BioBlog

Critiquing another thesis on vaccination

Alison Campbell Jan 19, 2016

Given the fuss occasioned by her PhD thesis, I was interested to look at the document produced for Judy Wilyman’s MSc (available here on-line), largely to see what attention had been given to the science content and perspectives. Having examined or adjudicated a number of Masters theses in the sciences, I’ve a reasonably good idea of the standards … Read More

Dragonfly eyes

Alison Campbell Jan 17, 2016

Dragonflies are ancient: with damsel flies, they were among the earliest flying insects. An analysis based on molecular data and fossil evidence suggests a date of 480mya for the first insects, around the same time that land plants evolved, and includes a rather impressive family tree for the taxon; the earliest dragonfly fossils are around 325my old. Read More

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The Wilyman thesis on how smallpox is transmitted

Alison Campbell Jan 17, 2016

I had another head-desk moment today, on reading a bit more of Judy Wilyman’s PhD thesis (a bit at a time is quite enough). Smallpox vaccines. Flickr CC, Pan American Health Organization-PAHO / World Health Organization-WHO. The document has quite a bit to say about smallpox. I’ve already noted the ill-considered statement that the vaccine has never … Read More

wollongong thesis has this to say on smallpox

Alison Campbell Jan 15, 2016

This is the human face of smallpox: Photo Credit: Content Providers(s): CDC/James Hicks This media comes from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention‘s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), with identification number #3265. Smallpox is now extinct in the wild: the last known case was … Read More

Wollongong thesis has this to say on smallpox

Alison Campbell Jan 15, 2016

This is the human face of smallpox: Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Public Health Image Library (PHIL), #3265, James Hicks. Smallpox is now extinct in the wild: the last known case was in 1977. And this is what Judy Wilyman has to say about the vaccine that eradicated smallpox virus, in her strongly anti-vaccine PhD thesis – you’ll find the quote … Read More

Freedom of opinion has its place, but this PhD thesis goes too far

Alison Campbell Jan 15, 2016

One of today’s big stories, in the blogosphere and elsewhere, is of the University of Woollongong’s decision to award a PhD to a thesis that promotes a strongly anti-vaccination take on the policies and science relating to immunisation. Fellow NZ scibloggers Helen Petousis Harris and Grant Jacobs have already commented on it, and over on Respectful Insolence … Read More

Spiders as wasp incubators

Alison Campbell Jan 11, 2016

A few days ago there was a story in the Herald about an Australian huntsman spider that had been found by NZ’s border security workers at Auckland airport. With a legspan of up to 15cm these are not small creatures! And yes, we do have them in NZ as well, but they’re a different genus: NZ readers … Read More

Did Ötzi have a tummy bug?

Alison Campbell Jan 08, 2016

Well, probably not1, in the sense that most would place on the term ‘tummy bug’ (where a close proximity to the toilet is a Good Thing), but it turns out that he did have some rather interesting intestinal bacteria. Ötzi is perhaps better known as the ‘Iceman’, who died around 5,300 years ago in the Otztai Alps of the Italian … Read More

Back from the dead? Not exactly

Alison Campbell Dec 28, 2015

In one of my classes we talk a bit about cloning, in the context of discussing various biotech techniques and their applications. Sometimes someone asks if I’d clone my dog (or my husband!) after they’d died, & my response is always to say ‘no’. Not because I don’t love them both (husband much more than dog, he’ll be glad to … Read More

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