aesmael: (probably quantum)
(04:25:24) celestialjayde: http://sexinthepublicsquare.org/ERVsBlog/Microbiology-and-Abortion
also this is intriguing

(04:27:04) Ami angelwings: Planned Parenthood's recommendation to use the abortion-causing drug Misoprostol vaginally rather than orally has led to fatal infections according to a research study released by the University of Michigan.
(04:27:15) Ami angelwings: if i was a scientist upon reading that
(04:27:37) Ami angelwings: i would go into one of the radioactive labs and irradiate myself
(04:27:39) Ami angelwings: gain super powers
(04:27:45) Ami angelwings: and go destroy them for misrepresenting my work
Leading particle physicists have recently announced they have given up the search for the Higgs bosun, to focus instead on seeking evidence of the elusive Higgs ninja. The Higgs ninja is believed to be responsible for mass, via a process of sneaking around and gluing particles together when no one is looking.

Of their reasons for switching focus one spokesperson has been quoted as saying "We simply don't believe a pirate force could have evaded detection all these years" and more pertinently that "Very few subatomic particles show evidence of having been boarded."
aesmael: (haircut)
Bored with that titling system. Let's leave it blank for now.

Dispatches from the Culture Wars
  1. Thoughts on Day One of the DNC [Maybe I should amalgamate all the Scienceblogs postings under a single heading. I find something vaguely distasteful about this and the last post from here. Maybe it is an air of self-congratulation.]
  2. Effete Hollywood Elitists for McCain


Google Reader Shared Items
  1. The Future of Books [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Was expecting "E-books: Yea or abomination?" Instead, Pretty.]
  2. Laser pointers banned in New South Wales after rash of attacks on pilots [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. But I want one.]
  3. Super Mario Girls [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Cute, yes. Not everything needs to be done with sex appeal in mind though. And since when are "fluffy clouds with faces and bubbly turtles and blocky landscapes" unmanly? But I like the picture.]
  4. Cat 5 wedding rings help nerds couple [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. I, uh, don't know what these actually do.]
  5. Moe Angel with Headphones [via [livejournal.com profile] soltice. Cute cute cute! *save*]
  6. Bioware devs debate whether Wii is part of gaming [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. It seems an odd question to me, since the Wii seems clearly a device for playing games, but the post is just a quick summary linking to an interview. No, wait. That was a preface too. Interview here. There are lots of words there at the beginning but I am not entirely sure these people are saying anything... a bit like reading some Post-Modern discourse. It seems like an interesting question though: what counts as gaming? I want to say "playing a game". This talk of narrative... that seems like something else to me. Something called 'narrative'. Describing the experience of playing a Wii as "toy-like", or making a distinction with sports such as tennis, this seems to me like an attempt to mark gaming as a particular kind of experience, a particular approach to an activity. I think what is being gotten at is a degree of seriousness and immersion. I think it probably does constitute a bundle of approaches, any subset of which can apply at a given time, and what the Bioware folks are talking about constitutes one of these subsets. Although reading to the end of the page I think I misunderstood them a bit. I am being vague because I am tired. Possibly follow up later with input from others?]
  7. Celebrate Mario Kart Wii with alternate karts, Wii wheel substitutions [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Funny.]
  8. Working NES squeezed into ... an NES cartridge [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Wow, neat! This title messes with my ideas of how it should be pronounced.]
  9. SIU responds to anti-feminist email [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. Oh, wow! It feels so rare to see such a desirable response, it can get disheartening.]
  10. The Fag Bug is back! [via [livejournal.com profile] gentle_gamer. That's a pretty creative and great response to vandalism. Interesting seeing the change in tone of people's responses between the first post, in which Erin Davies starts her mission, and the second post, in which it is revealed she is getting a book and film deal out of this.]


Gmail Web Clip clickings
  1. David Wain Moves From Wainy Days to Role Models [Who is this guy? Why do I care what he does? I fear curiosity clicking from gmail has gotten the better of me...]
  2. Time to "Free the Airwaves" [Google would like people to be activist on their behalf.]
  3. Top Fun Date Ideas [These are not romantic? My idea of a going-somewhere date is to do something we will enjoy, so these seem more like standard date ideas than special fun ones. Admittedly I have been on very few dates in my life, but this makes it seem like something which is supposed to be very restrained in ways which are not interesting to me. At least now I know what an Interpretive Center is.*]


Respectful Insolence
  1. "To kill and cure cancer, you must first understand it" [Orac is as ever verbose.]


Signout
  1. The luxury of time [I've not encountered this blog before. This is... fascinating. Not much to say because processing.]


Uncertain Principles
  1. It's 4am [Labs are not supposed to be flooded. Unless you work in underseaology.]


