Adventures in Ethics and Science

Archives for March, 2009

DrugMonkey responds to the outgoing Drug Czar’s deep concerns about research with illegal drugs conducted with subjects who are addicted to those drugs, those concerns reported in an article in the Washington Examiner. From that article: The federal government is giving crack and powder cocaine, morphine, and other hard-core drugs to taxpayer-funded researchers for testing…

Maria Mitchell and the Sexing of Science: An Astronomer among the American Romantics by Renée Bergland Boston: Beacon Press 2008 What is it like to be a woman scientist? In a society where being a woman is somehow a distinct experience from being an ordinary human being, the answer to this question can be complicated.…

First about those carnivals:

Today is Ada Lovelace Day. Regular readers of this blog may recall that I am a tremendous Luddite. Obviously, this should not be taken to mean I am against all technological advances across the board (as here I am, typing on a computer, preparing a post that will be published using blogging software on the…

links for 2009-03-24

Protocol Breach Reported in Biederman Study of Preschoolers – Health Blog – WSJ How big a protocol breach is "too big"? And what kind of "expectations" should a physician-scientist entertain before a clinical trial commences? (tags: medicine research-with-humans ethics) jfleck at inkstain » Elephant Diaries: Connecting the Dots on the George Will Affair The traditional…

Some commenters on my last post seem to be of the view that it is perfectly fine for scientists to pull numbers out of thin air to bolster their claims, at least under some circumstances. I think it’s a fair question to ask: In which circumstances are you comfortable giving scientists the go-ahead to make…

When scientists make claims with numbers they have clearly pulled out of thin air. For example:

Spring starts springing.

As Friday was the first day of spring (for my hemisphere, anyway), I went out to the back yard to survey the local level of springiness. I didn’t make a quantitative measure of the spring constant, but qualitatively, things seem to be on their way.

This week at Bloggingheads.tv, PalMD and I have a chat about science, ethics, and alternative medicine. Plus, we have a little disagreement about what constitutes paternalism. Go watch!

Today I decided to play with some chemicals I ordered to try to spherify V-8. It’s the molecular gastronomy thing where you mix a liquid with sodium alginate, then drip it into an aqueous solution of calcium chloride to get the juice-alginate mixture to gel, forming a skin around a liquid center. My first attempt…