Antibiotic Resistance For Everyone!

Everyone should know what antibiotic resistance is. According to the World Health Organization, “this serious threat is no longer a prediction for the future, it is happening right now in every region of the world and has the potential to affect anyone, of any age, in any country.” So, I hope this short “comic” helps make it clear why we should all be thinking about antibiotic use…

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the OTHER microbiotas

The Body’s Ecosystem is a comprehensive – yet short enough to finish in a single sitting – review on current NON-GUT microbiota research, focusing on the mouth, lungs, swimsuit area, maternal microbiome and skin. It’s pretty interesting and pretty pretty – I really liked the accompanying artwork (including two hand-drawn, possibly NSFW genitalia pictures). It also features research from a couple UIdaho labs (m’ alma mater). In other words, a darn good read, in my opinion.
Altogether, the members of the human body’s microbial ecosystem make up anywhere from two to six pounds of a 200-pound adult’s total body weight, according to estimates from the Human Microbiome Project, launched in 2007 by the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The gastrointestinal tract is home to an overwhelming majority of these microbes, and, correspondingly, has attracted the most interest from the research community. But scientists are learning ever more about the microbiomes that inhabit parts of the body outside the gut, and they’re finding that these communities are likely just as important. Strong patterns, along with high diversity and variation across and within individuals, are recurring themes in microbiome research. While surveys of the body’s microbial communities continue, the field is also entering a second stage of inquiry: a quest to understand how the human microbiome promotes health or permits disease.

Just one of the pretty pretties in the article…

RESULTS from SURVEY: How bad was that Science cover and do you care?

Apparently, that Science cover was pretty bad and plenty of people cared.

surveyResults

I got 75 responses in time to make the above figure (where the width of the blocks are proportional to the number of responses in each category)- 80% said the cover image was either very or kind of poorly chosen and 55% said they cared at least a little bit. The colored “lines” between the two answers depict how frequently two answers were chosen together and clicking the image will make it bigger.  Thanks to everyone who gave me their 2 cents – such science. such wow.

 

SURVEY: How bad was that Science cover and do you care?

The July 11 cover of Sciencegot a lot of press coverage last week. You can read about the variety of responses here, here, here, here or here (to name a few). But if you haven’t heard, Science chose to feature transgender sex workers from Jakarta on the cover of their “Staying a step ahead of HIV/AIDS” special issue, allegedly to highlight this “at risk” group. Unfortunately, the choice felt mostly like objectification and/or exploitation to some because the image was sexual (high heels, short skirts and the women were head/face-less). After a Twitter storm – including some pretty unprofessional responses from a Science editor – Science issued a short apology (cover image can be seen here too).

I’ve been wondering what the masses really think about this.

HERE IS MY 2 QUESTION SURVEY

(survey now closed – results are here!)

… for people to please answer as honestly as possible. Basically, how well chosen do you think the cover art was and how much do you care?

Thanks you guys! I’ll post the responses in a week or so. Did I mention please answer? There are even “I don’t know” and “I don’t care”  options, so everyone can participate!

On the scale of Bruce Banner to Incredible Hulk – how angry are you?

PS – All the “Staying a step ahead of HIV/AIDS” articles are open access! Check ‘em out!

The future of teaching?

Is this cuddly mug the future face of teaching?

I’ve recently become a big fan of IPython Notebook – I use it to keep track of command-line analyses and the thoughts/rationale/questions I have as I’m running them. But Greg Caporaso has another good use – an interactive textbook for teaching bioinformatics. In this blog post, he describes in detail how the textbook came about and how to get a copy for yourself.

Because the IPython Notebooks are interactive, students can (and actually do!) work with the notebooks in class and at home to experiment with the code, which drives active learning of the concepts. For example, one student this semester told us about his experiments with Smith-Waterman gap open penalties of 1000, and about what happens when you make the gap penalties negative (so they effectively become gap rewards; hint: you get a lot of gaps, but if want to see for yourself, install the notebook and try it out).

 

Friday Coffee Break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

Americans who say they don’t “believe” in evolution still seem to understand it. (Jeremy)

Humans may have evolved bigger brains at the expense of muscle strength. (Jeremy)

What’s troublesome about Troublesome Inheritance. (Jeremy)

What’s an elfie? This is an elfie. (Sarah)

Two disturbing figures from Your Wild Life – regarding trash (this pertains to you, Georgians!) and poop. (Sarah)

 

PS. Ahoy!

 

Friday Coffee Break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From CJ: On getting the most for both you and your students during summer projects.

Also from CJ: After careful consideration, Dr. Indiana Jones is rejected for tenure.

From Jeremy: Apparently, it’s not the doctors who are driving up medical costs.

Also from Jeremy: “More than 40 percent of American students who start at four-year colleges haven’t earned a degree after six years.”

From Amy: A two-parter. First, a little backstory and second, the random things that correlate: a cautionary tale.

From Sarah:  Le Parc Naturel de la Mer De Corail - the world’s largest marine sanctuary.

Also from Sarah: Adjunctivits correlates with highest paid university presidents and *GASP* higher student debt.

FINALLY – AND WORTHY OF CAPS LOCK – A HUGE CONGRATULATIONS TO FORMER CONTRIBUTOR DEVIN DROWN, WHO WILL BE STARTING A TENURE-TRACK FACULTY POSITION AT THE UNIVERSITY OF ALASKA, FAIRBANKS, NEXT JANUARY. WAHOOOOOOOOOO!

Friday Coffee Break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From Sarah: Well – THAT is a pretty good idea.

Also from Sarah: My inner naturalist and inner molluscophobe are fighting. Nifty or icky? Both, I guess.

From Amy: “There’s little about the discovery that isn’t gross. It looks like angel hair pasta. It’s undeniably enormous. And it’s cocooned in bat poop. It’s the world’s oldest…” what? The world’s oldest WHAT?!?!?

From Jeremy: The ways in which brood parasites and their hosts are super awesome seem endless…

Finally: Oh, emu poop, you are amazing.

 

PS – And thanks for the double helix-icious latte art, Nicole!

 

Friday Coffee Break

Every Friday at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! our contributors pass around links to new scientific results, or science-y news, or videos of adorable wildlife, that they’re most likely to bring up while waiting in line for a latte.

From CJ – Soon we will live…FOREVER! At least if we can figure out how these jellyfish do it.

From Noah – The death toll rises – researchers still counting and estimating birds killed by the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

From Amy – Better check your by-line! Middle initials make you seem smarter.

Also from Amy“Chameleon” vine mimics whatever plant it happens to be climbing…freaky.

From Jeremy – I hope they have space orchids: NASA wants a greenhouse on Mars (and soon!).

From Sarah – Apparently, I’m not the only one who is terrified of has wondered what lives in the Mariana Trench.

 

Alvin, Simon and Theodosius Dobzhansky*

You know the type. Big, brown eyes. Cute, little nose. Long, striped tail.

Tamias amoenus canicaudus, Steptoe Butte, WA, photo: Noah M Reid

Tamias amoenus canicaudus, Steptoe Butte, WA, photo: Noah M Reid

Chipmunks are adorable and one of the more easily viewed yet still kind of exotic North American mammals (in my opinion). I worked on red-tailed chipmunks for my Master’s degree at the University of Idaho with Jack Sullivan. Sullivan (et al.) just published a review of all the chipmunk research that’s taken place in his lab over the past 10 years or so. Central to the review is the concept of divergence with gene flow (DGF), but let’s start with some back story.

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