Lee Lerner
Lerner KL. Epidemiology: Introductory Reference Formulas and Primer. [PERSONAL NOTES], Harvard University. 2012.Abstract
A one page (two sided) set of formulas and basic definitions for a first course in epidemiology covering essential concepts including β rate, R0, prevalence, cumulative Incidence:, absolute risk, cumulative Incidence, confidence Intervals, standard error, sample, confidence intervals, risk difference, relative risk, odds ratio, attributable risk, cohorts, case controls, positive predictive value (PPV), negative predictive value (NPV), mortality data,: healthcare disparities, case-control studies,, selection bias, recall bias, single or double blinded studies, ecological studies, cross sectional studies, selection controls, non-differential misclassification, differential exposure, detection bias. confounders, etc. (download to read more)
Biological Weapons: Genetic Identification
Lerner KL ed. Biological Weapons: Genetic Identification. Biotechnology, edited by Brenda Wilmoth Lerner and K. Lee Lerner, published by Cengage Gale. 2012.Abstract
The advent of molecular technologies and the application of genetic identification in clinical and forensic microbiology have greatly improved the capability of laboratories to detect and identify organisms used in biological weapons. Not only does this ability enhance national defense capabilities, but also the development and administration of countermeasures, including vaccines.

The genetic identification of microorganisms utilizes molecular technologies to evaluate specific regions of the genome and to determine the genus, species, or strain of a microorganism. This work grew out of the similar, highly successful applications in human identification using the same basic techniques. Thus, the genetic identification of microorganisms also has been referred to as microbial fingerprinting, and it is a key way in which bioinformatics can assist in the identification of pathogens….

Genetic technologies are especially useful in the detection of biological weapons. Of particular note is the polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, which uses selected enzymes to make copies of genetic material. If the genetic material is unique to the microorganism (e.g., a gene encoding a toxin), then investigators can use PCR to detect a specific microorganism from among the other organisms present in the sample. Traditional PCR detects RNA at the end point of the process (the plateau stage), however advances in the technology led to real-time PCR detection. This gave scientists the ability to collect data in the exponential growth phase, making DNA and RNA quantitation more efficient and accurate, and facilitated the development of hand-held detectors. Hand-held PCR detectors used by United Nations inspectors in Iraq during their weapons inspections efforts of 2002/2003 were sensitive enough to detect a single living Bacillus anthracis bacterium (the agent of anthrax) in an average kitchen-sized room. (more)
Cambridge, Mass — Neglected Tropical Diseases Meeting Attracts Global Experts
Lerner KL. Cambridge, Mass — Neglected Tropical Diseases Meeting Attracts Global Experts. Taking Bearings. LMG (London, Paris, Cambridge). 2011.Abstract

Cambridge, Mass--The International Society for Infectious Diseases (ISID) – Neglected Tropical Diseases (NTD) Meeting, held July 2011 in Cambridge, was the first global gathering of experts focusing on a group of diseases that globally afflict more than one billion people, yet receive only a fraction of the money and media attention directed towards AIDS, malaria, and tuberculosis programs. 

Scott Halstead lectured on vaccine development and the global spread of Dengue at the conference. 
Discussions concerning the best use of funding and ways to spur awareness of NTD impacts, found 
 who differed
 development, NGO treatment programs, or community- based public health programs should receive priority.  (more)

Paris -- Hemingway’s Shortcut. A Movable Feast’s Elusive Backdoor
Lerner KL. Paris -- Hemingway’s Shortcut. A Movable Feast’s Elusive Backdoor. Taking Bearings. LMG (London, Paris, Cambridge). 2011.Abstract

Paris --. Our apartment on Rue Vavin is right in heart of Hemingway’s Paris described in the middle portions of A Movable Feast (which covered the time Hemingway lived at 113 Rue Notre Dame des Champs). Gertrude Stein’s 27 Rue de Fleurus studio is one block over, and I walk by it almost daily to buy mandarins. The Jardin du Luxembourg and my pétanque courts are a mere 40 meters away. 

