It’s A Dangerous World Out There

The threat of zombies, venomous octopuses, and pythons, and what we can learn from them

Of the many tools available to public health officials and epidemiologists trying to understand and prevent the spread of global pandemics, one valuable resources has been ignored, until now: zombie movies.

Also in today’s links: valuable measures countries take to be clean, worthless tests for predicting diseases.

  • In a three-hour test of endurance, a Kenyan man battled a 13-foot python, trying to smother the snake using his shirt and eventually biting the creature. Be careful, though. The snake was taken by authorities to a sanctuary afterward, from which it promptly escaped.
  • While only one species of octopus is dangerous to humans, a new study has found that all octopuses are venomous. This finding raises the possibility of drug development from octopus venom, which the creatures use to capture prey.
  • A list of the world’s cleanest countries has some surprises: Colombia, Albania. Who knew? But not surprisingly, the non-plastic-bag-providing countries of Europe fared best.
  • Want to know what kind of diseases might slay you later in life? Try guessing. Don’t bother with personal DNA tests. A series of commentaries find that this new service provides little information of value.