"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Friday, September 22, 2006

Sweet Sunshine, Big Brother Wants to Know 

HIV is a very big deal. More than 25 years into the epidemic, people are still getting infected and dying at alarming rates, even in the US where there is (theoretically) access to effective prevention. In response to the growing problem of people who don't know they're infected the CDC has drafted new recommendations that people get tested during routine blood tests, without the informed consent or counseling they've previously required.

As much as I support wider and more effective HIV testing, I don't like the idea of it being done without proper consent and information. Especially since positive tests are reported to the Gub'men. Especially since, no matter how well-meaning Dr. Gerberding clearly is, there's still a major stigma against HIV positive folks, and that includes employment discrimination. So, I think this is a bit of a bad move.

Something else people keep getting despite knowing better is sunburns. A new compound, forskolin, mimics the effects of tanning (minus oxidative damage, we hope!) to give not only a healthy-looking tan, but also some protection from burning in mice. If it works, it could not only assist paley mcpalersons to tan, but also relieve the world of orange-tinted celebrities (a worthy goal).

And a new method of mosquito control: poisoning their food. While mosquitoes are most famous for blood-sucking, they feed on plant nectar for much of their calories, and Israeli scientists have had success at controlling populations by spraying mosquito-favored plants with pesticides. While I don't like the idea of more pesticide spraying at all, the potential to help control malaria is compelling to say the least.

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