Hemingway’s lean prose is offset by his expansion of time and distance. In that expansion lies literary detail and significance, but in purely physical terms Hemingway’s walks are far shorter, the hills slighter in grade, than they read in A Movable Feast or The Sun Also Rises. 

I often take morning coffee at Le Select, and we frequent the other “principal cafés,” The Dome, Le Rotund, and Le Coupole. All are still operating near the tortuous intersections of the Boulevard Montparnasse, with the Boulevard Raspail and Rue Vavin. All are just a two minute walk from our apartment on Rue Vavin. The Dingo bar around the The Dome on the Rue Delambre is gone, but another bar is open in the same spot and retains the same wooden bar where Hemingway first met Fitzgerald. (more)

Lee Lerner Image
Lerner KL. * Scientists Criticize FBI Amerithrax Probe of 2001 Anthrax Attacks. Harvard University,. 2011.Abstract

On the heels of a National Academy of Sciences  report critical of the FBI's investigation of the 2001 anthrax attacks that claimed five lives, prominent anthrax researchers are preparing to publicly slam, the evidence the bureau replied upon in posthumously blaming the attacks entirely on a civilian researcher in the Department of the Army. The Department of Justice (DOJ) and FBI can also expect continued calls in Congress to establish a 9/11-like commission to investigate  the case.  more

Note: A full text copy of the NAS report mentioned in this article, "Review of the Scientific Approaches Used During the FBI's Investigation of the 2001 Anthrax Letters" is available as a full text download.  more

Lee Lerner Image
Lerner KL. Continental Drift and the Theory of Plate Tectonics. Draft Copy. Originally published 2002, revised and published in Lerner BW, and K. Lee Lerner. Scientific Thought: In Context. Cengage | Gale. 2010.Abstract

Continental drift, in the context of the modern theory of plate tectonics, is explained by the movement of lithospheric plates over the asthenosphere (the molten, ductile, upper portion of the Earth's mantle). Precisely used, the term "continental drift" is actually rooted in antiquated concepts regarding the structure of the Earth. Today, geophysicists and geologists explain the movement or drift of the continents within the context of plate tectonic theory. The visible continents, a part of the lithospheric plates upon which they ride, shift slowly over time as a result of the forces driving plate tectonics. Moreover, plate tectonic theory is so robust in its ability to explain and predict geological processes that it is equivalent in many regards to the fundamental and unifying principles of evolution in biology, and nucleosynthesis in physics and chemistry. (more)

Lee Lerner
Lerner KL. Quasars: Beacons in the Cosmic Night. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Science and Its Times: Understanding the Social Significance of Scientific Discovery. Thomson Gale. 2001, This draft updated . 2010.Abstract

The term quasar is used to describe quasi-stellar radio sources that are the most distant, energetic objects ever observed. Quasars are enigmatic. Despite their great distance from Earth, some are actually brighter than hundreds of galaxies combined, yet are physically smaller in size than our own solar system. Astronomers calculate that the first quasar identified, 3C273 (3rd Cambridge catalog, 273rd radio source) located in the constellation Virgo, is moving at the incredible speed of one-tenth the speed of light and, although dim to optical astronomers, is actually five trillion times as bright as the Sun. Many astronomers theorize that very distant quasars represent the earliest stages of galactic evolution. The observations and interpretation of quasars remain controversial and challenge many theories regarding the origin and age of the Universe. In particular, studies of the evolution and distribution of quasars boosted acceptance of Big Bang-based models of cosmology (i.e., theories concerning the creation of the Universe) over other scientific and philosophical arguments that relied on steady-state models of the Universe. (more)

Lee Lerner
Atkins W, Lerner KL. **Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Subsequent Oil Spill (aka BP Oil Spill) in the Gulf of Mexico: Technological Failures, Crisis Response, and Engineering. DRAFT COPY subsequently published in Carroll, A., McCoy, J.F., and O'Meara, M.A. Top Stories 2010. Cengage Gale. 2010.Abstract

In April 2010, a oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling rig operated by BP (formerly British Petroleum) and a vast oil spill into the Gulf waters that lasted for 87 days before being capped. The explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17. The incident is commonly called the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the Macondo blowout. Within 24 hours, the Coast Guard determined the incident had the potential to become a major environment disaster for the United States. more

