Tuesday, July 13, 2004

As you can imagine, it may take me some time to recover from eating orange flower ice cream at the center of the apocalypse, among other adventures. In the meantime, please listen to this NPR story about AIDS drugs in India. I am not normally a fan of inter-sphere news in audio format, but the best thing about this story is the scathing voice of an Indian lawyer, as he says:

A lot of our clients are dying. They just continue to die, it's a ridiculous situation... It's such an absurd situation, it's so starkly absurd, that it shocks you sometimes. It makes you laugh also, unfortunately.
The other high point is the argument, allegedly made by first world pharmaceutical companies, that anti-retrovirals should not be made available to poor people because it might hasten the development of drug resistance in the AIDS virus. In other words, we should continue to deny poor people treatment so they can act as a selection-damping reservoir for the virus, thus maintaining the drugs' effectiveness in rich people, and the pharmaceutical companies' profit margin. This is so shockingly cynical that it actually surprised me.

On a lighter note, peer-reviewed scientific confirmation of the intuitively obvious:

Replacing chemical with biological fertilizers may extend crop growth and ward off disease, a new study suggests.
Kumar, et al., "An alternative agriculture system is defined by a distinct expression profile of select gene transcripts and proteins," PNAS early edition, 7/12/04.

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