random quotes ... to amuse, inspire, enrage:
  Except during the nine months before he draws his first breath, no man manages his affairs as well as a tree does.

tagged: trees, people
  —George Bernard Shaw

stem cell research standing

Wednesday, August 25th, 2010

The judge also finds that the two adult stem cell researchers who brought the case would suffer imminent and irreparable harm without the injunction because they would have to compete with embryonic stem cell researchers for research funds. That is absurd. Adult stem cell research is funded far more generously than work with embryonic stem […]

and, this week in the destruction of our children’s future world

Thursday, August 12th, 2010

The Petermann ice shelf in Greenland (the northern-most glacier in the world) has lost a quarter of its mass, calving a 100 square mile iceberg now known as the “Petermann Ice Island (2010)”. Note that there is a “2010″ designation to distinguish this one from a smaller iceberg calved in 2008. Ed Markey had a […]

libel and science

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Olivia Judd’s science blog in the NYT today is about the effect of libel on science writing — very interesting.

patents and the first amendment

Wednesday, May 13th, 2009

it’s so delightful to read those two areas of law in a single news article. The ACLU is suing to invalidate a patent on a gene. Yaay Chris Hansen. (Psst. They’re also patenting algorithms and business methods and even tax strategies.)

the giant hologram theory of the universe

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

Yes, yes, the Inauguration is a big deal. And I am soooo glad that our long national nightmare is finally over. But. There are more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in our politics, fellow Horatios. Recent physics results help stitch together a number of findings, unexplained phenomena, and the usual bizarre […]

do people ever actually *read* Roe & Casey?

Sunday, December 7th, 2008

Ross Douthat’s op-ed in the NYT is a showcase for the deceptive rhetoric of the right. The piece is a long paean to the supposed reasonableness and willingness to compromise of the anti-choice movement. He wraps up by attempting to lay the “blame” on Roe and Casey for the “failure” of Americans to reach peace […]

now bats

Friday, August 1st, 2008

This article (“Dark Night for Bats”, Kirsten Weir, Salon.com) compares the current wave of bat deaths with bees’ colony collapse disorder. I’d add the precipitous decline in frogs, as well.

Tech Coed

Friday, June 6th, 2008

My father-in-law (in Massachusetts) was in town for his fiftieth MIT reunion — class of 1958! He took my partner and me to a couple of events, and we noticed among the red-jacketed men a few red-jacketed women. By various accounts, there were nine to fifteen women (out of a thousand students) in the Class […]

borg monkey

Wednesday, May 28th, 2008

Our cyberpunk future approaches: monkeys with brain implants can control robotic devices.

NIH open access policy now in effect

Tuesday, April 8th, 2008

Starting yesterday, NIH’s new open access policy is in effect, mandating deposit of NIH-funded research (no, really, this time they mean it). See A Blog around the Clock for more info, including relevant links to info about the comments — open till May 1.

adultery and the “alpha male”

Tuesday, March 18th, 2008

Natalie Angier began an article on sexual monogamy in the natural world by reference to the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal. The entire article is a rebuke to the evolutionary psych hogwash that has been bandied about the Eliot Spitzer prostitution scandal, although I particularly enjoyed the first sentence of the second paragraph: You can accuse […]

geyser of icy particles

Saturday, March 15th, 2008

I just love the imagery in these descriptions of Saturn’s moon, Enceladus, in Friday’s NYT 3/13: Cassini Gets a Cool Shower From an Ice-Spewing Moon Then again, no other 310-mile-wide ice-ball moon in the solar system has a geyser of icy particles shooting out of its south pole. Geysers of ice. Truly, this world is […]

but what are the baby-engineering applications?

Wednesday, March 12th, 2008

the awesome new blog from annalee & charlie (and others) io9 profiled research today on growing extra fingers. think of the piano competition bump on the resume that aggressive yuppie parents can give their six-fingered offspring!

atheist’s creed

Friday, March 7th, 2008

i like this atheist’s creed pretty well. it was posted at pharyngula and i suspect that pz myers wrote it. An atheist’s creed I believe in time, matter, and energy, which make up the whole of the world. I believe in reason, evidence and the human mind, the only tools we have; they are the […]

seed vault now open

Friday, February 29th, 2008

The seed vault I wrote about last year has opened, ahead of schedule. (NYT 2/26) Bent Skovmand would be proud.

podcasts and papers

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

Pharyngula recently dropped an aside on one of my favorite topics, scientists communicating about science to the public: You can also hear the author discussing the methodology and results in a podcast, which I think is a wonderful idea. (Maybe every paper should be accompanied by a 15 minute podcast in which the author explains […]

solar systems in spaaaaace

Friday, February 15th, 2008

God I love it when people discover more solar systems and planets. A new technique that permits detection of solar systems that include large outer planets, as opposed to large planets close to their suns, is proving fruitful. The solar system that was discovered includes large outer planets and may have small rocky planets, akin […]

surprise! more copyright stuff!

Friday, February 23rd, 2007

People have called my attention to a few more copyright & related matters lately: * Darren Barefoot, who did the project “GetAFirstLife.com“, received a

women, families, tenure

Thursday, November 2nd, 2006

Surprise, having kids and a husband* make it less likely that women will get tenure-track positions or achieve tenure. See the “Marriage and Baby Blues: Re-defining Gender Equity” report (PDF) by Mary Ann Mason and Marc Goulden (2003). Thanks to my partner (a postdoc) who sent me this illustrative graphic from the report. … * […]

Calling Doctor Google

Friday, December 23rd, 2005

As a former medical librarian I thought this editorial by a medical librarian in the BMJ was fascinating. First this amazing information: Within a year of its release Google Scholar has led more visitors to many biomedical journal websites than has PubMed (J Sack, personal communication, 2005). … which certainly lends credence to the pro-tagging, […]


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