Archives for January, 2011

Local announcement for folks in the Boston area: Science by the Pint is back in full force for its second season at a new venue, the Tavern in the Square in Porter Square. Science by the Pint is SITN’s own science cafe – a fun, informal event where scientists mingle with the general public to…

For your ammusement, I give you the latest Science Signaling cover: According to the journal, The image shows the AVP neurons, which have their cell bodies in the hypothalamus and nerve terminals in the pituitary. Oh really? Someone must have hired the little mermaid guy.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again – pathogens are devious little bastards: Discovery of a Viral NLR Homolog that Inhibits the Inflammasome In order to respond to a virus, a cell first has to recognize that it’s there. There are a lot of ways the cell tries to do this – some…

A new paper in Science describes the discovery of a fundamentally new carbon cycling pathway in an extreme salt-loving archaea. Check out this summary of the paper for a quick morning microbe fix. I have to read the paper carefully myself before I can really talk about it, but I did want to share this…

Geek Manifesto – go help

Mark Henderson of The Times is embarking on (what I think is) a great project – highlighting the contribution that the science savvy can have and are having on public discourse. The intersection of science and politics is a growing interest of mine, though I don’t have nearly as much credibility as many others around…

Trial by Twitter

The heavy hitters in the science publishing business are taking notice. This critical onslaught was striking — but not exceptional. Papers are increasingly being taken apart in blogs, on Twitter and on other social media within hours rather than years, and in public, rather than at small conferences or in private conversation. Like everything else…

How “Being Wrong” can be so right

Have you ever been wrong? Well then, this book is for you. It’s a trick question, because everyone is wrong all the time. A more detailed review after the jump, but the bottom line: read it.

That guy must be crazy

New York Times columnist David Brooks wants to explain away the actions of Jared Loughner, the gunman that shot 20 people at a political event as the isolated actions of a deranged psycho: All of this evidence, which is easily accessible on the Internet, points to the possibility that Loughner may be suffering from a…

Domesticated Phages

There’s more to learn about the viruses that infect bacteria over at Discover. This time, it’s Ed Yong talking about the bits of DNA that can be leftover in bacterial genomes from viral infections, and how they might actually be helping their hosts: These captives are called cryptic prophages and they can make up a…

Speaking Truth in Violent Times

It might seem strange at first to use reflection on the recent shooting in Arizona to make a point about progressive politics, but it’s absolutely compelling. Go read this, seriously: Instead our shadow in this country is economic greed, and there is a constant pull to unfetter business, to disallow regulation, and to let business…