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  • August 26, 2011
  • 01:42 AM
  • 1,506 views

A Whole New World: My Beginnings as a Student of Journalism

by Paige Brown in From The Lab Bench

This week, I started graduate classes for the first time as a student of Mass Communications at the LSU Manship School. Yahoo!
Thus begins my jump from a PhD in Biomedical Engineering to an advanced degree studying science journalism!
... Read more »

PH Longstaff. (2005) Security, resilience, and communication in unpredictable environments such as terrorism, natural disasters, and complex technology. Center for Information Policy Research. info:/

  • August 24, 2011
  • 08:00 AM
  • 1,232 views

Taxonomy in decline or growth?

by Zen Faulkes in NeuroDojo

Earlier this year, Craig McClain from Deep Sea News wrote an editorial at Wired arguing that taxonomy as a scientific discipline was “going extinct.”

A short new paper challenges that view.

Joppa and colleagues looked at taxonomic research on cone snails (pictured), spiders, amphibians, birds, reptiles, and mammals. The number of taxonomists studying each group has gone up in every case, not down.

The number of species being described is also going up, but it is actually not keeping up w........ Read more »

  • August 23, 2011
  • 10:43 PM
  • 597 views

Microfluidics Education

by Hector Munoz in Microfluidic Future

The extent to which someone develops their passion and calling for is affected by when they are exposed to it, if it all. It wasn't until 2009 (the summer before my junior year) that I was first exposed to microfluidics when Dr. John T McDevitt came to Rice University. I wish I had met him earlier, because I was hooked from then on, and knew that I wanted to enter the field. Although I had been somewhat familiar with nanotechnology and MEMS since high school, I had never heard anything about mic........ Read more »

  • August 23, 2011
  • 11:54 AM
  • 1,458 views

The Dubious Science of Teacher Coaching: "An Interaction-Based Approach to Enhancing Secondary School Instruction and Student Achievement"

by Chad Orzel in Uncertain Principles

A while back, I Links Dumped Josh Rosenau's Post Firing Bad Teachers Doesn't Create good Teachers, arguing that rather than just firing teachers who need some improvement, schools should look at, well, helping them improve. This produced a bunch of scoffing in a place I can't link to, basically taking the view that people are either good at what they do, or they're not, and if they're not, you just fire them and hire somebody else. I was too busy to respond at the time, but marked that doen as s........ Read more »

  • August 22, 2011
  • 01:22 PM
  • 1,236 views

Stoichiometric IR pulsed laser deposition of Yttrium doped Bi-2212 thin film

by nath in Imprints of Philippine Science

Yttrium-doped Bismuth Strontium Calcium Copper Oxide (BSCCO) films, specifically Bi 2212, were succesfully deposited with preserved sample concentration using Infrared Pulsed Laser Deposition (IR PLD) as written in a recent publication from the National Institute of Physics, University of the Philippines Diliman [1]. It was also shown that by using appropriate annealing, desired qualities for electronic applications can be obtained.... Read more »

  • August 21, 2011
  • 03:21 PM
  • 1,392 views

PubMed’s Higher Sensitivity than OVID MEDLINE… & other Published Clichés.

by Laika in Laika's Medliblog

Is it just me, or are biomedical papers about searching for a systematic review often of low quality or just too damn obvious? I’m seldom excited about papers dealing with optimal search strategies or peculiarities of PubMed, even though it is my specialty. It is my impression, that many of the lower quality and/or less relevant papers are [...]... Read more »

Leclercq E, Kramer B, & Schats W. (2011) Limitations of the MEDLINE database in constructing meta-analyses. Annals of internal medicine, 154(5), 371. PMID: 21357916  

  • August 21, 2011
  • 02:09 PM
  • 1,337 views

Get to know Jack & the story behind the paper by @gilbertjacka "Defining seasonal marine microbial community dynamics"

by Jonathan Eisen in The Tree of Life



A few days ago I became aware of the publication of a cool new paper: "Defining seasonal marine microbial community dynamics" by Jack A. Gilbert, Joshua A Steele, J Gregory Caporaso, Lars Steinbrück, Jens Reeder, Ben Temperton, Susan Huse, Alice C McHardy, Rob Knight, Ian Joint, Paul Somerfield, Jed A Fuhrman and Dawn Field.  The paper was published in the ISME Journal and is freely available using the ISME Open option.