My assignment is as done as it is getting, so I sleep now. Test in five hours.

*This whole response reads like something which I would respond to in someone else with scorn, as if they are trying to show off how special and above ordinary concerns they are. Ah well.
aesmael: (tricicat)
From Zuska|Thus Spake Zuska via Julianne|Cosmic Variance:

This paper describes a statistical analysis showing clear discrimination by gender among postdoctoral researchers participating in a particle physics experiment. So far as I am aware it has not been published, nor is scheduled to be published. Nor am I capable of evaluating the rigour of the analysis, having only one mostly-forgotten class on statistics in my past (if anyone reading this can do so, that would be appreciated). Such constitutes my disclaimer.

For people interested in getting straight to the results, here is the most straightforwardly worded portion of this paper:
We find that females were allotted 40% more service work than males, and that the chances of this occurring in the absence of gender bias are less than 1%. This observation that females are significantly more often shunted into service work roles echoes the results of a study performed 27 years ago by Mary Gaillard (1980) on the status of of female physicists at CERN, a very large European particle physics laboratory. Particle physics has not progressed very far in this respect in the last three decades.

We also find that females were significantly more productive than their male peers in both
physics and service work, yet were awarded significantly fewer conference presentations; all 9 females in our sample were more productive than 24 out of the 48 males, yet the females had to be on average 3 times more productive than their male peers in order to be awarded a conference presentation. The chances of this occurring in the absence of gender bias are
less than 1%. This result is in remarkable concordance with the research of Wenneras and Wold, who found that females in their study had to be on average 2.5 times more productive than their male peers in order to receive a postdoctoral fellowship.

We note that this dearth of allocated conference presentations appears to hinder the ability of otherwise highly qualified females to become faculty members.


On a personal note, this study is one of many things convincing me I made a right personal choice not to pursue a research career. Although I still believe myself entirely capable of the work, I simply lack the drive required to overcome the obstacles of the non-scientific portions of the profession.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
For a while now folks at ScienceBlogs and elsewhere have been putting up posts about basic concepts in science. Also for a while now, John S. Wilkins|Evolving Thoughts has been compiling an index of these posts.

It can be found here: Basic Concepts in Science: A list

I look forward to exploring these and present this to anyone who might wish to do the same.
aesmael: (it would have been a scale model)
If it did not taste so good with every drop, surely we would stop drinking it.

Since it was not visible from here, I am going to watch the lunar eclipse via Celestia. Celestia is being finicky in GNOME and KDE. Going to try installing the GNOME frontend, see if that helps. Also xorsa because it looks fun.
aesmael: (tricicat)
Stolen from [livejournal.com profile] metaquotes:

Cutlery and Utensils: A Brief Taxonomic Study of the Evolution of Eusociality in the Kitchen
Trojanhorse Heales-Shadowfax, BSc (Hons)


The oldest known members of the Order Utensillida (Kingdom; Objecta, Phylum; Kitchenae, Class: Preparata) are those of the Family Incisidiformes; the Knives. Today the only common extant genus of incisids is the nominate genus Incisa, which are brood parasites.
From basal incisids arose the two groups of higher utensils; the nominate family Utensillidiformes, which includes the rarer and more solitary forms such as Whisks (Miscidae), the Slicers (Egg-Slicers, Ouefcoutidae, and Cheese-Slicers, Fromagecoutidae), and the predatory Meat-Tenderisers (Carneidae) and Garlic-Presses (Alliumsativumidae); and the large family Plataeiformes, or Spoons. The plataeids have two basic modes of life; monogamy (practised by the Spatulidae) and eusociality (as seen in the Plataeidae). The tendency for the more advanced plataeids to be smaller than their less specialised cousins is well documented.

Incisa cuculia, the Steak Knife Cuckoo.

Incisa cuculia is the most common of the incisids. Adults form colonies living in wooden blocks, and may be highly diverse in form. In general, females are slender, gracile forms known as boning or filleting knives. Males are heavier, and dominant males may become cleavers in later life. Juvenile forms are steak knives and seek shelter in the cutlery drawer amongst colonies of Plateus eusocialus, the spoon-bee, where they masquerade as soldiers until maturity.


Misca misca, the Common Whisk

This utensil is a parasitoid, ultimately responsible for the demise of any utensil drawer or jar. It draws nourishment from entangling other utensils and may end up snarling so many hapless victims in its maw that it can no longer function itself.

Meat tenderisers, garlic presses, cheese and egg slices, (genera Carna, Alliumsativum, Ouefcouta and Fromagecouta)

Most utensil drawers will have only one or two of these hermit utensils; they do not cohabit easily and there is usually fierce competition between them until their numbers are reduced to a sustainable level in any one kitchen.

