In Science We Trust?

In 1998 a paper was published in The Lancet that purported to show evidence that vaccines, specifically combined vaccines for mumps measles and rubella (MMR), increased the risk of children developing a range of autistic disorders. Despite an accompanying press conference (not a usual thing in science paper publishing) it proved to cause just a minor media splash. But by 2002 it was the largest science story of the year Continue reading “In Science We Trust?”

Advanced Monkeys Maybe Not So Smart

I often do not believe that many of the issues that science has to defend are worth confronting. A person who claims the earth is flat is clearly emotionally and/or intellectually running short of a few cylinders, and probably can be safely ignored. Today I came across a news item that forces me to admit that on this I am very wrong. Stupid apes do cause ripples that could end up influencing some very stupid public policy. Continue reading “Advanced Monkeys Maybe Not So Smart”

Parasites: Weird Biology

 

I tapped out the following post because of two reasons: Parasites are my biological speciality; and I get to write the word penis a few times. The picture is a close up of the penis of the parasitic nematode Steinernema feltiae

In Itacoatiara, a village by the Amazon river in northern Brazil, a man steps up to the river bank and unzips his fly and begins to urinate into the water. While watching his urine mix with the brown waters of the Amazon, he becomes briefly curious about a sudden swirl where his urine hit the river. Then, something zips up his urine stream from the river at speed and forces itself into his penis. Continue reading “Parasites: Weird Biology”

I Was Once a Single-Celled Organism Stuck in a Hydro-Thermal Vent, Not a Space Octopus

 

How did life begin? This is not a philosophical question. Or a theological one. It is purely scientific. It is a question on my own mind of late due to the publication of a new paper, already widely derided, suggesting that we contain DNA from extra-terrestrial sources. It also says that the octopus most likely is completely from space, Continue reading “I Was Once a Single-Celled Organism Stuck in a Hydro-Thermal Vent, Not a Space Octopus”