If you want to know more about Jack (in case you don't k........ Read more »

Gilbert JA, Steele JA, Caporaso JG, Steinbrück L, Reeder J, Temperton B, Huse S, McHardy AC, Knight R, Joint I.... (2011) Defining seasonal marine microbial community dynamics. The ISME journal. PMID: 21850055  

  • August 20, 2011
  • 06:32 AM
  • 1,285 views

Is being Self-Employed good for your Health?

by Stuart Farrimond in Dr Stu's Science Blog

Working for yourself will make you happier, more satisfied and more productive. These are the surprising conclusions of over two decades of life-satisfaction research – Which is rather odd; considering that being your own boss means no health insurance, no pension and no end of the month office party (!!) With increasing pressure on salaried … Continue reading »... Read more »

  • August 19, 2011
  • 10:00 PM
  • 1,612 views

Generic drug trials: more transparency needed

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture


The New York Times reported a couple of days ago that "Federal regulators and the generic drug industry are putting the final touches on an agreement that would help speed the approval of generic drugs in this country and increase inspections at foreign plants that export generic drugs and drug ingredients to the United States." The generic drug manufactures will pay an annual fee of 299$ million dollars, so that the FDA will be able to hire more reviewers and speed up approval of applications ........ Read more »

van der Meersch, A., Dechartres, A., & Ravaud, P. (2011) Quality of Reporting of Bioequivalence Trials Comparing Generic to Brand Name Drugs: A Methodological Systematic Review. PLoS One. info:/10.1371/journal.pone.0023611

  • August 19, 2011
  • 03:36 PM
  • 1,070 views

Racial Disparity in NIH Grants: Priority Scores

by DrugMonkey in DrugMonkey

Unless you have been hiding under a rock, my NIH-focused Reader, you will have heard of the explosive findings of Ginther et al (2011) who reported on an analysis of racial and ethnic disparity in the review and funding of NIH grant applications.

There is a lot to discuss about these findings. A LOT. Well beyond the scope of one or even six blog posts. Commentary from the Office of Extramural Research, the NIMH and the Chronicle of Higher Education are worthwhile reads and there is a bit on Na........ Read more »

Ginther, D., Schaffer, W., Schnell, J., Masimore, B., Liu, F., Haak, L., & Kington, R. (2011) Race, Ethnicity, and NIH Research Awards. Science, 333(6045), 1015-1019. DOI: 10.1126/science.1196783  

  • August 18, 2011
  • 03:59 AM
  • 907 views

Retractions correlate better with 'Impact Factor' than citations

by Björn Brembs in bjoern.brembs.blog

Thomson Reuters' Impact Factor (IF) is supposed to provide a measure for how often the average publication in a scientific journal is cited and thus a quantitative basis for ranking journals. However, there are (at least) three major problems with the IF:The IF is negotiable and doesn't reflect actual citation counts (source)The IF cannot be reproduced, even if it reflected actual citations (source)The IF is not statistically sound, even if it were reproducible and reflected actual citations (so........ Read more »

  • August 17, 2011
  • 03:29 AM
  • 963 views

Pharmaceutical Company Threatens Blogger

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

Boiron, a multinational pharmaceutical company, have threatened an Italian blogger with legal action, the BMJ reports.

Many people are concerned when big pharmaceutical companies do this kind of thing. So I don't think we should make any exception merely because Boiron's pharmaceuticals happen to be homeopathic ones.