Spatula pisca; the Faithful Spatula

Technically, the spatula is the female of the species, where the fish-slice is the male form. This level of sexual dimorphism is responsible for their being placed often in separate species by early taxonomists. Interestingly, this genus practices live birth of young; young spatulas resemble the female closely but will be smaller and more rubbery, thus making them both easier to give birth to, presumably, and more useful to the cook.

Plateus eusocialus; the Spoon-Bee

These are an indispensible kitchen organism, eusocial with the ladle as queen, knives as soldiers, spoons of various types as workers, forks as drones and teaspoons being the larval stage. The spork is a sad hermaphrodite mutation, the increase of which is probably due to increased use of pesticides in food. Often, cooks will find measuring spoons (Plateus sucraetcetera) in spoon-bee colonies; thi is an example of symbiosis; by using the measuring spoon the cook is giving it more food, and the use of it for the task of measuring means more time in the hive (cutlery drawer) for the teaspoon larvae. If there is more than one ladle in the drawer, they will fight to the death and often wreck the drawer at the same time. This fight to the death may take years; it works by one ladle being pushed towards the front of the drawer, inducing the cook to use it more often and thus wear it out faster.

More research is being conducted as this article goes to press.

This is the kind of thing which prompts me to try and restrict delicious postables to other such gems[1]. Perhaps interestingly, biology is blue while chemistry is white and physics yellow.

[1] Although 'gems' is privileging the value of inorganic matter over organic as something to be treasured I did not find a suitable alternative. At least they are both reducible to impure carbon.
aesmael: (friendly)
Here is a video demonstrating yet again that mutation and selection can produce complexity without design.

I find evolutionary algorithms fascinating and hope someday to play around with and write some myself.
aesmael: (probably quantum)
    Click here for it.
aesmael: (tricicat)
    Thanks to iGoogle, a quick sweep through the most recent entries in my feeds.
  1. kimberella|Larvatus Prodeo in exile So much for the religious right [Family First made barely a blip in election; I think they were split with the Christian Democrats]
  2. The Merchant of Menace|The Anti-Theist and Misoclere Society Blair Admits His Delusional Psychopathy [Faith is not a justification for anything to anyone but oneself. I do not agree with the characterisation of all religious believers as delusional or liars - I believe most are simply mistaken]
  3. Heather Mallick|Comment is free Top quality sleaze [I know not what to make of this]
  4. Autumn Sandeen|Pam's House Blend Beginning An Occasional  Series On Hometown Activism [California Democratic Party adopts resolution supporting anti-discrimination legislation protecting transgender people]
  5. ScienceWoman|On being a scientist and a woman Minnow 36: Old science project [Had not seen this blog before (I subscribed to the Scienceblogs Combined Feed once I realised I could not read all my subscriptions anyway. Looking forward to seeing more from her.]
  6. David Michaels|The Pump Handle Money Changes Everything (Still More Evidence) [Links to this very interesting article on the influence of money on how doctors look at and frame the positive and negative features of drugs]
  7. writerdd|Memoirs of a Skepchick Are ratings harmful? [I think they are pretty silly]
  8. Tim Lambert|Deltoid Slap happy Overington [Australian journalist accused of slapping Labor candidate for Wentworth]
  9. Ed Brayton|Dispatches From the Culture Wars Promote Peace, Get Harassed [Of all the responses to students wearing peace shirts and putting up posters, scrawling swastikas over them and wearing Confederate flags shirts in opposition is surely one of the worst]
  10. Orac|Respectful Insolence Takin' care of business: A triple dose of...well, you don't want to know [Blog mascot picture post - man dressed as enema bottle]
  11. Joseph j7uy5|Corpus Callosum Agomelatine: A New Approach For Depression [I often find this blog enlightening and interesting. This is not an exception.]
  12. Austin Cline|About.com: Agnosticism/Atheism Mailbag: Purpose of Life [Go read. I tend to agree with Austin Cline. I did actually make that assumption - reincarnation is not out of line for Christians I have met. The rest I suppose flows from the language being used (English). Or, y'know, I could accept being mistaken.]
  13. JP|SF Signal When Did Star Wars Jump The Shark? [Probably]
  14. Jim Downey|Unscrewing the Inscrutable This is a remarkably bad idea [Just another day]
  15. Ed Brayton|Dispatches From the Culture Wars Heisman Trophy: Tim Tebow [Not something I know or care about]
  16. Ed Brayton|Dispatches From the Culture Wars Scalia Hires Two Orthodox Jewish clerks [The comments are... interesting]
  17. Ed Brayton|Dispatches From the Culture Wars Michigan Protects Transgendered State Employees [I am slightly less pleased after rereading and seeing it is only state employees and not everyone working in the state{1}]
  18. Abel Pharmboy|Terra Sigillata Docs as drug reps: a physician's inside story [Another (longer) take on the story linked at item #6]
  19. PZ Myers|Pharyngula Faith is not a prerequisite for science [Paul Davies gets on my nerves too. PZ Myers does not. Blake Stacey, also awesome.]
{1} It often annoys me seeing trans women described as ladies. I get the impression there are not many women these days who enjoy being called 'ladies' these days and it strikes me as patronising, as in "Ladies, ladies, calm down". *shrug*
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
I found this interesting.
aesmael: (it would have been a scale model)
    Click it. Click now!

