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.

Back to Peirce

PeirceWhile I did not start philosophically with Peirce, he has come to dominate my thought the past 20 years. Certainly figures like Heidegger are also a major force in how I think about things. Yet it’s Peirce I keep coming back to. I think that Heidegger and many who continued (more or less) in his tradition after him thought through issues Peirce didn’t. It is Peircean approaches though that I think end up clarifying many more obscure aspects of a broad Heideggarian approach. The older I get the less patient I am with the near word-mysticism that many Heideggarians adopt. It’s not that I don’t find Heidegger (or even Levinas, Derrida, or Ricouer) helpful or insightful. I do. I just find myself increasingly frustrated with the way they get discussed. (Especially those aping a Derridean style)

I’ve been very pleased at pushback within the Heideggarian tradition. Thomas Sheehan in particular has done a fantastic job pushing back at a near word mysticism where the rather straightforward meanings are obscured in layers upon layer of metaphor. 

Metaphor is useful and important. I think the literal is always dependent upon the metaphoric. But to recognize that does not entail obliqueness to the point of confusion.

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Back for Real

OK, I said I was back and then wasn’t. This time I am for real. 


My apologies. I returned to a job I hadn’t done in a few years and then someone quit and I ended up having to do what they were doing. It’s been a busy few months.


I’m starting Mormon Metaphysics back up after a long absence. Sorry for the time away. I was having server problems but never had time to fix things until now.

I’ll return to that post series on the hard sayings a little later. Right now I have a few other posts to do. I want to do a few more politics too.

Musings on Science, Religion, Phenomenology and More