Extra mural

Science in society – politics, development and social justice.

Archive for March 2011

An apology…

with 2 comments

A view across a snow covered glacier to alpine peaks behind

Aah mountains. Look at the lovely mountains. Let them caress your eyeballs with their snowy glory.

I quickly brush the dust off Extra mural to say the following:

Any of you out there who actually read this thing, valuable as the product of a toddler beating a typewriter with wooden duck as it is, I am sorry for the complete absence of any postage of late.

I hope you will tollerate this when I tell you I have been quite busy. I have been scribbling furiously for Elements, the pre-eminent science-based website in the entire of the World Wide Web.

In fact Sir Tim Berners-Lee, inventor of aforementioned Web, said he finally feels someone has put his creation to its proper use. When pressed he said he was talking about Elements. This is now believed to have been a bid for some intellectual credibility on his part. Having spoken to individuals intimate with the situation I can report he actually was referring to Lolcats. Read the rest of this entry »


Polio – forgotten but not gone

leave a comment »

A young girl's right leg bends backwards at the knee like a bow as her father leads he by the hand down a clinic corridor

Consequence of polio - too many children must suffer a similar fate

For centuries polio has maimed and killed children across the world. Like all diseases it struck out at all echelons of society, from Presidents down, but it disproportionately affected the poor.

The virus transmits because of insanitary and unhygienic conditions. It is spread in faeces, infecting a victim with their food or water. It shreds the nervous system, attacking motor-neurons, paralysing the victim.

Polio kills the poorest and most marginalised of the world’s population. Those who do not drink clean water; who cannot wash their hands; those who are compelled to live in filth bereft of sanitation.

It is grievously unfair that children still suffer from this disease. This pathogen that only infects humans, that does not live long outside of its human host, that we have had a vaccine to combat for nearly 60 years.

Up to 90 per cent of those infected show no symptoms. This virus passes by so many; silently passing through en route to those few to destroy their fragile bodies. Read the rest of this entry »