World's Fair

Vince LiCata

I’ve been strangely fascinated by the “arsenic-eating” and maybe “arsenic-utilizing’ bacteria report from NASA researchers and the so-called “backlash” (“arsenic-gate”) in the blogosphere. Many others have posted on this topic. What I’ve found most interesting is that there seem to be several parallel and barely intersecting universes: 1) the scientific literature, 2) the traditional media,…

The laws of thermodynamics are empirical laws – they were not derived from some first principles of the universe: they were derived by doing thousands and thousands of experiments, and then coming up with some relationships that could quantitatively explain all those experiments. In biological thermodynamics, we are at the beginnings of trying to define…

Heat Capacity in Biology 101

Scienceblogs is promoting the writing of “Science 101” general topic posts all through the “back to school” month of September. So, here is the first in a multi-part series on Heat Capacity in Biology: Heat Capacity in Biology 101: What is it? Heat capacity is basically a proportionality constant. For any substance, the heat capacity…

The Speed of Money

Wow! Either it’s an odd coincidence, or the Latisse marketers are highly vigilant monetizers, because in less than 24 hours after I posted yesterday’s rambling little piece about the eyelash wonder drug, a tasteful little ad for it showed up on the Scienceblogs homepage (cue spooky music now). Robot voice: “Oh yes, I will go…

Latisse!

The existence of the drug Latisse is clearly a harbinger of the end of modern civilization, in more ways than one, but it is also intensely fascinating and creepy. When I first heard of it, about a year ago, I really thought it was some sort of satirical article about the current status of big…

Part 1 of “Do You Like the Big Bang Theory?”, addressed whether one emotionally “likes” the scientific theories one works on – and how or if that should impact one’s work. Here I’d like to talk about the television show. “The Big Bang Theory” has been highly touted and praised as being the best science-in-fiction…

Our lab has a new paper coming out this week in the Journal of Molecular Biology (JMB): The Glutamate Effect on DNA Binding by Pol I DNA Polymerases: Osmotic Stress and the Effective Reversal of Salt Linkage I’m going to talk about a few highlights here, but if you actually want the full article, say…

There is one month to go to submit to the 2010 “Dance Your Ph.D” Contest! Entries are due by September 1st. My lab previously won in the Professor category, so I get to be one of the judges for the 2010 contest. This is our dance from the 2009 contest: And what we won was:…

As much as I abhor war, the way that the military handles soldier deaths is (usually) quite admirable (although the same might not hold for its handling of post-service medical problems). When a soldier is killed in service, the family gets a personal visit and often one or more personal phone calls from higher officers,…

BP has released the first slug of oil-spill hush money to LSU: $2 million for research on the Effects of the Oil Spill and it’s Cleanup. Sounds like a lot of research money, until you realize that LSU does about $200 million dollars of research a year. So, it’s kind of like if your next…