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Arete last won the day on February 15

Arete had the most liked content!

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About Arete

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    Biology Expert

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    Ecological speciation, functional genomics, phylogenetics, population genetics and evolution.
  • College Major/Degree
  • Favorite Area of Science
    Evolutionary Biology
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    Assistant Professor

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  1. 1) An eradicated disease is no longer circulating in the population. It can still be present in lab stocks. An extinct disease can no longer be present circulating in the population OR in lab stocks. 2) See bold underlined text. A sterilizing vaccine prevents an infection from ever occurring. When it works, it provides complete protection to an individual. It doesn't work in every case. I openly acknowledged that. I'm not sure why you're not understanding this.
  2. Would you have the same concern telling a person with de la Chapelle syndrome that identifies as male that they are genetically female and sterile?
  3. That's what eradication means. If it were not present anywhere on the planet it would be extinct. Please improve your reading comprehension:
  4. The only two diseases ever eradicated globally are smallpox and rinderpest. Polio is close. All have been eradicated via vaccination campaigns. I'm unsure of how climate change will result in the reintroduction of these diseases - care to clarify? While there is genuine controversy over the maintenance of live Variola strains for research, it should be noted that modified poxviruses are some of the most promising for oncolytic viral therapy in clinical trial.We don't keep smallpox cultures just for posterity, they can be used to save lives. Since it's been done before, I see no reason why sterilizing vaccines cannot be used to eradicate infectious diseases in the future. You may or may not get cancer from breathing second hand smoke - both are risk factors. However you are correct in that they aren't entirely analogous - one is an environmental pollutant, the other is an infectious agent. It should be noted that the primary reasons vaccines work is that they reduce the rate of susceptible hosts in a population - the ultimate agent of protection is the fact that the chances of encountering a carrier for a disease are drastically reduced, to the point where the agent cannot be transmitted from a terminal host and goes extinct in the population. Also, for a sterilizing vaccine like MMR, protection is complete - unless an underlying condition (e.g. immunodeficincy) prevents an immune response to the vaccine from mounting (about 3% of the population for MMR), a vaccinated individual cannot be a carrier. In the smoking case, you elevate the risk of cancer for those around you by increasing exposure to a carcinogenic pollutant. For vaccines, you increase the risk of infection for those around you by increasing the incidence of susceptible hosts in a given population. I agree with legislation mitigating the overall population risk in both scenarios. An aside, a case can be made against non-sterilizing vaccines (i.e. vaccines which reduce the impact of an infection, but not necessarily the risk of infection)such as those in development for malaria and HIV, in that pathogens generally evolve in a trade off between transmission and virulence, and by artificially lowering the costs to the pathogen of virulence, we allow for the evolution of a more virulent pathogen to evolve which causes more serious disease in unvaccinated individuals. However, this argument does not apply to sterilizing vaccines.
  5. 1) For sterilizing vaccines like MMR, a minimum compliance rate required to eradicate disease, especially in the last "mile" (i.e. when the disease is persistent at very low incidence rates) is very high e.g. >99% This means that even extremely low rates of non-compliance increase the disease burden on the population as a whole. We need assess our endgame with regards to vaccination - is it a maintenance program that we continue indefinitely, or is the goal disease eradication? If it's the latter compliance enforcement may be necessary. 2) A proportion of the population is immunocompromised such that they either cannot be vaccinated (e.g. HIV patients, selective IgA patients, etc) or have had their immunity eroded (e.g. chemotherapy patients, organ transplant recipients, etc). These are the people most at risk due to a transmissible infection. If we are comparing to smoking, it IS legislated against in instances where it affects others - in public buildings, restaurants, on planes, etc. The difference of course being that one can decide not to smoke for a period of time, but one cannot switch on or off their vaccine acquired immunity. So do we legislate people who choose not to vaccinate out of public spaces permanently, or do we legislate to enforce compliance?
  6. 1) absolutely not. 2) what makes anyone think humans are the only animal that engages in sex outside of pure reproduction?
  7. Honestly, unless you're immunocompromised, I wouldn't lose any sleep over it.
  8. Well yes. A third of the human population also has golden staph living in their noses. For a normal, healthy adult chance encounters with opportunistic pathogens has a negligible infection risk. The main issue is that when you deliberately grow one of these opportunistic pathogens in a culture, you end up with many many magnitudes more than you would ever encounter in nature, thus the risk of infection from a culture of a pathogen is many times greater than that of a chance encounter with bacteria in the environment.
  9. Not necessarily - it's an oxidase positive bacterium found ubiquitously in soil and water. It has a propensity to form biofilms, colonize man made environments and notorious for being multidrug resistant due to efflux upregulation (main reason I wouldn't want a school kid streak plating for it on the family's kitchen table) . The biofilm in a drain trap is simply one of the places I'd just about guarantee you'll be able to culture it from.
  10. Ok, phew. Unscrew the trap of your bathroom or kitchen sink, swab the biofilm in the pipe with a cotton bud and streak plate it. PSA for those reading along, don't try this if you don't have a suitable lab.
  11. I am a professor whose lab works on, amongst other things, field isolated Pseudomonas aeruginosa . It is classified as a Biosafety level 2 pathogen. You should only be culturing it in a BSL2 approved lab with a class A2 biosafety hood. Please tell me you're not trying to do it at home, right? Is this a high school or college project?
  12. Trump tweets

