Good evening all,
As I mentioned in lecture on Wednesday, we are still on track schedule-wise, and do not have a chapter planned for Friday of this week. Thus, let's not meet in person for class tomorrow. Instead, I'm passing along (below) a link to a recent news article that I would like you to read, about some of the dangers associated with vaping, a topic that is certainly of the latest health issues of concern. As a former smoker, I know first-hand the 'rush' associated with nicotine; as a physiologist, I know too well the dangers associated with inhaled substances. To me, vaping seems to present dangerous levels of both.
I will occasionally pass along science and health news articles of this type during the semester. My purpose in doing so is to help you to become more aware of topics at the interface of biology and society, and also to help you assess how you obtain your science and health news.
Those of us working in science obtain our scientific news, quite often, directly from the original sources: the people conducting the studies and reporting the results. They publish their findings in science journals, or present them at conferences.
Most people do not obtain science news directly, but hear news via secondary sources, such as news releases from scientific organizations, or news stories from the major news outlets. These secondary reports often are then carried by tertiary outlets (smaller/other reporting sources, including news aggregators and media feeds).
Along the way from source to audience, science news is normally distilled (a lot) - much of the detail is excluded or simplified, and the reports often are boiled-down to singular take-home messages, which may (or may not) be good representations of the original work.
When you browse the links that I will forward, or when you access science and health news on your own, I'd encourage you to delve a little bit deeper into them, to read more than just the summaries, and to follow links back to original sources when possible. I'd also encourage you to think a little about the translation of news from source to consumer, and the reputability of the news outlets that you use.
You will not be formally tested on any of the material in the news stories that I will send you, but I do hope that the material in them makes its way into our conversations.
This first link is from the New York Times, which provides one of the best (e.g., best funded and most reliable) secondary sources of science and health news. They do limit access to only a handful of free articles each month, so I will use them sparingly.
Here's wishing you all a safe and enjoyable Labor Day weekend - see you next week.