The Weekend Suitcase

“Today we can begin to understand the cell at a systems level, thanks to the enormous amount of available data that allows us to develop machine learning algorithms to detect patterns that even the brightest mind could not identify.” Stefano Bertuzzi at the American Society of Cell Biology on what cell biologists can learn from Google Cars.

In the past? “Drainage and sanitation projects in the 19th century eliminated many mosquito breeding grounds, but epidemics continued. The last yellow fever outbreak in the USA hit New Orleans in 1905, killing nearly 1,000 people. Malaria was even more difficult to eradicate, stubbornly remaining in pockets of the South into the 1940s and 1950s. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention was founded in 1946 specifically to combat this problem, which is why their headquarters are in Atlanta: it was then the heart of malaria country.” Are climate change and poverty turning the US in to a “tropical diseases” hotspot, asks Carrie Arnold at Mosaic Science.

“Thus began a fateful test of wills. Merrell responded. Dr. Kelsey wanted more. Merrell complained to Dr. Kelsey’s bosses, calling her a petty bureaucrat. She persisted. On it went. But by late 1961, the terrible evidence was pouring in. The drug — better known by its generic name, thalidomide — was causing thousands of babies in Europe, Britain, Canada and the Middle East to be born with flipperlike arms and legs and other defects.” New York Times obituary for Frances Oldham Kelsey, the FDA official who prevented a tragedy in America, by Robert McFadden.

Bumble says the beginning of the universe was “a lot like this party”. Ah, scientists being awkward at a party. We hadn’t had a derogatory stereotype for nearly 20 seconds. I was getting worried. (…) There may have been more to the video but I must have missed it due to being distracted by the blood leaking from my eyes.” Dean Burnett at The Guardian dissects a video that angered many working scientists on social media.

Lenny Teytelman’s Dear Abby moment: “What is the etiquette for disclosing an anonymous review that you wrote?”

It was a lot more than Aasif Mandvi in tights (though that is pretty good too)- Scientific American compiles a list of Jon Stewarts top 10 science moments.

“Of the three main activities involved in scientific research, thinking, talking, and doing, I much prefer the last and am probably best at it. I am all right at the thinking, but not much good at the talking. “Doing” for a scientist implies doing experiments, and I managed to work in the laboratory as my main occupation from 1940 … until I retired in 1983″. Lara Marks at What Is Biotechnology on the man who taught us how to read genes.

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