careers at various middle and high schools. Meet Nifty Fifty Speaker Dr. Alberto Gutierrez Welcome…

Richard Dawkins and Nightwish

October 2012, I got to see Nightwish at a small venue in OKC. 1– This was one of the first nights Floor Jansen was officially the New Singer for Nightwish. She blew me away. 2– This was a *tiny* venue. Nightwish fills huge stadiums and auditoriums all over the world, but OKC? Teeny venue. And that…

I’m beginning to feel that I’m flogging a topic a bit too hard again. Usually, this happens primarily when I’m on a roll over some particularly tasty ridiculous tidbit of antivaccine nonsense. This time around, it’s not so much antivaccine nonsense (although some did manage to slip its way into the discussion) but rather Ebola…

“I would give my life to fly in space. It’s hard for me to talk about it but I would. I would then, and I will now.” -Jerrie Cobb, at age 67 in 1999 Some of the greatest heros of the 20th century are those who were an integral part of humanity taking our first…

Some time last Tuesday, that strange sound you heard was thousands of scientists screaming in agony, and smashing their heads against the nearest keyboard/desk/wall. Good lord, Sanjay. Good lord. What is wrong with you? This video is like the scientific equivalent of ‘Two girls one cup‘. After you saw it, youd run and show your friends, just…

Ebola fears at Kent State

Though I haven’t had a chance to write about this here, I have an article at Mic.com on Kent’s experience with Ebola exposure in our area. Amber Vinson, the second Ebola-infected nurse in Texas, is a Kent State alumna and has relatives that work here. Our experience on campus so far is described here in…

“Out, you impostors! Quack salving, cheating mountebanks! your skill Is to make sound men sick, and sick men kill.” -Philip Massinger It’s been a wild ride full of ups-and-downs this week, as we’ve covered topics from solidly-based science to the theoretically expected, all the way to physical impossibilities and unverifiable, outlandish claims. Sometimes, that’s what…