Posts

August 29, 2014

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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Richard Robinson
Special thanks to Steve Jenkins for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – My Manager and Other Animals Richard is best known for building and voicing puppets for various television series such as Spitting […]

August 28, 2014

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2:13 PM | Bt and Leukemia – Another Anti-GMO Myth
The headline of an article on the Organic Consumers Association proclaims, “New Study Links GMO Food To Leukemia.” The same article trumpets the thoroughly discredited Seralini study. The claim is not true, but is part of a pattern of behavior that is depressingly familiar. The pattern is not unique to anti-GMO activism. In fact, it [...]

August 27, 2014

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1:32 PM | When human activity can ‘trigger’ earthquakes
Many centuries ago, human activity was believed to result in earthquakes – If we did not sufficiently appease the gods, mighty Tepeyollotl, heart of the mountains, would vent his calamitous rage with a terrifying, tumultuous upheaval of the earth itself. Nowadays most of us know better (although that still doesn’t stop some religious nuts from…

Mulargia, F. & Bizzarri, A. (2014). Anthropogenic Triggering of Large Earthquakes, Scientific Reports, 4 6100. DOI: 10.1038/srep06100

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1:00 AM | Science Book a Day Interviews Steve Jenkins
Special thanks to Steve Jenkins for answering 5 questions about his recently featured book – The Animal Book: A Collection of the Fastest, Fiercest, Toughest, Cleverest, Shyest–and Most Surprising–Animals on Earth My interest in science led […]

August 25, 2014

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12:24 PM | Nassim Taleb, The Precautionary Principle, and GMOs
Nassim Taleb is a serious scholar of risk assessment, especially in the world of economics. So when he and two co-authors published a paper on the precautionary principle as it applies to genetically modified organisms it is worth taking seriously. That does not mean I have to agree with his conclusions, however. What I found [...]

August 22, 2014

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1:00 PM | Fluffy Friday – Frankenstein MD
Did you know that the first science fiction story was written by a woman? I wrote my advanced higher English thesis on ‘monsters’ and The Modern Prometheus was one of the texts I chose. So imagine my excitement when the team … Continue reading →

August 21, 2014

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9:40 PM | Does the motion of the solar system affect our climate?
The Earth’s climate is believed to be affected, not just by people driving Humvees, but by a series of complex cycles, which can occur over a few years (such as El Nino) or even tens of thousands of years (changes in the Earth’s axis of rotation). But another cycle which may have an effect, lasts…

Shaviv, N., Prokoph, A. & Veizer, J. (2014). Is the Solar System's Galactic Motion Imprinted in the Phanerozoic Climate?, Scientific Reports, 4 6150. DOI: 10.1038/srep06150

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1:19 PM | The Molecular Biology Code
“You’re pirates. Hang the code. Hang the rules. They’re more like guidelines anyway.”              Elizabeth, The Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl Molecular biology, the overall practice of manipulating DNA sequences using biological scissors and glue, is a major component of any modern research lab. Its techniques have been revolutionary […]

August 16, 2014

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6:43 PM | Two Tales of a Manuscript
It has been a shamefully long time since I’ve done a post for the Journal Club category. So today’s will be a deluxe edition of Dickens-proportions. Normally, you only get the science tale as presented in any journal article, neatly fit to the scientific method. However, for every scientific publication, there is another tale, a […]

August 11, 2014

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3:30 PM | When Do I Start Knowing What I’m Doing?
When my advisor informed her assembled advisees that I was the group’s “machine learning expert,” I nearly choked. I thought I had a pretty good idea of what expertise looked like. An expert possesses a deep, intuitive understanding of his or her subject. An expert exudes confidence in his or her abilities and reputation. An […]

August 07, 2014

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10:58 PM | The Worst Pain Known to Man… It’s a Stinger
A man stands ready, nervous but staunch. His face and hands are painted in warrior colors – black and red. Today, he will become a man. His initiation will be pain – pure, intense, brilliant pain. Walking over flaming charcoal with a nail in his heel pain. But his pain won’t come from fire, nor from a rusty nail. It won’t come from being attacked by a bull, a lion, or any other large, fierce creature. It won’t come from... Read more
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10:58 PM | The Worst Pain Known to Man… It’s a Stinger
A man stands ready, nervous but staunch. His face and hands are painted in warrior colors – black and red. Today, he will become a man. His initiation will be pain – pure, intense, brilliant pain. Walking over flaming charcoal with a nail in his heel pain. But his pain won’t come from fire, nor from a rusty nail. It won’t come from being attacked by a bull, a lion, or any other large, fierce creature. It won’t come from... Read more
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10:58 PM | The Worst Pain Known to Man… It’s a Stinger
A man stands ready, nervous but staunch. His face and hands are painted in warrior colors – black and red. Today, he will become a man. His initiation will be pain – pure, intense, brilliant pain. Walking over flaming charcoal with a nail in his heel pain. But his pain won’t come from fire, nor from a rusty nail. It won’t come from being attacked by a bull, a lion, or any other large, fierce creature. It won’t come from... Read more
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12:18 PM | Antibiotic Resistant Markers in GM Crops
Neil deGrasse Tyson stepping into the public GMO debate has raised the profile of this issue, and so I am likely going to return to the issue as new claims surface. Recently Jeffrey Smith posted a Youtube video in which he directly challenges Tyson on his claim that people should “chill out” about transgenic GM [...]

August 05, 2014

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12:15 PM | Persistent Anti-GMO Myths
One persistent theme in my writing about scientific topics is that, to optimally serve our own interests, public discourse and decision-making on issues that are highly scientific should be informed by the best evidence and scientific analysis available, not on lies, myths, misconceptions, or raw ideology. I am therefore attracted to topics where I think [...]
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