Extra mural

Science in society – politics, development and social justice.

Archive for the ‘Environment’ Category

Seasonal blooms: what causes periodic coastal cholera proliferation?

with 2 comments

A broad, flat expanse of what was once fields is now a lake of muddy brown water

Flooding in Bangladesh - a sure risk of the spread of endemic cholera

Cholera cases total between 3-5 million each year with 100,000-120,000 deaths. It is endemic in Asia and Africa. It causes devastating outbreaks and global pandemics. It is said to have originated in the Bay of Bengal.

The two most recent outbreaks of this gastro-intestinal disease are in Haiti and the Congo River. As of 10 July 2011 388,958 cases had been reported in Haiti, with 5,899 deaths. On 20 July 2011 the World Health Organisation reported 3,896 cases and 256 deaths on the banks of the Congo River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. From 14 to 20 July a total of 181 cases and six deaths were reported in the neighboring Republic of Congo.

Cholera is entirely preventable with comprehensive provision of hygiene, sanitation and drinking water. There has not been an outbreak of cholera in London since such infrastructure was built in the mid-19th century. Read the rest of this entry »

Advertisements

No child born to die

with one comment

Here in lies a brief comment on this new Save the Children campaign. The advert for which is below.

[youtube:http://youtu.be/Jn9oMA1GQ5Q%5D

Embedded from YouTube.com. Originally uploaded by Save the Children UK 

***

A few weeks ago I saw Lord Robert Winston speak about the urgent need for greater scientific literacy in UK school leavers. He spoke about the responsibility scientists have to society to ensure their work is widely understood. Then people will be able to make informed value judgments, rather than relying on propaganda from the Pro- and Con- camps. It will enhance the debate over vaccines, genetic modification, animal testing among others. It is key to this goal of improved understanding of science in society that researchers reach out to the public, especially school children. Read the rest of this entry »

One Health and the built environment

leave a comment »

A tumble-down house sits above a poluted stretch of water, plastic detreitus washed up on its banks

Slum living - our health and our environment go hand in hand

The Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA) has published A Guide For Assisted Living. It is a ‘how-to’ for designers, healthcare workers, architects and anyone else “who may have to take decisions on the appropriate design, specification, construction and adaptation of ‘assisted living enabled’ buildings.

As we are all aware, we are an aging population. The Western world has coaxed life-expectancy out to new extremes and so rates of chronic disease have increased. This week’s edition of The Lancet has given over its pages (actually its website, I cannot say I have seen a copy but presumably one mirrors t’other) to the staggering burden of diabetes across the globe. The well-worth-a-read editorial cites a 2011 study that shows the worldwide burden of the disease is 347 million cases, as of 2008.

The RIBA guide recognises that the growing chronic disease burden threatens to overwhelm the ever-more scant healthcare resources:

The changing demographic means that traditional arrangements for supporting those with long term conditions will not be sustainable even in the medium term.

Read the rest of this entry »

On Consider the lobster

with 5 comments

It is a sound piece of advice to order an embryonic writer to read David Foster Wallace’s collection of essays Consider the lobster. It is one that your correspondent heartily endorses from personal experience.

The guitar manufacturing advocate of said collection billed Wallace as: “as close as your generation is going to get to Hunter S. Thompson.” Perhaps wide of the mark; a suitable alternative comparison is not within grasp at the time of writing.

Consider the lobster, the eponymous essay, was first printed by the American magazine Gourmet in 2004. Commissioned for a piece describing what it is like to visit the then 56 year old Main Lobster Festival (MLF), Wallace submitted an essay of wit and humour, ambition and subversion. It is a far cry from some shallow review of Ludlow Food Festival you may come across in a weekly broadsheet’s glossy magazine. Read the rest of this entry »

Written by nascenthack

October 15, 2010 at 8:30 am