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Category Archive: Science

Jul 15 2014

The Lyon hypothesis, nicely illustrated

Dang, I teach all this stuff about genes and chromosomes and epigenetics, but I don’t have the advantage of giant floating holographic molecules floating around me. Maybe I’ll have to steal this for my classes. Although it could use some discussion of Blaschko’s lines, to explain why you get a stripey pattern rather than just …

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Jul 14 2014

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Respect for the nematomorph

HHW_movie

There’s a new vampire series on FX by Guillermo Del Toro, The Strain. I haven’t seen it — I don’t get that channel — but I’ve read the book, which I found interesting for making vampires utterly disgusting, and also for stealing biological analogues for the infection (alas, I thought the story started very well …

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Jul 11 2014

Friday Cephalopod: Adorkable little guys

Octosquid.io

Cephalopods are the cutest creatures on the planet. How can you deny it?

Jul 09 2014

Bread and circuses…well, circuses anyway, not so much bread

poorcosts

Michael Shermer indulges in some shabby Libertarian statistical games to wave away American economic inequality. Sure, there are inequities, he argues, but they’re not so bad — the poor are also getting slightly richer. The rich are getting richer, as Brookings Institution economist Gary Burtless found by analyzing tax data from the Congressional Budget Office …

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Jul 08 2014

Maybe humanity deserves extinction, after all

Behold, the latest example of human stupidity and shortsightedness. In small towns across America, manly men are customizing their jacked-up diesel trucks to intentionally emit giant plumes of toxic smoke every time they rev their engines. They call it “rollin’ coal,” and it’s something they do for fun. An entire subculture has emerged on the Internet surrounding …

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Jul 08 2014

Setting the bar low. Burying it, actually.

cumialicense

Penn Jillete defends Anthony Cumia. We’re all missing the important detail that exonerates him — sure, he went off for hours in a racist tirade, but don’t you all realize that Cumia is licensed to carry a concealed handgun? Penn Jillette says that people are burying the lede in the alleged incident that led to …

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Jul 08 2014

There’s the leak in the pipeline

surveytable

We’re always talking about this curious phenomenon, that we see lots of women at the undergraduate and graduate level in biology, but large numbers of them leave science rather than rising through the ranks. Why is that? It seems that one answer is that elite male faculty in the life sciences employ fewer women, that …

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Jul 07 2014

Mary’s Monday Metazoan: Worms are as cool as tentacles

NatGeo

Jul 07 2014

What are you going to simulate?

The EU is sinking €1.2bn (and the US is proposing to spend more, $3 billion) into a colossal project to build a supercomputer simulation of the human brain. To which I say, “What the hell? We aren’t even close to building such a thing for a fruit fly brain, and you want to do that …

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Jul 07 2014

Closure on the Obokata/STAP affair

I’ve been following the story of stimulus-triggered acquisition of pluripotency (STAP) cells with considerable interest, and there’s a good reason for that: from the very beginning, it contradicted how I’d always thought about cell states, and if it were true, I’d have to rethink a lot of things, which was vexing. But on the other …

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