Ed Brayton, Dispatches from the Culture Wars, moving to Patheos

August 12, 2015

Our old friend Ed Brayton, high priest and chief bottle washer at Dispatches from the Culture Wars through all these years — as a solo blog, at the late, Seed Magazine Science Blogs, and then for the past few years at FreeThought Blogs — is pulling back from his administrative work at FtB. He’s also moving Dispatches to Patheos.

Masthead for Ed Brayton's Dispatches from the Culture Wars

Masthead for Ed Brayton’s Dispatches from the Culture Wars

There’s been angst. Brayton established FtB and is known as the owner of the network; it’ll take a committee to try to replace him there.

The most famous photograph of the Paparazzi-eluding Ed Brayton. From his Twitter pate, @edbrayton.

The most famous photograph of the Paparazzi-eluding Ed Brayton. From his Twitter page, @edbrayton.

Ed’s been a good friend to Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub over the years, encouraging and making key starter suggestions (along with P. Z. Myers of Pharyngula).  More important, Brayton’s been a staunch defender of thinking issues through. He’s stood up firmly for religious freedom, academic freedom and good science, among a bunch of other issues over the years.

Change your bookmarks to get the freshest stuff. As he does live in Michigan and knows Michigan politics, he’s probably the go to guy for straight dope on the Courser scandals, for example.

Good luck, wish you well, Ed.

Good luck FreethoughtBlogs, too.


Wellcome Trust interactive on malaria parasites’ lifecycle

August 12, 2015

Screen capture of the Wellcome Trust HTML presentation on the life cycle of malaria parasites. Malaria fighters know all this almost instinctively; too often policy makers fail to understand it, and so they recommend policies that do not make medical or economic sense in fighting the disease. Click image to go to Wellcome Trust site for full presentation.

Screen capture of the Wellcome Trust HTML presentation on the life cycle of malaria parasites. Malaria fighters know all this almost instinctively; too often policy makers fail to understand it, and so they recommend policies that do not make medical or economic sense in fighting the disease. Click image to go to Wellcome Trust site for full presentation.

Britain’s Wellcome Trust takes as one of its key missions the fight against malaria.  The Trust is a charitable foundation created from profits of pharmaceutical development and sales.

Recently I found this HTML animation presentation on the life cycle of the malaria parasite, something all malaria fighters must know to be effective.

It’s also something that DDT advocates seem unable to comprehend.  Malaria is not a virus, nor is it a venom mosquitoes manufacture, but it is a parasite that infects (and disables) both mosquitoes and humans. Mosquitoes catch the parasite from an infected human host. After the malaria parasite completes a couple of cycles in the gut of the mosquito, the parasite can be transmitted back to humans by a mosquito bite. And the cycle continues.

Since complete eradication of malaria-carrying mosquitoes is practically impossible in almost all cases, beating malaria requires an interruption in the cycle of transmission of the parasite, plus the curing of the disease in infected human hosts.

For example, the old World Health Organization (WHO) malaria eradication campaign, which operated from 1955 to 1963, DDT was used to temporarily knock down a population of mosquitoes, with hopes human hosts would be ridded of malaria parasites so that, in six months or so, when the mosquito populations roared back, there would be no malaria in local humans to infect mosquitoes. Consequently, mosquitoes can’t transmit a parasite they don’t have.

Lost on far too many people: Humans must be cured of malaria to prevent transmission. Beating malaria takes a lot more than just killing mosquitoes.

Check out the interactive:  Malaria parasite life cycle

While you’re there, snoop around to see what else Wellcome Trust is up to in the malaria fight.

 


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