Cancer: is it part of evolution? What can we learn from cancer in animals?

Domestic and wild animals get cancer. Animals, like humans, see an increase in cancer when living in areas of heavy chemical contamination. But, some animal species rarely get cancer; why? And, if any cell could become cancerous, why don’t larger animals have a greater risk of cancer than smaller animals? Animals far larger than humans–like elephants–rarely get cancer. That must mean their cells somehow fight…

See more

Life expectancy vs. life span for humans: has it really changed?

Are we living longer than our ancestors or even people that lived thousands of years ago? It seems that way; life expectancy, until recent years, has risen steadily for decades in many countries (but not in many others or even not within the same country; the benefits of medical advances have not been shared or experienced equally). But, life expectancy–a statistic, an average–is different than…

See more

Wildfires and climate change

There is a direct connection between wildfires in the western United States and climate change. Featured article: Park Williams, A., Abatzoglou, J. T., Gershunov, A., Janin Guzman‐Morales, Bishop, D. A., Balch, J. K., & Lettenmaier, D. P. (2019). Observed impacts of anthropogenic climate change on wildfire in California. Earth’s Future, 7(8), 892-910. [PDF] [Cited by] “Recent fire seasons have fueled intense speculation regarding the effect…

See more

Face shields and their effectiveness in preventing transmission of COVID-19

The transmission of COVID-19 “is believed to be predominantly through respiratory droplets from infected persons in close proximity to uninfected persons, although airborne transmission may also play a role. Face shields have been proposed to prevent transmission in the community.” This study describes “transmission in a community setting [in India] before and after the use of face shields.” Featured article: Bhaskar ME, Arun S. (2020)….

See more

Revisiting: Hurricanes are slowing down and becoming more dangerous

In 2017, Hurricane Harvey moved very slowly across parts of Texas (US) dropping “more than 30 inches of rain in two days and nearly 50 inches over four days.” “Harvey’s rainfall exceeded every known flooding event in American history since 1899.” The reason for the high rainfall totals was the slow movement of the storm–and a 2018 study (Kossin) reports that “between 1949 and 2016,…

See more