Facts, not Fantasy

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Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Today in the News (19 May 09)

This is my last entry for a few days. You'll know when I start up again.

Vaccines:
1.7 MILLION people die each year from TB. There used to be a vaccine for it, but for various reasons it became inneffective. Vanderbilt University Medical Center may be getting that vaccine on track. While this disease is not that prevalent in the industrialized nations, it does affect many of the poor. Having travelled the world, I can attest to the devestation this disease has visited upon many populations.

Dr Plait has another blog post that leads to some great reading. Especially the part about holding them legally responsible. Of course, the brigade of the ill informed and poorly educated came out in the comments section. Now I have heard people come to McCarthy's defense saying that "She herself says she is not anti-vax." Sadly, McCarthy’s denials of being anit-vax ring incredibly hollow. It’s like someone saying, “I’m not sexist, but I think women belong in the kitchen.” or saying, “I’m not racist, but I think black people are less intelligent.” So Jenny saying she’s not anti-vax is equally as contradictory….

Autism:
More genetic clues about autism. This time, there seems to a be relationship in gender and autism that is tracable to a specific gene. Again, this is more and more evidence that the anti-vax pro-disease crowd won't take kindly to, because it further refutes their anectdotes.

On a sort of good news front, I am seeing more and more stories about medical insurance covering autism. With the ability to track it down to some sort of genetic identification, and the burdens that families bear in dealing with this, I see this as a good thing. Although, then it begs the question about the messed up state of the US Healthcare system. Not a topic for this blog.

Evolution:
It's kind of funny that I blogged about the new primate five days, and now it's all over the news today. No correlation, I am just easilly amused. Anyway, here is nother link to the story. I am hesitant to make any statements about this beyond that now deniers will think we have introduced yet another gap as opposed to creating a more complete picture.

A team of researchers, addressing long-standing conflicts in ecology and evolutionary science, has provided key directions for the future of community ecology. The team comprehensively synthesized emerging work that applies knowledge of evolutionary relationships among different species—phylogenetics—to understanding species interactions, ecosystems and biodiversity.

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