Thursday, May 07, 2009


What do you do when a student comes to you and asks if there is a resurgence of TB in the USA? For me the answer is obvious.....go to MMWR. The Centers for Disease Control publishes a weekly online report, 'Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report', that provides current statistics on reportable diseases in the USA. The weekly report also contains articles on current events concerning diseases no matter where they may occur.

It was quite easy to go to the CDC MMWR website and immediately find an article entitled "Trends in Tuberculosis --- United States, 2008". The answer to the students question is "In 2008, the number of TB cases and annual TB rate reached all-time lows in the United States."

If you are interested in disease, MMWR is for you. My many cases of leprosy have there been in the USA so far this year? A cookie for the correct answer.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Does Mike Pence 'Believe' in Evolution?

I enjoyed watching this last night. Here is one of the highest ranking Republican members of the House of Representatives that cannot or will not answer a question, however poorly the question is put. "Do you believe in evolution"? I would have asked whether he accepted the overwhelming amount of evidence that supports the theory of evolution and he might even have prefered that question.

Unfortunately, Rep. Pence may actually accept evolution but can't say so because it would put his political career in danger. Or, he doesn't accept evolution and doesn't want to admit it because it makes him appear ignorant or at least appear not to support science. In either case, he is too big a coward to answer the question. He typifies the type of person we have representing us in Congress these days whether they be Republican or Democrat.

But whose fault is that? It is we the voters that continue to send such people back to Congress every 2 years. In Pence's case, it is the Christian fundamentalists who insist upon having a science ignoramous represent them. Democrats sometimes have the same problems with "New Agers" who are probably even more ignorant in terms of science than are Christian fundamentalists.

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Save Wardenclyffe

Todays NYT Science Times has a disturbing article. It seems that Wardenclyffe, Nicola Tesla's laboratory in Shoreham, NY is up for sale by the Agfa Corporation. Now, if ever there was a man that might have come from the future or an advanced civilization on another planet, that person was Nicola Tesla. It seems to me that 1.6 million dollars isn't too high a price tag to preserve a labortory of such an interesting scientist.

I found the two more recent pictures at the coyote.

Link to Science Times slideshow on Wardenclyffe.

Monday, May 04, 2009

Wolfram/Alpha is coming

Remember on Star Trek how Captain Kirk could as his computer questions and get an answer? That day is arriving momentarily with the Wolfrum/Alpha computer. Sure, you can google for information. But here we are talking about the computer that can provide new information. For example, you can ask the computer to compare the height of Mt. Everest with the length of the Golden Gate bridge and get an answer. Google can't do that.

The Wolfram/Alpha website is accessible to everyone yet, but it will be soon.

Check out this video on the Wolfram/alpha computer.