Atkins W, Lerner KL. **Deepwater Horizon Explosion and Subsequent Oil Spill (aka BP Oil Spill) in the Gulf of Mexico: Technological Failures, Crisis Response, and Engineering Innovations (DRAFT COPY). Carroll, A., McCoy, J.F., and O'Meara, M.A. Top Stories 2010. Cengage Gale, 2011. . 2010.Abstract

In April 2010, a oil well blowout in the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Louisiana, caused an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon offshore oil drilling rig operated by BP (formerly British Petroleum) and a vast oil spill into the Gulf waters that lasted for 87 days before being capped. The explosion killed 11 workers and injured 17. The incident is commonly called the Deepwater Horizon oil spill, the BP oil spill, the Gulf of Mexico oil spill, and the Macondo blowout. Within 24 hours, the Coast Guard determined the incident had the potential to become a major environment disaster for the United States. more

Global Issues in Context
Lerner KL, Lerner BW ed. Global Issues In Context (GIC): An online news service and academic reference resource. [Outstanding Academic Title, 2010]. Thomson Reuters | Cengage Gale [Internet]. 2009.


Outstanding Academic TitleOutstanding Academic Title, 2010

2010 CODIE Award Finalist for Best Online News Service

2009 School Library 10 Best

Global Issues in Context is an 
international news service and academic resource.  K. Lee Lerner served as Editor-in-Chief and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner served as a senior editor for GIC content development and they were instrumental in developing the "In Context" concept for Cengage. GIC was one of the first internet-based resources to be named an Outstanding Academic Title, a designation previously reserved for books. After the launch of of GIC in 2009 they, along with LMG subject matter experts, continued to serve as primary advisors and contributing editors for science and public health content until 2018. 

GIC HA T 0.5 percent​​​​​​

Siem Reap, Cambodia -- Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever Epidemic
Lerner KL. Siem Reap, Cambodia -- Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever Epidemic. Taking Bearings. LMG(London, Paris, Cambridge). 2008.Abstract

Siem Reap, Cambodia — If all of the infectious diseases of mankind were listed in order of incidence, Dengue fever (also known as Breakbone Fever) would rank among the top ten. Yet, it’s officially a neglected disease, receiving less than one half of one percent of the funding spent on AIDs, malaria, and tuberculosis. 

Although standing water provides a ready breeding ground for many disease vectors, including the mosquitoes that transmit Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever, agricultural rice paddies are also needed to sustain the population and provide for economic exports. In Siem Reap the paddies are in close proximity to the town. 

Workers also labor -- some clearing landmines -- in areas with high mosquito concentrations, increasing their risk of contracting Dengue Hemorrhagic Fever 

Dengue is endemic in at least 115 countries and spreading globally. There is no cure. Of the 30,000 to 50,000 people who die each year, children under five are especially vulnerable. Dengue perpetuates poverty, robbing millions of their economic health. In the poorest and most vulnerable regions, Dengue steals already slim chances to live a long, productive, and healthy life.  (download to read more)

Angkor Wat, Cambodia -- Archaeological restorations and aerial surveys
Lerner KL. Angkor Wat, Cambodia -- Archaeological restorations and aerial surveys. Taking Bearings. LMG (London, Paris, Cambridge). 2008.Abstract

Angkor Wat, Cambodia -- Archaeological restorations and aerial surveys. A photo essay.



Moscow — Deadly Spy Games: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko
Lerner KL. Moscow — Deadly Spy Games: The Poisoning of Alexander Litvinenko. Taking Bearings. LMG (London, Paris, Cambridge). 2006.Abstract

Moscow -- In November 2006, former Russian spy Alexander Litvinenko, an ex-KGB and FSB officer living in London who defected to British Intelligence in 2001, was killed after ingesting radioactive poison laced with polonium-210. 

Only advanced state-level agencies have the resources to manufacture polonium-210. More specifically, analysis of trace elements and decay rates have allowed British Atomic Weapons Establishment investigators to trace the specific polonium-210 used to kill Litvinenko to a reactor in Russia. 

