Weekend Suitcase

“JJ had long known that something else was wrong with her — that no one should touch her blood. She had seen doctors every few months since birth and taken medicine since a plastic syringe delivered it to her mouth. “A rare blood disease,” Lee had told her, and JJ never pressed for more details.” John Cox at the Washington Post on telling a child she has HIV.

Stephen Curry reviews Photograph 51 at The Guardian, starring Nicole Kidman as Rosalind Franklin“Here is a hard problem: how to write a play about science that captures the real complexities of research while remaining accessible – and dramatic?” 

“Well, this is just plain awful: Are Antibiotics Ruining Your Libido? – The Daily Beast.  In this article, Robynne Chutkan argues that people’s sex drives may be being ruined by antibiotics.  And she presents zero evidence for this other than handwaving.” Jonathan Eisen continues to fight the good fight against microbial hype at Tree of Life.

David Dobbs at The Atlantic on the cost of misconduct in clinical trials. “A year before, in 2001, a much-publicized paper described a clinical trial that showed Paxil to be safe and effective in teenagers as well as adults. Study 329, as it became known, helped spur a huge increase in Paxil prescriptions. In 2002 alone, over 2 million prescriptions were written for children and teens, and many more for adults. (…) The study is now again in the news, as a new reanalysis of the its original dataincluding about 77,000 pages of formerly inaccessible patient records—shows that Paxil was neither effective nor safe.”

“Some readers may have never heard of The American Chestnut, but it might have been considered the counterpart to the vast conifer forests of the West, like the Douglas fir (Pseudotsgua douglasii). The American chestnut dominated eastern forests from Georgia to Maine (1 in 4 trees was a Chestnut). Until a blight, a fungus, from Asia was introduced with imported Chinese Chestnut trees. With no resistance, the blight wiped out almost all The American Chestnut trees.” Ian Street at The Quiet Branches on a new approach to an old epidemic.

Chris Stringer at Elife on our newest relative, Homo naledi, and all the questions it raises:(…) despite the wealth of information about the physical characteristics of H. naledi that this collection provides, many mysteries remain. How old are the fossils? Where does H. naledi fit in the scheme of human evolution? And how did the remains arrive deep within the cave system?”

“Light travels at around 300,000 km per second. Why not faster? Why not slower?” Sidney Perkowitz asks at Aeon.

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