April 30th, 2021

Today’s ASM News Digest reported that on 04 April, Thomas D. (Tom) Brock passed away at the age of 94 (Microbiologist Thomas Brock Dies at 94 | The Scientist Magazine® (the-scientist.com). This week there was also a column about him in the New York Times (Thomas Brock, Whose Discovery Paved the Way for PCR Tests, Dies at 94 – The New York Times (nytimes.com)).  Here I’ll share my personal story.

Although Tom spent most of his career as a professor at the University of…

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April 12th, 2021

 

Former U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld statement from 12 February 2002, Department of Defense news briefing.

 

RCA Universal Concepts

Before discussing RCA’s third and fourth steps I’ll again share the figure I include with my March article. Successful RCA includes eight primary elements. Figure 1 illustrates the primary RCA process steps.

Fig 1. Common elements shared by effective RCA processes.
Steps 1 & 2 Refresher. Define the Problem and…

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March 25th, 2021

Cause: Stabbing balloon with nail. Effect: A popped balloon.
What is root cause analysis?

Root cause analysis (RCA) is the term used to describe any of various systematic processes used to understand why something is occurring or has occurred. In this post and several that follow, I’ll focus on an approach that I have found to be useful over the years. Regardless of the specific tools used effective RCA includes both subjective and objective elements. The term root cause is often…

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February 19th, 2021

John Cleese and Michael Palin of Monty Python’s Flying Circus in the “Dead Parrot Sketch”, first aired in December 1969.What is a dead microbe and why might we care?

I today’s post, I’m returning to a topic I first discussed in 2019 (https://biodeterioration-control.com/2019/07/). In the Monty Python’s Flying Circus “Dead Parrot Sketch”, John Cleese plays the role of an unhappy customer who believes that he has just purchased a dead parrot. Michael Palin – playing the…

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December 28th, 2020

Electron microscopy image of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
 

COVID-19 Infection Statistics

Although anti-COVD vaccines are rolling out and people are being immunized, as of early late December 2020, the rate at which daily, newly reported COVID-19 cases has continued to rise (Figure 1). In my 29 June 2020 What’s New article I discuss some of the limitations of such global statistics. In that post, I argued that the statistics would be more meaningful if the U.S. Centers for Disease…

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