Last 24 Hours

In the light of the current Ebola outbreak, I thought this post from 2007 was once again highly relevant.  As another Ebola outbreak simmers in Uganda (and appears to be increasing), I recently was in touch with Zoe Young, a water and sanitation expert with Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF*, known in the US as Doctors without Borders), who was working…

“In my better sense of mind, I know that I’m far from alone and far from the worst, and the earth keeps spinning. Everything keeps moving, with or without me.” -Phil Anselmo The Universe is a chaotic place, where nothing truly exists in isolation. Even if, at the moment of the Big Bang, nothing in…

It’s odd to see otherwise pretty rational folks getting nervous about the news that the American Ebola patients are being flown back to the United States for treatment. “What if Ebola gets out?” “What if it infects the doctors/pilots/nurses taking care of them?” “I don’t want Ebola in the US!” Friends, I have news for…

“Men at some time are masters of their fates: The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves…” -William Shakespeare It isn’t every day that I pause to make an announcement, but it also isn’t every day that I have news quite like this! Thanks to the new Starts With A Bang digs over…

Physiologist Laurie Goodyear (Joslin Diabetes Center, Harvard Medical School, MA) and her colleagues recently published a study in the American Journal of Physiology that shows how overexpressing a protein can increase exercise capacity. The protein of interest was tribbles homolog 3 (TRB3), which is a mammalian form of the tribbles protein found in fruit flies…

Dive into the Unknown with Dr. David Gallo

On April 24, 2014, an exclusive group of visionaries presented to over 4,000 students at the USA Science & Engineering Festival’s inaugural X-STEM Symposium sponsored by Northrop Grumman Foundation and MedImmune. The all day event included interactive presentations and workshops with some of the top scientists and engineers in the country. In the presentation below, renowned oceanographer Dr. David Gallo dives into…

For 17 years, Salvadora Roman deboned chickens on the processing line at Wayne Farms in Decatur, Alabama. Because of the repetitive movement and speed of the processing line, Roman developed a chronic and painful hand injury that affects her ability to do even the most basic household chores. About three years ago, she was fired from the plant for taking time off work to visit a doctor for the injury she sustained on the line.

It’s still a sprawling action movie, complete with boilerplate plot, senseless acts of violence, and the satisfying crunch of large-scale destruction. But make no mistake: Guardians of the Galaxy is a riot, and Marvel’s master plan to take over Hollywood is well under way.

The fuddy-duddies still thrive

Kate Clancy comments on a ‘satire’ published in a serious journal. Genome Biology published a satirical piece by Neil Hall today, and since I’m American and he’s British I don’t find it funny. No wait, it’s that I’m female and he’s male. Or maybe that I’m junior and he’s senior. I’ve got it, it’s because…

Eureka! It’s a Book!

I took a short nap yesterday, and of course as soon as I lay down on the bed, Emmy erupted in the furious barking that signals the arrival of a package. When I went out to get it, I found shiny new bound galley proofs of Eureka: Discovering Your Inner Scientist: I knew these were…

July Pieces Of My Mind #2

I wonder how many head shops worldwide are called The Joint Venture. When friends of my kids cycle to our house, they always leave with their saddles yanked up a good bit. Because apparently other parents don’t notice when the kids grow too tall for their bike saddle setting. Finally figured out how the fuck…

We’re doomed. The Pacific striped octopus is exhibiting complex social behaviors. Panamanian biologist Aradio Rodaniche first reported the Pacific striped octopus in 1991 off the coast of Nicaragua, noting its strange behavior—living in groups of possibly up to 40, laying multiple egg clutches, and mating face-to-face and sucker-to-sucker. Most other octopus species, for instance, come together…

Homeopathy is quackery. There, I’ve fulfilled my normal requirement to start out all posts that I write having to do with homeopathy with a simple, declarative, and, most of all, true statement about what homeopathy is. I also like to mention briefly homeopathy’s two major “laws.” The first is the Law of Similars, a totally…

In a recent post on his Whatever blog, science fiction writer John Scalzi makes some very fine points related to the ongoing controversy surrounding the way Amazon treats various publishers and how this affects authors. He makes great points throughout the post and with a little tweaking we can very easily apply his remarks to…

MacDonald on Assisted Dying

I hadn’t intended to turn this into assisted dying week, but that’s how it’s turning out. After his recent debate with Christian apologist William Lane Craig, Sean Carroll expressed frustration that the debate followed a certain pattern. Craig would make an argument, then Carroll would rebut it, then Craig would simply repeat the same argument…