Archive for August, 2011

This Ain’t Yo Momma’s Muktuk: Fermented Seal Flipper, Botulism, Being Cold & Other Joys of Arctic Living

By Rebecca Kreston | August 14, 2011 8:36 am

Does anyone else have an inordinate fear of canning jams or pickling veggies? Every time I read an article espousing the brine-laden wonders of canning your own home-grown vegetables, I think, “how hard could this really be? I can do this!”. And then I hear the niggling voice in the back of my head that whispers, “but what if you get botulism?”  And then I mutter in response, “maybe I’ll just buy my own autoclave.” Or not.

Inuit men taking a tea break during a seal hunt. Image: Dr. John Tyman. Source: Pitt Rivers Museum at the University of Oxford. Click for source

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Hello & Sorry!

By Rebecca Kreston | August 10, 2011 7:04 pm

Oh hello.

So I haven’t shown my face around here for a few months. What can I say? It’s a disgracefully long absence.

My excuse is that I enforced a blog black-out due to a big time-consuming “life project” I’m cultivating. Since May, I’ve had a jaw-dropping number of applications and essays and transcripts and requests and what-not to worry about; dedicating a few hours to researching and writing about fun diseases was not in the works. I sincerely apologize if you had been planning on reading riveting Body Horrors blog material on your beach vacation. But not to worry! I plan on publishing articles with some regularity now that I have some time on my hands. Expect fun stuff about botulism, Ebola, onchocerciasis and other frightful microbiological demons.

As a peace offering to tide you over until the next article, I provide you visual stimulation from the Youtube domain. Behold!

These two delights come from the French NGO Aides, an organization focusing on awareness of HIV/AIDS and viral hepatitis. They produce some genuinely saucy animated PSAs addressing condom usage and HIV/AIDs transmission. These are supremely R-rated, NSFW videos that strike me as distinctly French. It stretches the limits of my imagination to think of these showing in the United States. My favorite is the xenophilic Smutley, a cat frolicking to the tune of Joan Jett’s “Bad Reputation” in the first PSA. The second video emphasizes the effortlessness of rapid finger-stick testing for HIV/AIDs infection along demonstrating a few other (sexually explicit) uses for your fingertips.

I’m begging you: please don’t watch these at work or with children in the room.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VXoUaJB9zCA&feature=player_embedded

Also! Have you seen the Contagion trailer? “Someone doesn’t have to weaponize bird flu. The birds are doing that.” LOL! Weapons of avian destruction, I presume? Holy bird flu, Batman, put watching this movie on your to-do list!

See you soon. I promise.

CATEGORIZED UNDER: Bloodborne Pathogens
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