Polonium-210 emits alpha particles at 803 kilo-electron volts (keV). Unlike gamma rays, alpha particles don't penetrate clothing or skin. In some ways, polonium is a perfect poison. It can be carried through airports and even skip past sophisticated radiation detectors. 

Dangerous when breathed, injected or ingested, polonium-210 poisons victims from the inside to produce a slow and tortured death, the exact kind of death one might intend for a defector deemed a traitor to his country by his former colleagues because it serves as punishment and warning. Those in the know, suspect, but unless one is looking for it, polonium-210 poisoning may slip past detection, with the victim's death attributed to industrial-strength rat poison. Investigative agencies are left in a murky fog of conflicting facts and enigmatic radioactive trails. 

While Russian intelligence services certainly had the motive and means, tracing polonium-210 to a reactor in Russia does not create and open and shut case. 

Polonium-210 is specifically manufactured inside nuclear reactors to reduce static electric buildup in components of nuclear reactors, but It also has commercial uses and is a component of products openly available. Static electrical charges allow dust to cling to objects. Polonium ionizes air passing over it, the charged air then binds with and electrically neutralizes dust, allowing it to be easily blown away.  (more)

Hurricane Katrina Brings Waves of Destruction to U.S. Gulf Coast
Lerner KL. Hurricane Katrina Brings Waves of Destruction to U.S. Gulf Coast. Taking Bearings LMG (London, Paris, and Cambridge). August 29. 2005.Abstract

Under mandatory evacuations, I sent Brenda and Ellie (the last child left at home) to Texas for both Hurricanes Ivan (2004) and Katrina (2005). 

Ivan scored a direct hit, the eye passed right over Sibley. Katrina devastated the Mississippi coast and caused the levee breach that flooded New Orleans, but located in the northeast quadrant of Katrina, Mobile Bay and the Gulf Coast to Pensacola also suffered severe damage.

I weathered both storms at Sibley with an array of pets that could not be evacuated. Most boats not anchored out were lost. Power was out for weeks with Ivan and about a week with Katrina. Until the National Guard found its footing -- resources after Katrina were justifiably concentrated on Mississippi and New Orleans -- it was time to fire up the motorcycle, strap a pistol to my hip, and help out wherever needed. (more)

Lerner KL, Lerner BW ed. Science in Context (SCIC): An online science news, analysis, and reference resource. (formerly the Gale Science Resource Center) Thomson Reuters | Cengage Gale. [Internet]. 2005. harvard.academia. edu/kleelernerAbstract

2007 CODIE Award: Best Online Science or Technology Site

Science in Context (SCIC), previously the Gale Science Resource Center, is continuously updated by LMG (London, Paris, Cambridge,  Since 2003, K. Lee Lerner and Brenda Wilmoth Lerner have served as the principal science advisors and contributing editors for this respected online science educational resource. LMG's continuous updating duties cover a range of  resources including the Gale Encyclopedia of Science, the RUSA and Outstanding Academic Title award-winning Environmental Encyclopedia, and Macmillan Science Reference Series articles.


Lee Lerner
Lerner KL. * The British Intelligence Community: Secret Intelligence Service (MI6), Security Service (MI5), Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ) and other entities. Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. Draft COPY Originally published in Lerner, K. Lee and B. Wilmoth Lerner, Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, Thomson Gale. 2004.Abstract

The intelligence community of the United Kingdom is both older and more complicated than that of the United States. MI5, or the Security Service, and MI6, the Secret Intelligence Service, are the most well known components of the British intelligence structure, but these are just two parts of a vast intelligence apparatus. Communications intelligence is the responsibility of the Government Communications Headquarters (GCHQ), which works closely with the Communications Electronics Security Group, while a number of agencies manage military intelligence under the aegis of the Ministry of Defense. London's Metropolitan Police, or Scotland Yard, has its own Special Branch concerned with intelligence. 

The "MI" by which the two principal British security services are known (MI5, or Security Service, and MI6, or Secret Intelligence Service) refers to their common origins in military intelligence. Both can trace their roots to the Secret Service Bureau, created in 1909 after a report by Parliament's Committee on Imperial Defense concluded that "an extensive system of German espionage exists in this country..." Working with the War Office, Admiralty, and various operatives and agents overseas, the bureau had both a Home Section and a Foreign Section--precursors, respectively, of MI5 and MI6. 

