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November 29, 2012 | By Deborah Netburn
Are you willing to take a close look at yourself for science? A really, really close look? A team of scientists in the Bay Area is inviting citizen scientists to join them in a quest to create the largest database of human microbiomes in the world. The human microbiome is the ecosystem of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses that live on and in your body.   If that makes you feel squeamish, get over it. Your body is an ecosystem, providing a home for trillions of microscopic organisms.
November 22, 2012 | By Ken Dilanian, Washington Bureau
TULSA, Okla. - Jim Thavisay is secretly stalking one of his classmates. And one of them is spying on him. "I have an idea who it is, but I'm not 100% sure yet," said Thavisay, a 25-year-old former casino blackjack dealer. Stalking is part of the curriculum in the Cyber Corps, an unusual two-year program at the University of Tulsa that teaches students how to spy in cyberspace, the latest frontier in espionage. Students learn not only how to rifle through trash, sneak a tracking device on cars and plant false information on Facebook.
November 21, 2012 | By Eryn Brown, Los Angeles Times
Thanks to vaccination efforts, smallpox - killer of hundreds of millions people around the world over the course of the 20th century alone - was eradicated in 1979.  But even today the lethal variola virus, which causes the disease, is not completely impossible to come by. A team of French and Russian researchers recently found new snippets of smallpox DNA in 300-year-old mummies from Siberia, according to an article in the New England Journal...
November 14, 2012 | By Laura J. Nelson, Los Angeles Times
In another twist to an already bizarre story, the founder of the McAfee anti-virus software company contacted an American journalist Tuesday to maintain his innocence and chronicle how he has been evading police. John McAfee, 67, has been missing since Sunday morning, when his next-door neighbor Gregory Faull, 52, was found dead in a pool of blood in a Belize beachfront home. On Tuesday, McAfee contacted Wired contributing editor Joshua Davis and said he's on the run, scared for his life - and did not commit murder.
October 21, 2012 | By Stuart Pfeifer
Here is a roundup of alleged cons, frauds and schemes to watch out for. Fake news sites: A company accused of setting up fake news websites to deceptively market weight-loss products and other goods has agreed to pay more than $2 million to settle a lawsuit brought by the Federal Trade Commission. The FTC accused Circa Direct and its owner, Andrew Davidson, of running online advertisements that looked like news websites with titles such as “News 6.” The links led consumers to fake news reports about weight-loss beverages, penny-stock investments and work-at-home schemes, the FTC said.
October 2, 2012 | By Dan Weikel, Los Angeles Times
A second person in Los Angeles County has died of West Nile virus this year, and 54 cases of the illness have been reported locally, public health officials announced Tuesday. The latest death prompted the county health department to renew warnings for people to take precautions and reduce their exposure to mosquitoes, which can transmit the virus through their bites. Health officials said the two who died were both in their 80s and lived in the southeastern part of the county.
September 25, 2012 | By Jon Bardin
Good news, pimple poppers: The solution to your acne problem may already be all over your face. A new study has found that a specific group of benign viruses that live alongside zit-causing bacteria have the power to stop acne before it starts. The bacterium Propionibacterium acnes generally causes acne, which lives inside skin pores. When people hit puberty, an increase in hormones leads to a drastic increase in P. acnes , which in turn causes an inflammatory response on the skin.
September 10, 2012 | By Jon Bardin, Los Angeles Times
West Nile virus has caused symptoms in at least 1,993 Americans and killed 87 so far this year. And it's unlikely that this virus, which humans contract from infected mosquitoes, will be getting any less dangerous in the near future. Though the CDC believes that this year's caseload has probably peaked, a group of public health officials writing in the new edition of Annals of Internal Medicine explains why West Nile has been so deadly this year. West Nile virus made its first appearance in the United States in 1999, when the virus, which had previously affected people in Uganda, Algeria and Romania, arrived in New York City.
August 30, 2012 | By Thomas H. Maugh II, Los Angeles Times
 In what is almost certainly a medical first, a physician from my hometown of St. Joseph, Mo., has identified a new viral disease thought to be transmitted by ticks. The virus  is related to hantaviruses, which have recently caused at least two deaths at Yosemite National Park, but so far only two confirmed cases have been observed. Because the two farmers who contracted the virus live 60 miles apart, however, researchers from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspect there are probably many more unrecognized cases.
August 24, 2012 | By Rosie Mestel, Los Angeles Times
It's a bad West Nile virus season.   Here are some basic facts about the virus and some things you can do to protect yourself, gleaned from a paper in the Journal of the American Medical Assn. by Dr. Robert W. Haley of the division of epidemiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center. Most people don't get sick from the virus, which is carried by mosquitoes that have bitten infected birds. About 80% of those people who are infected by a mosquito bite will not even have any symptoms.
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