What are the chances?

Another Covid-19 blog post for the non-expert, this time on what’s meant by test accuracy. Before we get started, a question to stimulate your curiosity. The percentage of the population infected with Covid-19 is uncertain but let’s assume it’s very low at 1 in a 1,000 people (yes I know it’s likely higher than thatContinue reading “What are the chances?”

Antimalarials for Covid-19

Another post concerning topics on Covid-19 aimed at the non-expert. Scientists are cautious by nature, some politicians and political journalists are not. While scientists say there’s no convincing evidence antimalarial drugs such as hydroxychloroquine have any effect on Covid-19, President Trump says, “there are some very strong, powerful signs of hydroxychloroquine as a Covid-19 therapy”.Continue reading “Antimalarials for Covid-19”

Coronavirus testing

I’m getting questions about Covid-19 testing and so another blog post aimed at the non-expert in way of explanation. Confusion appears to be coming from the fact there are two tests, one already being used and another about to be released. The one that is available at the time of writing tests for the virus,Continue reading “Coronavirus testing”

Media reporting and experts

We all have our political opinions but I have tried very hard to stay away from them on this blog, and this post is no exception. Nevertheless, I’m about to wander off the science and towards the media, so it’s bound to be somewhat opinionated – please forgive me. I’ll make one exception on theContinue reading “Media reporting and experts”

SARS-CoV-2 : the virus

I’ll say one thing for the coronavirus outbreak, it has prompted a lot of curiosity. Whether you believe we are going back to the days of the plague pit, or it’s nothing but a severe cold, I have been asked a lot of questions about viruses in general and the coronavirus in particular. I’m notContinue reading “SARS-CoV-2 : the virus”

Cobras and pencil stubs – be careful what you wish for

Here in the UK we are in the conference season, when political parties get together to tell the faithful what they intend to do if they get into government. Not being a political blog, I’m not commenting on proposed tax cuts, or increases in government spending, or public schools,* or homelessness, or anything else, butContinue reading “Cobras and pencil stubs – be careful what you wish for”

Luminous toothpaste

Imagine my delight when I discovered a toothpaste that promised luminous teeth. I imagined lighting my way at night with a glowing smile, or even having British teeth brighter than those in the United States. Of course, I’m not so gullible to take this literally and can spot marketing hyperbole when I see it. Nevertheless,Continue reading “Luminous toothpaste”

How do we know humans are responsible for climate change?

I write this a few days after David Attenborough’s program, “Climate Change – The Facts” appeared on the BBC. It received great acclaim but like so many accounts it explained the consequences, not the science behind how we know climate change is anthropogenic. It’s not surprising there are so few accounts of the science becauseContinue reading “How do we know humans are responsible for climate change?”