Samuel Riva, who blogs (in Italian) at blogzero.it, put up some articles critical of homeopathy
which included pictures of Boiron’s blockbuster homoeopathic product Oscillococci........ Read more »

  • August 16, 2011
  • 01:28 PM
  • 621 views

It was twenty years ago today . . .

by Marco Frasca in The Gauge Connection

With these beautiful words starts a recollection paper by the founder of arXiv, Paul Ginsparg. This is worth the reading as this history spans a number of years exactly overlapping the computer revolution that definitely changed our lives. What Paul also changed through these new information tools was the way researchers should approach scientific communication. [...]... Read more »

Paul Ginsparg. (2011) It was twenty years ago today .. arXiv. arXiv: 1108.2700v1

R. Aouane, V. Bornyakov, E. -M. Ilgenfritz, V. Mitrjushkin, M. Müller-Preussker, & A. Sternbeck. (2011) Landau gauge gluon and ghost propagators at finite temperature from quenched lattice QCD. arXiv. arXiv: 1108.1735v1

Axel Maas, Tereza Mendes, & Stefan Olejnik. (2011) Yang-Mills Theory in lambda-Gauges. arXiv. arXiv: 1108.2621v1

  • August 16, 2011
  • 10:44 AM
  • 320 views

Women, romantic goals and science: The evidence just isn’t there

by Marie-Claire Shanahan in Boundary Vision

A critical examination of recent study suggesting that the pursuit of romantic goals hampers women's efforts in science... Read more »

  • August 15, 2011
  • 11:26 AM
  • 2,480 views

Answer: MediQuiz #2: The Rhythm of Life

by Pranab Chatterjee in Scepticemia

Yeah, once again, almost everyone got it right. There are few songs that tend to stick in your head as much as stayin’ alive does, and indeed, it is just the right beat to make your CPR go along with. … Continue reading →... Read more »

  • August 15, 2011
  • 04:42 AM
  • 1,343 views

Wikipedia: I Fought the Lore and the Lore Won

by Duncan Hull in O'Really?

Fighting the lore of wikipedia is an increasingly futile battle but there are people who resist using and improving the online encyclopedia. The remarkable thing is that some of this resistance comes from the scientific and academic communities, two groups of people who are supposedly concerned with the dissemination of knowledge. Wikipedia is the lore With [...]... Read more »

Neil L. Waters. (2007) Why you can't cite Wikipedia in my class. Communications of the ACM, 15-17. DOI: 10.1145/1284621.1284635  

Patricia L. Dooley. (2010) Wikipedia and the two-faced professoriate. WikiSym '10 Proceedings of the 6th International Symposium on Wikis and Open Collaboration. DOI: 10.1145/1832772.1832803  

Logan DW, Sandal M, Gardner PP, Manske M, & Bateman A. (2010) Ten simple rules for editing Wikipedia. PLoS computational biology, 6(9). PMID: 20941386  

  • August 15, 2011
  • 03:22 AM
  • 995 views

A Ghostwriter Speaks

by Neuroskeptic in Neuroskeptic

PLoS ONE offers the confessions of a former medical ghostwriter: Being the Ghost in the Machine.


The article (which is open access and short, so well worth a read) explains how Linda Logdberg became a medical writer; what excited her about the job; what she actually did; and what made her eventually give it up.

Ghostwriting of course has a bad press at the moment and it's recently been banned by some leading research centres. Ghostwriting certainly is concerning, because of what it implies ab........ Read more »

  • August 14, 2011
  • 05:50 PM
  • 1,025 views

The Wikipedia Gender Gap, Part III

by Hadas Shema in Information Culture

In part I and part II, we discussed several of the gender gaps in Wikipedia. In this part, we'll talk about reverted edits, blocking, and their association with female and male editors. .
Blocking The hypothesis here was that "Female editors are less likely to be blocked." However, there wasn't a statistically significant difference in the percentage of females blocked (4.39%) and males blocked (4.52%). Surprisingly, females were significantly more likely to be blocked indefinitely (3.85% and 3........ Read more »

Lam, S., Uduwage, A., Dong, Z., Sen, S., Musicant, D. R., Terveen, L., & Terveen, J. (2011) WP:Clubhouse? An Exploration of Wikipedia’s Gender Imbalance. WikiSym’11, October 3–5, Mountain View, California. info:/

  • August 12, 2011
  • 12:30 AM
  • 1,243 views

A Case for BioHydrogen

by Sean Gibbons in Ars Scientifica

The hydrocarbon economy is faltering as oil reserves dwindle worldwide (Hirsch, 2008). Commodity prices have begun to fluctuate drastically due to the uncertain cost of petroleum, which resulted in food riots around the world in 2008. With a steadily decreasing energy supply and the demands on energy systems continually growing, the planet is in dire economic, geopolitical, and environmental straits. In order to halt the advance of climate change, prevent ecological collapse, rescue the globa........ Read more »

