Articles to 2011-10-08

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First the link to this week’s complete list.

I don’t quite see the point d’Costa et al. try to make from their results. Fleming did not invent or engineer the penicillium fungus but only discovered its effects. The fungus and other antibiotic organisms have coexisted with bacteria for probably millions of years, so resistance genes as such are not surprising at all. It’s a question of orders of magnitude. That a very sensitive search finds the genes in no way contradicts “that collections of microbes that predate the antibiotic era are highly susceptible to antibiotics” and currently encountered pathogens much less so.

There is another comment on the Kemp article from July 8th by Grinsted, who wants to make the current sea level rise even more pronounced. I stand by my conclusion, that current height above the base rock is no direct measure of height at the time of deposition and that lower strata get crushed over time.

Richard P. Feynman has put P. van Assche’s conclusion more succinctly: "Never believe what the experts say!"

The book by Perrow should perhaps be recommended to a general readership. Engineers have always known, that more complication does not usually make a better device and that additional safety systems piled one upon another will not increase reliability. One look at tax law and at legal systems in general suffices to show this knowledge is not generally shared.

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