Pure Pedantry

Archives for December, 2008

PhRMA — the association of pharmaceutical companies — has agreed to a voluntary moratorium on drug paraphernalia given to doctors: Starting Jan. 1, the pharmaceutical industry has agreed to a voluntary moratorium on the kind of branded goodies — Viagra pens, Zoloft soap dispensers, Lipitor mugs — that were meant to foster good will and,…

A Holiday Post about Lying

My suspicion is that many of you went home for the holidays, and my suspicion is that many of you were not entirely honest with your relatives while you were there. While it is not my intention to encourage this behavior — I, of course, am totally honest all of the time 😉 — you…

Quiet Bison get more play

Ha! I knew it. The quiet animals get more play than the loud obnoxious ones: During bison mating season, the quietest bulls score the most mates and sire the most offspring while studs with the loudest bellows see the least action, according to a surprising new study by researchers at University of California, Davis, and…

DIY Bio will not end the world

People are doing biology in their kitchen now, or in rented labs with cheaper equipment: In Cambridge, Mass., a group called DIYbio is setting up a community lab where the public could use chemicals and lab equipment, including a used freezer, scored for free off Craigslist, that drops to 80 degrees below zero, the temperature…

Must Read on ScienceBlogs

Ed Yong at Not Exactly Rocket Science has an excellent piece on using chess to explain the differences between men and women in the hard sciences. Turns out, participation not biology is key: Every serious player has an objective rating – the Elo rating – that measures their skill based on their results against other…

A economist at Yale, Robert Shiller, compiled an index of housing prices since 1890 in an attempt to determine what caused the housing bubble (click to enlarge): The figure is from here. (Hat-tip: Cafe Hayek)

Galbraith is Back

Barry Gewen from the NYTimes Paper Cuts blog on the reimergence of John Kenneth Galbraith: Friedman has no good explanation for “too big to fail,” but it’s at the heart of Galbraith’s 1967 best seller, “The New Industrial State.” Galbraith’s basic argument is that there is an inevitability to economic development, that capital and technological…

Can Science Save Economics?

I doubt it…but more on that in a second. There is a fascinating argument going over at Edge.org about whether science can save the economy. The authors suggest that the scientific techniques being applied to the natural sciences should be applied to establish a new consensus about how the economy works: In the near-term, Eric…

Not to indulge in too much schadenfreude, but some of these are pretty funny. Foreign Policy compiled the 10 most astonishing wrong predictions for 2008: “There is a real possibility of creating destructive theoretical anomalies such as miniature black holes, strangelets and deSitter space transitions. These events have the potential to fundamentally alter matter and…

Injectable Bone

Here is a cool idea. Researchers in Britain have come up with injectable bone: “Injectable bone is the first delivery system for stem cells and growth factors that forms a material with the strength of a bone,” said Robin Quirk, a pharmacist and co-founder of RegenTec — the University of Nottingham, In England, spin-off company…