Mike the Mad Biologist

Archives for October, 2010

This is not a market that has any connection to the real world, but a casino–and you are definitely not the house: As the New York Times dealbook noted in May: These are short-term bets. Very short. The founder of Tradebot, in Kansas City, Mo., told students in 2008 that his firm typically held stocks…

Links 10/22/10

Happy Friday. Links for you. Science: Science Blogs vs Scientific Literature A Spray of DNA to Keep the Robbers Away (this shouldn’t work, but people are stupid) Bacteria ‘R’ Us How to hold an NSF panel hostage Am I partly Jewish? Testing ancestry hypotheses with 23andMe data Other: Part Two: How white flight brought down…

“Looking Back” Is Good Policy

Once again, Obama has decided to inflict post-partisan depression on us. Here’s our latest installment in “Looking Forward, Not Back” (italics mine): “Where any homeowner has been defrauded or denied the basic protections or rights they have under law, we will take actions to make sure the banks make them whole, and their rights will…

Links 10/21/10

Managed to miss all of the rain today. I’ll celebrate with some links. Science: Pessimistic Pooches? Depressed Doggies? Not So Fast! How Fractals Can Explain What’s Wrong with Wall Street V√∂lkerwanderung back with a vengeance Other: Public Education: Stop the Attacks and Fund Quality Education for All ‘Suburban Nation’: 10 Things To Hate About Suburban…

How Technology Can Make Movies Obsolete

A couple of weeks ago, I rewatched Memento, a movie about someone who has no long term memory. It’s told from his perspective, moving backwards as he learns what has actually happened. His coping mechanisms are writing notes to himself and on himself, as well as a library of Polaroid pictures. It’s full of suspense,…

So my first thought upon reading that a fraternity pledge ritual involved chanting in a public place “No Means Yes, Yes Means Anal” was “Frat boys are still assholes. Nice to see that some things remain constant.” Then I read that this happened at Yale, and my next thought was, “I wonder which of these…

Links 10/20/10

Happy Wednesday. Links for you. Science: Experiment vs. Theory: The Eternal Debate What? The NSF allows unfunded people to review their grants? Honey Bees Are Not Essential to Our Ecosystem Other: The Real Problem Behind the Foreclosure Crisis “Perhaps” Why Nerds Are Unpopular Why Do Americans Have Yards? Bro’s Before Ho’s and Fraternity Hazing Lows

In the midst of an article about Uncommon Schools, a non-profit charter school company, we discover this interesting effect of holding back students who fail a grade: High retention rates can help to boost test scores at charter schools, at least in the short term. Students may do better on tests the second time, and…

I’ve never been one for long-distance psychoanalysis, especially of political figures. I don’t know them, and, besides, I’m not really competent to make a clinical judgment. Instead, I follow Paul Krugman’s simple rule of punditry: Long ago — basically when I started writing for the Times — I decided that I would judge the character…

Terrance at the Republic of T describes what should be obvious about conservative opposition to Social Security, but is not thanks to gormless Democrats and an incompetent political journalist caste (italics original; boldface mine): Maybe that’s why they fought so hard to protect bonuses and compensation for Wall Street banksters. They will likely fight as…