Monday Evening Musing

It’s been cold here in the Adirondacks, and today started another snow accumulation, which right now has dropped 6″ and looks to be headed towards 8-10″ by morning.

Besides the cold, it was a tough weekend, since my favorite basketball college team ended up losing.  I’m going to miss the Big East, since this was the usual series of events.   Let’s see, what else is interesting?

There’s a species headed for extinction, and humans are responsible.   Bad thing?  No, actually it’s a good thing.  It’s the guinea worm, a rather nasty parasite which has been causing problems for millenia.  The key thing?  Clean water, simple treatments, and education.

To eliminate the parasite, which is found in drinking water, hundreds of thousands of volunteers have handed out straws with cloth filters, treating water sources with larvicide, teaching villagers how to avoid infection and scouring the countryside for new cases.

All for less than a billion dollars.  Not all diseases are quite as amenable to control and eradication, but this is one more that hopefully will soon be just a bad memory.

In the science can be fun(ny) category, check out “WTF, Evolution?”  A pictorial view (with hilarious commentary) of various life forms on this planet, which may make you wonder …. well, the title explains it.

Sometimes I wonder why paleontologists and archaeologists keep getting surprised.   It turns out that Polynesians reached South America and apparently went home with at least one crop:  Sweet potatoes.  Given the various clues (no, they weren’t using Kon-Tiki rafts) that have been there, along with the demonstrated capabilities they had, it would have been more surprising if they hadn’t.

After all the hysteria about the possibility of a Neanderthal baby, it turns out (no surprise) that it was just a conjectural musing of possibilities in the future, not anything now.  Which anyone paying the least attention to science knew, and it’s yet another example of the media failing to properly report science.  However, it did make a fun video!

Categories: science | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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