Guest Post: Sick Monkey Mess

Here’s a mystery story. Characters include: monkeys, a genius-cum-child molester, an obsessive virologist, and a lot of really scary diseases. Oh and animal models. In the mid-1980s, monkeys at the New England Primate Research Center began to die. The disease struck only a handful of rhesus macaques – monkeys from Asia that have bald, pink […]

TGIPF Guest Post: Upstairs, Downstairs

This week on LWON’s occasional series Thank God It’s Penis Friday, we bring you wisdom from not one but two authors of newly released books about private parts. (Count your blessings, people.) Florence Williams is the author of BREASTS: A Natural and Unnatural History; Jesse Bering is the author of Why Is the Penis Shaped Like That? And […]

Baltimore: Drugs, Guns, and Real Life

Today is my birthday, a good time to reflect. And one of the things I have found myself brooding over lately is my love of Baltimore. As fans of The Wire know, the city has more than its fair share of problems — drugs, violence, and HIV, to name a few. I moved to Baltimore […]

Why Circumcision Protects Against HIV

On LWON’s first birthday, Richard Panek asked me to explain why being circumcised makes a man less likely to catch HIV. So I will. Here you go, Richard. Let’s be honest. Foreskin is weird. The rules of evolution suggest that it once conferred an advantage, but I can’t fathom what that advantage might have been. […]

Drugging Our Way Out of the HIV Epidemic

When antiretroviral drug cocktails hit the scene in 1996, they were so effective they became known as ‘the Lazarus drug.’ Many AIDS patients recovered seemingly overnight. Over the past 15 years, these drugs have saved the lives of millions of people infected with HIV. Several new studies suggest antiretrovirals could save millions more if we […]

Bad Blood

On April 22, Jason Stephany, a researcher in a yeast lab, received an email from his co-worker, a woman whose husband has a fast-growing blood cancer called acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL). She explained that her husband would need a bone marrow transplant. In patients with ALL, the bone marrow produces hordes of immature white blood […]

Muppet Messaging

American readers will probably recognize the dopey guy on the right as Elmo, of tickling fame, who lives on Sesame Street. But this isn’t Elmo, it’s his doppelgänger, Neno, who appears on Takalani Sesame, the South African version of the show. The blonde is his co-star, Kami, who will also appear on Sesame Square, a […]

A Pox on Your Hand

On a crisp fall day in November 2008, a wildlife biologist killed a deer in Eastern Virginia. He slit the carcass open from breast to tail and removed the animal’s internal organs. Hunting knives are very sharp. And, in the process of field dressing the deer, he nicked his knuckle. I imagine he didn’t think […]