Mike the Mad Biologist

Category archives for Ecology

Did Someone Help Bear Stearns Tank?

If there was a crucial tile in the Jenga Pile o’Shit (also known as the recent financial meltdown), it was the cratering of Bear Stearns stock. I can’t have been the only one who thought, “Damn if I had only shorted Bear Stearns….” Turns out some anonymous investors did just that under some…unusual circumstances:

I’ve written before about CTX-M-15 beta-lactamases which make bacteria resistant to most cephalosporin antibiotics–those antibiotics that begin with cef- (or ceph-) or end with -cillin. I’ve also discussed the role of clonal spread in the rise of antibiotic resistance: most (but obviously not all) resistant infections are not the result of a sensitive strain evolving…

Over at evolgen, ScienceBlogling RPM discusses a paper that describes a new barcoding technique for plants. It struck me while reading his post that barcoding has two very different meanings, even though both techniques are used in genomics–and often, at the same time.

Yes, this is O157:H7, not ExPEC. Bully for you. One thing regarding popular accounts of antibiotic resistance I’ve noticed is that there is an overemphasis on the evolution of resistance, and an underemphasis on the spread of resistant bacteria. While the evolution of resistance is important, most of what we see in a hospital is…

When I read Olivia Judson’s post about hopeful monsters, I didn’t think she used the term correctly (here are some good explanations why), but I was surprised by Jerry Coyne’s response.

The Boston Globe reports that the Charles River swim race might be canceled because of cyanobacterial blooms. Again. So why is this happening? Phosphorous levels are too high:

Tuesday Botrylloid Ascidian Blogging

Inspired by Quixote’s excellent post about ascidians–my firstest study organism EVAH–I’ve decided to delve into the archives and repost something of my own about ascidians.

Over the weekend, there was a lot of discussion of those ridiculous conservative faithtank graphs that were rerun in the Wall Street Journal. Several of my fellow ScienceBloglings have debunked the analysis that claims these data support the Laffer curve, although my favorite criticism is by Brad DeLong who points out that to prove something…

ScienceBlogling David Ng Asks…

…and the Mad Biologist answers. Over at the World’s Fair, David asks scientists:

The Macroevolution ‘Controversy’

I’ve always thought if the evolutionary biologists who invented the term macroevolution–any evolutionary change at or above the level of species–knew the mischief that the creationists would do with it, they would have ‘uninvented’ the term right then and there.