    Okay, I will try to stop spamming everyone's f-lists now.
aesmael: (tricicat)
    Here is an article at the Guardian about the closeness of the Australian election. Suggested correction: Howard is the Prime Minister, not the Premier. Premiers run states.
    Are the Guardian not known as the Grauniad for their frequent errors?

    Here is a video found at Pharyngula in which Roy Zimmerman makes light of Jerry Falwell's God. The video apparently was snagged from God is for Suckers, which site I discovered today still mocks Ann Coulter by calling her transsexual even though I asked them to knock it off back in June.

    On the lighter side of things, this delightful post by Rebecca at Skepchicks. Make sure you watch the video; I was laughing pretty hard by the end of it. The cold reading bingo card Skeptico (the first blog I started following) made is pretty great too.

    Aaand all the way back at Pharyngula, this post about a poll asking how Baylor University ought to approach Intelligent Design. I am torn on this. Would it be better to pursue fruitless research in order to allow it to demonstrate its hollowness, or give it up now for the philosophical vapour it is?

    Lastly I leave you with Memories from Larvatus Prodeo (in exile), in which interesting things are said about one John Howard, Prime Minister.

Tch

2007-11-19 00:54
aesmael: (nervous)
    Orac|Respectful Insolence provides a list all the academic medical centres which offer woo, as it is put. List is here.
aesmael: (probably quantum)
    Phil Plait|Bad Astronomy has made a retrospective post about the recent weblog awards business. Go click the link if you want to see what he said, I just want to express my annoyance with some of the commenters visiting from Climate Audit. In response to questions about why that site does not seem to tackle anti-anthropogenic global warming claims, several replied that it is far too easy to debunk those, they have no influence on policy anyway, and it is more important that people question consensus science.
    While that is important (though what I have heard suggests their claims that such claims  are not guiding policy is, well, untrue, or only recently true), a couple of these commenters inquired likewise how come Phil Plait writes posts debunking such easy and trivial things as Moon landing hoaxes, astrology and UFOlogy, rather than doing something more worthwhile with his time like trying to find errors in published scientific papers.

    It seems to me there is quite a good reason for Phil to post on such topics: People still believe those things. Very, very many of them still believe in basically astronomical ideas and Phil Plait spends a lot of time trying to correct this misinformation. There are other people who attempt to find flaws in peer-reviewed astronomy research. We call them astronomers.
    There is nothing wrong with someone blogging about astronomical papers in such a way, and I should be very interested to learn of someone who does such a thing, but that is not the motive behind Bad Astronomy and the site is not lacking for focussing on astronomy nearer to public consciousness.
aesmael: (friendly)
    Those are tasty. Star Wars: Attack of the clones, less so. I prefer stories where I don't have to roll my eyes and ask "But why didn't they...?" Although that is fun too.

    I have not written anything since my last writing post, however I did update my silly studying wiki. It is not so good but hopefully I can fix that as I learn. Perhaps tomorrow will see both activities happening. We shall see.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
    Mo|Neurophilosophy writes about a paper apparently showing that the number of moving objects a human can track depends on the objects' rate of movement.

    Just in case anyone wanted to take a look.
aesmael: (sudden sailor)
    That headline certainly grabbed my attention. Did it grab yours? The Science Daily headline seems to be overstating the case a tad, as news headlines often do. What the original article seems to be about is gene expression as related to phenotypic sex and independent of chromosomal sex. Specifically, the role of androgens in genital development studied in XY AIS (Androgen Insensitivity Syndrome) and non-AIS individuals.
    It has nothing to do with testing to identify a person's gender. However, it is interesting to learn more about the particulars of human development. I was going to say something like 'which aspects of development are determined by genes and which by hormones' but, as I understand it, genes call for hormones and hormones trigger genes so it is not quite so clear cut. In this case, I think the difference is between the effects of a Y chromosome with the aid of androgens and the effect on development of a Y chromosome without androgens.

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