The Scientific Activist

Archives for June, 2006

There are a number of approaches scientists take to get at the fundamental nature of life, and one of those is elucidating the chemical structures of the molecules that make life happen, particularly proteins, which are the workhorses of the cell. One of the two primary methods for determining these structures is nuclear magnetic resonance…

Before I get started here, I have a quick announcement. Seed is seeking reader-submitted questions to ask its ScienceBloggers, so if you have a burning question (and I know you do), submit it to askablogger@seedmediagroup.com. This week’s (or last week’s, rather) Ask a ScienceBlogger question is “What makes a good science teacher?” I probably put…

Yesterday, the AP released a story describing the general approval within the scientific community of the science behind Al Gore’s new documentary An Inconvenient Truth The AP contacted more than 100 top climate researchers by e-mail and phone for their opinion. Among those contacted were vocal skeptics of climate change theory. Most scientists had not…

As my own department faces budget shortfalls and considers increasingly extreme measures to improve the situation, I thought it would be appropriate to bring back this post from the archives. The following post explores the results and interpretation of a recent study that found that university scientists are turning their laboratory results into profits more…

Last week’s Fantastical Fridays was a big hit, so we’ll keep the momentum going with more chemistry this week. Instead of anthropomorphic molecules, though, this one is all about chemicals with downright ridiculous names. If you still have any doubts after last week that chemists can have a great sense of humor, hopefully Paul May,…

The National Academies today released their report on Surface Temperature Reconstructions for the Last 2,000 Years. The verdict? “High confidence that planet is warmest in 400 years; less confidence in temperature reconstructions prior to 1600.” The reviews from around the web are equally mixed, although generally agreeing that the report vindicates Mann’s hockey stick model.…

Some ScienceBlogs Incest

We all know that the blogosphere is the most incestuous place outside of Arkansas, so why fight it? In that spirit, here’s a post that contributes no new information to the web. Luckily, though, some people are actually expanding our body of knowledge. For example, Jake Young of Pure Pedantry, one of the other grad…

DonorsChoose Update

The latest word on the ScienceBlogs/DonorsChoose fundraising challenge is that as of Tuesday the total amount of donations had reached $12,325.59, plus $10,000 in matching funds from Seed. Here at The Scientific Activist we’ve raised $345.00 in generous donations, bringing us to 7% of our ambitious goal of $5,000. That’s great progress, but I know…

Today’s issue of Nature includes a particularly damning news story about the financial troubles facing the Public Library of Science, a publisher of several prestigious open access journals. In the article, Nature describes PLoS’s difficulties and heavily stresses its continued reliance on philanthropic grants.

Today, the Interacademy Panel on International Issues (IAP), an organization of 92 scientific academies from around the globe, released a statement endorsing the importance of teaching evolution as a fundamental scientific principle. The IAP emphasizes the following uncontested evolutionary facts: In a universe that has evolved towards its present configuration for some 11 to 15…