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Maryn McKenna
29,732 followers -
Has been immunized against bioweapons that don't even exist yet.
Has been immunized against bioweapons that don't even exist yet.

29,732 followers
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In March, I gave a TED talk, on the world after we lose antibiotics. Today, it went live and open-access. I hope you find it interesting!

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This "classic trash" book review made me snort tea out my nose, and you can too:

"Honestly, I don't know why anyone bothers to write sweeping cross-generational sagas of forbidden love about any other group of people. We Irish have it all: massive guilt complexes, promiscuity, addictive personalities, and a complete inability to ever let anything fucking go, ever. It makes for good copy. If you're not convinced, pick up one of those Maeve Binchy novels you buy for your mom at Christmas, and try to picture the characters hailing from Wellfleet instead. What about a German Scarlett O'Hara? Morgen ist ein anderer Tag? That's just plain menacing."

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The launch of an advocacy group in Georgia, where I live, gives me the opportunity to look at some of the stats around chicken production. For instance: Georgia is the home of broiler-chicken raising in the US, producing 1.4mm chickens per year, along with 2mm tons of chicken manure, and uncountable antibiotic-resistant organisms. (OK, I knew about the organisms part.)

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I have a vague memory of watching an episode of a network medical drama -- was it St. Elsewhere? -- and hearing a character say that before HIV came along, "VD was no b.d." And that's true: For decades, we didn't take sexually transmitted diseases seriously, because antibiotics made them almost instantly curable. Only, that's no longer true. At Wired, I describe a medical journal's warning that gonorrhea is well on the way to untreatable.

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So, you might have noticed that about 2 weeks ago, there was a bloom of stories saying antibiotic-resistant bacteria on meat is no big deal and not because of farm antibiotic use. Here's why I think they were all wrong.

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Maggots, leeches, 1950s milkshakes and the "ick factor": More on fecal transplants, because people just love this stuff. Brilliant sound journalist Steve Mirsky kindly features me on the SciAm podcast.

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An update on TDR-TB in India (sorry to drop out of sight, conference + bronchitis): The Indian government says it isn't happening. That should work.

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More on the hair-raising news of totally drug-resistant TB in India: I dig back through the literature (with an assist from ProMED, whom if you don't follow, you should) and find the earliest recorded cases of TDR were not India, or Iran, but Italy in 2003. So, maybe stay away from places that start with a vowel. Just in case.

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Gah. Had to take to G+ because my rage at the NYT Public Editor's "should reporters be 'truth vigilantes'?" cannot be contained in 140.

Dear Public Editor:
1. This column is an embarrassment.
2. Fortunately, your readers (135 comments in 2 hours and rising) are so much smarter than you are.
3. And to answer: No. You go ahead with your slavish Sunday Styles paeans to the lives of the 1% and your whines about not being able to find a Fairway in Kansas City. Leave journalism to those of us working out here who don't actually have to wonder what our job is.

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TB was the HIV of its day, a global epidemic that took the young, urban and brilliant — and since the 1990s, it's been coming back in increasingly hard-to-treat forms. At Wired, I talk about the latest, very unsettling discovery: In India, 12 cases that resist treatment by all known TB drugs.
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