Archive for: August, 2006

Not a mealtime image:

Aug 30 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Via a National Geographic research team, we learn that there is still a thriving market for ivory - protection laws and biodiversity be damned. The pictures below the fold, taken from the National Geographic website, are for any of you who might be considering buying something made of ivory in the near future. Be warned: it's not a mealtime image.

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Global Warming Opportunities?

Aug 30 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

This week's Ask a Scienceblogger Question involves an article in The National Review Online that was clearly written by a complete bloody moron. The question is this:

I read this article in the NRO, and the author actually made some interesting arguments. 'Basically,' he said, 'I am questioning the premise that [global warming] is a problem rather than an opportunity.' Does he have a point?

The author of the paper actually does have a point, but not much of one, and it does not justify his line of argument.

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Things that go bump in the night

Aug 29 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

It would seem that we had a little bit of an earthquake last night. The quake is listed as having a magnitude of 3.7 by the USGS, and was felt on the islands of Oahu and Molokai. My first person account of the experience is below the fold.

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The Republican War on Science - Paperback Edition

Aug 28 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

The paperback edition of SciBling Chris Mooney's book The Republican War on Science comes out today. I read it a while back, and I'm looking forward to going through it again.
This is one of those books that everyone should read. Chris does a fantastic job of documenting case after case after case where science has been misrepresented and/or ignored in efforts to help advance the Republican political agenda. People can debate whether or not the Republicans are consciously trying to downplay science, but the effects are the same. To see that, you need look no further than the recent episode involving the Department of Education. Under previous administrations, scientists would have accepted the official explanation that the omission of Evolutionary Biology from the list was merely a typo. This administration, unfortunately, has abused and denigrated science and scientists so much and for so long that many scientists cannot look at a situation like that with anything other than deep skepticism.
Just food for thought.

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Teaching Ethics - Is it bad to tell the truth?

Aug 25 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

You are teaching the introductory "How to use the microscope" lab. Your students have done a cheek swab, made a slide, and are looking at it under the scope. A young woman in the class flags you down, and asks you to help her identify something on the slide. The object in question is smaller than the other cells on the slide, but is well preserved and clearly visible. It has a round head and long tail.
What do you do?

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Friday Random 10 - the living with war edition

Aug 25 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

It's been a while since I've done one of these, so here goes.
This one looks a little more eclecitc than usual.
1: Flags of Freedom Neil Young
2: Begin the Begin REM
3: The Philosopher's Drinking Song Monty Python
4: For What It's Worth Rush
5: Lookin' for a Leader Neil Young
6: Me and Bobby McGee Janice Joplin
7: Democracy Leonard Cohen
8: Linger Cranberries
9: James Connolly Black 47
10: Haliewa Blues Arlo Guthrie

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Plan B - Why 18?

Aug 24 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

For those of us who have been wondering why the FDA concluded that Plan B can safely be used by 17-year-olds, but should only be sold to those 18 and over, there is finally an answer: the FDA is afraid that pharmacists and pharmacy cashiers cannot correctly subtract. If you go to the FDA's latest website on Plan B, you will find links to pdf files for two memos, one by Center for Drug Evaluation and Research director Steven Galson, and one written by Acting FDA Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach.

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Plan B - This is NOT a "win."

Aug 24 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Plan B has been approved, and the right-to-lifers are screaming bloody murder and threatening to sue, but they aren't the ones who lost. We are. We, in this case, means anyone who has an interest in good healthcare. We, in this case, means anyone who thinks that politics should not be involved in the approval of medications in this country. We, in this case, means anyone who believes that someone else's faith does not belong in their bedroom or body. We, in this case, means everyone who isn't part of the reactionary Christianist wing of the Republican Party. We all lost. They are crying because they didn't get everything that they wanted, but they have taken from the rest of us far, far more than they had any right to.

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Liveblooging from class

Aug 23 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Good rule of thumb for graduate classes:
If discussing a paper that you have not actually managed to finish (or possibly start) reading, quickly flip about 2/3 or 3/4 of the way into it, read a paragraph, and come up with a question/discussion point.

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Two Things Connecticut Democrats Should Know

Aug 23 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Two quick things every registered Connecticut Democrat should know:
1: Lieberman has shown his true colors by naming his party "Connecticut for Lieberman." Remember that. You're for him, not the other way around.
2: Republicans have essentially pulled their support from their own candidate, now polling in the low single digits. Lieberman isn't a Republican, but he's the next best thing as far as they are concerned.

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