The Scientific Activist

Nick Anthis

Yesterday, the influential AMA (American Medical Association) announced that it would cease its opposition to the concept of medical marijuana and instead advocate for a change in federal classification of the drug. From the LA Times: The American Medical Assn. on Tuesday urged the federal government to reconsider its classification of marijuana as a dangerous…

Two New Papers on Integrin Activation

Just as I was in the process of finishing my doctorate in August, I found out that my first first-author paper had been accepted for publication by The EMBO Journal. This was good news, because we were reporting some pretty fundamental findings in a relatively saturated field, and one of our competitors had managed to…

Late last week, I received emails from two journals (The Journal of Biological Chemistry (JBC) and PLoS ONE) indicating that they are now incorporating interactive 3D images of molecular structures in their papers. The atomic coordinates of all published biomolecular structures have been available for some time at the Protein Data Bank. However, making sense…

I recently had the pleasure of writing an op-ed piece about health care reform for my hometown newspaper, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram, and it ran in the paper today. You can check it out online here. I grew up reading the Star-Telegram, so this was an exciting opportunity. My article discusses the need for robust…

The winners of this year’s Nobel Prize in Chemistry have been announced, and the prize will be shared equally between Venkatraman Ramakrishnan, Thomas Steitz, and Ada Yonath “for studies of the structure and function of the ribosome.” The information encoded in DNA is decoded to produce functional proteins in two stages: transcription (DNA –> RNA)…

Bad Math at The Weather Channel

I have a bone to pick with The Weather Channel, and it has to do with misuse of statistics. This is something I noticed a long time ago, so it’s about time I said something about it. The problem here is fairly obvious, so I’m sure many others have noticed this before. Also, this may…

Today, the Nobel Committee announced the winners of the 2009 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine, equally shared between Elizabeth Blackburn of UCSF, Carol Greider of Johns Hopkins, and Jack Szostak of Harvard Medical School–all three American. This year’s prize was awarded for the discovery of telomeres, the repeated sequences of DNA at the ends…

Members of the Obama Administration have mentioned using science for diplomatic purposes on various occasions, most notably when President Barack Obama himself included this idea in his address at Cairo University in June. Today, SEEDMAGAZINE.COM published an article by Harvard’s Sheila Jasanoff on this subject, which you can read here. Seed has asked me to…

An Update from The Scientific Activist

As I indicated earlier this summer, the blogging would continue to be a bit slow as I entered the home stretch of grad school. Since then, I’m happy to report that I have submitted my thesis, successfully defended it, resubmitted a corrected version, and had my final thesis accepted. Within the next few weeks, I…

A Tale of Two Health Care Systems

Mike Dunford tells a compelling story today at The Questionable Authority: Yesterday, I took the kids to the doctor for their school physicals. I wouldn’t normally subject you to an account of the day-to-day minutia of my personal life, but given the current debate about how we should handle health care in the United States,…