- This week, at The Molecular Ecologist: Applying DNA sequencing technology to Darwin’s back yard, the infection-fighting genes ticks borrowed from bacteria , cleaning up draft genome sequences, Data Nuggets as a new form of broader impact, clinal color variation in barn owls, and visualizing migration rates with circos plots.
- The most direct evidence yet. People who know individual LGBT folks are more likely to support us politically.
- Great! What took so long? The Creationist “Ark Encounter” theme park just lost its tax breaks for religious discrimination.
- Yow. Malcolm Gladwell, serial plagiarist.
- Desperate. The plans to save Louisiana’s disappearing coastline.
- Hopeful. U.S. economic growth sees to be decoupling from oil consumption.
- So cool. Electric eels catch prey by remote-controlling their muscles.
- One ambiguously useful step for man. NASA successfully test-flies its new spacecraft.
- Give’em time. Want answers in class? Wait just five seconds.
- You don’t want to get on the wrong side of the Tolkien estate. The devastating consequences of re-translating The Lord of the Rings.
Category Archives: linkfest
Stuff online, chestnuts and sibilants edition
“Deoxyribonucleic asshole” is about right. James Watson, credited as co-discoverer of the molecular structure of DNA, is auctioning off his Nobel Prize medal in a fit of pique over his recent shunning for being a racist, sexist, jerk.
- Harassing citizens doesn’t prevent crime. Following the near-elimination of “stop and frisk” police patrols, New York City has seen a slight drop in crime rates.
- The touch, the feel. A global history of cotton and capitalism.
- Incentive structures matter. Why abusive police are impossible to remove.
- “To say that black people have made progress would be to say they deserve what happened to them before.” Chris Rock on racial politics in America.
- Except when it doesn’t. “My Vassar College faculty ID makes everything okay.”
- Bookmarked. A new open-access, peer-reviewed repository for biology curriculum, Course Source.
- Not sure if awesome or deeply worrying. The One Laptop Per Child people dropped a bunch of tablets in an Ethiopian village, and village kids taught themselves to use them.
- Godspeed! NASA test-launched a new spacecraft this week.
- Looks promising. The plan to restore chestnut trees to American forests.
- Evolutionary cahoots. The mutations that made plague bacteria deadly to humans are coupled with mutations that make them friendlier to fleas.
- Which means, probably, not a lot. Straight-identified men and women are more likely to show capacity for same-sex romance if they have higher levels of progesterone.
- Or any subcultural linguistic affectation, really. The quest to define “gay voice”.
- I can’t even. In a rush to prepare dinner? Try a shrimp cannon.
Stuff online, “a note so high nobody could reach it” edition
“Nothing on Earth sounds less like freedom to me.” A grand jury decided not to indict Ferguson, Missouri police officer Darren Wilson for killing an unarmed black teenager. Grand juries hardly ever decide not to indict, and Wilson’s testimony before the grand jury didn’t make any sense, but police officers are rarely charged for killing civilians. There are still some options to obtain a measure of justice, but the decision has prompted renewed nationwide protests over our unjust justice system and the deeper racism it supports.
- Reckoning at last. Facing up to Bill Cosby’s history of rape
- Results mixed, at best. Whole Foods tries to attract lower-income customers.
- Paperbacks for victory. How World War II created modern book publishing.
- “… a marvelous theatricality that borders on camp.” Julia Child, queer icon.
- Elegant. Visualizing human history as a chain of ancestry.
- Promising, I think. A new attempt to replace religion with science without being a complete asshole about it.
- The prisoner’s dilemma, still a dilemma. Princeton gives up on fighting grade inflation.
- As if the bioethics issues weren’t enough. It looks like a certain internationally famous safari part is violating laws against trade in protected species.
- And here, finally, is some good news. An ebola vaccine has passed its first trial in humans.
Science online, blood and grape salad edition
- This week at The Molecular Ecologist: The new genomic story of cat domestication, the evolution of salamander-algae symbiosis, and a recap of The Entomological Society of America meeting.
- Two steps forward, one step back. The FDA may soon let gay men donate blood—if they haven’t had any sex in the past year.
- I’m down with that. All the high-class cable dramas are into scientists.
- The world is changing. Not that long ago, religious extremists treated journalists as messengers, not hostages.
- Surprise! Undirected Internet trolls aren’t actually very effective activists. How Anonymous works—and how it doesn’t.
- Guess I’m on Lyft, now. The increasingly nasty behavior of app-based car service Uber.
- Progress, but enough? Migrating monarch butterflies seem to be doing better this year.
- And pays for it out of his own damn pocket. The war on science is politicians crying “waste” over a biologist who builds his own equipment.
- Seriously, if they’d just added some Jell-O, no one would’ve blinked. The New York Times explains to Minnesotans that they should make grape salad for Thanksgiving.
Stuff online, pointing out the problem edition
- This week, at The Molecular Ecologist: The evolution of the insect immune system, the vital importance of genetics for habitat restoration, how to make admixture maps in R, and reproductive isolation in chickadees.
- And, at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! A whole-body microbial map.
- Hope, restored. President Obama made a big new climate-change deal with China.
- Infuriating injustice. In many states the law treats fetuses as more valuable than the women carrying them.
