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Meguro and the Parasitological Museum August 25, 2013

Posted by ayasawada in Culture, Science, Travel.
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Meguro Parasitological Museum

Ever wanted to visit a parasite museum? Of course you have. There’s only one in the world, and wouldn’t you know it, it’s in Tokyo in the pleasant southern suburb of Meguro. A friend of mine happens to live there (as does Danny Choo) and mentioned the museum to me as a local curiosity. Given my day job as a science writer, I couldn’t really pass up the opportunity to see it. (more…)

Manga and Medicine September 15, 2010

Posted by ayasawada in Books, Culture, Japan, Manga, Science.
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Tezuka's Black Jack casts a shadow on many medical manga

In June one of my dreams came true: I went to a comic book conference for work.

The first ever Comics and Medicine conference taught me much about how comics are being used to improve healthcare and patient (and doctor) understanding. And, much to my delight, manga came up a lot. (more…)

First feature November 24, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Science.
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I had my first feature article for Wellcome published on the site on Friday. It’s only based on one interview, but the subject is pretty interesting and in keeping with my previous experience on developing country science ^^

Overall, I’m reasonably pleased with it. Am working up to doing something more in depth with a bit more research and a range of opinions. Will be good to have a topic to really sink my teeth into, though I’m sure it’ll be pretty difficult to piece together.

Otherwise, I continue to contribute regular news to the site. We don’t currently put bylines on the news stories (T_T) but this one and this one are all me. And this one was my first news article in the job. Most of the time I tend to re-edit press releases on stuff we’ve funded: for example this, this and this. Editing is bread and butter stuff for me, so I don’t mind doing it. It can be a bit challenging sometimes too if ther press release really sucks or I have to dig out the Wellcome angle. Of course, nothing beats writing and interviewing for your own article.

Where it gets a bit boring is when I have to do slightly promotional ‘announcement‘ news. It’s a great project, don’t get me wrong, but a follow up call like this isn’t exactly groundbreaking news.

Other than that, I’ve been doing bits and pieces for our various brochures, magazines and reports. I’ve even ghostwritten for the Director twice. So plenty of variety keeping me occupied. ^^

Deep kissing and HIV November 20, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Science.
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More joy from the Africa Science News Service:

“I was not quite sure how the deadly disease is transmitted. My parents never quite explained to me openly. Now I know it is spread through sexual intercourse, blood transfusion in hospitals and deep kissing through which three litters of blood is passed,” recited Rosemary Nyambura.

Methinks something has gone wrong in the editing process (if there is an editing process at ASNS). That or there is some seriously violent form of French kissing going on in Kenya.

Plagiarised! November 19, 2008

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Science.
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Here’s an article on a Kenyan researcher doing good work on malaria using geospatial modelling. It reads really well, but….

“By Henry Neondo” my arse. I (re)wrote that, based on something the Kenya Medical Research Institute had put together and asked me to help with before they sent out to local publications for publicity. The article is word for word what I edited and rewrote.

Of course, the main thing is that the info gets out there. But it’s another example of the plagiarism that is rife in African journalism and which used to drive me insane as an editor.

A more original feature coming up on the Wellcome Trust website this Friday.

World TB Day March 25, 2007

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Science.
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I almost forgot. Today (well, yesterday now) is World Tuberculosis Day and we spent Thursday slaving well into the evening to put up SciDev.Net’s World TB Day resource.

Tuberculosis (TB) kills over one million people each year. Control is hampered by drug-resistant strains and the increasing threat of coinfection with HIV/AIDS.

This year’s World TB Day (24 March) aims to highlight the world’s collective responsibility to combat this curable disease.

Here, we present a collection of news, commentary and feature articles that describe and discuss some of the issues facing TB control in the developing world.

It’s a cause that really does need more awareness, so please stop by.

Right or wrong? You decide February 14, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Personal, Science.
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Here’s my article on a recent event on Xenotransplantation, as published in this week’s Felix (better look quick, I have no idea how long these things stay on the website). Be kind.

Guardian Unlimited | Science | The prize: $10m. To win, just solve these science problems February 14, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Science.
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Guardian Unlimited | Science | The prize: $10m. To win, just solve these science problems

Good idea, but will inevitably face criticisms of being too commercial. And not as ethical as the Bill and Melinda Gates Fund for health research, which targets health problems not tackled by big pharma (e.g. Malaria in the developing world).

And am I the only one staggered that at the fact that some $1oom was spent on the Ansari X-Prize? If people can afford close to $10m to enter, surely they could have done some research themselves?

The eleventh hour February 9, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Science, TV.
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An absolute corker at the end of tonight’s episode.

“You have your beliefs Professor Hood. I have mine”
“They aren’t my beliefs. It’s science!”

A fitting last word. Shame this was the last in the series.

The Eleventh Hour February 2, 2006

Posted by ayasawada in Science, TV.
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Ah, science brought to the world of British Drama. I just watched my first episode of the new ITV drama, with Patrick Stewart as the bad-science busting Professor Hood. This week’s episode focused on climate change, with an old colleague of Hood’s battling ‘myseterious forces’ seeking to cover up his essential research. I’ve got no problem with an earnest attempt to put science into the public eye (and a prime-time slot is a great thing). Unfortunately, it reminded me why I don’t watch British dramas, particularly ITV ones. No increase in production values can make up for the sheer ridiculousness of the script nor the irritating Hollywood visualisations used (honestly, how many computers load up a programme that immediatly shows a working flash graphic, complete with the key facts ‘flying out’ at you in 3D effects? With a spinning globe and a Matrix-style code background??). And as much as I love Patrick Stewart, he can’t maek bad dialogue sound good, though the sound of him screaming “Bloody hell!” and “Tell your industry paymasters to shove it!” was quite amusing. And interesting how the final chase had Hood rushing to get stolen data to a publishing company (not a respected scientific journal) that miraculous churned out a book seemingly within days. And just for good measure they even had a coda at the end with Hood and his partner discussing how change wouldn’t happen overnight, but “climate change is important”.

Next week a miracle spring claims to cure cancer, leading to an outbreak of mysterious disease. This programme has me screaming at the TV, but if I can suspend my disbelief for 24, I can do it for this. At least it’s in the name of science communication.