Dery on disease and art

Over at Thought Catalog, BB contributor Mark Dery goes deep into the pathological sublime with Richard Barnett, author of "The Sick Rose: Disease and the Art of Medical Illustration":

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In Ohio, half a million people told not to drink contaminated tap water

A massive algae bloom in Lake Erie in October, 2011 is seen in this Landsat-5 satellite image. The green scum is mostly Microcystis, which produces a liver toxin and can cause skin irritation. (Image: NASA)


A massive algae bloom in Lake Erie in October, 2011 is seen in this Landsat-5 satellite image. The green scum is mostly Microcystis, which produces a liver toxin and can cause skin irritation. (Image: NASA)

"Water at a Toledo, Ohio, treatment plant has tested positive for a dangerous toxin, and nearly 500,000 Ohio residents have been told not drink the tap water," reports the Los Angeles Times. Ohio Gov. John Kasich declared a state of emergency today in three counties. Two water samples have tested positive for microcystin, a toxin possibly caused by an algae bloom in Lake Erie.

Experimental drugs tested in African Ebola outbreak

There are several Ebola drugs in development and they're starting to reach struggling victims, especially Western aid workers, who agree to participate in ad hoc trials.

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Most social science results have never been replicated

Replication — where researchers re-do experiments to see if they get the same result — is a really important part of the scientific process. And it's hardly ever done in social science.

Mysterious holes in Siberia may be craters of climate change explosions

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Holes like this one have been appearing in Siberia — at least three are known so far. There are a couple of theories for what's causing them and both are linked to climate change.

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Where does the word "scientist" come from?

This account of the 19th-century debate over whether or not the word "scientist" is accurate and pleasing to hear is a great reminder that some of the best history stories are the ones you don't even think to ask about.

Bill Nye: We May Discover Life on Europa

Bill Nye on why we may be decades away from discovering life on Jupiter's moon Europa.

Scientists track the origins of a ship buried under the World Trade Center

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In 2010, construction crews found the hull of a very old ship, buried at the site of the World Trade Center towers. Using dendrochronology, scientists now know how old the ship is and what city it was made in.

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Paleontology on the Moon

An experiment on Earth suggests that it might be possible to find microscopic fossils on the Moon.

How Ebola works

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The MicrobeWiki has a really detailed explanation of the biological mechanisms behind an Ebola infection. It gets a little technical in places, but it's a good read if you've ever wondered how the virus creates hemorrhaging and why it's hard to treat.

One of the reasons that Ebola is so deadly is that it has multiple ways of interfering with or avoiding the human immune system. While the virus is busy destroying the human body, the immune system is either still in the process of discovering that there is a problem, or is in such disarray that it would be next to impossible to mobilize a unified effort to fight off the invader.

Humans are eating a scaly anteater into extinction

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Never underestimate omnivores with a penchant for animal-based traditional medicine.

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Read Dune with public radio's Science Friday

If you liked learning about the science of Tatooine, you'll enjoy reading Dune with the Science Friday bookclub.

Medical experimentation and vulnerable people

Fourty-two years after the exposure of the Tuskegee Syphilis Experiment, a group of educators, activists, and writers discuss the history and the present of medical experimentation and medical ethics.

Why do some women get pregnant even though they're on the Pill?

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The answer is more complicated than simply missing a dose, or failing to take your birth control at just the right time each day. Scientists are just beginning to understand how individual differences in body chemistry can affect how well the Pill works.

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The history of botched executions

The first use of the electric chair was both an official success and a horrific example of what can happen when the technology of executions doesn't work the way we expect it to.