Lyme disease: a bacterial disease vectored by ticks that can cause long-term health issues.
It turns out that a vaccine was developed when lyme disease was first discovered to be a serious problem on Cape Cod. AWESOME! FIGHT THOSE TERRIBLE DISEASES!
But anti-vaccine advocates protested that the vaccine caused arthritis (a symptom which was never seen in clinical trials, and there is no evidence linking arthritis to the vaccine) and in the media backlash it was taken off the market.
So although it exists, and your dog can get vaccinated and live a lyme disease free life, we the people cannot. Read all about it here.
What is the role of government? Above all, I think this question has been driving the political divide that has occurred since the election last November. It affects whether you think everyone should have healthcare, whether jobs should be brought back, and importantly for us, whether science should be funded.
It’s well-known within scientific communities that governments (This is universally true) are the major source of funding for all academic scientific research. And basic research is important because it expands our knowledge. Science builds on previous science, so there is no way to tell what the work we are doing now will lead to in the future. It doesn’t have to be applicable, it might become applicable in the future, or lay the foundation for applicable research. And because of this lack of immediate profitability, basic science is often not funded by for-profit companies.
So, is it the role of the government to fund science? I think so, because of the argument laid out above. But the Trump administration apparently does not share my sentiments, as their budget drastically cuts science research across all fields of research. Read about it here, or feel free to weigh in on my argument above.
Also, please note, this is why the march for science is so important. It’s not just our livelihoods that are on the line. It’s our future and the future of the next generation.
The clickbait title is not my own. But it is the title of an article in Forbes about how to better communicate science with the public.
The too long; didn’t read version is below, and if you’re busy and want to focus on a few, I recommend 1, 6 (“Reflect on what you want (or do not want) on the record days, months or years later and use that as a filter.”), and 9.
1. Know your audience.
2. Don’t use jargon.
3. Get to the point.
4. Use analogies and metaphors.
5. Three points. Studies continue to show that three key points are effective with audiences.
6. You are the expert.
7. Use social media.
8. The myth of “popularizers.”
One of my favorite online comics: The Oatmeal, put up a post to try to reestablish grizzly bears back into the Northern Cascades.
It only takes two things: 1) 25,000 dollars (already paid by the author of the Oatmeal and 2) 50,000 comments on the department on the interior website.
Interested? He even gives you specific examples if you’re not feeling particularly articulate this morning (like me). Check it out here.
Also, check out the amazing story of the mantis shrimp, the awesome angler fish and my personal favorite, the flatworm parasite Captain Higgins.
The World Health Organization announced its first list of antibiotic-resistant “priority pathogens” on Monday, detailing 12 families of bacteria that agency experts say pose the greatest threat to human health and kill millions of people every year.
The list isn’t meant to scare people, but to call attention to microbes for which research into antibiotics is needed.
Read about it at the Washington Post.
Happy National Invasive Species Awareness Week!
And because a number of the invasive species of concern in the United States are insects, then entomologists are the front line of defense. In 2016 the Entomological Society of America developed a formal position on invasive species here “The Not-So-Hidden Dangers of Invasive Species” [PDF].
Or you can read all about Invasive Species Awareness week over at Entomology Today.
In a time where biodiversity is actively under threat, I’d like to take a moment to applaud organizations that highlight and promote organisms. And somehow I just stumbled across such a resource.
The Caterpillar Lab! Started by a kickstarter in 2013, it’s mission statement:
The Caterpillar Lab fosters greater appreciation and care for the complexity and beauty of our local natural history through live caterpillar educational programs, research initiatives, and photography and film projects. We believe that an increased awareness of one’s local environment is the foundation on which healthy and responsible attitudes towards the broader natural systems of this world is built.
Check them out here, or simply enjoy the video below (One of many that can be found on their website).