Friday Link Dump

Science – There’s a new flu strain running around in China. As is often the case, Maryn McKenna over at Wired has the most important piece to read. – Allie Wilkinson’s piece in Ars Technica about a climate change’s irreversibility, but not inevitability… it’s a weird distinction, but it makes sense. – Another good post…

Friday Link Dump

My blogging has been slacking, but I’m still reading a bunch that I just don’t have time to comment on. So I’m going to experiment with a link dump at the end of the week. This first one features a couple week’s worth of posts – feel free to start a discussion in the comments…

For this week’s OAS Wednesday, I thought I’d try to highlight some research that’s in my field. As a result, I will likely be more prone than usual to lapsing into jargon and assuming knowledge that I shouldn’t (or maybe I’ll over-correct and get too simplified). Please let me know if anything needs clarification. In real…

[This is my latest review for Download the Universe] Honor Thy Symbionts, by Jeff Leach. Kindle In 2003, the Human Genome Project–an effort to sequence every gene in a human being–was completed. The success, announced to great fanfare, was supposed to herald a new era in health care. Unfortunately, the promises of personalized medicine, in which treatments…

One of the things that bugs me most in pop-sci and woo-woo science is the obsession with “boosting” the immune system. The immune system is in a constant balancing act – tip it too far one way and even normally harmless bacteria become life-threatening. But tilt it too far in the other direction, and you…

[This past fall, I taught a course at Emerson College called "Plagues and Pandemics." I'll be periodically posting the contents of my lectures and my experiences as a first-time college instructor] One of the biggest challenges in organizing this class was figuring out how to incorporate readings into the class material. Since I wanted to give the…

I spend a lot of time thinking about the scientific method. I don’t mean that thing you learned in high school, where you make an observation, form a hypothesis, design an experiment etc etc. That’s certainly part of the scientific method, but the linear formula that freshmen are typically forced to memorize sucks the life…

A “potentially historic” blizzard is barreling down on us here in New England, and is poised to drop up to two feet of snow on Boston. All of the schools in the area preemptively closed, our public transit system is shutting down at 3:30pm, and trying to buy groceries last night was bedlam. The snow is just…

Women climbers are amazing too

It occurred to me after I posted my piece last week about rock climbing and arthritis that all of the photos of climbing were of men. This was purely coincidence – I was editing photos of last week’s competition in reverse chronological order, and I’d only finished the photos of the Men’s finals by the time…

In any physical activity, there is always the risk of acute injury – cuts, scrapes, bruises, and even broken bones are often par for the course. For some extreme sports like rock climbing, where you voluntarily drag your body hundreds of feet into the air on the side of a sheer rock wall, athletes are…