Agapakis, C., Ducat, D., Boyle, P., Wintermute, E., Way, J., & Silver, P. (2010) Insulation of a synthetic hydrogen metabolism circuit in bacteria. Journal of Biological Engineering, 4(1), 3. DOI: 10.1186/1754-1611-4-3  

Bendall, D., Howe, C., Nisbet, E., & Nisbet, R. (2008) Introduction. Photosynthetic and atmospheric evolution. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 363(1504), 2625-2628. DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2008.0058  

Blankenship, R., & Hartman, H. (1998) The origin and evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. Trends in Biochemical Sciences, 23(3), 94-97. DOI: 10.1016/S0968-0004(98)01186-4  

Cleaves, H., Chalmers, J., Lazcano, A., Miller, S., & Bada, J. (2008) A Reassessment of Prebiotic Organic Synthesis in Neutral Planetary Atmospheres. Origins of Life and Evolution of Biospheres, 38(2), 105-115. DOI: 10.1007/s11084-007-9120-3  

Fontecilla-Camps, J., Amara, P., Cavazza, C., Nicolet, Y., & Volbeda, A. (2009) Structure–function relationships of anaerobic gas-processing metalloenzymes. Nature, 460(7257), 814-822. DOI: 10.1038/nature08299  

Ghirardi, M., Posewitz, M., Maness, P., Dubini, A., Yu, J., & Seibert, M. (2007) Hydrogenases and Hydrogen Photoproduction in Oxygenic Photosynthetic Organisms . Annual Review of Plant Biology, 58(1), 71-91. DOI: 10.1146/annurev.arplant.58.032806.103848  

Isalan, M., Lemerle, C., Michalodimitrakis, K., Horn, C., Beltrao, P., Raineri, E., Garriga-Canut, M., & Serrano, L. (2008) Evolvability and hierarchy in rewired bacterial gene networks. Nature, 452(7189), 840-845. DOI: 10.1038/nature06847  

NISBET, E., GRASSINEAU, N., HOWE, C., ABELL, P., REGELOUS, M., & NISBET, R. (2007) The age of Rubisco: the evolution of oxygenic photosynthesis. Geobiology, 5(4), 311-335. DOI: 10.1111/j.1472-4669.2007.00127.x  

Schutz, K., Happe, T., Troshina, O., Lindblad, P., Leitao, E., Oliveira, P., & Tamagnini, P. (2004) Cyanobacterial H2 production ? a comparative analysis. Planta, 218(3), 350-359. DOI: 10.1007/s00425-003-1113-5  

Tamagnini, P., Leitao, E., Oliveira, P., Ferreira, D., Pinto, F., Harris, D., Heidorn, T., & Lindblad, P. (2007) Cyanobacterial hydrogenases: diversity, regulation and applications. FEMS Microbiology Reviews, 31(6), 692-720. DOI: 10.1111/j.1574-6976.2007.00085.x  

Tsygankov, A. (2007) Nitrogen-fixing cyanobacteria: A review. Applied Biochemistry and Microbiology, 43(3), 250-259. DOI: 10.1134/S0003683807030040  

WILLE, M., KRAMERS, J., NAGLER, T., BEUKES, N., SCHRODER, S., MEISEL, T., LACASSIE, J., & VOEGELIN, A. (2007) Evidence for a gradual rise of oxygen between 2.6 and 2.5Ga from Mo isotopes and Re-PGE signatures in shales. Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, 71(10), 2417-2435. DOI: 10.1016/j.gca.2007.02.019  

  • August 10, 2011
  • 07:01 AM
  • 1,186 views

Cancer diagnoses going viral

by Charles Harvey in Charles Harvey - Science Communicator

A genetically modified virus that can make hidden tumours light up may lead to a new and more effective way of screening for cancer. Some cancers are helpful enough to give off obvious clues to their existence. Prostate cancer, for example, can be detected as it raises the levels of a protein called PSA in the blood. Many, however, leave no such trace. Sufferers of these diseases can, therefore, remain in the dark about their condition, delaying treatment and lowering their chances of survival.... Read more »

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