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Wade-ing into the debate on race and genetics

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Nathaniel KrefmanJun 25, 2014Comments
Former staff writer for the NY Times and now freelancer, Nicholas Wade, has a provocative editorial piece the Wall Street Journal this week.  The subject:  whether there is a genetic basis for the race. Wade is promoting his new book, titled Troublesome Inheritance: Genes, Race, and Human History.  His editorial is titled "Race has a biological basis. Racism does not."  In the ~  read more

The Market for Ocean Trinkets is Driving the Nautilus Extinct

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Matthew DavisJun 24, 2014Comments
Scientific American blogger Jonh Platt has a piece up covering the work of Peter Ward, environmentalist and science writer. In addition to waxing romantic about mollusks, he's also making the point that if people keep buying seashells at little shacks by the seashore, the shells are all we're gonna have left of our little geometrically mesmerizing ~  read more

Why is everyone still piling on that poor STAP woman?

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Arjun RajJun 24, 2014Comments
I was really troubled to read Lenny's post about how RIKEN CDB might actually shut down because of the STAP retractions. The whole episode seems to have gotten completely out of hand. I feel like there's something I'm not getting, because I can't quite figure out why this is causing such a huge crisis. What is going on here? Here are some more thoughts on the ~  read more

Expert in non-equilibrium molecular reaction dynamics tries to crowdsurf at classical concert

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Justin KigginsJun 23, 2014Comments
No doubt tarnishing the reputation of scientists everywhere, Dr David Glowacki took the invitation to loosen up at an “accessible and informal” classical concert in Bristol a bit to seriously. Before the performance, Mr Morris invited the audience to bring their drinks into the standing area in front of the stage and instructed them: “Clap or whoop when you like, and no ~  read more

Force in biology

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Timothy SaundersJun 23, 2014Comments
Measuring force in biology is notoriously difficult, especially if accurate readings are wanted.  However, new work on the single cell organism fission yeast has measured both the internal turgor pressure of the cell but also the elastic surface modulus. The key experiment was to geometrically confine the cells and then record how the cells buckled or slowed in growth as they came into ~  read more

Applicants with an advanced degree must have an additional 3-8 years internship experience

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Justin KigginsJun 23, 2014Comments
Jorge Cham's latest comic on postdocs prompted quite the discussion on Sunday... "So, what comes after your PhD?" "A 3-5 year internship." #sigh http://t.co/xdg8fhLx94 pic.twitter.com/PY1ENA4Rn8 — Justin Kiggins (@neuromusic) June 22, 2014 I was called out for my optimistic postdoctoral timeline: "Or 2. Or 3." RT @neuromusic: "So, what comes after your PhD?" "A 3-5 year internship." #sigh ~  read more

Perhaps we should shut down Nature rather than RIKEN?

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Lenny TeytelmanJun 21, 2014Comments
I am simply stunned to read that the STAP debacle might lead to the closing of RIKEN. The investigation found severe lack of oversight, throughout the hierarchy of the institute. I am stunned because if we do assign blame past the authors of the stem cell papers, shouldn't most of it fall on Nature for publishing? Perhaps we should shut down Nature? I am not joking. It's not just Nature ~  read more

Don't drop a postdoc salary and a half on a new electrophysiology system

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Justin KigginsJun 21, 2014Comments
Go open-source. There's a nice article in IEEE Spectrum on Open Ephys & their work at developing open-source hardware and software for electrophysiology. All of their designs are published on Github for you to fork, modify, and manufacture yourself. Or buy it directly from them (if you can get on the beta list) for a fraction of the cost. Just because you're going open source doesn't mean you ~  read more

Ever wonder what scientists do all day?

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Michelle CollinsJun 21, 2014Comments
Here at The Spectroscope, we aim to provide you with the latest, exciting developments in scientific research, debate and policy. But what about the less exciting, everyday routines of scientists? What exactly do they spend their days doing? How does research get done? If you find yourself wondering this, or wanting to learn more about the people behind the scientific research you read about ~  read more

Poop, Dr. Oz, and the senate hearing on weight loss scams

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Lenny TeytelmanJun 20, 2014Comments
My wife first learned of Dr. Oz in 2008, before he even had his own show. As a physician assistant in gastroenterology, she suddenly started getting questions from many patients about the calligraphy of their stool. She came home several times, stunned by the question, "Is it okay that my stool is not shaped like the letter 'S'?" Eventually it became unbearable and she asked a patient where ~  read more

A fuzzier wuzzier tardigrade

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Erin Osborne NishimuraJun 20, 2014Comments
New species of tardigrade discovered!   This one's from Antarctica. That's right... a little water-y polar-y microscopic bear. I'm dying from cuteness. It's named Mopsechiniscus franciscae. And just in case I didn't have you at 'tardigrade', hold on to your hats, this one has hair. That's right... it's fuzzy!   On the off hand chance you haven't had the pleasure of being introduced ~  read more

Science selfies? Webcam support in MATLAB r2014a

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Justin KigginsJun 20, 2014Comments
Want to integrate webcam snapshots into your Matlab-based data acquisition system? r2014a adds support for webcams. It's as easy as mycam = webcam('Microsoft LifeCam Cinema') img = snapshot(mycam) imagesc(img) There's a full tutorial at Loren on the Art of Matlab There's always the image processing toolbox and other tools for advanced image acquisition like 2-photon microscopy, but sometimes ~  read more

Trapped hydroxide in earth's mantle suggest water cycle runs deep

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Catherine KuhnJun 20, 2014Comments
Findings from a new study published by University of New Mexico and Northwestern University provide direct evidence of the existence of  water 250-410 miles below the earth's surface.     At this depth and pressure, water exists as OH trapped in crystals of a mineral called ringwoodite. In an interview with phys.org, co-author Jacobsen cites this discovery as evidence for ~  read more

Bear on NIH campus live tweets his own capture

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Raeka AiyarJun 19, 2014Comments
Well, not exactly. But a black bear was indeed found on the National Institutes of Health (NIH) campus in Bethesda, Maryland today, and amidst the news reports of its pursuit and capture by local authorities, the Twitter handle @NIH_bear was created and delivered an impassioned play-by-play from the perspective of the persecuted mammal.    @NIH_bear not only live tweeted the ~  read more

Going to #Bio2014? Here's a handy restaurant guide from @sdbn

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Justin KigginsJun 19, 2014Comments
The San Diego Biotechnology Network has compiled a list of places to eat at #Bio2014, complete with a map.   I'll second the votes for Burger Lounge & Basic. I'll also throw in Puesto, Downtown Fish Joint, Zanzibar Cafe, Craft & Commerce, and ~  read more