Basic Fucking Research

Candid Engineer has a nice post up today concerning the distinction between directly cure-oriented biomedical research and more basic research. The attitude of some of her laboratory colleagues chaps her ass:

So what really bakes my noodle is the often dominating opinion within my lab that the only reason we should be doing science is to get a product into people. And if we don’t get a product into people, then what the hell is the point and we should all be totally depressed about how all of our hard work didn’t amount to jack shit at the end of the day.

Even if you think that the only reason for doing science is to treat people, you should still be in favor of basic research. This is because some of the most important discoveries that end up leading directly to getting shit into people–e.g., the discovery of small non-coding RNAs–are stumbled upon by researchers who weren’t intentionally trying to get shit into people.

If all you do is focus on things that you a priori perceive as likely to lead to getting shit into people, you are without question going to be missing out on a whole fuckload of opportunities to discover shit that will end up in people.

Right-Wing Demagoguery

Sara Robinson has a very passionate post up at Orcinus today in which she excoriates right-wing demagogues such as Limbaugh, Beck, and the like for inciting wackaloon racist, misogynist, anti-semitic fuck-up murderers into committing terrorist acts on their fellow citizens.

As part of her analysis, she asks the following question:

Are you deliberately trying to start a civil war? Or are you willing to work for real civility, and return to your seat at the table, ready to help us choose the country’s future?

The answer, of course, is that right-wing demagogues want neither of these things. They just want to create enough disorder and distraction and fear to prevent any real progressive politics and policies from taking solid root, and thereby to keep the field clear for the corporate oligarch interests that they serve.

For Fuck’s Sake

Does ESPN really have to pollute their baseball broadcasts with Chris Berman? He is a fucking blight. He doesn’t know jack shit about jack fucking shit, and just reads prepared color sheets that some poor fucking unpaid intern prepares for him. Fucking douche.

Why The Fuck Is Harry Reid The Senate Majority Leader?

There is a discussion going on right now over at Dispatches From The Culture Wars concerning what a stupid fuckwit Harry Reid is, and how the fuck someone so fucking stupid and ineffectual could get elected as the leader of the Senate Democratic caucus.

The Democratic senatorial caucus elects assholes like Reid as their leader because he is “moderate”–i.e., basically a non-deranged Republican–and there is nothing Democrats fear more than being associated with dirty fucking hippies. This is an irrational fear borne of decades of being brutally attacked by Republicans for being “liberal”, as if that is a bad thing.

Mainstream Democrats have so internalized this shit that even though the Republican Party itself is completely discredited in the eyes of the vast majority of American voters, it still has power over Democrats because it is a voice inside their heads that they can’t help but listen to.

The Liberal Media

This Associated Press article is entitled Sotomayor’s objectivity on bench is key question, and here are the first two paragraphs:

The senator leading the GOP’s review of Sonia Sotomayor said the central question in her Supreme Court nomination should be whether she allows personal views to color her decisions.

In the Republican Party’s weekly radio and Internet address Saturday, Sen. Jeff Sessions didn’t say whether he thinks Sotomayor crosses that line. But he raised questions that reflect a growing chorus of GOP criticism that the federal appeals court judge sees her role as something more than an impartial umpire.

Of course, the well-known liberal bias of the mainstream media (and what could be more mainstream than the Associated Press?) is the reason that the article isn’t entitled Senate Republicans question Sotomayor’s objectivity on bench. AMIRITE?

Undergraduate Preparation of Medical Students

An editorial in this week’s Science describes the report of a committee of medical school and undergraduate faculty convened by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute and the the Association of American Medical Colleges concerning the undergraduate coursework preparation of medical students. I was struck by this particular conclusion:

Medical school faculty have a short time in which to convey an in-depth understanding of specific medical knowledge and recent research. Students should arrive at medical school prepared in the sciences, including some areas not currently required, such as statistics and biochemistry. If all beginning medical students understand general biochemistry, for example, then faculty can build on this knowledge, creating more opportunities to explore the synergistic relationships among biomedical science, research, and clinical medicine. Medical schools should also increase their emphasis on the importance of the physical sciences and mathematics in biomedical research and clinical practice.


More On Sotomayor

Why is it ZOMFG!DISASTER!!ELEVENTY!11111!!! that Sotomayor’s experiences as a Latina woman might influence her judicial decisionmaking, but it is HUNKY!DORY!TOTES!AWESOME!111!!BAJILLION!!1111! that the experiences as white d00dz of all the fucking white d00dz on the Supreme Court influence theirs? Oh, right. It’s because white d00dz are normal people, and Latina women are exotic illegitimate interlopers.

What are the chances that anyone in the mainstream right-wing sack-licking coporate media will draw attention to this completely obvious morally and pragmatically bankrupt basis for sleazy Republican attacks on Sotomayor?