August 2011
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Archive: BioBlog August 2011

Attitudes and antibiotics

Alison Campbell Nov 20, 2017

A recent FB post from Stuff discussed the rising concerns about the evolution of antibiotic-resistant bacteria. (This is something that Siouxsie Wiles has often written about: here and here, for example; her excellent book on the subject is reviewed here.) Fairly predictably, it didn’t take long for the proponents of essential oils to turn up, soon to be joined by the … Read More

Another antivax myth (ingestion vs injection)

Alison Campbell Nov 08, 2017

There’s an oft-repeated claim by the more strident anti-vaxxers that ingesting and injecting are two different things when it comes to substances like aluminium. This betrays a disturbing lack of knowledge of biology and physiology (especially from those who boast of ‘having done their research’), but they repeat it nonetheless. (Red’s self-belief is mildly amusing.)     The … Read More

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Antivaxxers still ‘delusional’ and ‘dangerous’

Alison Campbell Nov 06, 2017

Aaron Leaman’s excellent storyA in the Waikato Times and in Stuff used those words, and I’m sticking with them – because those adjectives describe the majority of the comments on the relevant FB page. When Aaron interviewed me for that story, I commented that it’s essential for scientists and doctors to continue to confront the waves of anti-vaccine … Read More

Vegetarian spiders? What is the world coming to?

Alison Campbell Oct 17, 2017

Like probably everyone reading this, I have always thought that spiders are carnivorous, sucking the precious bodily fluidsA from their prey. I mean, those fangs! And I was wrong, for it seems that some spiders eat some plant material alongside their liquid meals – and some are almost fully vegetarian. A just-published paper (Painting, Nicholson, Bulbert, Norma-Rashid & LI, 2017) … Read More

Cancer, oils, and uncritical reporting

Alison Campbell Oct 11, 2017

On Sunday, the Stuff website carried a story about a particular brand of essential oils that may as well have been marked ‘advertorial’. This is because most of the article comprises positive commentary from those involved in selling the products – you have to scroll well down the screen to find a photo and brief comment from the Medical … Read More

Possum peppering – still totally implausible, seven years on

Alison Campbell Oct 09, 2017

“Kerikeri award entry turns possums into burning issue“, proclaims a headline in the Northern Advocate.  The story is about an entry in the WWF-NZ’s Conservation Awards for 2017; I hope the judges have a good grasp of science and scientific method. From the article: The entry from Kerikeri promotes a new take on an old-world biodynamic method of … Read More

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TL;DR: Antiperspirants don’t cause breast cancer

Alison Campbell Oct 07, 2017

Facebook certainly leads me to read papers that I normally wouldn’t.  For whatever reason, a post about deodorants popped up on my feed, from the Wendyl’s Green Goddess page. In the blurb for a sale of products was the following: Conventional products contain aluminium ingredients which have been linked to cancer. Do your skin and body a favour and … Read More

‘Pregnancy isn’t a death event’ – social media’s window to the dark side

Alison Campbell Oct 03, 2017

Today I was on leave and, the weather being bad, thought I’d do a bit of catching up on the news. And so it was that I found, on the Stuff FB page, an item about the (lack of) funding for cutting-edge cancer drugs. So far, so innocuous (although also somewhat sad) – until I read the comments.  For there, I … Read More

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Laptops in lectures

Alison Campbell Oct 02, 2017

I type much more quickly than I write (some would argue, also more legibly). But when I’m taking notes in meetings, I do it with a (very old-fashioned) fountain pen & notebook. The reason is that this makes me filter what I’m writing, so that only the relevant points make it onto paper.  And this is why I’m actually somewhat … Read More

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