(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘cholera

“Thought is an infection. In the case of certain thoughts, it becomes an epidemic.”*…

Frank M. Snowden, a professor emeritus of history and the history of medicine at Yale, examines the ways in which disease outbreaks have shaped politics, crushed revolutions, and entrenched racial and economic discrimination. Epidemics have also altered the societies they have spread through, affecting personal relationships, the work of artists and intellectuals, and the man-made and natural environments. Gigantic in scope, stretching across centuries and continents, Snowden’s account seeks to explain, too, the ways in which social structures have allowed diseases to flourish. “Epidemic diseases are not random events that afflict societies capriciously and without warning,” he writes. “On the contrary, every society produces its own specific vulnerabilities. To study them is to understand that society’s structure, its standard of living, and its political priorities.”…

Epidemics as a mirror for humanity- Isaac Chotiner (@IChotiner) interviews Frank Snowden: “How Pandemics Change History,” conducted on the occasion of the publication of Snowden’s new book, Epidemics and Society: From the Black Death to the Present.

See also: “Late-Stage Pandemic Is Messing With Your Brain.”

And for thoughts on addressing the issues raised, see “Governing In The Planetary Age.”

* Wallace Stevens

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As we reflect, we might spare thought for August Paul von Wassermann; he died on this date in 1925. A bacteriologist and hygienist, he was director of the Institute for Infectious Diseases in Berlin, where he developed (in 1906) a universal blood-serum test for syphilis that helped extend the basic tenets of immunology to diagnosis. “The Wassermann reaction,” in combination with other diagnostic procedures, is still employed as a reliable indicator for the disease. He also he developed inoculations against cholera, typhoid, and tetanus.

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Getting small…

 

First Place: a colonial plankton organism, Chaetoceros debilis (marine diatom), magnified 250x
by Wim van Egmond, of the Micropolitan Museum, Berkel en Rodenrijs, Zuid Holland, Netherland

Nikon has announced the winners of this year’s Small World Photomicrography Competition.  Browse the gallery here or here.

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As we resolve to be more thorough as we vacuum, we might send microscopic birthday greetings to Rita Rossi Colwell; she was born on this date in 1934.  The first U.S. scientist to create a computer program to analyze data related to the taxonomic classification of different strains of bacteria, she enabled the surprising discovery that the strain of cholera bacteria that had been linked to the disease belonged to the same species as benign strains of cholera. Subsequently, her team of researchers found that both the harmless and the disease-causing (toxin-producing) strains were found commonly in estuaries and coastal waters.

She is perhaps better known as the 11th Director of the National Science Foundation– the first woman to hold that post.  In 2004, she was awarded the National Medal of Science.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 23, 2013 at 1:01 am

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