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What we're talking about Freeing Institutions from the Kochtopus Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Freeing Institutions from the Kochtopus

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…

There is a letter signed by top scientists demanding that science museums cut all their ties to Big Fossil, and where appropriate, kick the Koch Brothers off their boards. The letter says, in part, As members of the scientific community we devote our lives to understanding the world, and sharing this understanding with the public.…

In the wake of the Willie Soon scandal, scientists are taking a hard look at the Smithsonian and other institutions at the forefront of research and public outreach. Should these organizations really be supported by industrialists who deny that industrial emissions continue to warm the planet, disrupt the climate, amplify extreme weather, and now threaten to swallow us in a deluge of melted ice and presumably locusts? For that matter, should exhibits on evolution be subject to the whims of donors who insist the Earth is only six thousand years old? If not, where will less ideologically tainted money come from? Greg Laden explores the thorny issue, and also shares a letter signed by 67 top scientists and a petition that you can add your name to as well.

Channel Surfing

Life Science

I came across this video on YouTube of what must be the most huggable kitty:

Monday was a great day for comparative physiology at EB! I saw several highly notable posters and seminars that I would like to share with you: Catherine Ivy, graduate student at McMaster University compared deer mice that were raised at high altitudes versus those raised at lower altitudes and found that the ancestry of the…

I was very impressed by the graduate and undergraduate students who presented their research at the Scholander poster competition sponsored by the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society this afternoon. I am sure the winner of the competition will be very difficult to select. Some highlights included: Bridget Martinez, graduate student at the University of California…

Physical Science

When it comes to the very nature of quantum mechanics — about the inherent uncertainty and indeterminism to reality — it’s one of the most difficult things to accept. Perhaps, you imagine, there’s some underlying cause, some hidden reality beneath what’s visible that actually is deterministic. After all, a cat can’t simultaneously be dead and alive until…

“Innovation is taking two things that already exist and putting them together in a new way.” -Tom Freston Yes, the Universe can be considered the ultimate innovator, taking the fundamental particles and forces of the Universe, and assembling them into the entirety of what we know, interact with and observe today. But what is it…

It’s the simple formula we all know and recognize: inner, rocky worlds closest to the Sun, an asteroid belt farther out, and then gas giant worlds out beyond them. That’s how our Solar System works, at any rate. But what about the other star systems in the Universe? We’ve finally got enough data to determine…

Environment

Monday was a great day for comparative physiology at EB! I saw several highly notable posters and seminars that I would like to share with you: Catherine Ivy, graduate student at McMaster University compared deer mice that were raised at high altitudes versus those raised at lower altitudes and found that the ancestry of the…

For years, advocates have been calling on policymakers to reform the nation’s outdated chemical safety laws. Today, two such bills stand before Congress — one that advocates say better protects the public’s health and another that advocates warn is a dangerous step backward.

Maybe, maybe not. There is a new paper that looks at what climate scientists call “synoptic midlatitude temperature variability” and the rest of us call “cold snaps” and “heat waves.” The term “synoptic” simply means over a reasonably large area like you might expect a cold snap or heat wave to be. Specifically, the paper…

Humanities

I came across this video on YouTube of what must be the most huggable kitty:

Monday was a great day for comparative physiology at EB! I saw several highly notable posters and seminars that I would like to share with you: Catherine Ivy, graduate student at McMaster University compared deer mice that were raised at high altitudes versus those raised at lower altitudes and found that the ancestry of the…

For years, advocates have been calling on policymakers to reform the nation’s outdated chemical safety laws. Today, two such bills stand before Congress — one that advocates say better protects the public’s health and another that advocates warn is a dangerous step backward.

