Pure Pedantry

Archives for April, 2007

Crazy Useful Paper on Statistics

Want to know when to use Standard Deviation (SD) as opposed to Standard Error (SE) or a Confidence Interval (CI)? Then you should read this really useful paper in JCB about error bars in scientific papers. Here is just a sampling of their useful rules: Rule 3: error bars and statistics should only be shown…

Exercise in pill form

If this works, this guy is going to make a bagillion dollars: By giving ordinary adult mice a drug – a synthetic designed to mimic fat – Salk Institute scientist Dr. Ronald M. Evans is now able to chemically switch on PPAR-d, the master regulator that controls the ability of cells to burn fat. Even…

They didn’t need to go out and make artificial snot. It’s allergy season…I got plenty for them right here: Researchers at The University of Warwick and Leicester University have used an artificial snot (nasal mucus) to significantly enhance the performance of electronic noses. The researchers have coated the sensors used by odour sensing “electronic noses”…

Survery of Undergrad Research

I had the great pleasure of working in labs as an undergrad. Most of my classmates now did as well. Part of the good experience was the ability to really narrow down what type of science I was most interested in; part of it was the more mercenary goal of getting the experience that was…

Neurological “Personhood”

Ronald Bailey at Reason reviews an interesting article in the American Journal of Bioethics by Martha Farah and Andrea Heberlein and the responses to it. Farah and Heberlein argue that while an innate system for the detection of personhood exists in the human brain, it is so prone to being fooled by clearly non-person objects…

Fair Use Madness

I don’t know if you caught this story, but one of our fellow bloggers here at ScienceBlogs, Shelley Batts of Retrospectacle, was threatened with legal action when she reproduced a figure from a published paper in one of her blog posts. The original post is here (now with the figure removed). She has posted her…

The Economist has a great article summarizing all the ways in which the debate between evolution and religion has gone global. It also does a good job of analyzing the different strains within the American debate, depicting it as much less monolithic: Even in the United States, defenders of evolution teaching do not see their…

I don’t know if you have been following this story, but there have been massive honey bee die-offs recently in the United States. Considering that honey bees are the primary pollinators for many of the crops grown here, this is a problem that greatly exceeds just the bees. Scientists have been racing to figure out…

Interesting Conversation on Weber

Here is your philosophical conversation to ponder over for the day. (I am cleaning out links, and this is the sort of stuff you get when I am cleaning out links.) I recently read an interesting interchange on about Weber’s idea that a state is defined by a monolopy on the legitimate use of force…

If you read the statistics, it isn’t difficult to question the effectiveness of abstinence-only education in schools. It is about as effective as telling a three-year-old to not eat that big cookie on the table and then leaving the room to see what happens. However, I was under the distinct impression that there were still…