"It is true, and thus the question of whether it is sad or happy has no meaning whatever."
Bernhard Schlink

Science is best when discussed: leave your thoughts and ideas in the comments!!

Saturday, January 31, 2004

Public Health Funding 

A group of public health and medical advocacy organizations have called for a 12% increase in public health spending in 2005. This is clearly needed, given how pathetic public health in most of this country is. The Bush, administration, of course has no interest in this, claiming that "there is plenty of money available to build the public health infrastructure" without increasing funding. Yeah, riiiiight.

Tommy Thompson says PH workers will have to "tighten our belts a little bit," but of course DoD and DHS, and let's not forget DHalliburton, are loosening theirs.

BushCo continues its War on Science.

Friday, January 30, 2004


Or maybe a good thing. Parents who buy this sort of thing for their children should certainly not have their genes propagated in the population.
(via LittleYellowDifferent)

Size Matters 

From the Public Library of Science's biology publication, this is a very informative overview of what we know, and don't know, about how the sizes of cells and bodies are determined and controlled.

It's technical, but not so technical that laypersons won't learn a good deal from it.


The New Scientist reports that cell phone use does NOT increase the risk of brain tumors.....at least in the first ten years. Which means I have at least six whole years left before I start growing an extra dentate gyrus.

Waitaminute....the dentate is needed for memory formation and retrieval. Maybe I do want an extra!

More phone calls!!!!

Brain Drain 

Atrios already blogged this, but it's bloody interesting, and well worth reading.

I can't say I have much real firsthand experience on the subject, but I do know that a large number of the people with whom I've worked in science have been of foreign origin. I do know that it's gotten much harder since 9/11 for people to get visas, especially people of the darker-skinned and Arab-looking (whatever those things mean) varieties. You can't discount the draws of better healthcare, schools and stuff like that other places (UK, Australia, Canada, f'rinstance) can offer that we can't.

Fat Brains 

Because it's after midnight and the liquor has worn off in time for insomnia to set in, I am reading the news. One cool tidbit from the BBC: Scientists from two universities are about to embark on a multi-billion pound experiment to see if obesity is caused, or at least maintained, by neuroendocrine systems. The idea is that the system evolved when famine was common, and so it was good to store food when it was available, and also good to conserve it when it's not. This would translate today into our brains shutting off our metabolism when we diet (i.e., make food not available), thus making it difficult to lose weight. Who knows, maybe in a few years this'll lead to a drug helping billions of people all look even more alike. And probably have some wonderful side effects, like tumors and baldness. Or maybe it'll really be a good thing.

Thursday, January 29, 2004


Welcome the re-inauguration of my blog. It used to be just an online journal, back when it was part of my 1998-2000 website, "Miscellany," but now I'm resurrecting it as something entirely different, named after a crucial part of working memory we all know and love: The Articulatory Loop. That's where you repeat something, for instance a phone number, over and over in your head until you've either memorized it (semi-)permanently, or used dialed and don't need it anymore.

I'm going to blog about whatever I feel like, day to day, but my focus is going to be science, because it's a good way to force myself to read more science than I would, now that I'm out of school. Because without proper maintenance, it's far too easy to become obsolete.

And away we go.....

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