Journalism Tracker Comments On Health/Climate, Research Fuel Costs

The Knight Science Journalism Tracker‘s Charlie Petit, himself a former full-time newspaper science reporter of some substantial standing, got a kick out of a recent wire service story on climate change and public health.

“This is good, once-routine beat writing,” Petit wrote in a June 20 posting on a story by Associated Press’s Randolph E. Schmid on an American Public Health Association panel discussion. “Go to a meeting, take notes, corner people as it closes, write it up and have it edited in time for dinner and maybe a cocktail first.”

What caught Petit’s eye was Schmid’s “intriguing example of old fashioned health epidemiology. A spike in anaphylactic shock in Alaska, it says here, led authorities to blame them on bee stings,” Petit wrote. Schmid reported that the researchers had discovered bees and wasps moving north to areas not previously known for having stings. “More substantial impacts are seen in the spread of such diseases as cholera and malaria,” Petit wrote.

In that same KSJ posting, Petit pointed to a San Diego Union Tribune piece by Peter Rowe reporting that research vessels at nearby Scripps Institution of Oceanography, U.C. San Diego, are running up, like everyday motorists, against escalating fuel bills. Rowe had reported a cost of more than $165,000 to fuel a modest research vessel, adding that escalating diesel fuel costs are leading the research institution to consider laying-up some research vessels and/or take shorter research cruises. Cleaning off barnacles, polishing propellers, and taking other steps to cut drag are also among the short-term coping strategies.

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