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Kausik Datta

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Since April 1, 2015, a total of 11 cases of human plague have been reported in residents of six US states; via CDC (
In that context, a replug of my 3-part posts on Plague, the disease, and the bacterial agent that causes it.

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Have any of you checked this out yet? They are positioning themselves to be "Anti-Facebook". (I know, I know... Anyone remembers Diaspora?) They are currently invitation only, like those early days of Gmail - and someone reported that invitations are being sold on eBay for $100!! Amongst its users, there are some concerns about its lack of privacy controls and security, but apparently those features would be added in time. 

cc +Sourabh Banerjee, who brought me to Twitter, and if I remember correctly, nudged me towards Facebook; +Qbradley Witover , who helped me sign up for my first ever Gmail account.

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Highlighting interesting tuberculosis research work from India.

Seriously important PUBLIC SERVICE ANNOUNCEMENT for US-based folks: this comes via the Corporate Security Department of my University, who have learnt from law enforcement sources that cellphones are being targeted in a new “missed call phone scam.”

If you receive a missed call from an unknown number showing certain area codes:
•    268
•    284
•    473
•    809
•    876
Your phone may have been targeted. DO NOT call the number back.

Scammers use an autodialer to call your cellphone, then hang up after one ring. The scam phone number then shows up as a missed call on your phone. If you call the number back, you will be connected to a pay-by-minute phone line—usually an adult entertainment service—that will charge $9 or more per minute directly to your cellphone bill. Since these numbers are based overseas, you may also be charged a steep international call fee.
Always be suspicious of missed calls from numbers you don't know—especially if they don't leave a voicemail. The Better Business Bureau warns that missed calls from the the above mentioned area codes are known to be involved in the scam.

If you think you may have been victimized by the scam, report it immediately to the carrier and keep an eye on future cellphone bills. Document the day, time and number received, along with the day and time the call was returned and any additional or pertinent information.

Please be vigilant.

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Exciting science! Oncolytic Viruses, an emerging anti-tumor therapeutic modality - my take on a recent PLOS Pathogens review. As usual, please comment after the blog if you can.

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Another brilliant science essay by one of my most favorite science writers, Ed Yong. This demonstrates the concept of episodic memory in invertebrates.

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PSA: Yesterday, it was announced that a botnet that commanded and controlled databases of user credentials for Facebook, Twitter, Yahoo, ADP and others was discovered. In plainspeak, it means that your email IDs and passwords for various accounts may have been compromised. Do go to this website:
and check if your email ID has been compromised. If you use any of these services (and chances are that you do), please immediately change your passwords for them. More detail via +ZDNet here:

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My report on the recent outbreak of cyclosporiasis in the US.

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We read this amazing story last year, and now it's on video, narrated by the fortunate man himself. Touching, very touching.
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