Un-Wired

I first came to WIRED in 2001, when the dot-com blowup was in full howl, and when the promise of a magazine built around technology seemed dubious. It took some months, but soon WIRED found its footing in a new era: one where the promise of science was rejuvenating, and where the benefits of technology reestablished themselves as fundamental to the future. Oh, and in this new era, technology was for everyone, and could be fun. Even cool.

Finding the upside of failed clinical trials

Forbes reported that Astra Zeneca sponsored a drug trial where their lipid-lowering drug, Crestor, went head-to-head with Pfizer's Lipitor, a strange battle from the start since many considered Lipitor the underdog in the battle. But the results showed no difference in outcome, which for this study was how blockages in the arteries of the heart progressed after treatment. In other words, the trial resulted in a draw, and delivered a huge blow to Crestor, since it will retain its patent, and associated high price tag, until 2016, while Lipitor's constituant, atorvastatin, will be available as a generic this week at a fraction of the price of the brand-name cholesterol-lowering meds (http://ti.me/tZf3j6).

Miracle berries: the artificial sweetener that never was

The small, red berries of the _Richadella dulcifica_ plant are not very sweet. In fact, miraculin, the main chemical found in the berry's flesh tastes like, well, nothing. But after eating these berries, people's taste buds embark on an hour-long wild ride, so that any sour foods they eat -- even lemons -- will taste sweeter than candy. Quite trippy

Storm Surge

The idea that climate change is linked to the spread of a disease is not new. Some bacteria and viruses, after all, piggyback on an animal or insect, and the infectious advance depends on the host's reaction to climbing temperatures. Consider dengue, a disease once anchored to tropical climates by its host's penchant for heat and humidity, which is now pushing further north with its mosquito transits as the upper latitudes get warmer. But according to a study published this past June in PNAS, it's not only climbing temperatures that are worrisome; in the past, even heavy rains have altered the course of disease, though often in divergent directions.

The value of the meet-up

The brilliance of Wikipedia is that anyone, at any time, can contribute to the project, and in doing so, the collective knowledge of the world's largest encyclopedia keeps improving and expanding. In last week's issue of The New Yorker, Lauren Collins brought up an interesting point about Wikipedia worth sharing; one that anyone interested in dealing with virtual communities should absorb.

That little bit of exercise

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Brian Mossop is currently the Community Editor at Wired, where he works across the brand, both magazine and website, to build and maintain strong social communities. Brian received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2006. His postdoctoral work was in neuroscience at UCSF and Genentech.

Brian has written about science for Wired, Scientific American, Slate, Scientific American MIND, and elsewhere. He primarily cover topics on neuroscience, development, behavior change, and health.

Contact Brian at brian.mossop@gmail.com, on Twitter (@bmossop), or visit his personal website.

Madness and greatness

Read the post here.

Brian Mossop is currently the Community Editor at Wired, where he works across the brand, both magazine and website, to build and maintain strong social communities. Brian received a BS in Electrical Engineering from Lafayette College, and a PhD in Biomedical Engineering from Duke University in 2006. His postdoctoral work was in neuroscience at UCSF and Genentech.

Brian has written about science for Wired, Scientific American, Slate, Scientific American MIND, and elsewhere. He primarily cover topics on neuroscience, development, behavior change, and health.

Contact Brian at brian.mossop@gmail.com, on Twitter (@bmossop), or visit his personal website.