Daily Archives: March 1, 2008

Nature News

i-d0e2f36c9e7d00da6628b3e3be691d5b-nytfish.jpgLynx Habitat; crabs vs. birds; Climate change law suit; Coral reefs; Invasive species in the Great Lakes.

Feds Want More Critical Habitat for Lynx from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — Federal wildlife managers said Thursday they want to increase by more than 20-fold the amount of land designated as critical habitat for the threatened Canada lynx, to nearly 43,000 square miles in six states.[]

Groups Seek to Protect the Shore Bird from PhysOrg.com
(AP) — A migratory bird environmentalists say is threatened because of horseshoe crab fishing should be listed under the Endangered Species Act, a coalition of environmental groups say in a letter to federal officials.[]

Continue reading Nature News

Gitmo As Hot Zone Research Center?

i-1944980b4f3a1f9265153b6af883fdc5-hot_zone.jpgInteresting editorial in PLoS Genetics:

Reports that the Bush administration has expressed an interest in closing the Guantanamo Bay detainee facility in Cuba [1], colloquially known in the US as “Gitmo,” could stimulate a new chapter in US foreign policy. By converting Gitmo into a biomedical research institute dedicated to combating the diseases of poverty in the Western Hemisphere, we can tap into a little known, but highly effective tradition of vaccine diplomacy that we first began 50 years ago at the height of the Cold War [2],[3].In the 1950s, polio epidemics were ravaging the major urban centers in the United States and in the Soviet Union. Children were the chief victims in both countries. The devastation wreaked by the polio outbreak spurred the establishment of new polio research laboratories in Moscow and in the US at Jonas Salk’s laboratory in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and at Albert Sabin’s lab in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Hotez PJ (2008) Reinventing Guantanamo: From Detainee Facility to Center for Research on Neglected Diseases of Poverty in the Americas. PLoS Neglected Tropical Diseases 2(2): e201 doi:10.1371/journal.pntd.0000201

Evolution of the Flu Virus

i-96914fa457dda10e92990f0d4ed3fc49-flu_pandemic.jpgThe flu is caused by the influenza virus, of which there are several types. H1N1 is known as the “Spanish Flu,” H2N2 as the “Asian Flu” and so on. These funny letters and numbers refer to specific genotypes. The H1N1 is the version of the flu that caused the Great Influenza Pandemic of 1918 and 1919, which was responsible for the death of between 50 and 100 million people.Considering that the difference between a bird or pig flu that may be hanging around in the background and a human pandemic causing flu can be a few dozen changes in the genome, understanding the evolutionary patterns for Influenza A viruses seems important. Continue reading Evolution of the Flu Virus

Minnesota al Qaeda Attack Thwarted by Patriot … or maybe not

i-186f7eed436a526f7d48b4f93f61b03d-blazers_bin.jpgAmericans revel in violence. We have an excuse for almost any kind of violent or oppressive act. When a young boy poking around, on a dare, in what he thought was an abandoned house was shot dead by my neighbor last year, the boy was vilified as a threat and the trigger happy crazy guy lauded as a hero, by my other neighbors. Why would that be? Earlier this week, an event happened in a nearby town that helps us to understand the sorry state our culture has attained.During a high school basketball game between local teams Shakopee and Prior Lake, a “fan” ran onto the basketball court twice, interrupting the game. While he did this, his buddies were elsewhere in the gym throwing eggs at people. During his second interruption, the “fan” grabbed the basketball from a player preparing for a foul shot, and started taking layups. That is when activities director John Janke violently tackled the fan, bringing him to the ground.Janke is now a hero in the local press. I beg to differ. Let me tell you why. Continue reading Minnesota al Qaeda Attack Thwarted by Patriot … or maybe not