Tisn't the Season

Spring is in the air, and Clostridium tetani is in the earth. On Casaubon's Book, Sharon Astyk writes "with playing in the dirt comes minor injuries that you really don’t want to turn into anything nasty." Infection through open wounds can be fatal, as the bacterium releases a neurotoxin that causes uncontrolled muscular contractions. So if it's been ten years or more since your last vaccination, now is a good time for a booster. Meanwhile, Dr. Dolittle shares the amazing winning images of the inaugural Bio-Art competition on Life Lines. From the discharge of electric fish to the branching capillaries of a mouse kidney, serious science is made more accessible through imaging and visualization. And finally, The Weizmann Wave introduces us to the IceCube neutrino detector at the South Pole, where 5,000 detectors arrayed in a cubic kilometer of ice wait for weakly interacting massive particles. A summer day in Antarctica can reach 40°C below—but south of the equator, winter is just around the corner.

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The 10 winning images from the inaugural Bio-Art competition hosted by the Federation of American Societies for Experimental Biology (FASEB) were announced last week. Here are my favorites:    Closely related species of electric fish with recordings of their electric organ discharge. This organ is…
Clostridium difficile has joined MRSA, SARS, avian influenza, and West Nile as a hot new emerging disease. This bacterium, a cousin to Clostridium tetani-the causative agent of tetanus--and Clostridium botulinum--the botulism bacterium--is a spore-forming anaerobe. Carried by about 3 percent of…
The relationship between art and science today "is a little bit like romance," said Lynn Fellman. What's being learned about our species and about each other "is like getting to know someone new," she said. "It's surprising; It's a sense of discovery," one that artists, who speak through a visual…
Not many Israelis make it all the way to the South Pole. (In fact, very few people go there, at all. Not only is it really, really cold, it is extremely difficult and expensive to transport people, gear and necessities to this remote and inhospitable corner of the earth.) So when we learned that Dr…