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Comment: Farmers != Farm Workers (Score 0, Troll) 113

The headline says farmers. The text says farm workers. Very much not the same thing. A farmer is the owner of the farm. A farm worker is generally a hired hand, often (though not always) a migrant, and if so typically from Mexico or farther south.

The story suggests that the multi-drug-resistant bacteria are the result of antibiotic treatment of the animals at the farm. This misses another possibility:

In Mexico, most antibiotics are over-the-counter, much like asprin here in the US. People who feel ill or have some infection often buy and take them. Typically they use them until they no longer show symptoms - then stop, rather than taking a full regimin and killing off all the bacteria. (Why take more of the non-free drug once the symptoms are gone? Waste of money, right?) This is a recipe for creating drug-resistant bacteria.

Of course if an infection is resistant to one antibiotic, a paitent is likely to try another, and another, and so on until they find one that works. THAT's a recipe for maintaining and improving the bug's resistance to the front line antibiotics while breeding resistance to others.

As a result, a substantial fraction of the workers arriving from south of the Mexican border are carriers of multi-drug-resistant baceria.

Meanwhile, a farming operation is likely to give a limited number of antibiotics continuously, so non-resistant infections are wiped out before they can develop resistance, and if they do develop resistance it will be to the particular drugs used, rather than the universe of antibiotics.

Of course, infected workers can infect livestock, just as livestock can infect workers. And infected workers can trade infections around, just as livestock can. (More so, since the livestock tends to be kept separated, to reduce both disease spread and breeding by unintended pairings, limitations that farmers can't impose on their workers - and would be unlikely to try even if they could.)

So it seems to me that responsible researchers would go a bit farther before reporting: Like by doing genetic testing on the strains of bug in the various workers and the livestock, and running models on the results to try to identfy whether the bugs are from the herd or the workers.

I don't see any such work alluded to in this popularized reporting. It seems to just assume that the bugs were developed on the farm and spread to the workers. I hope this is a disconnect between the actual research and the report, rather than an accurate characterization of the research.

Comment: Hmmm. (Score 0) 71

by jd (#47921793) Attached to: Astronomers Find Star-Within-a-Star, 40 Years After First Theorized

If Kip Thorne can win a year's worth of Playboys for his bet that Cygnus X1 was a Black Hole, when current theory from Professor Hawking says Black Holes don't really exist, then can Professor Thorne please give me a year's subscription to the porno of my choice due to the non-existent bet that this wasn't such a star?

Comment: Re:Eugen Fischer (Score 2) 213

by Guy Harris (#47915111) Attached to: Schizophrenia Is Not a Single Disease

I'd expect most people to interpret "eugenics" as the Greek stems for "good" and "genes", because that's where the word comes from. A fairly obscure nazzy doktor with a similar name isn't what tainted the word.

I'd expect most people neither to associate it with the Greek stems in question nor with Eugen Fischer; I'd expect them to have no clue where the word came from.

Comment: Re:Bad Fake Science Alert (Score 1) 104

"When antibiotics are used to kill them, dying viruses release toxins"

Too bad SlashDot isn't a science web site...

Neither is the International Business Times, whence this article refers.

The web site for Nature magazine, however, is a science web site, and there's a much better story there on the same topic.

Comment: Re:Say what now? (Score 1) 104

When antibiotics are used to kill them, dying viruses release toxins in the blood that begin to multiply quickly.

Is it just me, or is this sentence completely devoid of any scientificic sense in many different ways (antibiotics killling viruses? Toxins multiplying ??)

No, it's not just you, and, yes, that sentence is completely devoid if any scientific sense. Better sentences can be found in the news article from Nature .

Comment: Re:Woohoo!! (Score 5, Insightful) 104

Yeah, for years we were told magnet therapy was bullshit. Now there's money to be made by "legitimate" medicine, though, it's suddenly scientifically acceptable.

Well, there's "magnet therapy" as in "wear a magnet on your body", and there's "magnet therapy" as in "coat extremely small magnetic particles with a protein that binds to bacteria, viruses, and bacterial toxins, run your blood through a machine where the particles bind to the bacteria/viruses/toxins and get magnetically removed from the blood, and pump the blood back in".

It's quite possible for the first form of "magnet therapy" to be bullshit and the second form of "magnet therapy" to work.

+ - Ask Slashdot: What to do after digitizing VHS tapes? 2

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Now that I've spent close to a month digitizing a desk drawer's worth of VHS tapes, deinterlacing and postprocessing the originals to minimize years of tape decay, and compressing everything down to H.264, I've found myself with a hard drive full of loosely organized videos. They'll get picked up by my existing monthly backup, but I feel like I haven't gained much in the way of redundancy, as I thought I would. Instead of having tapes slowly degrade, I'm now open to losing entire movies at once, should both of my drives go bad. Does anyone maintain a library, and if so, what would they recommend? Is having them duplicated on two drives (one of which is spun down for all but one day of the month) a good-enough long term strategy? Should I look into additionally backing up to optical discs or flash drives, building out a better (RAIDed) backup machine, or even keeping the original tapes around despite them having been digitized?"

+ - Comcast Tells Customers to Stop Using Tor Browser->

Submitted by Anonymous Coward
An anonymous reader writes "Comcast agents have reportedly contacted customers who use Tor, a web browser that is designed to protect the user’s privacy while online, and said their service can get terminated if they don’t stop using Tor. According to Deep.Dot.Web, one of those calls included a Comcast customer service agent named Jeremy..."
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