Information Science

Best Ted Talk Ever

In another example of the value of investing in public health, a recent study finds that PulseNet, a national foodborne illness outbreak network, prevents about 276,000 illnesses every year, which translates into savings of $507 million in medical costs and lost productivity. That’s a pretty big return on investment for a system that costs just $7.3 million annually to operate.

In the U.S., just a tiny fraction of the chemicals used in consumer products have been tested for human health effects. And with the current climate in Congress, it feels unlikely that we’ll see any true reform of the nation’s terribly outdated chemical safety rules anytime soon. In the meantime, scientist Thomas Hartung may have created the next best thing.

Yeah, you have to figure good old Indy wasn’t much of an academic colleague. Too flashy, never around to sit on a search committee, never willing to take his turn as chair, always blowing up the wrong building or disrupting the wrong classroom. And then there’s the ghosts and arcs and demons and what not.…

The controversy about Sci-Hub is raging in the halls of scholarship and academic publishing. What’s the story, in a nutshell? Sci-Hub is a Russian website that has used donated institutional login credentials to harvest tens of millions of academic articles and has posted them on their site, free to access and read for everyone. This…

As I go through my daily routine, I find myself sort of out of phase with a lot of the Internet. My peak online hours are from about six to ten in the morning, Eastern US time. That’s when I get up, have breakfast, and then go to Starbucks to write for a few hours.…

Oh, The Onion. You are so wonderful and your take on the world of patents is so spot on that it hurts. What are patents for, anyways? Here’s a bit of an excerpt from their 11 Step Program. Drop by the site to see the rest. Brilliant. Step 1: First, come up with something really…

David Macaulay is famous for his “how things work” books. How Machines Work: Zoo Break! is a new book that is really fun. So fun that it took me a long time to get it back from Amanda and Huxley so I could review it. The concept is simple. A story, a simple story, is…

We have a Steacie Library Hackfest coming up and our there this year is Making a Difference with Data. And what better area to make a difference in than the environment and climate change? I am far from an expert on this topic, so suggestions for additions (and deletions if I’ve added anything inappropriate) are…

Donald R. Prothero’s The Story of Life in 25 Fossils: Tales of Intrepid Fossil Hunters and the Wonders of Evolution has a bit of something for everyone. It’s a great introduction to the history of life on the planet Earth, it’s a solid primer on why evolution is true. It’s a fun read with lots…