Archive for: November, 2008

Hippo Thanksgiving.

Nov 27 2008 Published by under Passing thoughts, Personal

The younger Free-Ride offspring offers this drawing of a hippo exhorting you to remember Thanksgiving.

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Wait, you're saying ignorance *is* a defense?

Nov 26 2008 Published by under Current events, Technical issues

And you're really a lawyer?
The verdict came back in the Los Angeles trial of Lori Drew, the Missouri mother who facilitated cyberbullying of a former friend of her daughter, who subsequently committed suicide. Since cyberbulling isn't an easy crime to prosecute, the trial focused on whether, in setting up a fake MySpace page as a 16-year-old boy (whose online identity was used to befriend and then harass the girl who killed herself), Drew violated MySpace terms of service.
So, here's the legal point- counterpoint, as reported by the Associated Press:

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The ethics of a low-content retraction.

Over at DrugMonkey, PhysioProf notes a recent retraction of an article from the Journal of Neuroscience. What's interesting about this case is that the authors retract the whole article without any explanation for the retraction. As PhysioProf writes:

There is absolutely no mention of why the paper is being retracted. People who have relied on the retracted manuscript to develop their own research conceptually and/or methodologically have been given no guidance whatsoever on what aspects of the manuscript are considered unreliable, and/or why.

So, asks PhysioProf, have these authors behaved ethically?
I think in order to get clear on what obligations the authors have to the scientific community, it may be useful to start with the question of what this kind of retraction communicates to the scientific community.

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Why does Thanksgiving dinner *really* make you sleepy?

Nov 26 2008 Published by under Chemistry, Food, Science in everyday life

For years, you've heard the tremendous fatigue experienced after an American Thanksgiving dinner laid at the feet of the turkey -- or more precisely, at the tryptophan in that turkey. Trytophan, apparently, is the go-to amino acid for those who want to get sleepy.
But according to an article in the Los Angeles Times, the real story may be more complicated than that:

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Some Thanksgiving recipes (part 2).

Nov 25 2008 Published by under Food, Personal

Here are the rest of the recipes for dishes that I'm making for Thanksgiving this year (with the exception of pumpkin pie -- I'm still shopping for a pumpkin pie recipe).
I'll mention here (and should have mentioned in the previous post that all the measurements here are U.S. quantities (cups, teaspoons, tablespoons, etc.). Those of you using non-US measuring cups and measuring spoons will want to find a good conversion guide.

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Some Thanksgiving recipes (part 1).

Nov 25 2008 Published by under Food, Passing thoughts, Personal

Having posted what I'm making for Thanksgiving, I am happy to accede to your requests for the recipes. Of course, I encourage you to violate the recipes at well (since that's how I was taught to cook).
I'm posting these in two batches, so if you don't see the recipe you were looking for here, it will be posted in the next recipe post, which should be up by tonight.

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Ask a ScienceBlogger: is science fiction good for science?

Another "Ask a ScienceBlogger" question has been posed:
What do you see as science fiction's role in promoting science, if any?
For an answer to the question as asked, what Isis said. Also, what Scicurious said about a bunch of related questions.
Myself, I think science fiction could do more than make non-scientists excited about science and the cool things science can (or might someday) do. I think science fiction has the potential to help us make better science.

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Thanksgiving.

Nov 24 2008 Published by under Food, Passing thoughts, Personal

Back when I was a college student, Thanksgiving meant getting myself home to Northern New Jersey from metropolitan Boston.
Before my parents entrusted me with the fire engine red '77 Chevy Impala station wagon my junior year, this involved inviting another student who hailed from the West Coast and who had a car on campus to spend the holiday with my family. Once I was in possession of the station wagon, it was an occasion for me to provide a ride home to another denizen of Northern New Jersey who was car-less at school. But once I was home, it was the typical holiday meal with parents and siblings, the Friday spent at a high school football game (not to actually watch our team lose, but to say hi to other classmates home from college), the hope that the pull of It's a Wonderful Life or King Kong or whatever other classic movie the local stations were showing on TV would be stronger than the siren song of the malls. Then laundry, packing up, and driving back to school to finish the semester.
When I moved out to California for grad school nearly two decades ago, going back to New Jersey for the Thanksgiving holiday was pretty much off the table. Luckily, a bunch of my friends from college migrated to the Bay Area at about the same time I did, so we began a Thanksgiving potluck that has become our traditional holiday feast.

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Five things meme.

Nov 23 2008 Published by under Passing thoughts, Personal

Zuska tagged me; I am helpless to resist it.
5 Things I Was Doing 10 Years Ago:

  • Suspecting I was pregnant (I was)
  • Drafting thesis chapters
  • Walking 5-10 miles a day
  • Taking dance classes (Argentine tango and big band swing)
  • Playing Snood

5 Things On My To-Do List Today:

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TV science party tonght!

Over at Cosmic Variance, Sean Carroll gets us an imaginary audience with Les Moonves (President and CEO of CBS) to pitch a new TV show about science:

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