Fighting a Contagious Cancer (and the Guardian Facebook App)
Today’s Guardian has a profile of Elizabeth Murchison on the Grrl Scientist blog. Murchison’s TED Talk explains the work of her team trying to prevent the extinction of Tasmanian Devils (Sarcophilus harrisii) due to a contagious facial cancer, spread by biting.
Scary stuff, with some – very – graphic images.
She mentions the human papilloma virus (HPV), which is responsible for cervical cancer. Their first thought was that the source of this cancer was similar – viral, but that is not the case. In fact, the cells are implanted into other devils through biting – where they colonise and run rampage.
Also this week, the Guardian released their Facebook app. You can ‘like’ it into your feeds, as well as the different streams (Science, environment, data, education and more).
With all the apps and fan pages out there, you too could turn your facebook into a feed reader.
LifeSaver Bottle: Michael Pritchard at TED
TED2010 is on right now in California, so it’s a good opportunity to look at some of their best talks of the past year. This one is short and inspirational – how to meet the UN’s Millenium Development Goal to “Halve, by 2015, the proportion of the population without access to safe drinking water and sanitation“ – for just $8bn!
Michael Pritchard’s LifeSaver bottle is a solution to clean water needs. For just $150, it can filter even the dirtiest water, in remote areas, or following disasters such as the Haiti quakes. Spurred on by the problems following the Asian tsunami and Hurricane Katrina, see Pritchard demonstrate the technology at TED 2009:
There’s a nice little link there to cell theory and magnification, also.
This year, who is going to be worth watching? Check out the list of presenters here.
Grade 10 – Pathogens and Disease
Grade 10 Pathogens and Disease – IB Biology prep course
Stay tuned to the class page, found here: Pathogens and Disease
Complete all the notes on Essential Biology: Pathogens and Disease
Core content: http://click4biology.info/c4b/6/hum6.3.htm
Further content: http://click4biology.info/c4b/11/hum11.1.htm
Here is the Pathogenic or Non-Pathogenic? Quiz:
Check out some of these video clips on the immune system:
Not a video, but…
… a great site for visualising data. InformationIsBeautiful.net.
I particularly like these posts:
How safe is the HPV vaccine? (in response to ridiculous scare-mongering news stories)
The Billion-dollar-gram (What is a billion, anyway?)
Pandemic II: Educational Flash Game
Thanks to the excellent NotExactlyRocketScience blog for posting the link to this game. Pandemic II is a complex flash game based on strategy, evolution (though more like design) and the spread of disease. The premise is simple – take a pathogen (bacteria, virus or parasite), and watch its spread across the globe. Along the way you can alter the pathogen to change its properties, making it more infectious, more lethal or less noticeable. The aim of the game is to wipe out the population of the world.
It is easy to save using Firefox add-ons.
Check out the game here: http://www.crazymonkeygames.com/Pandemic-2.html
And the tutorials here:
Is it better than the addictive Magic Pen Game or Foldit?
Have a go!
XDRTB: Extremely Drug-Resistant TB
This came via TED Blogs, and is pretty harrowing. Don’t play the video if you are sensitive to images of human suffering.
The photographer, James Nachtway, has taken these photos on TB wards around the world, and his site highlights the problem:
“XDRTB.org is an extraordinary effort to tell the story of extremely
drug-resistant tuberculosis (XDR-TB) and TB through powerful photographs
taken by James Nachtwey. XDR-TB, or extremely drug-resistant tuberculosis,
is a new and deadly mutation of tuberculosis. Similar in creation to
multidrug-resistant tuberculosis (MDR-TB) but more extreme in its manifestation,
it arises when common tuberculosis goes untreated or standard TB drugs are
misused. James’ photographs represent these varying strains. Learn more about TB, MDR-TB and XDR-TB, and learn how you can take action to stop this deadly disease.”
There is a great talk on TED from James Nachtway here, as he receives his TED Prize:
His movie, War Photographer, is great – and even has a section in Indonesia!