Stop Spillover

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. U. S. Agency for International Development Emerging Threats Program launched the infectious disease surveillance program PREDICT in 2009. It included teams from more than 60 countries that would survey the world for unknown viruses in animals and assess their risk of causing … Continue reading Stop Spillover

Coronaviruses That Spillover

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. In the Family Coronaviruses cause diseases in humans ranging from mild colds, which may do little more than annoy the sufferer, to MERS, which kills 37% of those infected. Seven types affect humans so far, but thousands exist. Most come from bats, … Continue reading Coronaviruses That Spillover

Spillover in the Modern World

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. Human society traded one brand of disease outbreaks for another. In the past, we lacked hygiene, medical infrastructure, and knowledge of what causes disease. Today, we’re better in all three categories, especially in developed countries, but we’re disturbing ecology more and more, … Continue reading Spillover in the Modern World

Spillover

Originally published as a digital essay for a university course April 22, 2020. We have been slow to learn the role of virus ecology in human health. J.S. Koen, a veterinarian and inspector for the U.S. Bureau of Animal Industry in Fort Dodge, Iowa, became unpopular during the Spanish flu outbreak in 1918. He saw … Continue reading Spillover

Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

One of BBC Earth's TV miniseries, Africa features the staples of intensive camera work and David Attenborough. The six-episode series released in 2013 travels between the Kalahari Desert, eastern savanna, Congo rainforest, southern Cape, Sahara, and a thematic episode focused on conservation and Africa's future. Africa is full of jungle and safari stereotypes, but this … Continue reading Film Reflection: Africa: Eye to Eye with the Unknown by BBC Earth

Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Your favorite civilian natural science book comes with prerequisites: vivid photos from altocumulus clouds to decomposition fungi, key hiding spots of small insects and charismatic critters, and nontechnical but curiosity-provoking descriptions of ecological concepts--all of which fill The Practical Naturalist. Edited by Chris Packham and written by a team of scientists, this book is detailed … Continue reading Book Reflection: The Practical Naturalist by Chris Packham

Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

There's a phenomenon science students experience. Perhaps there's an inspirational, rare term assigned to it though I do not know what that would be. The landscape is no longer a cohesive environment of greenery and blotchy earth colors punctured by charismatic creatures and dramatic waterfalls. It...becomes millions of things that non-sciency friends rare their eyebrows … Continue reading Views of Lake Fort Smith (Part II: Scientist)

Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

The American chestnut tree, Castanea dentata, was one of the first biological icons to be virtually vacated from an integral position in both the environment and American society. We knew little about accidental imports of exotic species, and the introduction of the fungus Cryphonectria parasitica spurred the discussion and action. I was fascinated with the topic when … Continue reading Book Reflection: American Chestnut: The Life, Death, and Rebirth of a Perfect Tree by Susan Freinkel

Trending: Mycorrhizae Without Writing “Mycorrhizae”

Mycorrhizal fungi grow in and around plant roots as well as provide a nutrient-exchanging path for different individual plants. Occasionally I'll see some meme or link to a brief YouTube video about these fungi, not that one would recognize the term "mycorrhizal" because it is never used. It's danced around. Sometimes substituted with something in … Continue reading Trending: Mycorrhizae Without Writing “Mycorrhizae”

Film Reflection: Wildest Middle East by Animal Planet

After reading What Went Wrong? The Clash Between Islam & Modernity in the Middle East by Bernard Lewis and watching Rory Stewart's The Great Game (incredible dual documentaries on imperialism and Afghan independence) on Netflix (the first is also on YouTube), I continued the theme and watched an installment on one of my favorite natural history … Continue reading Film Reflection: Wildest Middle East by Animal Planet