Veil of Ignorance & Discrimination

Interesting post at BCC on religious freedom and LGBTQ rights in light of the Church’s recent statement on protections for gays. It’s informed by Rawl’s notion of a veil of ignorance. I’m far from a Rawls scholar and most people know my views on formal ethics. I’m much more sympathetic to virtue ethics. But this post does make one think.

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Excited about Antibiotics

There have been a few interesting stories the past week or two about anti-biotics that give me hope regarding all the problems with resistance. First a couple of weeks ago scientists at Northeastern University announced they’d discovered a whole new antibiotic. What’s quite exciting is that this may be a type of antibiotic that avoids evolutionary resistance. Of course those are famous last words. Evolution is clever, especially with viruses enabling significant gene transfer between different bacteria.

More interesting is the general approach to antibiotic discovery by searching dirt for new types. The problem in the past was that we thought all the low hanging antibiotic fruit had been picked. Discoveries like penicillin seemed gone. However the new projects recognized that most bacteria don’t easily culture in labs. So there’s been a concerted effort to start mapping the DNA of bacteria including all those that are harder to collect. Teixobactin, this new antibiotic announced, is just one of the new discoveries from this approach. There appear to be evidence for anti-cancer molecules as well.

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Best of the Day

Even though I’ve not had time to blog much the past 5 years I’ve still tried to keep up on most current events. I regularly post links I find interesting to App.Net.1 You can get my list of ADN links, without any discussion, via rss. I put retweets on Twitter regularly as well. A lot of these are the same links but without comment.

Unfortunately Tweets are so short that people assume retweets mean you agree with the link. Often I want to share links I disagree with but found interesting. I can do this on ADN but not Twitter at the moment. I figure I can do that here as well.

I likely won’t have all the links I put up on ADN but I’ll probably put up a lot with very brief comments for each. If I want to say more I’ll just make a full post.2 There’s a bit more today than normal and there are more political ones than science. Normally politics makes up only about ⅓. 

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  1. Yes ADN is not dead. There’s not the huge community there was a year ago but those who remain really enjoy it as a Twitter alternative. The remaining community is quite strong. There’s still new work being done on the network. Come check it out. You might like it.
  2. This may just be a way for me to shift my discussions from ADN to a blog again. I don’t know. Hopefully it’ll get me posting here more regularly though.