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Bear on NIH campus live tweets his own capture

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

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

Could you print me up a new liver please?

Erin Osborne NishimuraJun 19, 2014Comments
A new essay in PLoS Biology by Rice professor of bioengineering, Jordan Miller, has made me think more about the future of bioprinting, the process of using 3D printers to produce or support living tissues.   The overarching question the article asks is whether bioprinting will get us any closer to synthesizing a human organ. Miller conceptualizes ways 3D printers could clear some ~  read more

Amazing Scientific Illustrations of Yesteryear

Matthew DavisJun 18, 2014Comments
A post on IO9 hit my Twitter feed this morning regarding 19th Century topographer and artists, John Philips Emslie. The IO9 article praises the beauty and detail of what they describe as early infographics, and of course everyone loves infographics.     Some scientific illustrations by 19th-c topographer & artist John Phillips Emslie on @io9 ~  read more

Population Geneticist Sequenced His Son's Genome, Before Birth

Matthew DavisJun 17, 2014Comments
Razib Khan, a population genetics PhD student at UC Davis, is the proud father of a baby boy who daddy is calling Little Lord Khan. Hey, if you got the surname, you may as well use it... But nicknames aside, the little guy and his prominent blogger papa are making some news on the genomics front.    According to this article at the MIT Technology Review, Razib's son is the "first ~  read more

The Most Influential People in History (on Wikipedia)

Matthew DavisJun 13, 2014Comments
An article posted on the arxiv and covered by the contemporarily-styled arxiv blog uses Wikipedia analysis to assess several fascinating properties of social influence.   This includes determining that the most influential person in the history of mankind is (arguably) Carl Lineeaus. Of course, by another metric, it's Adolf Hitler. And in the Hitler-first list, Michael Jackson is ~  read more

Overnight success or decades of effort?

Lenny TeytelmanJun 13, 2014Comments
This is a terrific example of how decades of hard work can suddenly be transformed into an "overnight success" in a mass media story. Having had a front-row seat since 2003 to the challenging fight to kill academic subscription journals, I just couldn't let this article go. So I wrote "The Open Access and Science Visionaries" in ~  read more

Retractions and public perception of science

Timothy SaundersJun 13, 2014Comments
Another day, another story of serious problems with a high impact biology publication: The pressue to publish high (which is obviously not the only cause) is causing too many mistakes to be allowed through the system (internal lab and peer review).   Taking a bit of a leap, (but I think these are related) this impacts upon the issue of ~  read more

Mind your metaphors

Timothy SaundersJun 13, 2014Comments
When I was a grad student (doing condensed matter physics) my supervisor would occasionally berate me for referring to electrons as having "wants" (i.e. the spin here is like this because the electron wants to minimise its free energy).     When I moved into biology, I noticed immediately that this tendency was much more widespread. This language can be helpful for getting one'd ~  read more

Of Apes, Peacocks and Evolutionary Psychology

Dermot HarnettJun 10, 2014Comments
Relations between evolutionary psychology and feminism can appear strained nowdays. So it's valuable to remember that this hasn't always been the case, and needn't be today. Kimberly A. Hamlin's new book , "From Eve to Evolution - Darwin, Science, and Women's Rights in Guilded Age America", documents how Darwin's theories played a pro-feminist role in the struggle for women's right's in ~  read more

Should we all be coders?

Timothy SaundersJun 10, 2014Comments
Every so often there comes an article across my blog feed about coding and whether it should be obligatory at school (   I don't have a strong feeling about this, but instead I'd like to ask: should all science graduate students know how to code? I think the answer to this is yes. Of course, this could be learning to use Matlab, not necessarily C++.  However, it still fills me ~  read more

Brains, Muscles, Evolution, and Correlation

Matthew DavisJun 05, 2014Comments
Metabolism varies throughout the body. That is, different tissues and organs contain different metabolic profiles. These profiles vary from person to person, and as we'll learn, from species to species.   New work from Phillip Khaitovich's group finds that generally, tissue metabolites are quite similar across species, with closely related species sharing more similarity in these ~  read more

Versioning of Scientific Papers is a Reality

Matthew DavisJun 05, 2014Comments
Lots of papers are published with something wrong in them. The authors don't realize it, but then either someone points it out, or the authors do realize it. I'm not talking retractions, I'm talking smaller, but meaningful mistakes, and there's has historically been no way to update the papers except for publishing a corrigendum. Well, this tweet from Michael Eisen says it ~  read more

Lego: getting back toward their previous standards

Timothy SaundersJun 05, 2014Comments
Growing up with lego in 80's was great fun, with the focus on building and making things.  Then it went to some warped world (which sadly seemed more profitable) making heavily gendered toys.  Now it seems they're at least trying to undo some of these errors.  Lego releases female scientist figurines It's a start. However, I don't hold out much hope that the cult of pink will fade ~  read more

Making mistakes in the age of social media

Michelle CollinsJun 04, 2014Comments
A couple of recent events in the astronomical world have started a discussion about how results (and mistakes) are communicated in the media (both social and regular). First, back in March, researchers at the Harvard Center for Astrophysics made a monumental announcement. The BICEP2 collaboration had detected the first observational confirmation of cosmic inflation, which was the period of the ~  read more