‘While many are watching when Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis might announce a run for president, he’s making noise — and drawing massive criticism — for initiatives in Florida, including proposed restrictions on press freedom….’
— Stephen Silver via 19FortyFive
‘Shetland Islanders, descendents of Jamaican immigrants living in London, and African Americans all tend to say “axe” or “aks” instead of “ask” when speaking. Linguist Geoff Lindsey traces the history of differing pronunciations of ask/aks from all the way back to the beginnings of written English up to the present day….’
— via kottke
I really enjoyed this discussion that centered around John McWhorter’s take on historical and ethnic speech diversity. I’m not only interested in linguistic prejudice, but it imposes hurdles on me every day as a psychiatrist. Communication is such an intrinsic part of my work, and I interact with people from diverse backgrounds and linguistic styles. This is particularly important because when people are in distress, they may not make the effort to ‘code-switch’ to standard English, which can make it difficult to understand them. Just this week, a colleague shared an anecdote with me about her recent difficulty in understanding a client on death row in the rural South during a forensic consultation.
Entertaining fact gleaned: something similar to what is happening to the word “ask” was true of “fish”, which started out as “fisk,”
with the same -sk ending that “ask” has. Over time, in some places people started saying “fisk” as “fiks,” while in others they started saying “fisk” as “fish.” After a while, “fish” won out over “fiks,” and here we are today. The same thing happened with “mash.” It started as “mask.” Later some people were saying “maks” and others were saying “mash.” “Mash” won.
Maybe you had to be there…
‘Trillions of micro-organisms live inside each of us. This is known as our microbiome. The vast majority of these microbes are bacteria but plenty of other things can also be found, including parasites and viruses.
About a decade ago researchers discovered a thriving population of fungi also reside within the human body. Dubbed the mycobiome, several dozen types of fungi have been found to symbiotically live inside of us, and most are relatively harmless. But some are not our friends, particularly when we are immunocompromised.
It’s estimated about 1.6 million people die every year globally from invasive fungal infections. In 2022 the World Health Organization released its first ever list of “fungal priority pathogens,” citing fungi as an emerging serious public health threat. There are limited anti-fungal medications, and increasing rates of fungal resistance to these crucial drugs.
“There’s a significant unmet clinical need for this kind of prevention and also treatment, particularly among immunocompromised individuals,” said Karen Norris, lead investigator on the new study. “The patient population at risk for invasive fungal infections has increased significantly over the last several years.”
Three specific genera of fungus account for the vast majority of deadly fungal infections in humans – Aspergillus, Candida, and Pneumocystis. So researchers set out to develop a recombinant peptide vaccine that targets those three primary pathogens.
A new study published in the journal PNAS Nexus is reporting on the efficacy of this experimental vaccine in several animal models. The study revealed the vaccine, dubbed NXT-2, effectively induced broad, cross-reactive antibody responses in all animal models. The vaccine also reduced morbidity and mortality in immunosuppressed animals exposed to the three key pathogenic fungi….’
— via New Atlas
Fungi were the forgotten infectious diseases. No longer, with the popularity of The Last of Us.
‘Across the world, pesticides, new diseases, climate change and habitat loss are killing bees and other pollinators, which play an essential role in agriculture, at an ominous speed, with the mass die-off putting many fruits and grains at risk.
Yet the mostly rural state of Carinthia, which borders Slovenia and Italy, doesn’t care only about the health of the bees pollinating its apple orchards and chestnut trees. It also insists that all of them be Carniolan honey bees, with their signature light-gray abdominal rings, the only subspecies that state law has allowed here since 2007. As with all domesticated and semi-domesticated animals, bees have long been bred by their keepers for certain traits, and the Carniolan is considered well adapted for its alpine home, better than other honey bees at surviving the snowy winters and often capricious weather. And while Carniolans will aggressively defend their hives against parasites and honey thieves, they are known to be quite docile around their human handlers.
So Carinthia’s law has many supporters among the state’s apiarists, eager to keep unwelcome characteristics
out of the local bee gene pool. The neighboring state of Styria has a similar law, as does Slovenia.
But the law’s opponents see in it at least the echo of the area’s Nazi past — and cite Nazi history to further their point….’
— via The New York Times thanks to Abby