Posts

January 09, 2015

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8:00 AM | A week of links
Links this week: Arnold Kling’s review of Complexity and the Art of Public Policy. Are some diets mass murder? HT: Eric Crampton “Social conservatism correlates with lower cognitive ability test scores, but economic conservatism correlates with higher scores.” More on lead and crime. A risk averse culture. HT: Eric Crampton Welfare conditional on birth control. “We […]
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6:00 AM | Heterogeneity and Markov models
The big appeal of Markov models is their relative simplicity, with their focus on what happens with a whole cohort, instead of individual patients. Because of this, they are relatively bad at taking into account patient heterogeneity (true differences in outcomes between patients, which can be explained by for example disease severity, age, biomarkers). In […]

January 08, 2015

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6:18 PM | Revisiting graduate school and mental health with Vinylogous Aldol
A note to readers: Vinylogous Aldol and I will be sharing a brief discussion today and tomorrow on our thoughts on mental health since our previous series. Tomorrow, it will be at Not The Lab. Dear Vinylogous:How are you? It's been a while, hasn't it? Two years since we last discussed the issue of "Is graduate school in chemistry bad for your mental health?" I hope that the time has gone well for you in graduate school. I've certainly had a lot more perspective since then.The stresses of […]
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2:49 PM | Job posting: lecturer, Orono, ME
From the inbox:The Department of Chemistry at the University of Maine (Orono, ME) invites applications for a Lecturer (on-going) to begin September 1, 2015 (candidates who would not be available until January 1, 2016 also will be considered).   This is a continuing position, with reappointment subject to satisfactory performance.  The position requires a Ph.D. in organic chemistry or closely related discipline by date of hire.  The successful candidate is expected to teach […]
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2:47 PM | Fellowship available at the University of Maine for the study of the chemistry of marine anti-biofouling
From the inbox:Dr. William Gramlich at the University of Maine in the Department of Chemistry  are seeking a student with a bachelor’s or master’s degree in chemistry, chemical engineering, or other closely related field, to pursue a Ph.D. and research new materials and chemistry to prevent marine organism fouling on aquaculture infrastructure to be supported on a NSF EPSCOR funded SEANET fellowship beginning in Fall 2015. […]
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8:00 AM | The blogs I read
Although RSS seems to be on the way out, I’ve found myself explaining feed readers to a few people recently. They asked for some suggestions of blogs to follow, so below are some from my reading list. I try not to live in a bubble, but you can see a libertarian bent to these recommendations. My full reading list […]

January 07, 2015

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12:23 PM | Going to San Antonio for JMM
Hey, so this is cool. The Alternative Banking group just came out with a second Huffington Post essay, this time on how the bailout isn’t over, how it didn’t work, and how we’re already preparing for the next one. I think it came out really well. You can read it here. Also, I’ll be giving […]

January 06, 2015

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4:04 PM | Because you wanted to take more thermo: Chris Cramer, University of Minnesota, 1/19/15
Chris Cramer is not unknown to readers of this blog -- here's my interview with him on his MOOC, "Statistical Molecular Thermodynamics."He's teaching it again this year. It is starting January 19, 2015 and running with eight weeks of content. Learn more here!
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4:04 PM | Job posting: Science Advisor, Boston, MA
From the inbox:Goodwin Procter seeks a highly qualified science advisor to join our Intellectual Property Transactions & Strategies group. Preferred candidates will have experience drafting patent applications and office action responses, conducting prior art database searches for patentability and freedom to operate analyses, and/or performing due diligence for corporate transactions and technology transfers.Ph.D. needed for this position. Best wishes to those interested. 
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4:02 PM | Daily Pump Trap: 1/6/15 edition
A few of the positions posted at C&EN the past two weeks:Bridgewater, NJ: Henkel looking for a B.S./M.S./Ph.D. development chemist for work on adhesives.Aiken, SC: Interesting postdoctoral opportunity at Savannah River National Laboratories; sounds like they're looking for an analytical chemist, mostly. Harrisonburg, VA: SRI International is looking for a Ph.D. mass spectrometrist. Toronto, ON: NoNO is a new biopharmaceutical; they're looking for a M.S./Ph.D. formulation chemist; offering […]
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3:48 PM | Ivory Filter Flask: 1/6/15 edition
A few of the academic positions posted by C&EN these past weeks:Flint, MI: The University of Michigan - Flint is looking for an assistant professor of organic chemistry. 58-62k offered.Georgetown, TX: Southwestern University desires an undergraduate organic laboratory director.Tampa, FL: The University of Tampa is looking for an assistant professor of physical chemistry for fall 2015.Grove City, PA: Grove City College is looking for an assistant professor; "Successful candidates will […]
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11:54 AM | Creepy big data health models
There’s an excellent Wall Street Journal article by Joseph Walker, entitled Can a Smartphone Tell if You’re Depressed?, that describes a lot of creepy new big data projects going on now in healthcare, in partnership with hospitals and insurance companies. Some of the models come in the form of apps, created and managed by private, third-party companies that try […]

