Week in Review! Rapidly approaching fall.

So fall here is not a thing. Some trees are getting reddish hues but apart from that, no signs of fall. It’s actually awesome. The cobwebs that people have put up for Halloween look totally out of place, cheery even.

This week’s week in review would be incomplete without a discussion of:

  • That pig study doesn’t mean anything. Some people are citing a 2008 study showing airborne Ebola transmission from pigs to rhesus monkeys (they were never in direct contact with each other). However, as Aetiology explains, this experiment showed merely that pigs seem unusually good at spritzing the air with coughed-up viruses. Avoid Ebola-infected pigs and you’re fine.
  • Why is Ebola spreading so much in Africa anyway? Apparently because of poor healthcare infrastructure, more so than the contagiousness of the disease. Ugh, #stillscared.

This year, it’s Ebola. A few years ago it was extensively drug resistant tuberculosis or XDR-TB. For those that can remember the early 1980s, then it was HIV. Exotic infections for Americans, often from far away places, often Africa, strike fear into their hearts, but only once the pathogens have cleared customs. The death toll on the other side of oceans has little meaning for us.

We need to remember that all these epidemics didn’t need to happen. Early action could have prevented their spread, investing in health systems could have stymied their emergence in the first place. We like to call them diseases of the poor, but this is a strange construction.

  • Politics this week:
    • Chelsea had a baby! Hillary now has a grandbaby, and speculations continue to run wild as to whether she will now feel free to announce another bid for presidency for 2016. No word just yet on her decision.
  • And technology-wise:
    • Teenagers found a way to half crop germination time! This has implications for reducing crop harvest times, reducing fertilizer needed for crop growth cycles, which in turn affects global food production. They used a bacteria to test this effect on certain crops like barley and oats. No wonder they won the Google Science Fair project this year!

      A bunch of geniuses!

That’s all folks! Tune in for more next week.

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