Introduction to HIV and HIV denial

I don’t often provide a lot of background into HIV science or HIV denial, instead referencing previous posts I’ve made or websites such as or the NIAID fact sheet. For those of you who may be looking for more background in a nice, concise format, HealthDot has a 20-minute interview with John Moore and Jeanne Bergman (both who help run regarding the issues of HIV science and HIV denial–including a few minutes on what journalists can do.

The perils of being a night owl

Last year, I mentioned some ongoing research suggesting a link between exposure to light and the development of breast cancer. As I mentioned then:

While we know a good deal about factors that can contribute to breast cancer risk–including genetics (such as mutations in the BRCA1 and BRCA2 genes) and lifestyle choices (late or no childbearing, high fat diet, lack of exercise), many environmental risks for breast cancer remain controversial. Even the effect of cigarette smoking on breast cancer development remains uncertain, as does the environmental light idea.

For a nice update and overview into the whole area, check out the story in today’s Chronicle by Richard Monastersky:
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The things women do for beauty–or, beware the bikini wax

Women do some rather insane things to achieve modern standards of beauty. We wear shoes that do terrible things to our feet. We don bras that dig into our chest and push our breasts into strange conformations. We slide on pantyhose to firm our stomachs, makeup to hide our imperfections, and hair dye to diminish our grays. And we have this strange habit* of yanking other body hair out from the root, be it our eyebrows, underarms, legs, or pubic hair.

Yes, I do have a point here (besides making men squirm). The August issue of Clinical Infectious Diseases has a forthcoming article that details (very carefully details, so squeamish, beware) what can happen with a bikini wax gone bad–and it’s every bit as bad as you think. More after the jump.
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Blogging will probably be light this week; while I was in Ohio a week ago for a happy event, this weekend was much the opposite, and I’ll be out of town part of the week at a memorial service. In the meantime, though, I got tagged (twice!) with a meme that I’ve already seen pop up recently on Scienceblogs, and since it’s Kate’s first meme ever, well, how can I refuse?

The rules: to make it short and sweet, the meme just asks for 8 random facts, then I’m supposed to tag 8 others. I’ll comply with the first; for the latter, anyone who’s not been hit already, feel free to consider yourself tagged. Here goes…
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Creation museum—more posts from the gang

I mentioned that a whole group of us went to the Creation Museum in Kentucky. Professor Steve Steve has his account now up at the Thumb, while Jason Rosenhouse has a two-parter at EvolutionBlog, and Wes Elsberry’s account is here. Oh, and a group picture:

Rear, L to R: Evil Monkey, Richard Hoppe (“RBH”), Wes Elsberry, Andrea “I’m Italian, not female!” Bottaro, Jason Rosenhouse, and Art Hunt. Front row: RBH’s wife (whose name I didn’t catch, sorry!); journalist Lauri Lebo; me; Professor Steve Steve, and Art’s daughter (and Steve Steve’s kind tour guide), Amy Hunt.

Campaign against HIV/AIDS denial featured in Science

While I was out last week, I completely missed this Science article all about HIV denial and the website, and features frequent commenter Richard Jeffreys:

For 20 years, a small but vocal group of AIDS “dissenters” has attracted international attention by questioning whether HIV causes the disease. Many AIDS researchers from the outset thought it best to ignore these challenges. But last year, another small and equally vocal group decided to counter the dissenters–whom they call “denialists”–with a feisty Web site, It has started to attract international attention itself. “It’s great,” says Mark Wainberg, head of the McGill AIDS Centre in Montreal, Canada. “We really need to get more people to understand that HIV denialism does serious harm. And we were in denial about denialism for a long time.”

Launched by AIDS researchers, clinicians, and activists from several countries, offers more than 100 links to scientific reports to “debunk denialist myths” and “expose the denialist propaganda campaign for what it is … to prevent further harm being done to individual and public health.” The site also has a section that names denialists and unsparingly critiques their writings, variously accusing them of homophobia, “scientific ignorance of truly staggering proportions,” conspiracy theories, “the dogmatic repetition of the misunderstanding, misrepresentation, or mischaracterization of certain scientific studies,” and flat-out lies. “There was a perceived need to take these people on in cyberspace, because that’s where they operate mostly, and that’s where the most vulnerable people go for their information,” says immunologist John Moore, an AIDS researcher at the Weill Medical College of Cornell University in New York City.

Read the full article here.

University of Iowa selects a new president

Sally Mason Named University Of Iowa’s 20th President.

Interesting. A female biologist, currently Provost at Purdue:

During her tenure at Purdue, Mason invested both professionally and personally in diversity and innovative research and education.

She raised funds for and implemented a number of major diversity initiatives at Purdue, including creation of a Native American education and cultural center and a Latino Cultural Center, joining a black cultural center already on campus. She started two programs funded by the National Science Foundation that work to increase retention and graduation rates among students in science fields, especially minorities. And she recently implemented a new initiative that focuses on recruitment, including more minority faculty appointments, professional development programs, and incentives for teaching and research on diversity.

In 2004, Mason and her husband, Kenneth, gave a $2 million gift to create the Sally K. and Kenneth A. Mason Fund in support of Purdue’s Discovery Learning Center (DLC). The DLC, one of 10 interdisciplinary research centers in Purdue’s new Discovery Park, was created to advance research that revolutionizes learning in the STEM disciplines (science, technology, engineering, and math). Through externally funded research projects, innovative programs, and collaborative partnerships, the DLC is seeks to redesign educational practices and create innovative learning environments that, according to the DLC’s Web site, “have immediate impact and nurture lifelong learning for students and citizens of a global community.”

Field trip to the Creation Museum

I mentioned I was back in Ohio last week. The occasion was the celebration of my grandparents’ 60th wedding anniversary, but while I was in the area, a number of us from Panda’s Thumb also met up south of Cincinnati to take our own tour of Answers in Genesis’ Creation Museum. (Wesley has a picture of the group here; I’ll also try to scan in another “official” picture tomorrow).

My brain still hurts. My thoughts on everything below (with photos, of course):
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