Tuesday, January 11, 2005

Tangled Bank #19

It is my great pleasure and honor to host the first Tangled Bank of this year. The best blog writing on science, nature and medicine is here after a brief hiatus for the winter holidays (for past issues go here: The Tangled Bank., ). We are back in full strength with a large number (largest so far - the last record was 14 entries) of excellent contributions, many from new contributors. Initially, I attempted to organize the entries according to some classification scheme (ah, we button-sorters and bottle-washers!), but due to the great diversity of entries I ended up just having a separate category for each post, something that looked like Borges' Chinese Classification of Animals. So, I was forced to abandon the entire scheme and present the articles in no particular order, though I did not go to the pain of using the Table of Random Numbers, so the order is not officially random. There is something for everyone, enjoy the wonderful writing, and look around all these blogs - surely you'll find some worthy of bookmarking and blogrolling for future reference.

1) We start off with Andrew from Universal Acid and a thoughtfull article on ethics of reproductive cloning: Who's Afraid of Reproductive Cloning

2) Jennifer Forman Orth delights us once again with an invasive species. This one may not extinguish all of US agriculture in one fell swoop but, boy, does it smell bad: That Stinks

3) Josh Rosenau has some Thoughts From Kansas. And although Kansas has been scientifically proven to be smoother than an IHOP pancake, evolution has been having some rough spots and uphill battles there recently. So, it is appropriate to hear about the court battles from someone who is right there at a source, particularly as his thoughts were prompted by a trip, a child, and some shark teeth: Evolution in Schools

4) Richard Meisel from Evolgen is a lucky guy. He got to go to the meeting in honor of Ernst Mayr's birthday and hear a lot of good talks. He was especially impressed by a talk about niche-construction...but then, is there anyone who is not impressed by niche-construction: Evolution of Genotype and Phenotype

5) May the Creationists recoil in horror. Carl Zimmer from The Loom kills two of their favourite "case-studies" in a single post: The Whale and the Antibody

6) Two thought-provoking posts from Reason Founder at Fight Aging blog. About the first one he says: "The flashy stuff in medical science gets all the press, but upgrading the infrastructure makes just as much of a difference. Curing cancer should make you drool, but so should cutting the costs of obtaining, moving and processing medical data by a thousand": Those Unromantic Infrastructure Improvements

7) Here, Reason Finder believes "that actively working to prevent medical research is morally equivalent to actively preventing sick people from traveling to buy an available cure. Those who deliberately set out to block the advance of science bear responsibility for deaths caused by delays in making therapies available.": The True Cost of Delay

8) Wesley R. Elsberry from Austringer reports on some cool (and jealousy-inspiring) dolphin research he was a part of: Biosonar and Behavior

9) Orac from Respectful Insolence (aka Orac Knows) sent two related posts on alternative medicine that will make you run to your real doctor. First is about the way alternative medicine is sold: Understanding alternative medicine "testimonials" for cancer cures

10) The second Orac's post is about the way alternative medicine is bought (by some) - bait, hook and sinker: What is an "altie"?

11) Certain to engender (bad pun intended) an emotional response, Joe Dunkley on EvoWiki comments on the fallacy of the Nature vs Nurture dichotomy in: The Gay Gene

12) From the Mad House Madman of Chronicles of a Medical Mad House (I'm not telling what it is about - go and read, you'll love it): My Future Intern (Part 1)

13) My fellow North Carolinian, Bigwig from Silflayhraka (which, if translated from Lapine into Serbo-Croatian language means "Jedi govna") does some impressive detective work on an Ebola-like virus in Africa: Hunting The Elusive Marburg

14) From the Girlscientist comes a thorough wake-up call about the way people construct their own doom, or is it niche-construction again: Tsunamis and Mangroves: The Shrimp Connection

15) If you did not think that science can mix with poetry and art, you must have missed the work of Matt Celeskey and Ray Troll from the Hairy Museum of Natural History: The Evolutionist's Prayer

16) And we have more beautiful poetry today. Anan from ...and there was the time... wrote:
In The Great Fields

17) When smart people design new equipment, they often have no idea how some other smart people may put it to a really different yet cool use. Here, Sumerdoc describes how radiologists solve archeological mysteries using CT scans: MSCT unwraps mummy’s mysteries

18) Saint Nate analyzes the recent news that butterbur can be used to prevent migraine and gives a numerical reason why you should not buy any from the alternative medicine vendors who pop up when you search through Google: Butterbur Buzz

19) From PZ Myers at Pharyngula, cool science as always, a story about the role of a specific class of mutations in generating morphological diversity in dog breeds: Tandem Repeats and Morphological Variation

20) Gaw3 from the Keats' Telescope talks about the ability of bacteria to grow almost anywhere, and specifically the recent publication of the genome of a bug which can eat chlorinated organics: Mighty Motes

21) Mike from 10000 Birds sent a two-parter. First, a look at a bird that is currently garnering a lot of attention: The Greater Sage-Grouse

22) Next, what the fuss is all about, a saga of political expediency and selective science, the decision to keep the grouse off the USFWS Threatened and Endangered List: Grouse Decision Not Sage

23) Socar Miles at Ratty's Ghost says: "it's about my big fat rat, who really likes to bite me. On the day in question, she bit me seven times, and probably would've gone for an eighth, if I hadn't locked her in her cage.": ...And Then a Rat Bit Me!

24) This one is from Syaffolee. It's about bacterial suicide. Does not involve microscopic Colt 45s. Nuff said: Death In Vitro

25) Radagast from Rhosgobel covers the big noise over the new FSU School of Chiropractic in: FSU Chiropractic?

26) Good timing is essential for a good joke. Chris from Mixing Memory applies cognitive science to both humor and time-perception. It is up to you to make the connection between the two in the deep recesses of your Brain and see if, perhaps, your timing is a little off: Time Perception, part I and Time Perception, part II

27) And the humorous part is here: Cognitive Science of Humor

28) While we are on the subject of time, Sean Carroll of Preposterous Universe wrote an (what he calls "semi-philosophical") article about memory and the arrow of time: What we know, and don't, and why

29) Still talking about time, from a third perspective, my own article on biological, technological and social aspects of sleep, posted on my other blog, Circadiana: Everything You Always Wanted To Know About Sleep (But Were Too Afraid To Ask)

30) And if you do not get enough sleep, as when you are working endless hours at the hospital, strange things happen. From The Examining Room of Dr.Charles: Ode to Residency, Part 2

31) I hope the last two posts did not put you to sleep. Of course, while you are here you should take a look around Science and Politics, but first read my official entry for The Tangled Bank, the meta-blogging look at science blogs, a purposefully polemical piece I hope will start a lively discussion: Blogs and the Future of Science

Thank you all for coming here. The next edition will be hosted at JasmineCola

Submissions can be sent to: TB host, or PZMyers, or using the contact form at JasmineCola.

Also, if you are interested in hosting one of the future issues of The Tangled Bank., contact PZMyers at the above e-mail address.

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