Biology

Respectful Insolence

Category archives for Biology

This is just a brief followup to my post this morning about yesterday’s NYT article on cancer research. An excellent discussion of the NYT article can be found here (and is well worth reading in its entirety). In it, Jim Hu did something I should have done, namely check the CRISP database in addition to…

A couple of weeks ago, NEWSWEEK science columnist Sharon Begley wrote an article entitled From Bench To Bedside: Academia slows the search for cures. It was a rather poorly argued bit of polemic, backed up only with anecdotes that came across as sour grapes by scientists whose grant proposals the NIH had decided not to…

Three years ago, I wrote about what I considered to be a fascinating and promising approach to understanding tumor biology. This method involved understanding that tumors are in general made up of a heterogeneous collection of cells. Using this knowledge, it is possible to apply evolutionary principles to cancer, treating a tumor as, in essence,…

A while back, Mark Hoofnagle coined a term that I like very much: Crank magnetism. To boil it down to its essence, crank magnetism is the phenomenon in which a person who is a crank in one area very frequently tends to be attracted to crank ideas in other, often unrelated areas. I had noticed…

Better late than never, given that DrugMonkey has already been all over this. Unfortunately, there was another serious outbreak of antivaccine idiocy over at HuffPo that I felt I had to deal with before this: Embedded video from CNN Video It was a great day indeed. For far too long, animal rights terrorists have intimidated…

Enough. I don’t know about you, but as a surgeon and a biomedical researcher, I’m fed up with animal rights terrorists who threaten biomedical research with their misinformation about animal research, their terroristic attacks on scientists who engage in such research, and listening to the despicable self-righteous idiot who is a disgrace to surgeons everywhere,…

Homeobox, HOX, regulatin’ genes

This is about as geeky as it gets, but since a couple of the genes I study are homeobox genes, one of which is a HOX gene, one of which is not, I found this hilarious: There you go: All you need to know about homeobox genes if you’re not an expert in them. Hat…

Yet another reason why I love The Onion: Because giant, highly intelligent, acid-spitting crabs pose no danger to society. Of course, certain antivaccine advocates seem to think that this parody has something to do with vaccines, which just goes to show how far down the rabbit hole they’ve gone when they think that a parody…

Animals in research and medical training

Over the weekend, some readers sent me a link to a story that, presumably, they thought would be of interest to me, given that I graduated from the University Michigan Medical School back in the late 1980s. Specifically, it’s a report that U. of M. has halted the use of dogs in its surgical training:…

Unfortunately, as we have been dreading for the last four months or so since her relapse was diagnosed, my mother-in-law passed away from breast cancer in hospice. She died peacefully, with my wife and the rest of her family at her side. As you might expect, I do not much feel like blogging, and even…

Today is Darwin Day. But, more than that, it is a very special Darwin Day in that it is the 200th anniversary of the birth of evolutionary biologist Charles Darwin. This day is meant to celebrate not just the life, but especially the discoveries, of Charles Darwin. His theory of evolution by natural selection, is…

Here’s a cool idea: Blogging the Origin

Here’s a cool idea. Take a newbie, who has never read Charles Darwins’ On the Origin of Species, and have the newbie actually read the book. Then have him blog each chapter. That’s exactly what John Whitfield, London-based freelance science writer, is doing, and ScienceBlogs has him over at Blogging the Origin. Check it out.…

Last week, I gave everybody’s favorite creationist neurosurgeon, Dr. Michael Egnor, the gift everyone loves to read but not to receive: the gift of not-so-Respectful Insolence. Christmas or no Christmas, he did ask for it, and far be it from me, given my benevolent nature, not to respond to his plaintiff plea with a resounding…

…more not-so-Respectful Insolence, courtesy not of Orac this time but of other skeptical physician-bloggers! Enjoy: Smackdown, please (yes, Egnor, I’m talking to you) (by blog bud PalMD) Defending science-based medicine (by skeptical neurologist Dr. Steve Novella, who’s been known to spar a bit with Dr. Egnor himself over evolution and neuroscience) Egnorance is Bliss (by…

Was Nazi science good science?

I’ve long had an interest in World War II history. Ever since I was around 11 or 12 years old, a major portion of my reading diet has consisted of books and articles about World War II. Back when I was young, my interest was, as you might expect, primarily the battles. The military history…

Well, it looks as though I’ve stepped into it yet one more time. Believe it or not, I hadn’t intended to stir up trouble among the ScienceBlogs collective, both English- and German-speaking. Really. Oh, I’ll admit that there are occasionally times when I actually do mean to stir up trouble. One recent example is when…

The things I do for my readers. I’m referring to a movie entitled The Beautiful Truth, links to whose website and trailers several of you have e-mailed to me over the last couple of weeks. Maybe it’s because the movie is only showing in New York and Los Angeles and hasn’t made it out of…

Hot on the heals of my post earlier today about the flurry of misinformation-laden ads being aired in Michigan to try to prevent Proposition 2, the proposed amendment to the Michigan State Constitution that would allow embryonic stem cell research using embryos that would be discarded from fertility clinics, I’ve learned that my alma mater,…

Remember Sandy Szwarc of Junkfood Science? It’s been a long time since we’ve last encountered her. Indeed, it was last year when there developed a debate on whether her posts were suitable for the Skeptics’ Circle. At the time, I was conflicted. In many ways, Ms. Szwarc seemed to be a skeptic–at least, when it…

Yep, that about sums it up

This one’s been floating around the intertubes, at least those parts of the intertubes I frequent, for several days now at least. But it’s so good that I just can’t resist posting it myself. I had no idea John Cleese had a video podcast…

Best response to a journal rejection ever?

Every scientist has had manuscripts rejected by various journals, and most who submit to the really high impact journals like Nature or Science end up being rejected without review. Few, however, have the creativity or cojones to respond to such a rejection in such a creative and amusing manner. Sadly, in the medical literature, there…

It’s happened again, only this time it’s escalated. Sadly, this escalation was predictable. Remember back in February, when I discussed how animal rights terrorists had been harassing a researcher at the University of California Santa Cruz (UCSC)? At the time, protesters attempted a home invasion of a researcher, leading to a police response where a…

Yesterday, I was depressed. Today I’m a little irritated. I’m irritated because I came across a study from a couple of weeks ago that’s actually a really cool study that applies actual science to the question of how diet and lifestyle changes might alter biology to improve health. It’s exactly the sort of study that…

…from one of Michigan State University Professor Richard Lenski’s E. coli cultures. Lenski’s second response to the clueless “request” of the creationist idiot Andrew Schlafly to provide his raw data to him for “independent review” supporting a recent PNAS paper (more here) by him that is yet another in a line of papers by evolutionary…

Geez, give a guy tenure…

…and suddenly he reveals his true stripes. Oh, well, at least the Hitler Zombie hasn’t eaten Jason’s brain, as he has so many of the others who complain about being Expelled! Yet. Thanks, Jason. I needed the laugh after the events of yesterday and today. Oh, and congratulations on getting tenure!