Last 24 Hours

Let me start off by saying something you may not know. The big corporations and the 1%ers you have learned to hate fund many of the projects you’ve learned to love. I have not checked lately, but Murdoch and FOX corporation for several years in a row funded at a 50% or 60% level virtually…

That’s the title of the talk I gave yesterday at Vanderbilt, and here are the slides: Talking Dogs and Galileian Blogs: Social Media for Communicating Science from Chad Orzel The central idea is the same as in past versions of the talk– stealing Robert Krulwich’s joke contrasting the publication styles of Newton and Galileo to…

A certain deep, primal part of my brain went “Squeeee!” at this video of a nautilus being fed by hand. I want one. I want a cephalopod to be my friend. But sorry, people, taking an exotic animal out of the ocean and confining it to an aquarium is not exactly the friendliest thing to…

Homeopathy is quackery. It can’t be repeated often enough. Homeopathy is The One Quackery To Rule Them All. It is based on prescientific vitalism and principles so addled that one must wonder whether Samuel Hahnemann, the guy who dreamt up this medical system, was a fan of excess alcohol use, opium, marijuana, or some unholy…

Here’s a bunch of graphic novels I’ve read in the last while that are well worth your time reading and acquiring for your library! Abadzis, Nick. Laika. New York: First Second, 2007. 208pp. ISBN-13: 978-1596431010 Laika by Nick Abadzis in a fantastic graphic novel recounting the life of the first dog in space, the Russian…

“On a cosmic scale, our life is insignificant, yet this brief period when we appear in the world is the time in which all meaningful questions arise.” -Paul Ricoeur What you see is what you get, except when it isn’t. We’re all familiar with Hubble’s law, or the notion that the Universe is expanding, and…

2015 Experimental Biology Meeting

I am so excited about the Experimental Biology conference this year in Boston, MA! I have packed my bags, prepared my posters and am on my way to the airport. As usual there will be several seminars and poster sessions about various comparative physiology topics sponsored by the American Physiological Society that look really exciting. Can’t wait! To…

A defense of ENCODE?

Dan Graur has snarled at the authors of a paper defending ENCODE. How could I then resist? I read the offending paper, and I have to say something that will weaken my own reputation as a snarling attack dog myself: it does make a few good points. But it’s mostly using some valid criticisms to…

My Bronze Age Book Is Out

Dear Reader, it is with great pleasure that I announce the PDF publication of my fifth monograph,* In the Landscape and Between Worlds. The paper version will appear in April or May. Here’s the back-cover blurb. Bronze Age settlements and burials in the Swedish provinces around Lakes Mälaren and Hjälmaren yield few bronze objects and…

Antarctica is pretty much covered with glaciers. Glaciers are dynamic entities that, unless they are in full melt, tend to grow near their thickest parts (that’s why those are the thickest parts) and mush outwards towards the edges, where the liminal areas either melt (usually seasonally) in situ or drop off into the sea. Antarctic’s…

Trial of former coal CEO on horizon, five year mark of disaster approaching

The trial of former coal company CEO Don Blankenship—the man largely responsible for the Upper Big Branch disaster—is scheduled to begin on April 20. I’m ready to let the Charleston Gazette’s Ken Ward Jr. provide the best play-by-play.

I happen to be in Houston right now attending the Society of Surgical Oncology annual meeting. Sadly, I’m only about 12 miles away from the lair of everybody’s favorite faux clinical researcher and purveyor of a cancer cure that isn’t, Stanislaw Burzynski. Such is life. In any case, this conference is all about cancer and…

Supertides are real!

“But less intelligible still was the flood that was caused by forty days’ rain, and forty nights’. For here on the moors there were some years when it rained for two hundred days and two hundred nights, almost without fairing; but there was never any Flood.” -Halldór Laxness Once every 18 years, a French Abbey…

Occupational Health News Roundup

Reporters investigate the state of safety at oil refineries following the 2005 Texas City explosion; fast food workers file OSHA complaints; farm workers go on strike in Baja California; and San Francisco officials vote in support of fair working conditions for shuttle bus workers.

Over on Telliamed Revisited, Richard Lenski is talking about his favorite examples of evolution, and mentioned this figure from a paper on hybrid monkeyflowers. Cross-species breeding produces interesting results!