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Showing posts from January 16, 2017

Five little-known diseases to watch out for in 2017 (downtoearth,)

The phrase “emerging disease”, to describe an infectious disease that is new to humans or which is suddenly increasing its geographical range or number of cases, dates back to the 1960s. But it was the realisation in the late 1970s and early 1980s that the world was in the throes of previously unrecognised pandemics of genital herpes and AIDS, that really propelled the term into the mainstream.

The causative agent of genital herpes was type 2 herpes simplex virus (HSV-2), a pathogen that was reasonably well-known at the time, but whose capacity for explosive spread had been underestimated. AIDS, on the other hand, was a completely new infectious agent – one which we now know had been spreading unrecognised since the early 20th century.

Since then, emerging diseases have been appearing at an accelerating rate. Part of the explanation for this may simply be that we are much better at detecting them now. On the other hand, population pressure, climate change and ecological degradation m…

Julian Assange: Scapegoat or villain? (the hindu.)

To blame Donald Trump’s victory on Julian Assange or, for that matter, on Russia, not only amounts to a refusal by the Democrats to take responsibility for Hillary’s defeat but is also an insult to the U.S. electorate

One of the most banal tropes of Hollywood blockbuster trailers is about one man pitted against an all-powerful enemy, and ultimately prevailing. The figure of the lone ranger battling on with his back to the wall is a popular figure of American pop culture. How ironic, then, that this very figure seems to have become the bane of the country’s righteous political establishment.

So one man, holed up in the embassy of a tiny Latin American nation, a man who hasn’t seen much sunlight in four years, who is under round-the-clock surveillance, and is subject to arbitrary denial of Internet access, has managed to swing the presidential election of the most powerful country in the world in a direction it ought not to have gone. Or so we are told by influential sections of the We…