JoNova

A science presenter, writer, speaker & former TV host; author of The Skeptic's Handbook (over 200,000 copies distributed & available in 15 languages).


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Your car causes salmonella and other funny global warmy stories

It’s another warmy story:

Worst year in NSW for Salmonella, E.Coli as global temperatures increase

NSW recorded its worst figures in at least five years for diseases caused by food poisoning and mosquito bites, as doctors warn climate change is looming as a public health emergency.

Statistics released last week show 2016 was the worst year on record for diseases including legionnaires’ disease, salmonellosis, listeriosis, E. coli and dengue fever, which flourish in warmer conditions.

–Harriet Alexander, Sydney Morning Herald

More scary than 4000 cases of salmonella is the state of intellectual rigor among medico-unions:

The Royal Australasian College of Physicians [RACP] has released a position paper that described climate change as a “global public health emergency”.

The RACP called for a national climate and health strategy and reduced emissions of greenhouse gases.

With reasoning like that, they could make a lot more people very sick. Are they advocating we use solar panels to stop salmonella?

There has hardly been any warming in the last 20 years anyhow. And if we are doing cosmic epidemiology, so far global warming seems to come with longer lifespans, health, wealth, food, [...]

Cure cancer with weaponized bacteria that do mass “suicide bombing” at the right site?

Bacteria multiply

In the West we could try to cure cancer faster with research like this, or we could pour billions into making expensive electricity to try to cool the world by 0.01°C for our grandchildren.  Hmm. What to do? Which activity is more likely to make citizens richer, happier and more productive?

In this approach (below) bacteria are engineered to find cancer cells, make lots of baby bacteria until they reach a large enough colony size then do a mass self-destructo at the cancer site — releasing a tumor killing drug. A few bacteria survive the micro-apocalypse and they start another round. So far, the researchers haven’t cured any cancers, but they can shrink cancers in mice and extend mousy lives by 50%. One day this might mean cancers can be “lived with”, if not actually destroyed completely.

A critical mass is reached and the colony “bombs”.

So the bacteria can be engineered into neat little machines to manage cancer. But they are still living creatures, so are messy machines. One problem is that evolution tends to make all living machines chuck out bits of DNA that don’t improve survival, so the “survivors” will gradually take over, [...]

Could Green BioGas ferment botulism?

Clostridium Botulinum is one of the toughest bugs around. And its toxin (a neurotoxin) is also one of the most deadly, yet strangely popular at the same time. Yes botulinum toxin is also known as BoTox and tiny quantities paralyze nerves. Small quantities can be fatal as nerve damage progresses to respiratory failure.

In it’s spore stage you can boil the bug to no avail — it’s one of the reasons boiling isn’t enough for tins, or sterilization of lab equipment. To kill these spores you need 121C in an autoclave (or pressure cooker). The toxin itself can be destroyed at 100C.

A million acres of land are producing corn for biogas plants in Germany.

German “Green” Biogas Plants Producing Deadly Botulism – “Could Be Catastrophic To Wildlife”

By P Gosselin on 19. Mai 2011 No tricks Zone

German sporting and dog magazine Wild und Hund reports that thousands of domestic and wild animals are falling ill from tainted waste from green “climate-friendly” biogas plants, which is then used as an agricultural fertilizer in fields.

[...]