Significant Events in Microbiology

I love groups that use their web page to not just organize themselves but to offer quality content to outsiders. The American Society for Microbiology has a wonderful timeline of what they consider the significant events of the last 125 years, in microbiological terms, with overviews of the “events” and bibliographical links for each one (many to online sources). Nicely done.

Space Colonization

Permanent is an independent (i.e. government-independent) project to travel and settle in space, using materials from the moon and asteroids for development. It’s an interesting browse, particularly the information on the legal and political issues of governments and individuals using stellar materials.

NASA History

If I had all the time in the world, I could lose days of my life at the new-to-me NASA History Homepage. They’ve assembled not just the technical details but information on the people, the management of the program, and the politics involved, so you can get a number of perspectives if you poke around enough. I loved looking at the technical diagrams of the various spacecraft, even if I don’t really understand them. And they’ve put tons of their books, reports, and other publications on-line as well. I just wish more of the content was in downloadable pdf (as … Continue reading NASA History

Alternative Cancer Treatments

A wide review of alternative medical treatments for cancer recently came out of Harvard, indicating that some of these treatments do help, while others don’t have evidence for their efficacy. Also important, the review seems to look at how these treatments interact with traditional cancer treatments. I can’t find the study itself, unfortunately.

Galileo’s Final Flyby

Galileo (the spacecraft, not the mathematician) made its final flyby before being decomissioned (read, crashed into Jupiter), last week. The JPL Galileo Home Page has a nice description of this final flyby as well as the history of this thirteen year old spacecraft. It will take almost a full year for the ship to complete its final orbit and burn up in Jupiter’s atmosphere!

New Moon?

They’re letting just anyone into our orbit now, it seems. Astronomers last week found a new Earth moon, though they haven’t determined if it’s rock or space-junk coming home to roost. Either way, it’s got a 50-day orbit around us. I didn’t even know, as the article mentions at the end, that we’ve already got a natural satellite besides the moon – Cruithne. There’s a very nice information page on Cruithne out of the Queen’s University Astronomy Research Group. [via Skunkfuckers]

Yummy Sludge

In a headline that screams to be weblogged, the EPA says toxic sludge is good for fish (though a later article indicates that it was the Army Corps who said it, not the EPA – incidentally, the same group dumping the sludge). In studying the effects of toxic sludge in the Potomac, the report said that since the sludge forces fish out of the now toxic water, the fish go to more remote areas where they are less likely to be caught. The statement that it “protects” the fish is a real misuse of that word. It’s sort of a … Continue reading Yummy Sludge

Impact of Emotions

Slowly, scientific evidence is piling up showing that mental state has real impact on one’s physical state. A recent study concluded that thoughts can alter the expression of genes, though the causal channel of thoughts effecting hormone levels. This article draws together a number of studies, pointing out that many of the physical effects we see from medication, alcohol, or even environmental influence, may also come from the process of altering gene expression. Which suggests, to me, that we’re on the edge of accepting that health care isn’t as simple a “disease and treatment” formula as is assumed.

Newsflash: Don’t Smoke

Not only have experts reconfirmed that smoking really does cause cancer, using a collection of data from many smoking studies, they’ve found it is even more cancerous than they thought. They also claim to finally have definitive proof that secondhand smoke causes cancer. I know that smokers already know they ought to quit, and I’m sure those irritating “truth” ads just make them want to smoke more out of spite, but if we’re taking a public health approach to medicine, support of quiting smoking is way up there as a positive, even in an analysis of overall cost per person.

Responsble Antiobiotic Use

As a happy example of the ability to reverse a disturbing trend, over the past decade the number of antibiotics prescriptions for children dropped by 40%, in response, one presumes, to concerns about the increase in antibiotic-resistent bacteria. Antibiotics are wonderful, wonderful drugs which absolutely must be used responsibly. [via Sigma Xi: In The News]