Shade Balls: Preventing Algae and Evaporation Amidst California’s Drought

A recent New York Times article by Katie Rogers talks about an odd solution to California’s dwindling water supply. LA county is using small black balls that float on the surface of reservoir water to block UV and heat. This prevents both evaporation and algae growth from occurring. With California’s drought persistently eating away at our …

Great “Hidden Life” (of homes and people) Learning Activity from the NY Times #microbiology

Wow – this is really really cool: Hidden Life Forms: Investigating Microbial Diversity on Our Bodies and in Our Homes.  The article is by Jennifer Cutraro and it goes through a series of course / learning activities regarding microbial diversity – of homes and of people.  It has things like: a warm up activity a pre-activity …

A disturbing trend – casual and reckless use of antimicrobial agents in building materials.

There was a very interesting artilce in the New York Times on August 21 bu Michael Kimmelman: In Redesigned Room, Hospital Patients May Feel Better Already.  The article focuses on a move by the University Medical Center of Princeton to redesign hospital rooms.  And Kimmelman discusses a variety of issues associated with hospital design. And there were …

Not all pathogen research should be done

Recently, a bit of an uproar occurred when the CDC reported that workers there had been accidentally exposed to the bacterium that causes anthrax.  The lesson from this?  Well, I think it is simple.  Accidents happen.  And they can happen anywhere to anyone.  No matter how careful one is. A few days ago a friend …

Getting people interested in “microbiology of the built environment” via Norovirus

Well, Jane Brody in “The Well” in the New York Times has a story that is a good example of microbiology of the built environment: A Viral Misery That Loves Company. In it she details her own experiences with Norovirus.  And she also discusses how this virus spreads readily in the built environment – day care …