December is the month when most people look back on their year – but I think it’s just about not too late to share some of my highlights from 2014 and hopes for 2015. So, here goes, in no particular order:
I spent the first weeks of December in Lima, where I travelled [...]
The discussions I heard about scientific expertise and evidence-based policy at the STEPS Symposium in Brighton last month still reverberate in my mind.
The organisers gathered an eclectic group. Several key messages were nicely captured in news and commentary by David Dickson (here,
A couple of weeks ago I came across a Wellcome Trust blog post by Kathryn Lougheed, a microbiologist who writes entertainingly about her experience (through the British Science Association’s media fellowship scheme) of spending a few weeks at Nature News [...]
On July 25th Nature published a commentary by science writer Trevor Quirk, who called for the use of jargon in science communication because it captures the complexity and specificity of scientific concepts. The article challenges writers and the public to let go of their fear of jargon.
The buzz around Rio+20 — the UN Conference on Sustainable Development — was hard to miss last June and in the months leading up to it. Hosted in Rio de Janeiro, just like the Earth Summit 20 years earlier, the conference gave people and groups who care about life on this planet [...]
If you’ve tried to read a story through the news page of this website over the past few weeks, you would’ve seen that the links no longer take you through to the full text.
I’m now beginning to correct this by making the full stories available in PDF format. But the [...]
I can’t think of many issues that would engage an INTERPOL officer, a lawyer working with a major humanitarian organisation, and a public health scientist. Counterfeit drugs is certainly one of them.
If you’re a regular visitor you’ll notice a mini-revamp of the site, done with the occasion of a move to a new organisation: as of this past week I’ve joined the team at SciDev.Net in the position of commissioning editor. So there won’t be quite as much added to the news page [...]
Perhaps a particular group of superbugs has been getting an unfair share of the spotlight over the past few months…
The headlines began last August, when a study reported the emergence of bacteria that can resist carbapenems – a type of antibiotic given to patients once other drugs have failed. These bacteria withstand the treatment [...]
In early September I blogged about a modelling study linking the incidence of plague with climate change in Kazakhstan. Donald McNeil Jr. of the New York Times took a look at the analysis of US data that I referred to in the blog (I didn’t have the full text) [...]
A piece of research into the early spread of HIV that I find interesting seems to have slipped the attention of the science press. In two papers published online recently Jacques Pépin and colleagues test a hypothesis of how outbreaks of the disease turned into a pandemic – and I’m thinking this could tell us [...]
It sounds like scaremongering – putting together in one sentence what is widely considered the chief global threat of our time, and historically one of the most feared diseases.
But there is evidence of a correlation. The link was made, not for the first time, with a statistical time-series analysis of extensive data from Kazakhstan [...]
A feature article published in Nature this week chronicles how public opinion about climate change has changed and what climate scientists are considering as a response to the recent controversies – chiefly, strategies for better communication and consideration of public input. A Nature editorial also published [...]
On June 9th the Guardian’s science website launched the ‘story tracker’, an experimental attempt to track reactions to and analysis of major science news stories in the days and weeks after they are published on the site. The idea is to bridge the gap between how scientists tend to communicate [...]
Last Friday, June 11th, marked one year from the declaration of the 2009 influenza pandemic.
I’ve listened to – but never taken a side in the climate change debate for as long as it has been raging. The science is just so complex that, without sitting down to spend the time to understand it enough, I found it difficult to have an independent opinion.
At some point it seemed that [...]
Predicted impacts of climate change on health range from heat stroke to famine. A framework published in December now sheds light on the largely overlooked area of mental health by tracing at least three “causal pathways”.
Before getting into more details on this, I should mention the recent disputes of evidence behind climate change predictions. [...]
Back in October I began to suspect that pandemic response measures would come to be criticised if a severe winter ‘wave’ of swine flu never materialised as feared, and as predicted by many, in the northern hemisphere. I shared this on picking up early signs of a milder epidemic in parts [...]
A literature review by Montira Pongsiri of the US Environmental Protection Agency and colleagues suggests we are moving towards the next major shift in global disease patterns — this time marked by a rise in outbreaks of new or re-emerging zoonotic diseases. The paper was covered in a news [...]
The PDF of a presentation I gave last June at the Environment Health and Development Network (EHDN) Inaugural Symposium was posted online recently. I talked briefly about how social sciences might help with efforts to deal with some of the challenges that developing countries are facing, including [...]
The fallout from the recent debate in the UK about reclassification of illegal drugs has a lot to do with politics, but I’m wondering instead whether it tells us anything about how science is used and perceived.
For those not familiar with the incident:
In late October the UK government dismissed the chair of the [...]
There were encouraging signs this past week from a few cities in the US and from Scotland that things may well not escalate as much as many people fear with the second ‘wave’ of swine flu. It could be that lots more people got infected and [...]