Mike the Mad Biologist

Archives for March, 2010

…too bad MA Governor Deval Patrick, and for that matter, President Obama, don’t. The recent educational regression reform plan in Massachusetts and the Obama Administration’s educational proposals both seem to misunderstand what has made Massachusetts’ educational system one of the best in the world (and that does far better than would be expected by demography):…

Since the Congress passed Romneycare, it’s worth looking at the major driver in Massachusetts of medical inflation–price gouging by hospitals and physicians groups that are able to set prices due to de facto monopoly power. From the MA Attorney General’s office (italics mine; underscore original): In a presentation at the hearing, Attorney General Coakley, with…

Diane Ravitch, along with releasing her new book The Death and Life of the Great American School System, has been issuing a lot of mea culpas about her role in advocating for a lot ‘accountability’ educational reforms. When I first started reading this NY Times article, which signaled the beginning of the PR offensive, I…

One of the things Newbury Street has lacked is a used book store. Now it has one: Raven Used Books. This could be really bad as it’s about four minutes away. Unlike most Boston area used book stores, Raven Used Books’ business model isn’t to sell really expensive rare books and then stock the rest…

There’s nothing like the prospect of a black person receiving a government service to rile up the Republican base. Anyone who has spent extended time in the South, when listening to the Tea Partyers, has heard this ugly, racist dogwhistle. But with the possible passage of Romneycare–for people who aren’t white, too!–which apparently portends The…

Saturday Links

Happy Sunny Saturday! If you’re trapped inside, I have links for you. Science: Love p-values for what they are, don’t try to make them what they’re not Genomics: High-throughput “Next-Generation” Sequencing Facilities Map Illumina still dominate sequencing market: ABI and 454 Jockey for 2nd Place The chromosomal secrets of a plant pathogen Other: The great…

The Failure of the Progressive Bloc

Chris Bowers and Digby both comment on the failure of the Congressional progressives to exact demands on healthcare (and many other issues), as opposed to the conservative Democrats who really did drive the debate. Digby writes: In the case of health care, as I wrote way back when, the congressional liberals were always going to…

I realize that the Boston Public Library is facing budget cuts, but in the last couple of months, even very basic services have been off. Three times I’ve returned books days ahead of their due dates, only to be nailed for fines; this isn’t an issue of returning something the evening it’s due–I literally mean…

Education and Not Racing to the Bottom

Universal Hub linked to my post about the non-existent educational crisis in Massachusetts. In the comments was this really good point about not racing to the bottom (italics mine): While I am a frequent critic of the Boston schools and government waste, on the whole Mass is fantastic thanks to the rigorous standards we impose…

Thursday Links

Happy Post-Evacuation Day. Links for you. Science: Do Most Of NYT’s Science Staff Doubt The Dangers of Global Warming? That’s What One Prominent Science Journalist Claims. CDC today Mexican Cave Scorpions Show Specialization Not Evolutionary Dead End Other: Michael Kinsley Cries “Fire! Fire!!” in Noah’s Flood L. RON BECK Such nice, friendly, warm-hearted people, those…