Daily Archives: January 7, 2004

Why there are cold viruses

According to this there is potentially a really good reason for cold viruses to be around. Never mind the sniffles:

“Viruses are seen as unhealthy organisms, but we have identified a potential way they can be used by the body to fight and destroy disease.”
In the method, the virus is injected into a malignant melanoma, then replicates itself and starts killing the cancer.
Researchers expect the melanoma to shrink within weeks and eventually vanish. At the same time, it is expected the virus will circulate through the body, seeking and destroying other melanoma cells.

Note that an article in The Age says:

Australian researchers are “extremely excited” to have discovered that the bug that causes colds – the coxsackievirus – is an efficient killer of melanoma cells.

Now I don’t know what is different between Australians and the rest of us but in the US coxsackievirus most commonly shows up as Hand, Foot and Mouth disease and infrequently as colds which are most often caused by rhinoviruses.

Texas Redistricting

Stephen Green notes:

The reason the court didn’t rule on the wisdom of the Republican plan, is because the plan didn’t have any.

While it had no wisdom the plan’s gerrymandering goals were clear. But these goals have been shared by Democratic majorities in the past and James Joyner reminds us that the process is not inconsistent with current practice:

So, while unusual, the 2003 re-redistricting was the first legislatively created one ratified by the courts.

Steven Taylor has it right on redistricting:

Having said all of that, I am increasingly of the opinion that an entirely different system of districting needs to be developed that would do away with conscious partisan districtcraft, and would lead to more competitive elections.
There is no doubt that across the country whichever party is in charge has drawn the lines to their advantage to the detriment of seriously competitive electoral contests in many, many districts. The only good news is that voters don’t always cooperate with the best laid plans of mice and legislature, and vote the way they want.

Stephen Bainbridge also wants to see an end to redistricting partisanship:

My own hope is that eventually we will say “enough is enough” and get rid of all this partisan gerrymandering in favor of a nation-wide system of nonpartisan redistricting designed to maximize the number of competitive seats. But I’m not holding my breath.

We would probably pay much less attention to this type of thing if our representatives (at all levels) did not dabble in this kind of stuff (link via Zombyboy).

Warning Labels

These are both funny and a sign of the times:

A five-inch fishing lure which sports three steel hooks and cautions users that it is, “Harmful if swallowed,” has been identified as one of the nation’s wackiest warning labels in an annual contest sponsored by a consumer watchdog group.

Go read the rest.
Via second place winner Alex Tabarrok.