Friday, June 30, 2006

Another siRNA Retraction

Another big Nature paper on RNAi and gene silencing has been retracted by the senior author on the grounds that the data was not recorded in a lab notebook. Duuhh. Apparently the first author refused to sign the retraction claiming the data was accurate. I guess he has a photographic memory. Imagine what he could do if he wrote things down.


Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Congratulations to team "Get Kraken"

Good job to all of you that participated in the race. No doubt you guys did so well thank's to Caroline's intensive training schedule, but just feel lucky you're not a professional!


Monday, June 26, 2006

Are scientists immature?

Neoteny is described as the retention, in the adults of a species, of juvenile physical characteristics well into maturity. Some psychologists believe there is selective pressure to keep a "plastic" child-like brain in humans to adapt to the fast evolving modern world. "People such as academics, teachers, scientists and many other professionals are often strikingly immature outside of their strictly specialist competence in the sense of being unpredictable, unbalanced in priorities, and tending to overreact.”


Friday, June 23, 2006

Have a hiccup problem?

Rumours are, this is how they get rid of it "upstairs", some guy told me: Termination of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage. "A 60-year-old man with acute pancreatitis developed persistent hiccups after insertion of a nasogastric tube. Removal of the latter did not terminate the hiccups which had also been treated with different drugs, and several manoeuvres were attempted, but with no success. Digital rectal massage was then performed resulting in abrupt cessation of the hiccups. Recurrence of the hiccups occurred several hours later, and again, they were terminated immediately with digital rectal massage. No other recurrences were observed. This is the second reported case associating cessation of intractable hiccups with digital rectal massage. We suggest that this manoeuvre should be considered in cases of intractable hiccups before proceeding with pharmacological agents."


Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Science introduces online seminars

I welcome these new AAAS seminars, the next step, a vidcast? Every other week, the editors of Science select an author of a breakthrough paper to discuss the application of his or her research and/or the methods and protocol, in a new online audio/slideshow feature...This week Stephen Schaffner and Pardis Sabeti review the approaches for detecting natural selection in humans using genome-wide data surveys, describe results from recent studies examining genome-wide data sets and discuss the prospects and challenges ahead.


Monday, June 19, 2006

Why do we Xist?

There are a number of ways for animals to determine the sex. In mammals it usually involves having an XX or a XY. To compensate for gene dosing of 2 Xs versus one X in the male, the small non-coding Xist RNA inactivates one X (of McBurney fame). An article in Science takes a stab at its evolution. Xist evolved, at least partly, from a protein-coding gene and that the loss of protein-coding function of the proto-Xist coincides with the four flanking protein genes becoming pseudogenes. This event occurred after the divergence between eutherians and marsupials, which suggests that mechanisms of dosage compensation have evolved independently in both lineages.


Saturday, June 17, 2006

Don't clean that mouse cage!

Not suprisingly it seems rats in sewers are healthier than those in labs, giving some support to the hygiene theory. Growing up in the slums, might help your immune system cope better than that of priviliged westerners, explaining the epidemiological spread of things like asthma... "Gritty rats and mice living in sewers and farms seem to have healthier immune systems than their squeaky clean cousins that frolic in cushy antiseptic labs, two studies indicate. The lesson for humans: Clean living may make us sick"


Monday, June 12, 2006

Mike's worst nightmare

For those who thought The Bay was out of control, you should see what they do in the UK: "The beleaguered Rural Payment Agency has begun an investigation into the behaviour of its staff at its Newcastle office, which allegedly included leaving cups of vomit in cupboards, taking drugs, having sex in toilets and holding breakdancing competitions during office hours." . So beware for those of us thinking about the UK for our postdoc...


If you can't beat them, blind them.

Fusarium is a rapidly evolving fungus known to attack crops and cause diseases, inlcuding eye infections especially in people wearing contacts or immunocompromized individuals. While the use of this fungus to fight illicit crops such as marijuana in the states was deemed to have unacceptable risks, it is ok to spray it all over Columbia. It seems that the CIA hasn't learned from its last attempt to spray Agent Orange (of Vietnam war fame) and Roundup (of Monsanto fame) all over Columbia, which resulted in a natural emergence of herbicide resistance in coca plants, and a suspicious rise in cancer and birth defects. If you find this as depressing as I do, here are 77 ways to get over it...


Soccer craze

It seems to be on everyone's mind these days, the one sport that brings humanity together, soccer (aka football). Nature has jumped on the bandwagon with a special edition on football. Of particular interest this study indicating that sex before a big game does not hamper performance, it's safe to assume the same goes for dragon-boating. "The one thing everyone agrees on is that athletes shouldn't lie awake fretting about sex or the lack of it. Male or female, the one thing they all need the night before a big game is a good night's rest. As Casey Stengel, former manager of baseball's New York Yankees once said: "It's not the sex that wrecks these guys; it's staying up all night looking for it."


Wednesday, June 07, 2006

A new scientific method

Imagine a science where you don't use empirical evidence and deduction, where a working experiment is its own positive control, where replicates are superfluous. Ok just kidding, but this piece is worth a good laugh...


Sunday, June 04, 2006

No Ladies Joiner, Thank you.

Man, I'm definitely behind on the bayblab.
But since Anonymous got to post his travel pics I get to too.
Things here are great and I have lots of cool pics but I figured that they aren't bayblab material. Instead I have the more interesting ones.
Like Ronald McDonald giving a wei (Thia greeting) in Bangkok:

I also really enjoy the engrish around here, but here's a pic of my all time favorite:

If you find yourself wondering what that means it just means that you have no idea how large the prostitution industry is here. ie translation:"no hookers please."

Pimp my double decker bus:

They have some MAD paintjobs. Some are seriously very well done. Not very tasteful mindyou. (how's about that visibility through the windshield.)

A buddist monks life is full of meditation. Praying to budda and not eating between noon and dawn the following day. Praying has become much easier now for the monk on the move, however, now you can just call him on your cell.

Hope all is well in the bay. I'll try to post again.