- No, but really. The Minneapolis police union claims the mayor threw a gang sign; Mayor Hodges responds with snark and steel.
- From the front lines. How the Republican war on science funding is hurting the natural world.
- Cool. A map of the Africa that might have been.
- Food for thought. Another great personal perspective on PreP.
- Uh-oh. Does Bill Nye’s science advocacy end at crop improvement?
- The loss of collections is the loss of data. The troubling decline of taxonomic collections.
- Of course. The bacterium whose presence in your gut is most strongly determined by genetics is barely understood.
- One giant leap for mankind, one step backward. The success of a European mission to put a robot on a comet is marred by a mission rep’s sexist clothing choice. Update: He’s given an unforced, heartfelt apology.
- Going to come in handy later, I hope. Tips on writing a recommendation letter.
Stuff online, doom and despair edition
- This week, at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense! Tracing the genetic origins of migration in monarch butterflies.
- We’re living in the future, item umpteen. We have photos of sunlight shining on the seas of Saturn’s moon Titan.
- Ugh. The midterm voters have spoken: they want a better deal for working folks, but also Republican control of Congress, which is going to be terrible for science and the environment.
- Requiescat. Tom Magliozzi, half of NPR’s essential “Car Talk.”
- Bad aftertaste. The cultish, multi-level, millennial-focused marketing of a line of soft drinks.
- One for the reading list. The definitive account of the fight for marriage equality.
- Your inoculation against the hype. If there’s one thing we know about the human microbiome, it’s that there’s no (single) healthy version.
- Because evolution, and because humans. The lesson of Ebola is that we’ll always have epidemics.
- Even in viral videos. How the problems with a video expose of catcalling reveal the importance of research design.
- Well played, Michigan State. How one of the best biology departments in the country responded to a creationist convention on campus—by ignoring it.
- Handy. A compendium of all iPhone apps for natural history.
Stuff online, Phobos and Demos edition
- This week, at The Molecular Ecologist: Tracking pollinators’ fungal hitchhikers and talking preprints at Haldane’s Sieve.
- Get a grip, people. How to respond to Ebola in the U.S. productively; and how not to.
- I’m shocked, shocked! The “Ark Encounter” creationist propaganda park stands to lose state subsidies over discriminatory hiring practices.
- I’m a bit disappointed there aren’t three simple laws. Isaac Asimov ponders how creativity works.
- “The Country of the English People”. How the early United States looked to the Ottoman Empire.
- Because you’re wondering how Yossarian takes his coffee. Literary Starbucks.
- Preferably for the sensible candidate. U.S. citizens, find your fucking polling place so you can vote next Tuesday.
Stuff online, “No, Mr. Bond, I expect you to be naturally selected” edition
- This week at Nothing in Biology Makes Sense: In the movies and on TV, only bad guys evolve.
- Because it’s what you do, not what you are. Why douchebag is the anti-white-supremacist slur for our time.
- Is Minneapolis the new Portland? Is Pittsburgh the new Austin?
- Without climbing the walls. Finding the way out of academia.
- We can only hope. Next steps in Ferguson.
Stuff online, grass of the field edition
- My latest in the LA Review of Books: How living things are evolving (or not) in response to human activity.
- From the front lines of the outbreak: The cultural links between ebola and zombies; how useful airport screening will probably be; the basic science that could have prevented this.
- Break’em down for parts. The best mutualists are the ones you can recycle when you’re done with them.
- Looks effective, in a small trial. We now know we can transplant gut microbes using the less awkward end of the alimentary canal.
- Fun! What it’s like to have right-wingers attack your NSF grant.
- Wake me when he’s governor. An Idaho state legislator who doesn’t hate Federal conservation agencies.
- The NRA is killing America. A university is unable to do anything about death threats against a guest speaker because of concealed carry laws.
- Set irony to maximum. Turns out we did find some WMDs in Iraq — they were from the U.S., and dangerously old, and the Pentagon covered it all up.
- Mortality sucks. We live among the dead.
- He’s seriously the best thing on this show. How Andre Braugher makes Brooklyn Nine-Nine the best.
- From slates to whiteboards. A brief history of the blackboard.
- Requiescat. The ScienceOnline organization.
Stuff online, marathoning monarchs edition
- Going down. A new study estimates that worldwide wildlife populations dropped more than 50% in the last 40 years.
- Long-haul leps. There’s a simple genetic basis to whether or not monarch butterflies have the endurance to migrate.
- Good news/bad news. Missionary doctors are providing critical services across Africa—but we don’t know how well they’re doing.
- And we don’t know what most of them do. U.S. environmental regulations aren’t keeping up with all the chemicals we’re dumping into the environment.
- Especially when its this integral to the literature? How do we deal with the racism of classic literature?
- Don’t try this at home. Or anywhere else. A guy who studies the human gut microbiome tries to go paleo.
- Too good to be true might just be. A tiny, long-isolated population of rare fish turns out to be not-quite-so long-isolated.
- Hey! I know some of these. The green and bucolic dumpsites of Pittsburgh.
- Am I really the only one who already knew you can’t pull yourself up by your bootstraps? Deflating the American legend of the self-made man.
- Possibly the worst. Here is a tumblr devoted to very bad cats.