January 05, 2015

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10:34 PM | Thomas Connelly's interview at Scientific American
It's a month old, but while I'm casting a skeptical eye at senior ACS leadership, I might as well take aim at the new CEO/executive director, Dr. Thomas Connelly, who was interviewed by Josh Fischman over at Scientific American: What are your priorities going to be as CEO?I would like to see our membership broaden, particularly into different geographical areas than the U.S. and Europe. I also want to focus on STEM education, and educate policymakers and the public about ways that […]
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10:06 PM | Diane Grob Schmidt's presidential address: an industry focus
It's the first issue of the year for C&EN, which means that we get a new ACS presidential address from a new ACS president, Dr. Diane Grob Schmidt. It hews to a pretty standard cheery format, but the start is rather irritating to those who are irritable, i.e. me:The workforce has changed dramatically since I went to work for Procter & Gamble as a newly minted Ph.D. more than 30 years ago. I was a longtime P&G employee, retiring from there just last year. Today’s chemistry […]
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7:50 PM | Bonus Monday paranoia: what are the tail-risks of Vanguard?
I am a huge fan of Vanguard, the mutual fund company. I basically don't believe in fancy stock-picking* and I like their emphasis on passive investing.But when I read things like today's headline on the front page of the Wall Street Journal ("Vanguard Sets Record Funds Inflow"), I get a little nervous. What if Vanguard has skeletons that we don't know about? What if VFINX is actually some guy in Atlantic City named Vinny?I should calm down some.*No offense intended to fancy stock-pickers out
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6:21 PM | This week's C&EN
A quiet-ish first week at C&EN this week:It took me a bit to recognize that new chemicals spin-off "Chemours" is a play on DuPont's full name. (by Alex Tullo)It's terribly funny to me that activist investors are critiquing DuPont for having a downtown headquarters in Wilmington, DE; is the real estate there really that expensive? Interesting article on Cuba and thoughts on what diplomatic recognition will mean for science/chemistry, by William Schulz. It'll be very, very […]
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11:05 AM | Big data and class
About a month ago there was an interesting article in the New York Times entitled Blowing Off Class? We Know. It discusses the “big data” movement in colleges around the country. For example, at Ball State, they track which students go to parties at the student center. Presumably to help them study for tests, or […]
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8:00 AM | Self evident but unexplored – how genetic effects vary over time
A new paper in PNAS reports on how the effect of a variant of a gene called FTO varies over time. Previous research has shown that people with two copies of a particular FTO variant are on average three kilograms heavier than those with none. But this was not always the case. I’ll let Carl Zimmer provide the background: In 1948, […]

January 04, 2015

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6:25 PM | Taking a short break--no post this week
I'm taking a short break this week and expect to post again on Sunday, January 11.

January 03, 2015

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12:21 PM | Aunt Pythia’s advice
Didja miss Aunt Pythia? Because Auntie P sure as heck missed you all, over there in Utrecht, Holland, where all the food was fried and all the time was family time. But! But! Aunt Pythia did not fritter away opportunities to do ground-breaking sex columnist research for your benefit. Oh no, absolutely not. In fact, Aunt […]

January 02, 2015

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11:55 AM | Male nerd privilege
I recently read this essay by Laurie Penny (hat tip Jordan Ellenberg) about male nerd privilege. Her essay stemmed from comment 171 of Scott Aaronson’s blogpost about whether MIT professor Walter Lewin, who was found to be harassing women, should also have had his OpenCourseWare physics course taken down. Aaronson says no. Personally, I think it […]
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8:00 AM | A week of links
Links this week: In praise of complexity economics. Books coming out in 2015. Two links from the world of intellectual property madness – what would have entered the public domain on 1 January under the old copyright regime (HT: John Bergmayer), and Uber seeks to patent the idea of pricing based on supply and demand (HT: Ben […]

January 01, 2015

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8:10 AM | Happy New Year!
Best wishes for a good 2015 for all.2014 was a year for somewhat less posting for the blog (and less regular and timely posting, too.) I would obviously like to change that, so I am working on disciplining myself to make that happen. I have some larger projects, but I don't wish to jinx myself.If you have thoughts on what you'd like to see from this blog in 2015, feel free to comment here.Again, best wishes to you, your family and to us all in 2015. 
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7:55 AM | 2014: Another good year for #chemjobs reporting
Before the year ends, I wanted to make another plug for the #chemjobs-team at C&EN of Sophie Rovner, Susan Ainsworth and Linda Wang.I look forward to good things from them in 2015! 

December 31, 2014

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6:08 PM | Thoreau: what's wrong with "weeding out"?
Further comments from undergraduate science professor Thoreau on both "weeding out" and the logistics of large courses. First, on weeding out: 1) When I was a freshman, I was surrounded by aspiring scientists, engineers, and doctors.  When I was in my second year, I was surrounded by people with a much wider range of career ambitions, in part because some of them got their asses kicked in intro STEM classes.  I understand that this trend has largely continued. 2) At my […]
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3:47 PM | Warning Letter of the Week: No drawers!
From the FDA's list of recently issued warning letters, one to the folks at Novacyl Wuxi Pharmaceutical Co:Our investigator observed specific deficiencies during the inspection of the API manufacturing facility, including, but not limited to, the following:API: CGMP DEVIATION1.    Failure to manage laboratory systems with sufficient controls to ensure conformance to established specifications and prevent omission of data. Our inspection revealed serious deficiencies related […]

December 30, 2014

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11:55 PM | "High-salaried, unaligned lab drones"
Dear Peter, I love you too. Cheers, a low-salaried, all-too-often over-aligned lab droneVia biotech trader @chasingthealpha, some complimentary thoughts on biotech/pharma scientists from Peter Thiel's book "Zero to One."(See my accompanying critique here.)
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11:54 PM | Peter Thiel is more ignorant of pharma/biotech than I knew
Following that lovely picture, I looked up Peter Thiel's recent book on start-ups titled "Zero To One" and found the relevant section on "indefinite optimism" and how it distorts societal decision-making and planning. I can't get very excited about rich software tycoons and their critiques of society (and I often find that Thiel makes good points.) But this section in his text is full of baloney that indicates that he does not know what he does not know: ...Modern drug discovery aims to […]
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