Pharyngula

Archives for November, 2013

Friday Cephalopod: Black Friday

Vampyroteuthis would like you to know that it is forgivable that you visit Walmart or any of the other greedy big box stores today in search of bargains; however, the retailers who exploit their workers and gin up scarcity and treat the desperate poor as targets are going to someday find themselves dying cold, dark,…

Last year, the Elsevier journal Food and Chemical Toxicology by Gilles Seralini and others that purported to show that rats fed genetically modified corn were more prone to get cancer. The cranks loved it; Mike Adams thought it was great, it was touted on the Dr Oz show (I don’t know why they were concerned;…

You know I’m a sucker for heresy

So you won’t be surprised that I really like that Erin Podolak has asked, Can We Stop Talking About Carl Sagan? It feels like I’m committing an act of science communication sacrilege here, but I have a confession to make: Carl Sagan means absolutely nothing to me. No more than any other dude from my…

Consider it your morning meditation. Or an opportunity to learn something about cell motility.

Remedial reading for big-time scienticians

I don’t understand how this happens. You’ve got a good academic position. You’re bringing in reasonable amounts of grant money. You’re publishing in Nature Genetics and Nature Structural and Molecular Biology. And you don’t even understand the basic concepts in your field of study. For instance, here’s a press release titled “Cause of genetic disorder…

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: A knotty tangle

I am not a fan of the convergent evolution argument for humanoid aliens. I can well believe that it’s likely that intelligent aliens exist out there in the universe, but I’m not even going to try to predict what they look like: there are too many alternative paths that are possible. But for some reason,…

Balance

Science is always working a tough room. It’s inherently progressive — we’re constantly achieving incremental improvements in our understanding, with occasional lurches forward…and sometimes sudden lurches backward, when we realize that we got something wrong. We’re performing for a crowd, the general citizenry and most importantly, the funding agencies, that expect us to fix problems…

Last month, I wrote about the terrible botch journalists had made of an interesting paper in which tweaking regulatory sequences called enhancers transgenically caused subtle shifts in the facial morphology of mice. The problem in the reporting was that the journalists insisted on calling this a discovery of a function for junk DNA — the…