Today’s favorite tweets! Picture of NYC from space and Onion article about sorting trash into oceans!

[tweet https://twitter.com/TheOnion/status/567483612996440065] [tweet https://twitter.com/Space_Station/status/567403744413749248]

Outline of the Measles Outbreak #SadButTrue

Another satirical feature from The Onion outlining the timeline of the Measles Outbreak.  At CauseScience, we’ve posted about this many times.  Check out the sad/funny/true outline below:

  • February 28, 1998: British physician Andrew Wakefield publishes the first in a long line of 0 scientific studies that link vaccines to autism
  • June 9, 2004: Mother of three Karen Myers tells new mom Ashley Wheeler about a “great new parenting blog”
  • April 5, 2011: Group of negligent parents decide to start calling themselves “anti-vaxxers”
  • September 7, 2011-2014: Anti-vaccination movement spreads to thousands of other parents through direct online contact
  • December 1, 2014: Herd immunity still holding up
  • December 15, 2014: Measles outbreak in Southern California reduces San Diego classroom to manageable size
  • January 10, 2015: Infected Beckwith family pushes through the pain for a second day at Disneyland because they spent 900 goddamn dollars for five two-day passes
  • January 11, 2015: CDC epidemiologists conduct victim surveys in some very weird California homes
  • January 18, 2015: Ben’s mom gives Jessa’s mom withering glance in preschool parking lot
  • January 26, 2015: CDC angrily changes answer to “Has measles been eliminated in the United States?” on FAQ page of website
  • January 27, 2015: Unvaccinated 9-year-old Hunter Warren still fine, so who’s to say who’s right?
  • August 12, 2020: 2015 outbreak starting to look really quaint

It’s a parents’ right to choose which eradicated diseases to bring back by not vaccinating – The Onion #science #satire

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Check out this hilarious opinion piece about parents not vaccinating their children at The Onion! As always, the satire is thick…and poignant. The article points out that choosing not to vaccinate children has caused a revival of dangerous diseases that are preventable and were eradicated at least a generation ago. Funny stuff… because its so close to reality! The full article is amazing, below are my favorite excerpts!

Regardless of what anyone else thinks, I fully stand behind my choices as a mom, including my choice not to vaccinate my son, because it is my fundamental right as a parent to decide which eradicated diseases come roaring back.

The decision to cause a full-blown, multi-state pandemic of a virus that was effectively eliminated from the national population generations ago is my choice alone, and regardless of your personal convictions, that right should never be taken away from a child’s parent. Never.

It’s simple: You don’t tell me how to raise my kids to avoid reviving a horrific illness that hasn’t been seen on our shores since our grandparents were children, and I won’t tell you how to raise yours.

Hilarious article by The Onion encourages climate science deniers to actually look at the #science!

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Check out this hilarious (and sadly close to reality) article at The Onion poking fun at climate change science denial.

Co-authored by several dozen of the nation’s top climatologists, a new climate change study released Wednesday by the U.S. Global Change Research Program reportedly consists of 400 pages in which scientists just tell Americans to read previous climate change studies.

While CauseScience supports continued science into climate change, we can’t help but laugh at the article and agree that many Americans and climate science deniers need to re-visit the vast literature of climate science that has already been done.

The report is said to conclude with a single exasperated 28-page run-on sentence urging people to “just come on and look at these damn things, for the love of God—what more do you want from us—Jesus, this is ridiculous.”

Mystery Ebola serum + racism + humor = complicated mess #Ebola #science #research

You may have heard about the ‘mystery’ vials that were given to 2 Americans that contracted the Ebola virus. These vials contained an anti-ebola serum called zMapp, an antibody treatment for Ebola that is untested in humans. It has been quite successful in limited primate studies, but is still quite far from being ready for routine human use. One reason for this, is that the serum is made up of 3 monoclonal MOUSE antibodies. Most antibody treatments used in humans are humanized, meaning they are modified to look like they are part of our bodies so that our immune systems don’t recognize them as foreign. When you put a protein or antibody from mouse, or other animal, into humans, our immune systems attack and remove it. Therefore, putting mouse antibodies against Ebola virus into humans will mean that the antibodies can have an impact on the virus for only a short period before our immune system gets rid of them. This makes future treatment with the serum basically useless.

Many people have questioned why this serum was used on 2 Americans when it has not been used on the more than 800 people in Africa who have died during this Ebola outbreak. Even The Onion has taken up this issue in a sarcastic article:

ebolaonion

“While all measures are being taken to contain the spread of the contagion, an effective, safe, and reliable Ebola inoculation unfortunately remains roughly 50 to 60 white people away, if not more,” said Tulane University pathologist Gregory Wensmann, adding that while progress has been made over the course of the last two or three white people, a potential Ebola vaccination is still many more white people off.

While the humor in the article rings true, there are many reasons that we are not sending this untested serum all over Africa. I’ll mention a few of the poignant reasons here, while hoping we can also figure out a way to get this treatment or some treatment out fast.

First, it is extremely experimental. As mentioned above, it has never been given to humans.

Second, one factor contributing to the current Ebola outbreak is a mistrust of western medicine and medical workers in affected communities. Using an untested treatment would almost certainly make this situation worse.

Third, although it may seem racist (as pointed out by the Onion article) to only use the serum on Americans, the medical community has sort of a rough history of testing experimental treatments on specific communities, ethnicities, races, countries etc. The last thing the medical research community needs is to look like it is experimenting with an untested treatment on a vulnerable population that has no other options.

There is also the distinct possibility that there is not a real supply of the serum, since it is so early in development. Hopefully the serum will prove effective in the cases of the Americans and can be fast-tracked or somehow used compassionately in Africa as well, but there are many reasons this may not happen in the immediate future.

More info on zMapp here.

Also be sure to check out the many CauseScience posts about Ebola virus and the current outbreak!

You know science funding is bad when God donates $5,000 #theOnion

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The Onion takes another hilarious jab at the current finding situation for science and research. This time with a divine humor. Read about God’s pledge of $5,000 to the American Cancer Society

“Now, obviously a $5,000 donation isn’t going to just make the cure appear by itself. Clearly, there’s no magic bullet for this thing. But every little bit helps. And knowing I might be making a small difference in the life of some kid with leukemia or mom with breast cancer just makes me feel like I did my part.” The Divine Creator of Life, Heaven, and Earth told reporters that if the timing works out, He also plans to participate in a 10K benefit run for Hodgkin lymphoma this fall.

The Onion pokes fun at STEM program, gender-bias in science

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Although The Onion is a satirical news site, many of its articles on science hit very close to home (previous Onion post). A current article pokes fun at a number of issues in academic science, including the disturbing gender-bias in science (PNAS article, New York Times article), and the need to innovate STEM education (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math, article here) in order to attract minorities and underrepresented communities to these fields. The Onion certainly knows how to keep it real, which makes the article hilarious, but eye-opening since it is essentially true.

“Today’s girls have the potential to become the physicists and chemists of tomorrow, powerlessly watching as their male counterparts are promoted over them, their intellects are ignored, and their research is underrepresented in scientific journals. Our mission is to let every young woman know that such a future isn’t a fantasy; it’s a reality they can most certainly achieve.” Grant admitted, however, that such opportunities depended upon the slim chance that these girls even managed to be hired from a predominantly male applicant pool in the first place.