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Beyond pharmacy blog

All posts from: October 2012

Pyrotechnic pollutants

Posted by: Bystander PJWed, 31 Oct 2012

I have written in the past about hazards caused by things we launch into the air, such as helium balloons (PJ 2009;282:627) and sky lanterns (PJ 2011;287:621).

Lambeth Bridge 150th

Posted by: Bystander PJWed, 31 Oct 2012

The Royal Pharmaceutical Society’s London headquarters building is just yards from the River Thames at Lambeth Bridge. The first bridge on this site opened 150 years ago this month (November 1862), although plans for a bridge had been drawn up as early as 1734, when the only bridge over the capital’s river was London Bridge.

How to grow alcoholic yuletide flowers

Posted by: Bystander PJWed, 31 Oct 2012

Round about now, particularly in North America, many people are starting to grow paperwhite narcissi (Narcissus tazetta) to help brighten their homes over the yuletide festive period.

Mirror, mirror on the wall . . .

Posted by: Prospector PJWed, 24 Oct 2012

Celebrating ballpoint brilliance

Posted by: Prospector PJWed, 24 Oct 2012

With around 14 million sold every day around the world, the Bic Biro is used, abused and taken for granted on a grand scale that belies its interesting and chequered history.

Pumice — the rock of life?

Posted by: Prospector PJWed, 24 Oct 2012

A raft of pumice larger than the surface area of Israel, and thought to have originated from an underwater volcanic eruption, was recently spotted floating in the Pacific Ocean. But this is not the first sighting of such an enormous floating boulder. Similar rafts drifted around the Pacific for up to 20 years after Krakatoa erupted in 1883.

Move over, Stoptober

Posted by: Glow-worm PJWed, 17 Oct 2012

Natural antibiotics and tuberculosis

Posted by: Glow-worm PJWed, 17 Oct 2012

Increasing resistance to drugs for tuberculosis (TB) is a major health problem worldwide. The most commonly used agents, isoniazid and rifampicin, are often no longer effective.

Many uses of the glow-worm

Posted by: Glow-worm PJWed, 17 Oct 2012

The term “bioluminescence” describes light produced within an organism by chemical reaction. It needs no energy from another source, unlike biofluorescence, in which proteins absorb external energy and reradiate it.

Eye-phone application

Posted by: Hourglass PJWed, 10 Oct 2012

Most blind people with treatable eye conditions live in developing countries where access to healthcare is limited. However, the promise of more accessible diagnosis and treatment is offered by a modified smartphone developed by Andrew Bastawrous, who has won this year’s Medical Research Council Mark Perutz award.

Cherries against gout

Posted by: Hourglass PJWed, 10 Oct 2012

Gout has long been linked with diet, particularly overindulgence in meat, seafood and alcohol, but few foods have been shown to cut the risk of gout. So findings from a new study published in Arthritis and Rheumatism are intriguing.

Victorian heroine of tropical medicine

Posted by: Hourglass PJWed, 10 Oct 2012

I have always enjoyed reading about Victorian women who dared to move beyond the confines of their day, so the 150th anniversary of the birth of African explorer Mary Kingsley, which is on 13 October, attracted my attention immediately.

Idea ahead of its time

Posted by: Didapper PJWed, 3 Oct 2012

Many inventions are older than we think, usually because the basic idea was way ahead of the technology needed to exploit it. A good example is the fax machine. It was patented in 1843, but early machines were bulky, heavy, slow and expensive, and a commercially viable machine did not appear until 1966.

Wind-wasted windmills

Posted by: Didapper PJWed, 3 Oct 2012

Twenty-five years ago, on the night of 15 October 1987, southern England was hit by a storm more severe than any since the Great Storm of 1703. Winds felled 15 million trees, brought down power lines and damaged numerous buildings. Eighteen people were killed. Clean-up costs totalled some £2bn. 

Nicotine and green tobacco sickness

Posted by: Didapper PJWed, 3 Oct 2012

As the Stoptober anti-smoking campaign gets under way, many tobacco users will no doubt be turning to nicotine patches as a way to maintain their nicotine addiction while avoiding the major health risks of smoking.

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