Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Medical Science Worksheet I

It has recently been brought to my attention that the term "food poisoning" is technically limited to foodborne unpleasantness caused by toxins, as for example the toxin produced by the cholera bacterium (Vibrio cholerae), whereas viruses, even if transmitted through the same food and having the same effects, don't count as food poisoning because there is no specific "poison:" the effects of the virus are caused by the immune system's attempt to remove the virus, and not by anything the virus makes per se.

Based on the above, classify the following scenarios into "food poisoning," "not food poisoning," or "either / don't know" by labeling each with a Y, N, or ?, respectively.

___ 1. Jessica Guilford goes to Jimmy John's Sandwich Shop1 and subsequently has an excruciating day and a half sitting on the toilet because some dumbfuck who works there (and possibly shouldn't even have come in to work that day, if he'd been sick that recently) doesn't wash his hands after going to the bathroom and transfered norovirus to her roast beef sandwich.

___ 2. Kindly old Mrs. Schmidt down the street serves her husband a bowl of chicken noodle soup, to which she has added enough warfarin (rat poison) to drop a small horse.

___ 3. A server in a restaurant sneezes on your pizza as she brings it to your table. You never experience any symptoms or find out about the sneeze.

___ 4. A KGB agent spritzes a solution of Polonium-210 into the air in a restaurant where food is being served.

___ 5. A relief aid worker in one of those countries with all the problems gives a glass of water to a small child, which water turns out to contain cholera bacteria and poliovirus.

___ 6. As with #1, except that Ms. Guilford gets E. coli and lands in the hospital for two weeks and eventually has to have a kidney transfusion, which she can't afford because she's bankrupt from the initial hospital stay, and, sadly, she dies mere weeks later.

___ 7. You eat strawberries grown in Mexico which are tainted with Hepatitis A and become ill.

___ 8. You eat strawberries grown downwind of a coal-burning power plant and develop heavy-metal poisoning.

___ 9. You eat strawberries grown in an idyllic organic utopia, but you eat them at a picnic table which is downwind of a coal-burning power plant and develop heavy metal poisoning.

___ 10. You eat a hamburger, made from beef that came from a herd of cows, 15% of which test positive for mad cow disease. 50 years later, you develop Creutzfeld-Jakob disease.

1(I'm pretty sure.)

Answers in comments

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Future of the United States Pop Quiz IV

1. The first planet outside the Solar System found to have detectable liquid water on its surface, discovered in 2009, also had what other unexpected quality?

a. Its atmosphere contained approximately 20% oxygen.
b. Its atmosphere contained approximately 20% chlorine.
c. It was also the source of radio waves which are thought to be a signal from an alien civilization.
d. It was orbiting a type-O (blue giant) star.

2. The sport of boxing was officially made illegal in the United States in what year?

a. 2011
b. 2025
c. 2030
d. 2074

3. Which relatively common pop-cultural item from 2007 will be regarded by your children as soon as 2018 not only as lame and unfashionable, but as encapsulating everything that was wrong with the first decade of the 21st century?

a. "Jesus fish" (bumper decal)
b. sport-utility vehicles
c. The Secret (book by Rhonda Byrne)
d. blogs

4. What turns out to have been causing men's sperm counts to decline around the world for the last several decades?

a. airborne mercury from industry, coal-burning, etc.
b. iodized salt
c. changes in the magnetic field of the Earth
d. phthalate esters (plasticizers)

5. Which former childhood disease has seen a 5000% increase in incidence in the U.S., as well as the emergence of antibiotic-resistant forms, between the years 1980 and 2050, and what is the one factor most responsible for its return?

a. cholera; backlash against water chlorination due to media alarmism about chlorinated hydrocarbon residues in drinking water
b. syphilis; decline in safe-sex education and practices due to increased Evangelical control of U.S. government from about 1978 to 2028
c. pertussis (whooping cough); backlash against vaccination due to media alarmism about alleged links between vaccination and autism
d. anthrax; repeated releases of weaponized, genetically-engineered bacteria by a former Pentagon scientist with Aryan Nation sympathies between 2015 and 2017.

6. Which of the following is not thought or known to be extinct by 2045?

a. Siberian tiger (Panthera tigris altaica)
b. Polar bear (Ursus maritimus)
c. Giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca)
d. Blue whale (Balaenoptera musculus)

7. The Rapture (return of Jesus Christ to take the true believers into Heaven), as predicted by Evangelical Christians, occured on:

a. July 16, 2007
b. March 7, 2045
c. July 3, 2061
d. the Rapture has not yet occurred as of 31 Dec 2099.

8. The major breakthrough in production of renewable energy was ______, and it occurred in ____.

a. the invention of solar panels which were 40-45% efficient in converting solar energy to electrical energy; 2007
b. the invention of "Hydrolox" (solid-phase, low-flammability storage medium for hydrogen gas); 2009
c. the invention of caralamide, a catalyst for decomposing water to hydrogen and oxygen; 2017
d. the creation of the first self-replicating wind power plant; 2059

9. Which of the following mythical creatures was created in 2061 by Dr. Govinda Gopalakrishnan through genetic engineering?

a. Green dragon (Varanus technetius chlorophthalamus)
b. Unicorn (Equus monoceros)
c. Manticore (Chimera vox)
d. Hydra (Lernaea polycephalis)

10. What is the name of the federal agency, founded in 2015, which is responsible for approving the contents of any and all postings on the internet before they may be accessed by other users?

a. National Internet Decency Administration (NIDA)
b. United States Internet Commission (USIC)
c. Internet and Media Entertainment Enforcement Board (IMEEB)
d. Small Media Access Regulatory Agency (SMARA)

Answers are located in comments.