A Crisis of Infection

It’s amazing what humankind can achieve with the right amount of political will and resources. After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December 1941, Roosevelt oversaw the rebuilding of the Pacific fleet in only 6-months. Driven by rivalry with the Soviet Union, Kennedy announced in May 1961, “…we choose to go to the moon …”Continue reading “A Crisis of Infection”

A scientific tightrope

The two most senior scientific advisors to the UK, Sir Patrick Vallance (Chief Scientific Advisor) and Professor Chris Whitty (Chief Medical Officer) have come into a lot of criticism recently for failing to say what they really believe regarding the Government’s response to the Covid-19 outbreak. As Civil Servants they are meant to be impartialContinue reading “A scientific tightrope”

Covid-19 – warnings ignored

I’ve heard it said, we have not experienced a pandemic since the Spanish flu of 1918 so how could anyone predict Covid-19? Just about everything in that statement is wrong. Everyone has heard of Spanish flu, but how many have heard of the 1957 flu pandemic, or the one in 1968? We see an annualContinue reading “Covid-19 – warnings ignored”

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”

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”

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”

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?”

… damn lies and statistics

The saying, “there are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics” is attributed to Mark Twain but may have originated from Benjamin Disraeli. It’s one of those phrases that has been misquoted more times than I can remember because in truth statistics is a branch of mathematics essential to understanding the world. StatisticsContinue reading “… damn lies and statistics”