Category Archives: Uncategorized

Elsevier admits they’re a major obstacle for women scientists in the developing world

I just received the following announcement from Elsevier: Nominations opened today for the Elsevier Foundation Awards for Early-Career Women Scientists in the Developing World, a high-profile honor for scientific and career achievements by women from developing countries in five regions: Latin America and theCaribbean; the Arab region; Sub-Saharan Africa; Central and South Asia; and East […]

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Pachter’s P-value Prize’s Post-Publication Peer-review Paradigm

Several weeks ago my Berkeley colleague Lior Pachter posted a challenge on his blog offering a prize for computing a p-value for a claim made in a 2004 Nature paper. While cheeky in its formulation, Pachter had an important point – he believed that a claim from this paper was based on faulty reasoning, and the p-value prize […]

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Yoshiki Sasai and the deadly consequences of science misconduct witchhunts

People who know me or read my blog will know that, in 1987, my father, a scientist at the NIH, killed himself after a member of his lab committed scientific fraud and he got caught up in the investigation. So I found the news this morning that Yoshiki Sasai, a Japanese stem cell scientist, committed suicide […]

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Let’s make 2013 the year of legislative access on open access

Yesterday a bi-partisan group of legislatures – Rep. Doyle (D-PA), Rep. Lofgren (D-CA), Rep. Yoder (R-KS), Sen. Wyden (D-OR) and Sen. Cornyn (R-TX) – introduced legislation that would require federal agencies that fund scientific and medical research to make works they fund available to the public. This bill – known as the Fair Access to […]

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My father, Aaron Swartz, and assigning blame for suicide

Twenty-six years ago, on February 7th, 1987, my father killed himself, and this day is always a complicated one for me. It is something I have never talked or written about in public. But I am moved to say something this year because of the suicide of Aaron Swartz. My brother had the same reaction, and wrote […]

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Blog’s back

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Notebook S1: Scientific publishing awesomeness

Greg Lang and David Botstein have a paper in PLoS One this week probing the consequences of disrupting the cluster of GAL genes in the yeast genome. The paper is cool. But the supplemental material is awesome. This description in the text says it all: Notebook S1. The complete laboratory notebook detailing the strain constructions […]

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Mystery in a children’s classic: Who is the 12th girl at dinner while Madeline is in the hospital?

Nearly everyone is familiar with Madeline, Ludwig Bemelmans’ classic 1939 children’s tale of the girls in a Parisian boarding school. You will recall that there are 12 of them, and they go about their days in two nice little lines. Always 12 of them, whether they are out and about. Or eating, washing up or […]

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Science Magazine really, really, really doesn’t get it

Bruce Alberts has an editorial in this weeks science in which he proposes the idea of “Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) Merit Badges” – a set of “100 different challenges to choose from at each level of schooling” – to engage students, patents and teachers in science. Whether you think this is a good […]

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I know something that Nature does not know… DNA is not lefthanded

I’ve written before about Nature’s tendency to publish biologically inaccurate covers. But this one really caught my attention. This is a cover about DNA sequencing, but the structure of the DNA molecule they show is wrong – in a crucial way. DNA is a chiral molecule – meaning it can occur in forms that differ […]

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