The Turbid Plaque

Life is complicated

In the November 1943 issue of the journal Genetics, Salvador Luria and Max Delbrück settled a long-running but arcane debate among bacteriologists. The original paper is freely downloadable, and is an amazing document to read today.

There's a delightful innocence in the simplicity of the exper...

Most people have by now seen the news about a mysterious "polio-like" illness paralyzing children across the US. To date, the CDC has confirmed 62 cases of the condition, called acute flaccid myelitis (AFM), in 22 states since August. Another 65 people are suspected to have it, but haven't had the...

Just in time for cocktail hour last Friday, the World Health Organization released a mammoth report on the health impacts of drinking. While reinforcing public health experts' image as Debbie Downers, the report lays out a compelling case for teetotaling. For those whose eyes have trouble focusi...

The best time to think and talk about disaster management is when there's no disaster. Unfortunately, most folks in the media, and on social media, don't do that. Instead, we wait until a hurricane is bearing down on the coast or Ebola virus is breaking out, and then all start shouting at the to...

My article on antibody validation just appeared in Science, and is free to read online. Enjoy.

The first time it happened was a hot August day in Maryland, the kind where the nicotine-saturated air inside the tiny, heavily air-conditioned house seemed to vie with the humidity and traffic haze outside, each competing to be more noxious than the other. Late in the afternoon, as I left for my ni...