Command and control operates through no less than four entities: the Central Intelligence Machinery, the Ministerial Committee on the Intelligence Services, the Permanent Secretaries' Committee on the Intelligence Services, and the Joint Intelligence Committee. (more)

North Korean Nuclear and Missile Programs
Lerner KL. North Korean Nuclear and Missile Programs. Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. (online) DRAFT COPY. Originally: Lerner, K. Lee and B. Wilmoth Lerner. North Korean Nuclear Program. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, Thomson Gale. 2004.Abstract

The government of the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, also commonly known as North Korea) is a strict and isolationist dictatorship ruled by Kim Jong-un (1984-2013). Despite decades of international diplomatic efforts, superior U.S. military capacity, United Nations prohibitions, and attempts at both international aid and sanctions aimed at eliminating its nuclear and missile programs, North Korea continues to develop increasingly sophisticated nuclear weapons and higher capacity missiles.  (more)

SARS and Global Public Health Security
Lerner BW, Lerner KL. SARS and Global Public Health Security. Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. (online) Draft Copy. Original version in: Lerner, K. Lee and B. Wilmoth Lerner. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence, and Security, Thomson Gale. 2004.Abstract

Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) was the first emergent and highly transmissible viral disease to appear among humans during the twenty-first century. Caused by a coronavirus (SARS-CoV), SARS is far more lethal than the pandemic 2009 H1N1 influenza (caused by a Type A H1N1 influenza virus). Although less lethal than the H5N1 avian flu virus, the SARS virus is more transmissible among humans than the H5N1 virus. 

The first known case of SARS was traced to a November 2002 case in Guangdong province, China. By mid-February 2003, Chinese health officials tracked more than 300 cases, including five deaths in Guangdong province from what was at the time described as an acute respiratory syndrome. Chinese health officials initially remained silent about the outbreak, and no special precautions were taken to limit travel or prevent the spread of the disease. The world health community, therefore, had no chance to institute early testing, isolation, and quarantine measures that might have prevented the subsequent global spread of the disease. 

Under a new generation of political leadership, Chinese officials subsequently apologized for a slow and inefficient response to the SARS outbreak. Allegations that officials covered up the extent of the spread of the disease caused the dismissal of several local administrators, including China's public health minister and the mayor of Beijing. 

In many regards, the SARS outbreak revealed what was effective in terms of public health responses, readiness, and resources. The outbreak also spurred reforms in the International Health Regulations (IHR) designed to increase both surveillance and reporting of infectious diseases and to enhance cooperation in preventing the international spread of disease. (more)

Firenze: A Fusion of Art and Science
Lerner KL. Firenze: A Fusion of Art and Science. Taking Bearings. 2003.Abstract

Firenze, Italia -- I regard spirituality as an intensely private matter . While I often have great personal respect for people of faith as well as the wisdom to be derived from religious thought, there is no place for the supernatural in science. What I define as spirituality, beyond the superficial observance of calendars and rituals, that comes closest to traditional conceptions of a soul is that part of you that can't helped but be moved by the dedication of people to life, work, and art undertaken as part of their faith. My personal list of spiritual places in this world would include the humanistic Pantheon in Paris, and the chairs in front of Newton's tomb at Westminster Abby where, for a good part of my life, I made an annual December pilgrimage to reflect on the year past over the "quod mortale fuit Isaaci Newtoni" and the achievements of others honored in scientist's corner.

