Monday Links

  • “Dual-use” scientific research – like the research that brought the world both atomic energy and atomic weapons – meets biotechnology and genomics, and the implications are pretty terrifying. Pandora’s Box is already open, so how should the scientific community respond? This excellent ForeignAffairs article offers some suggestions
  • Why does malaria still infect 300 million people – and kill 500,000 people, mostly children – every year? It’s a parasite that has been successfully eradicated from much of the world, but still haunts sub-Saharan Africa. Sonia Shah argues that it still exists because a) poverty; and b)  because it’s just not that big of a deal to many living in sub-Saharan Africa. The former point is incontrovertible (I wrote about research detailing the link here); the latter will probably get some criticism, but I think she makes a strongly-argued point
  • Besides being generally excellent, this article highlights one of the truly repugnant ways that drug companies incent physicians to use their pharmaceuticals: writing a check for the physician. It also provides insight into how drug companies price pharmaceuticals for patients that are basically price-inelastic: charging as much as possible until there is an outcry for cheaper prices
  • That this method of teaching – basically, hands-off facilitating – could be called “radical” is both very accurate and very sad. The science is firm enough now that teachers who don’t innovate and start “radicalizing” their teaching methods are doing a disservice to their pupils – as are the regulations that take away such freedom from teachers. It’s a great article that you should take the time to read

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