Recognize this? It’s famous

August 22, 2007

Inside the ------------ - NSF photoWhat in the world is that? Put your guesses in comments.

(Update:  Answer here.)


New theme

August 22, 2007

My Freudian Slip is showing (ask Dr. Buff what that means, if you’re curious).

I was checking out theme previews, working to find a theme that gives easy links to other posts while reading one post’s full text. I accidentally hit “activate.”

Opinions? Does this new theme (Ocean Mist, by the way) improve readability and navigation of the blog? Does this theme eliminate the bleeding to the left problem old versions of Internet Explorer had?

Let me know.


How malaria is really treated

August 22, 2007

If we step away from the faux hysteria generated by JunkScience.com and the Competitive Enterprise Institute, we can get a glimpse of how people seriously concerned about preventing and treating malaria go about doing exactly that.

Here’s a post from a guy named Angus, describing practical steps people traveling to malaria zones should take, and also discussing the one-two punch needed to really squelch malaria:  Good medicines for treating people who have malaria, and mosquito control projects (in this case, without DDT).

Note well this paragraph of Angus’s story:

Back in 1982 a WHO-sponsored initiative attempted to eradicate the malaria vector, Anopheles mosquitoes, using the notorious insecticide DDT. Although the incidence of malaria decreased, it also resulted in the death of much poultry and livestock. The campaign was “imposed”, was not integrated, was resented, was not sustained and malaria made a comeback with a vengeance.

Note that DDT obviously was NOT out of use, and therefore we might understand as not banned in Africa, in 1982, contrary to claims from junk science and bogus history purveyors.  Note also that the side-effects of the DDT-based program were disastrous enough to make Africans (in Sao Tome e Principe?) wary of future DDT-based programs.

More:

From the U.S. National Institutes of Health: Monthly trends of malaria morbidity and slide positivity rate (SPR) and malaria cases on the island of São Tomé 2003-2009.

From the U.S. National Institutes of Health: Monthly trends of malaria morbidity and slide positivity rate (SPR) and malaria cases on the island of São Tomé 2003-2009. “Bottom Line: Regular implementation of an island-wide IRS programme was carried out yearly in 2004-2007, and enhanced throughout the island in 2009.Only 50% of asymptomatic carriers were cured with ACT treatment, while 90% of the symptomatic patients were cured by ACT treatment as confirmed with a follow up study.In addition, both daily reports and a regular active surveillance to prevent malaria outbreaks should be established permanently, so that a fast response to epidemics can be effectively made when necessary.”


P. Z. Myers sued for libel; what is crackpot science?

August 22, 2007

Stuart Pivar initiated a suit for libel against P. Z. Myers (of Pharyngula), over Myers’ caustic reviews of Pivar’s recent book. Myers is not talking (on advice of counsel); others are providing solid background, including Andrea Bottaro at Panda’s Thumb, Scientific American, the Lippard Blog, Overlawyered, Science after Sunclipse and Positive Liberty (all blogs that you read on occasion, right?).

In the comments to Bottaro’s post at Panda’s Thumb, someone asked:

What exactly is a “crackpot,” and how does one attain the status of “classic?”

Isn’t that rather the key question of life? How can we tell the cranks from the prophets, the dross from the gold?

My comments appear at Panda’s Thumb, but why not put it down here, too? This is a topic often addressed here: Voodoo science, voodoo history, bogus science, bogus history, and who can tell the difference, and who cares?

Read the rest of this entry »


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