Education

I came across this video on YouTube of what must be the most huggable kitty:

Monday was a great day for comparative physiology at EB! I saw several highly notable posters and seminars that I would like to share with you: Catherine Ivy, graduate student at McMaster University compared deer mice that were raised at high altitudes versus those raised at lower altitudes and found that the ancestry of the…

Everybody and their extended families has been sharing around the Fareed Zakaria piece on liberal education. This, as you might imagine, is relevant to my interests. So I wrote up a response over at Forbes. The basic argument of the response is the same thing I’ve been relentlessly flogging around here for a few years:…

Politics

For years, advocates have been calling on policymakers to reform the nation’s outdated chemical safety laws. Today, two such bills stand before Congress — one that advocates say better protects the public’s health and another that advocates warn is a dangerous step backward.

Everybody and their extended families has been sharing around the Fareed Zakaria piece on liberal education. This, as you might imagine, is relevant to my interests. So I wrote up a response over at Forbes. The basic argument of the response is the same thing I’ve been relentlessly flogging around here for a few years:…

In this recent essay at The New York Times, philosopher Gary Gutting argues that the Catholic Church should reconsider its ban on gay sex and its opposition to gay marriage, for explicitly Catholic reasons. He is especially critical of “natural law” arguments against homosexuality. It’s mostly a sensible essay, I think, but it is not…

Medicine

Monday was a great day for comparative physiology at EB! I saw several highly notable posters and seminars that I would like to share with you: Catherine Ivy, graduate student at McMaster University compared deer mice that were raised at high altitudes versus those raised at lower altitudes and found that the ancestry of the…

It’s getting harder and harder to hate vaccines in America. The trend will only continue as diseases like measles re-emerge because of some parents’ paranoia. Much of the anti-vaccine sentiment of the last twenty years resulted directly from scientific fraud—and most anti-vaccine propaganda likewise employs scientific terminology to sound credible. But more people are waking…

As I sat on my couch last night, laptop sitting in front of me, I awaited the Ken Burns adaptation of Siddartha Mukherjee’s excellent book The Emperor of All Maladies into a three part television documentary to air on PBS. I’m not sure whether I’ll blog the show or not, but if I do I’ll…

Brain & Behavior

I came across this video on YouTube of what must be the most huggable kitty:

Monday was a great day for comparative physiology at EB! I saw several highly notable posters and seminars that I would like to share with you: Catherine Ivy, graduate student at McMaster University compared deer mice that were raised at high altitudes versus those raised at lower altitudes and found that the ancestry of the…

I was very impressed by the graduate and undergraduate students who presented their research at the Scholander poster competition sponsored by the Comparative and Evolutionary Physiology section of the American Physiological Society this afternoon. I am sure the winner of the competition will be very difficult to select. Some highlights included: Bridget Martinez, graduate student at the University of California…

Technology

I mentioned last week that I’m giving a talk at Vanderbilt tomorrow, but as they went to the trouble of writing a press release, the least I can do is share it: It’s clear that this year’s Forman lecturer at Vanderbilt University, Chad Orzel, will talk about physics to almost anyone. After all, two of…

While I was reading Cory Doctorow’s Information Doesn’t Want to Be Free: Laws for the Internet Age, I was reminded of a quote of his that I blogged about a few years ago: The people in Makers experience a world in which technology giveth and taketh away. They live through the fallacy of the record…

A new study published in the Journal of the Royal Society Interface from a team of researchers (University of the Sunshine Coast, James Cook University, University of Queensland, Australia, and the University of Oxford) described how geckos living in humid areas manage to stay dry. The researchers used a scanning electron microscope to take a…

Information Science

Predatory open access journals seem to be a hot topic these days. In fact, there seems to be kind of a moral panic surrounding them. I would like to counter the admittedly shocking and scary stories around that moral panic by pointing out that perhaps we shouldn’t be worrying so much about a fairly small…

In a somewhat frightening illustration of anti-vaccine trends, a new report estimates that among groups affected in the recent measles outbreak, the rates of measles-mumps-rubella immunization might have been as low as 50 percent.

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…

Jobs

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.

This week’s snapshot of just one work-related fatality in the US. This one occurred on March 11, 2015 in Jal, NM

The fatal work-related injuries that killed Jose Alfredo Isagirrez-Mejia could have been prevented had his employer followed worker safety regulations.