Learn to Fight Bacteria With…Cards?

That’s the take-away from this article in The Scientist about Healing Blade, a card game developed by two physicians.  Resembling Magic: The Gathering in general design, the game lets people play as bacteria or the drugs that can fight them.  The challenge comes in determining the proper strategy given limited resources and the possibility of drug resistance.  You can watch and see how various artists have represented the drugs and their bacterial foes in the game’s trailer.

The game sold almost completely out at its March premiere.  That was at the American Medical School Association convention.  How it sells to the general public will be determined later this month when it goes on sale (or did it sell out already?).  Do scroll through the card images on the website.  All of the descriptions are medically accurate, and many are quite clever.


Blame Secretary Chu For Any Future Aqua Hulk

While the Interior Department has significant responsibilities over how offshore drilling is managed by the government, the Department of Energy has provided technical assistance to BP on the Deepwater Horizon failures.  As this interview posted on The Atlantic‘s website indicates, the Energy Department assistance has borne fruit.  And it came from the top.

Secretary Chu and his fellow scientists recommended that BP use high-level gamma ray imaging to get a better sense of what exactly went wrong with the blowout prevention (BOP) valve.  Joshua Green wants to credit the Secretary for the gamma ray idea, but Chu considers it a team suggestion.  Green is also focused on making comparisons between administrations and disaster recovery, but I want to focus on another issue – cross-agency cooperation on scientific or technological matters.  From the interview, Secretary Chu (ellipses mine for space):

“there are many branches of the government that are associated with the spill, its aftermath and containment, and all those things. DOE’s major assets are not in those areas, but we do know how to image things. We do know about mechanical things. And so I felt our major assets would be in things like diagnosing what the BOP would do, and [thinking through the] steps going forward–how do you decide whether Plan A, B, C, or D would help? … What you’re doing in a situation like this is dealing with probabilities–you don’t know the exact state of something. … You’re chasing down answer about what to do should something unforeseen happen, even though it might be a very small possibility. You still want to go down those paths. Instead of approaching it as, “Oops, this happened–now what do we do?”

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