Guests at Hong Kong’s Metropark Hotel find themselves leading off this weeks losers category. The swanky Metropark, which hosted a traveller from Mexico who had been infected with swine flu, has been sealed off from all contact today, it’s guests and staff quarantined within the luxury resort. While there are certainly worse places to find yourself sealed in with hundreds of strangers and a potentially deadly virus, but my heart goes out to the folks inside, who must just be waiting for the horror movie to start. But hey, if you’re going to die in a horribly contrived fashion, you might as well do it somewhere with a classy buffet, right?
There are worse ways to go, I suppose – for example, you could spend your golden years being “severely gnawed” by a swarm of mice. That was the fate suffered by a couple of elderly gentlemen in an Australian nursing home. Now I’ve seen some unpleasantness in nursing homes in my time, but this really takes the cake, and is made even more galling by the fact that administrators apparently knew about the problem for months before one man was nearly bitten to death by hundreds of the rodents.
Cystic fibrosis is a loser this week too, as researchers at Dartmouth Medical School report success with a new type of treatment for the disease. One of the problems of treating CF infections is that appropriate dosages of effective antibiotics can’t be safely delivered to the lungs. But y combining iron depriving drugs with lower dosages of antibiotics, they’ve had great success in killing infections resulting from CF. Put another way – It’s Super Effective!
And in not-so-breaking news from the US, Joe Biden is an idiot.
Meanwhile, starting off our winners section this week, it’s only a matter of time before Hollywood comes calling for the story of the Chilean Hero Dog, who valiantly attempted to rescue another dog that had been struck by a car on a busy highway by dragging it to safety on the shoulder of the road. The hit dog sadly did not survive, and it’s would be rescuer, like any good mysterious hero, did not stick around for any accolades.
Stanford also fired up the first Free Electron Laser just a short while ago, marking the debut of the world’s brightest X-ray machine. If it works, the mile long x-ray generator will help researchers take a look at molecular arrangements in closeup and get a step by step view of processes like photosynthesis.
And it turns out that algae aren’t the only creatures that get their groove on in nature. Voice mimicking animals like parrots can move to a musical beat, as demonstrated below.
But the biggest winners this week are dinosaurs, who may have survived for up to a half a million years after their supposed extinction in the American Southwest. Of course, since dinosaurs did eventually go extinct, it’s a moral victory at best. But some weeks, you have to take what you can get.