Greetings from Riyadh Airport. Saudi Arabia is, well, different. And, moving on…
Here in Riyadh the government have been having to deal with mass panic over an outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS), which has taken the lives of over 70 victims. Typically MERS is associated with camels, and test results have just confirmed that the current outbreak has been driven by camel-based transmission.
As with many health scares, panic is built on unsubstantiated rumour. Some of the rumours here have been extravagant. According to today’s Arab Times, one hospital has been suspected of admitting 170 MERS cases when in fact it had admitted none. There were also rumours that its ER had shut down, even though it hadn’t.
Continue reading “Keep away from camels; crowds (of humans) okay”
Well, kind of. Here is a video of the keynote lecture I gave as part of the #celt12 ‘Written Word’ conference held last June in Galway, Ireland. Why not set aside 29 minutes or so of your life and watch something exciting, witty, and informative? Okay, shhh down the back. Get your shoes off and take a look at this…
The lecture is called Literacy in the 21st Century: Word, Web, Woo. (See what I did there?) Further information below the break…
Continue reading “At last: “Science Bit–The MOVIE!””
We’ve previously discussed the whole “oh-my-god-vaccines-are-terrible” carry-on that seems to have gripped the popular Luddite imagination since, well, since vaccines were basically invented. Well, they’ve been at it again. This time the controversy has related to the tragically young death of a teenager in New Zealand, who died some three months — yes three months — after completing the three-dose vaccination programme for cervical cancer vaccine Gardasil. Her distraught parents blamed the vaccine for their daughter’s death. And they had some neurocientists along at the inquest to support their case. Apparently, the vaccine may have used a Trojan horse and snuck into the girl’s brain… etc. etc.
Gratifyingly, some actual scientists also had a say:
Continue reading “Guess what: Cancer vaccines don’t cause cancer”