All of these outbreaks could have been prevented with vaccines

Vaccines are something most of us take for granted, but as these maps compiled by the Council on Foreign Relations show, we're still a long way from ensuring everyone's safe from some of the world's most dreaded — and preventable — diseases. » 1/21/14 7:20am 1/21/14 7:20am

Biologists Deliberately Hold Back Details on Deadly New Toxin

For the first time in over 40 years, scientists have discovered a new form of the toxin responsible for botulism. But they’re keeping many of the details about it a secret for fear that it could be turned into a deadly bioweapon — prompting some scientists to warn that this action can only hold further research back. » 10/11/13 11:20am 10/11/13 11:20am

Everybody Freak Out: Strange and Uncanny Outbreaks of Shared Insanity

Sometimes, it's easy to feel like you're losing your grip on reality — especially when everybody else around you is losing theirs, as well. History is full of weird incidents of mass hysteria, where insanity from person to person, or took over a whole community at once. Here are the most uncanny incidents of shared… » 6/21/13 3:05pm 6/21/13 3:05pm

Wow, a Dystopian Coming-of-Age Novel With Actual Real Science

At this point the glut of novels about a young person growing up in a fearsome dystopia has become kind of insane, especially as the dystopias have gotten more and more far-fetched. So it's refreshing to read a novel like Jane Rogers' Testament of Jessie Lamb, where the dark future involves actual science. And real… » 5/23/13 4:43pm 5/23/13 4:43pm

How We Died 200 Years Ago, Compared to How We Die Today

In honor of its 200th Anniversary, The New England Journal of Medicine has published a fascinating review of how our ideas about death, and the causes of death, have changed over the past 200 years. We no longer worry so much about dying from spontaneous combustion, or near-misses from cannonballs. » 6/25/12 3:00pm 6/25/12 3:00pm

Genetic weapons could kill only the people you hate

Bacillus anthraces — more commonly known as anthrax — is not to be trifled with. Once the bacterium enters the blood stream, it releases a lethal cocktail of toxins that spreads rapidly throughout the body, leading to severe tissue damage, bleeding, and respiratory collapse. The fact that anthrax spores can infect a… » 2/08/12 9:55am 2/08/12 9:55am

In 1900, San Francisco's Chinatown was quarantined with barbed wire…

Here are some snapshots from a dark chapter in American history. Throughout the 19th century, San Francisco's growing Chinese immigrant population had to contend with codified prejudice from legislation like the 1882 Chinese Exclusion Act, segregated communities, and the sentiment that Chinese-Americans were the source … » 1/24/12 11:15am 1/24/12 11:15am