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Vox Media Report On Pandemrix And Narcolepsy Misses A Key Highlight, Progress By Trial

I read with a great deal of interest a report on Vox by their science and health reporter Julia Belluz (@juliaoftoronto on Twitter) on the recently publicized story of Pandemrix, an H1N1 pandemic influenza (a.k.a. "Swine Flu") vaccine manufactured by GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), and the condition of narcolepsy (a debilitating sleep disorder) that affected a small fraction of individuals who received this vaccine. The facts of the story are not in dispute. During the 2009-10 Swine Flu pandemic in Europe, GSK's... Read more

 

Birdbooker Report 382-3

SUMMARY: Books, books, beautiful books! This is a list of biology, ecology, environment, natural history and animal books that are (or will soon be) available to occupy your bookshelves and your thoughts. “Words in leather and wood”. Bookshelves in the “Long Room” at the old Trinity College Library in Dublin. Image: Nic McPhee from Morris, MN, USA. 2007. (Creative Commons.) Books to the ceiling, Books to the sky, My pile of books is a mile high. How I love them!... Read more

 

Morsels For The Mind – 24/07/2015

Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur &... Read more

 

Best Friend, Indeed

I love dogs. I grew up in households with dogs, and feel very comfortable around most dogs. And they seem to return the feeling. This has happened not only with familiar pets in the households of friends and family, but also with strange, unfamiliar dogs under otherwise trying circumstances. Through my childhood and young adulthood, I lived in an enclosed residential area which happened to serve as a sort of shelter for many random stray or abandoned, ill-nourished and emaciated street-dogs... Read more

 

The SCICOMM 25 (7.24.15)

Welcome to the SCICOMM 25! This is where I pull together the week's 25 most talked about science communication stories, determined by the engagement rate of stories I've shared on Twitter. Many are written by the world's leading science communicators. Some offer tips and advice, while others tackle important issues we need to discuss and debate. All of them are worth checking out. I hope you enjoy this week's list. Top Stories: Sharing science using only the 1,000 most common words in... Read more

 

Five questions to a Nobel Laureate: Jack Szostak

  How much sleep do you need and does it affect your work? I sleep about 6 or 7 hours. If you can’t get enough sleep, you can’t really pay attention to things.   Are you addicted to something? Science cannot be the answer Not really. I drink coffee in the mornings, but that’s about it. At conferences I drink more than usual, but that’s about it.   What’s your idea of a perfect holiday? I like lots of different... Read more

 

So, I Wrote a Book

So, I wrote a book. It’s called The Handbook for Science Public Information Officers, and if you’re the sort of person who enjoys reading this blog, I have high hopes that you’ll find it useful and interesting. What was I thinking? I’ve spent the past three years writing about the practical aspects of science communication, on this blog and elsewhere. Somewhat to my surprise, a lot of folks were interested in what I had to say. It occurred to me... Read more

 

Bringing the Media to You: A Marketing Tip from the National Speakers Association Meeting

This week I’m writing to you from the National Speakers Association annual meeting, a great place to learn new marketing tricks.  I’m going to share with you a tip I just learned from journalist Geeta Nadkarni. It’s an idea that sounds simple and obvious–and I bet you haven’t tried it yet. First, let me introduce Geeta.  Her dress is covered with glass beads that sparkle furiously at me. She gives me a hug even though she’s never met me before.... Read more

 

Feeding a healthier generation: Yes, we can and have to!

As part of her recent trip to Europe, the US first lady Michelle Obama has led a presidential delegation to this year’s world’s fair held in Milan. The Expo 2015, which opened on May the 1st and runs until October the 31st, is themed on food security and seeks to find solutions to the inequality in food distribution in our society. This topic dovetails with Michelle Obama’s five-year-old initiative “Let’s move” which has tried to raise awareness on and fight... Read more

 

How Viruses Feign Death to Survive and Thrive

Billions of cells die each day in the human body in a process called "apoptosis" or "programmed cell death". When cells encounter stress such as inflammation, toxins or pollutants, they initiate an internal repair program which gets rid of the damaged proteins and DNA molecules. But if the damage exceeds their capacity for repair then cells are forced to activate the apoptosis program. Apoptotic cells do not suddenly die and vanish, instead they execute a well-coordinated series of molecular and... Read more

 

Piloting the Imperial Shuttle

Posted by Tom Webb in Mola Mola

At staff meetings and the like, I often find myself channelling Princess Leia. The HoD, faculty head, or whoever will be outlining some pioneering new initiative, but what I’ll hear is General Madine announcing the theft of an Imperial shuttle to the assembled rebels in Return of the Jedi: “Disguised as a cargo ship, and using a secret Imperial code, a strike team will land on the moon and deactivate the shield generator.” To which I incredulously respond (usually -... Read more

 

New Studies on the Reproductive Potentials of Religiosity – The Attraction of Religion by D.J. Slone and J.A. van Slyke

For almost a year, I have not been able to blog at "The Nature of Faith" for two reasons: First of all, some German works, books and teaching tasks took all the time I had to spare. And secondly, I have been asked to lead an international and humanitarian project about whom I won't be allowed to talk until next year (for security reasons). With all that said, I am happy to admit that further progress in evolutionary studies of... Read more

 

Morsels For The Mind – 17/07/2015

Every day we provide you with Six Incredible Things Before Breakfast to nibble away at. Here you can fill your brain with the most intellectually stimulating “amuse bouches” from the past week – a veritable smorgasbord for the cranium. They’re all here for you to load up your plate – this week’s “Morsels for the mind”. Enjoy! If you do nothing else, make sure to check out the “Reads / views / listens of the week”. **** Feather, fur &... Read more

 

Sci-Painting: This artist will change the way you see the wildlife around you

I first met Shelby Prindaville while she was completing her Master of Fine Arts degree from the LSU Painting and Drawing Program. I was, on a whim, looking for artists who documented wildlife in coastal Louisiana and the Louisiana wetlands, for an LSU homepage feature story I was writing. Shelby responded to an e-mail announcement that went out, and I knew immediately that she belonged in this story. At the time, Shelby created amazing clay sculptures of anoles (lizards) jumping... Read more

 

The SCICOMM 25 (7.17.15)

Welcome to the SCICOMM 25! This is where I pull together the week's 25 most talked about science communication stories, determined by the engagement rate of stories I've shared on Twitter. Many are written by the world's leading science communicators. Some offer tips and advice, while others tackle important issues we need to discuss and debate. All of them are worth checking out. I hope you enjoy this week's list. Top Stories: Welcome to the family, Pluto! t.co/8a3a8pFNd3 @nightskymelb Hundreds of scientists slam... Read more