Daily Archives: March 4, 2014

Niagara Falls freezes over again

For the second time this winter the Niagara Falls has frozen over. click here


Rep. Rush Holt’s (D-NJ) mind is biased and playing tricks on him again

“I am not saying that scientists are smarter or wiser than other folks. But there are habits of mind: you know, a deep appreciation of evidence; an ability to deal with probability and statistics, to be alert to cognitive biases and tricks that our minds play on ourselves; … a willingness to accept tentative conclusions and accept … the uncertainty of these scientific conclusions — not as reason for inaction, but a way of finding the best path forward …” click here

Mr. Holt, on what basis can you assume that your mind is not biased and playing tricks on you again in making the statement above? Indeed, there is no neutral ground in science. Scientific observations require an observer, and every observer has a bias (or worldview). To pretend not to have such a bias is “self-deception.”

Further, sometimes the best path forward is to do nothing at that time. Otherwise more damage is done than the original problem itself.

“Stack-and-pack” housing does not lower carbon dioxide emissions

“‘Smart growth” projects across the country aim to jam people into high-density housing near mass transit systems. Proponents think this will make people abandon their automobiles, reducing greenhouse gas emissions. But new research shows “stack-and-pack” housing is an ineffective way to reduce carbon dioxide levels.” click here for full article.

“Compartment bag” test detects E. coli in water

Stauber C, Miller C, Cantrell B, Kroell K. Evaluation of the compartment bag test for the detection of Escherichia coli in water. J Microbiol Methods. 2014 Feb 21. pii: S0167-7012(14)00048-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mimet.2014.02.008.

AIMS: Annually, more than 2 million diarrheal disease deaths can be attributed to the lack of access to water, sanitation and hygiene. These deaths occur mostly in developing countries where water quality testing resources are limited. Several tests are currently used to detect and quantify Escherichia coli and other fecal bacteria in drinking water; however they can be expensive, complex, and technically demanding. There is a need for a simple, reliable, low-cost water quality test that can be used in resource limited settings. Therefore, the purpose of this research was to perform a rigorous evaluation of the recently developed compartment bag test for detection and quantification of E. coli against the standard method of membrane filtration.

METHODS AND RESULTS: A total of 270 water samples were collected from forty-five various naturally contaminated water sources around metro-Atlanta from August 2011 through April 2012. Samples were processed using the compartment bag test and membrane filtration with mI agar. Concentrations of E. coli were significantly correlated with a correlation coefficient of 0.904 (95% CI 0.859-0.950). Sensitivity and specificity were 94.9% and 96.6%, respectively.

CONCLUSIONS: These results suggest that the compartment bag test produces results consistent with those produced by membrane filtration on mI agar. Based upon its performance, the compartment bag test has the potential to be used as a reliable, affordable drinking water quality test globally where other microbial water quality testing resources are not readily available, and can be implemented in monitoring activities for microbial water quality to provide reliable and actionable data.

Click here for full paper (fee).