Thursday, September 22, 2011

Guest Posts at

Thank you very much to Amy Rogers of for inviting The Febrile Muse to submit a guest post. In two-part fashion, The Febrile Muse became ScienceThriller's "Web Treasure Tuesday!" In that post my science short stories and recommendations of infectious disease picture books for little kids were highlighted. In an additional post the next day, Amy posted my recommendations for science books for kids.

As you may know, Amy Rogers is the author of Petroplague. I hope to be reading and reviewing it soon here.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Antimalarial Campaign for GIs, Daddy-O Style

Booklet cover with caricature of Ann the mosquito in a come hither pose.
Theodor Seuss Geisel;
 from 1943 War Department
“This is Ann…” writes Theodor Seuss Geisel [yes, Dr. Seuss] in his 1943 World War II Army instructional pamphlet about how GIs can protect themselves [in Africa, the Caribbean, India, South and Southwest Pacific and other “hot spots”] from the Anopheles mosquito.
  • Use netting correctly
  • Wear clothing
  • Wear repellent even over clothing [especially over the seat of the pants as this is a favorite target].
  • Army is draining pools and ditches and poisoning ones that can’t be drained.
  • Don’t go into native villages.
  • Report headaches, chills, and fevers and seek treatment.
His illustrations are what you would expect, but the prose is non-rhyming and the dialog not appropriate for young children:
“The best protection you have with you all the time is your clothes. If you go running around like a strip teaser, you haven’t got a chance”….from Theodor Seuss Geisel: The Early Works of Dr. Seuss vol 1; 2005; Checker Book Publishing Group
All-in-all, it’s fun to see his foray into infectious diseases. Also included in this book are WWII editorial cartoons, a mention of his WWII documentaries written with Chuck Jones, and various advertising campaigns he was involved in.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Scientific American Guest Blog: Tinea Speaks Up--a Fairy Tale

A Graveyard in Ireland; "Circle of Friends"
photograph by Curtis Andrews; 
curtismandrews[at]yahoo[dot]com; Waukesha WI
This story published on Scientific American Guest Blog yesterday relates to power of infectious diseases, yet told in Fairy Tale format.  Ringworm and other scalp diseases were commonly grouped together as "scald head" or "mange" in fairy tales.  In my tale "Tinea speaks up--A Fairy Tale" Tinea wants power and makes a case for it by using some fairy tales [that of the Arabian Nights, Basile, Grimm and Calvino] as evidence of her worthiness.  It is not as "scientific" as "Lenina versus the pneumococcus," but infectious disease is central.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Lost in the Tangles: Journey and Genes of Alzheimer's

Genegeek and I co-developed "Lost in the Tangles: Journey and Genes of Alzheimer's" to enter into GeneScreenbc's 2011 video competition.  The project was geared toward education and was 
"targeted towards those interested in creating short films aimed at educating students in grades 8 to 12 about any topic related to the role of genetics and genomics in human health." [Genescreenbc]

Genegeek and I decided to give it a try, our first attempt. We had a great time working together on it, with our HS student video editor--a sweet trifecta considering the goal of the project.  

As to the relevance of Alzheimer's to an infectious disease website--there is no known infectious disease cause. However, inflammation plays a key role in Alzheimer's pathology.

Please view the video and "like" it if you wish to vote for us--there is a People's Choice Award for the one with the most "likes."
Regardless of the outcome, the three of us have won a fantastic experience.

In tribute to memory, here is J.S. Lee...
it's a process

head tipped back and lens out of focus
i sip the last dregs of sunlight
from a summer fast fading,
etching her colors black-inked into tomorrow,
tracing my words into the wet cement of eternity.
my steps quicken to match the fall
of the leaves over old brick in the city’s
East end, my footfalls small
miracles of blurry substance in a brittle
but the words
just won’t flow like
they’re supposed; they start and they
stutter over roots in the sidewalk, getting lost in the
mutter of leaves and passing traffic and sometimes
when the light recalls just perfectly
the way it used to fall
through your bedroom blinds in
September’s late mornings, then
the muscles at the top of my throat
close up and in the sudden rush of air
that i swallow to
push the memories back
down into oblivion, they
vanish altogether,
leaving my shadow to
walk alone through the early October

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Inflammatory Language: Call for Submissions

The Febrile Muse will be starting "Inflammatory Language." This will be a series of brief primers concerning inflammation. Here is the call for submissions!  Would you like to contribute a very brief [300 word or less] primer that relates in some way--inflammation? You can use humor, politics, current events, artwork, or whatever you wish as long as it is appropriate for viewing and written so that most people can understand it.

The overall goal is to accurately inform readers.

Submissions can be sent to thefebrilemuse[at]gmail[dot]com, and as soon as I have received acceptible submissions, I will begin posting with your byline and link to your website. Thank you in advance.

Neutrophil chasing some Staphylococcus aureus
(from 16mm movie by David Rogers, 
Vanderbilt University, in the 1950s)

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