If I had to pick one place that to me is incredibly moving to me, however, it would be Firenze. Although better known for its treasures of art and architecture, Florence portrays passion for the fusion of art and science like no other city in the world. (read more)

Weapons Inspections and the Prelude to War with Iraq: The International Debate Over the Use and Effectiveness of Weapons Inspections.
Lerner KL. Weapons Inspections and the Prelude to War with Iraq: The International Debate Over the Use and Effectiveness of Weapons Inspections. published as Iraq: Weapons Inspections and the Prelude to War. Government Information Quarterly. Elsevier, 2005. (online) Draft Copy (Redacted) Originally: Lerner, K. Lee and B. Wilmoth Lerner. Iraq: Prelude to War. Encyclopedia of Espionage, Intelligence. 2003.Abstract

In the aftermath of the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks on the United States and the subsequent war against the Taleban and al-Qaeda in Afganistan, United States leaders turned their attention toward Iraq, specifically its dictatorial leader, Saddam Hussein. Although Iraq was not as powerful a military threat as it was during the Persian Gulf War of 1990-1991, U.S. officials asserted that Iraq's proven development and use of weapons of mass destruction made Iraq a potential source of those weapons for terrorists who could then use them against U.S. or other Western targets. 

During the 1980s Iran-Iraq War, Hussein ordered the use of chemical weapons against Iranian forces, and additionally used chemical weapons against civilians in rebellious areas of Iraq. 

After Iraqi forces were expelled by U.S. led western coalition forces during the Persian Gulf War, as a part of the agreements that prevented the occupation of Iraq and allowed Hussein to remain in power, Hussein agreed to destroy all weapons of mass destruction and forsake the future development of nuclear, biological, and chemical weapons. 

Over a period of twelve years, 17 specific United Nations Security Council resolutions, weapons inspection programs, and economic sanctions against Iraq failed to secure Hussein's full compliance with U.N. resolutions and assure the international community that Iraq had indeed disposed of weapons of mass destruction and abandoned programs to develop new weapons of mass destruction. 

Hussein, in an effort to bolster his strong-man image that helped maintain his power in Iraq and influence in the region, played cat and mouse with international inspection teams. Fearing it would make him weak and vulnerable, Hussein refused to give up the appearance that his regime still might control weapons of mass destruction. 
Despite U.N. resolutions, in 1998 Iraq expelled U.N. weapons inspectors and no meaningful inspections took place between 1998 and 2002. 

Hussein's obstruction, pretense, and posturing resulted in highly polarized Western intelligence assessments of his warfare capacity and willingness to use WMD's.  Especially in light of the barrage of bellicose threats issued by Hussein and his official spokesman, intelligence agencies in the West scrambled to make an accurate assessment of Hussein's warfare --and specifically WMD -- capacity. 

Iraqi defiance of U.N. resolutions continued throughout the 1990s. Confounding the threats from Hussein was the fact that while older weapons were subsequently discovered and destroyed by U.N. inspection teams in Iraq, there was no direct evidence -- and only weak or conflicting evidence --  that Hussein's threats were backed by the acquisition or development of either replacement or new weapons of mass destruction. 

Hussein played a dangerous bluff -- bet on the lives of the Iraqi people -- that was ultimately called when the United States invaded and deposed him from power. 

As of July 2003, no new weapons of mass destruction -- or significant infrastructure to indicate programs to build same -- had been found by U.S. or other Coalition forces in control of Iraq.  By the end of May 2003, both British and American intelligence agencies began to downplay the possibility of finding large stores of such weapons. Although both U.S. and British officials continued to assert prior claims about the extent of Iraq's arsenal, questions arose as to whether the weapons had been removed, destroyed, or whether intelligence reports regarding the weapons had been mishandled, exaggerated, or falsified. 

Although some seized upon the growing controversy regarding the lack of WMD finds as a partisan political issue, the record was clear that all Western intelligence agencies, including those of war dissenter nations France and Germany, agreed before the war that Hussein's regime possessed weapons of mass destruction. 

At the end of July 2003, several inquires were underway into the formulation and use by Coalition governments of intelligence related to Iraqi possession development of weapons of mass destruction. 

Author's note: This article contains two Addendum sections: 

Addendum I: U.K. Prime Minister Tony Blair's "Iraq War speech" to Parliament that resulted in the government voting to use 'all means necessary to ensure the disarmament of Iraq's weapons of mass destruction" on March 18, 2003. 

ADDENDUM II:  A brief overview of the immediate aftermath of the invasion of Iraq. 
(Author's note subsequently edited in August 2003 to be a separate article in EEIS.) 
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