Scientific Disciplines

What Bush Got Wrong on Stem Cells

Jul 17th, 2008 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research, Featured Articles


How to Read a Poll

Jun 18th, 2008 | By | Category: 2008, Featured Articles, Stats

As we approach November, I anticipate a tidal wave of blog posts on polls. Reading the polling data improperly is hazardous to your health. The disconnect between the polling and the 2004 election results nearly resulted in my death. Avoid my mistakes. 1. Remember that polls are always of a population that may or may […]

Show Evolution of a Complex Trait? Ok.

Jun 13th, 2008 | By | Category: Evolution, Featured Articles

No one really argues about the validity of natural selection. Only the most hardened of young Earth creationists contest that organisms with more adaptive traits will preferentially survive and reproduce. The Intelligent Design crowd tends to wave this off as a trivial truth. Of course, they say, better traits are selected for. They instead claim […]

A Defense of Inches and Fluid Ounces

May 15th, 2008 | By | Category: Units

I know that as a scientist, I am expected to loathe all imperial measurements–inches, cups, quarts, gallons and Fahrenheit. Whining about the United States’ failure to embrace the metric system? Default behavior for dim bulbs seeking to seem sophisticated. You know what? I don’t like metric measurements for many daily tasks. Why? Factors! The metric […]

Platypus Genome!

May 14th, 2008 | By | Category: Evolution

(Salim Virji) Who doesn’t love the platypus? This is a creature bizarre enough to make marsupials feel better about themselves. The platypus, lactates (mammal!) and lays eggs (reptile!), grows fur (mammal!) and venom (reptile!). This might be the single most interesting creature, from an evolutionary point of view, on the planet. About 315 million years […]

On Scientific Dissent

Apr 21st, 2008 | By | Category: Evolution

Ready? Prepared to have your mind blown? (cartoon via xkcd) Ideas are tested by experiment. That’s all there is to science. This is the only bar an idea must be taller than to take the ride of science as a legitimate hypothesis. An untestable, unknowable, incomprehensible supernatural force is required for the existence of living […]

A Gigantic Breakthrough in Stem Cell Research

Nov 20th, 2007 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

(Image from Takahashi et al., Induction of Pluripotent Cell form Adult Human Fibroblasts by Defined Factors, Cell (2007), doi:10.1016/j.cell.2007.11.019) Ok. Now I believe. Two groups working independently–Dr. Yamanaka’s lab in Japan and Dr. Thomson’s Lab in Wisconsin–have converted human cells into embryonic stem cell-like cells. This tremendous accomplishment is on par with the initial creation […]

Highlights from Today’s UW Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine (ISCRM) Meeting

Nov 5th, 2007 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Seattle hosts one of the two major NIH-funded human embryonic stem cell research centers in the United States. This federally funded grant–ten million dollars spread over five years–is supplemented with private donations from the community. What’s being done with the money: A course to train young scientists, training grant to fund them and community outreach […]

“The Lingering Concequences of Nationalism-Socialism” or Thoughts on Science in Europe

Oct 19th, 2007 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

I’ve just returned from a week long trip to Germany (Düsseldorf and Dresden) for scientific meetings on stem cell research and regenerative medicine–the land of cheerful public artwork, amazing cab drivers and tear-inducing-good mass transit. How many hybrids did I see? Zero Some thoughts: I. Human embryonic stem cell research in Germany is under tight […]

Federally Funded Human Embryonic Stem Cells

Sep 5th, 2007 | By | Category: Embryonic Stem Cell Research

The University of Washington was selected by the NIH as one of two national centers for human embryonic stem cell research. The purse? Ten million dollars in federal funds spread over five years. Hurray for us! (Full disclosure time: I was a small contributor to the grant, including preliminary data, experimental design and writing. The […]