Code for life

Whodunnit? Finding the mystery 1080 testing lab

Grant Jacobs Dec 01, 2019

1080 is used to control pests in NZ. Its use is contested by a noisy few. A new report claims high levels of 1080 in rats washed up on a beach. Flora and Fauna of Aotearoa (F&F) won’t name the laboratory that did their testing. It has sparked a hunt for the mystery 1080 testing lab. It’s just the … Read More

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Measles vaccination a priority for travel to islands and Phillipines

Grant Jacobs Nov 25, 2019

The Ministry of Health has announced that “people under the age of 50 travelling from New Zealand to Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji” are now on the list of national priorities for MMR vaccination. Given the outbreaks of measles in Samoa, Tonga, Philippines and Fiji, the Ministry of Health is asking primary care providers to ensure vaccinations are up-to-date … Read More

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Political parties and GMOs: we all need to move on

Grant Jacobs Nov 14, 2019

Recently more than 150 post-graduate students and young scientists presented an open letter to the Green Party via The Spinoff, encouraging them to reconsider their position on genetic modification. Their target is tackling climate change issues.[1] Can any party continue to be dismissive about genetic modification (GM) contributing to better agriculture? We all want safe food, and … Read More

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1000 of these now

Grant Jacobs Nov 09, 2019

Some days I sit and think, “what will I write…?” What do you say when you get to 1000 posts? Maybe you just start where you are, diverge to where this all began, then offer a collection of reader’s favourite posts, and a few of your own? (And throw in a few pictures.) Slow to fall This piece started a … Read More

Film trailer towards gene editing in humans

Grant Jacobs Mar 11, 2019

Here’s a film trailer of the documentary Human Nature that looks at a future of gene editing[1] – The film is to be released soon in Australia and elsewhere. Here’s their blurb, The biggest tech revolution of the 21st century isn’t digital, it’s biological. A breakthrough called CRISPR gives us unprecedented control over the basic building blocks of … Read More

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Published review of Wilyman’s anti-vaccine thesis says fail

Grant Jacobs Mar 06, 2019

A few years ago several of us at Sciblogs took objection to one of the trashiest theses we’ve seen. (Which we, naturally enough, trashed.) Now there’s a review of the thesis published in the scientific journal, Vaccine. The review looks a thorough job… and the conclusions don’t look good. Essentially the author’s review of Wilyman’s anti-vaccine thesis review says … Read More

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Autism revisited: genetics, environment, not vaccines

Grant Jacobs Mar 05, 2019

Researchers are pounding the trail of the genetics of autism. There is also more evidence that vaccines don’t cause autism. More interesting is what does cause autism. (Those looking for the vaccine bit should track down to the section, Another nail on the coffin.) Not the Rain Man People with autism or autism spectrum disorder find social communication and … Read More

A summary of the evidence for the main vaccine concerns

Grant Jacobs Feb 19, 2019

Vaccine-preventable disease outbreaks are happening everywhere. Measles is on the rise worldwide, including in Europe and the USA. Over 900 have died in Madagascar alone since October 2018.[1] Most will be infants. Japan’s rubella epidemic has prompted traveller warnings. 367 cases have been reported this year. Venezuela has considerable problems, not helped by diphtheria coming back. Read More

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Not cow farts

Grant Jacobs Feb 09, 2019

You may have heard or read media outlets talking of cow farts.[1] This tweet from  University of California at Davis animal biotechnology/genomics scientist, Alison Van Eenennaam might help – I’m sure I’ve been guilty of lazily using it. Eructation is a very polite and fancy way of saying burp. As the dictionary puts it, “a belch”. (Yes, … Read More

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Taming inaccurate health and science news: could editors help?

Grant Jacobs Feb 07, 2019

A recent study found most of the 10 most popular ‘health’ articles of 2018 were inaccurate. Similar but less skewed results were seen for the top 100 articles. I dislike pointing fingers. For these things, they tend to point at journalists and social media. Instead, I’d like to highlight something less talked about when discussing inaccurate health and science news: … Read More

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