    $7.7 billion (22%) proposed cut to the NIH $1.2 billion (17%) proposed cut to the CDC That's a pretty huge, steamy crap on the whole "eliminating diseases" flippancy.
  13. Trump tweets

    Any President who supports the completely debunked Wakefield link between the MMR vaccine and autism is not pro science. Any president who wants to increase graduate student income tax burden by 400% is not pro science. Any president who wants to decimate science funding is not pro science. Any president who dissolves the DoJ National commission on forensic science is not pro science. Any president blocks public access to scientific data is no pro science. Trump is the most anti science president in recent history. His own party and appropriations committee openly defies him to support science.
  14. Donna Brazile Torches Hillary Clinton

    Yeah you did, in post #5, so subsequent calls of "off topic" would seem to be pretty disingenuous.
  15. Arete,

    It was suggested in the thread that I might be getting neg reps for bad logic, not politics.

    However I think it is the opposite.  When I suggest people fill in the middle, many in politics just reject the complexities and go right to the easy, feel good position.  Even if there might be complexities involved that would slow down the jump to conclusion.

    Fallacy of the  Excluded Middle is a common logical fallacy. Rare in serious analysis, it often appears as a rhetorical device that encourages audiences to reject complexity in complex situations, excluding consideration of range of mid-range choices to instead consider only extreme positions.

    For instance you say if there is employee/employer relationship involved its harassment, and if there is unwanted sexual contact it is rape.  So how do you parse what happens in the alley behind the bar when the client gives the stripper a couple 20s for a blow job?

    Or if a house wife runs her hand up the leg of a cute handiman.

    There are complexities involved in the Weinstein situation, and what a boss does in a button factory and what anybody does in Hollywood, can not be judged, and should not be judged by the same standards.   And, the mindset of the people involved, and the relationship between the people needs to be considered.   To not consider the complexities is using the logic of the excluded middle.

    Regards, TAR


    1. Arete


      I was citing legal definitions. Whether or not you personally consider those actions to be sexual assault/rape is irrelevant. In the eyes of the law, they are. 

      When you describe victims of sexual assault as "whores" you get neg reps from me - the views you expressed on appropriate and professional sexual conduct are abhorrent, outdated and deeply sexist. They have no place in a modern workplace. 

    2. tar



      Understood, but we are dredging up, as a society, sexual encounters that happened 20 or 30 years ago, and then, the definitions were different.

      There is a certain understanding that people have between themselves that is not directly translatable to society's view of the situation.  Even currently.  Going back 20 years, you are doing  Monday morning quarterbacking, and what we think now of the situation, is not what we thought then, and certainly not what the people engaged in the activity at the time were thinking.

      For instance, when I was in the Army in Germany it was illegal to be gay and be in the Army.   I knew some gay folk and never told on them, and the gay community on my base did not hide from me, as they would from most.  I did not realize how many gay people there were in the Army until I was accepted as a non threat.   However, your thinking that the law says a thing and therefore it is black and white, is not true.   I was not wrong, at the time, to keep my mouth shut, although I was actually protecting people that were doing illegal things.  If there had been an expose about our post, at the time, I would have been a wrong doer.

      Such is why I ask for there to be a middle ground, to look at these situations as real situations between private individuals, and not situations that should be judged on a societal level, 20 years after the fact, when the rules have changed in between then and now.

      I used the term whore, to point out, that at the time the female was using her female charms to get into the good graces of a powerful man, that would then hopefully pull a few strings for them.  This, is basically selling your body.

      Regards, TAR