May 3, 2010
Generally, I don’t cover “mainstream” science reporting, but this is too poor to let it pass.
Nature Genetics features a fascinating article about the properties of haemoglobin from the extinct woolly mammoth. Briefly, the researchers sequenced DNA encoding haemoglobin subunits from a sample of mammoth bone and compared it with that of modern elephants. They then altered the modern elephant DNA sequence to match that of the mammoth, expressed mammoth and elephant protein in E. coli and compared the oxygen affinity of each protein. Their conclusion: the amino acid substitutions in mammoth haemoglobin result in an enhanced ability to release oxygen to tissues at low temperature.
You will not find the words “anti-freeze” anywhere in the article. Bear that in mind, as we survey the reporting of this story by various news outlets:
Read the rest…
April 2, 2009
I enjoy a good joke. I’m not so politically-correct that I won’t laugh at the expense of others – remember I grew up in the UK, where bullying was part of the culture ;-), nor so po-faced that I can’t laugh at my own expense.
I do not enjoy April Fools. Jokes on this day are rarely, if ever, good jokes. Perhaps they were more fun when humans lived in small, isolated communities with little knowledge of the outside world and so could be fooled en masse by spaghetti trees. However, this is the 21st century, the age of information. We should be harder to fool, because we know more about the world.
Paradoxically, it’s the information age that enables the flood of tedious, blatantly false, time-wasting stories in our inboxes and feed readers every April 1st. You might even say that everyday is April 1st, somewhere on the Web. The elements of surprise and ignorance are gone. Perhaps it’s time to abandon this quaint custom.
Which brings me to Slideshare, who decided that it would be tremendously funny to (1) inflate users’ slide views by adding two zeroes and (2) inform their users by email. Read the rest…
November 7, 2007
Bertalan has been very busy. Check out his post Top 20 Facebook Applications in Science and Medicine.
I see also that Deepak has quietly released a Facebook app for Bioscreencast.