Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Link-Love: science-blogs down the alphabet, Part V

Where were we? Oh, letter N, brought to you by....but first some stragglers from earlier on in the alphabet.

On The Inoculated Mind: Have you stopped beating up science?

Bush Administration Tries to Silence Global Warming Scientist on A Change In The Wind.

A challenge to the smallest vertebrate and the extinction of conscience on The Annotated Budak.

The Evolution of Senescence and Post-Reproductive Lifespan in Guppies (Poecilia reticulata) on Anti-Aging Medicine & Science Blog.

More info on Ambergris on the Apothecary's Drawer Weblog.

Looks like a crayfish to me, but Bird On The Moon wants a more precise answer.

Every Friday, you will find a beautiful Nudibranch on Bouphonia.

Circadian Rhythm appears to be one of PZ's students.

Colorblind Science Teacher is on hiatus until summer.

Community College Dean sees an elephant.

Developing Intelligence: Neural Oscillations and the Mozart Effect, Risk Taking and Intelligence and Redeeming Freud: Memory Suppression.

Genes for human height on Dienekes' Anthropology Blog.

You can find the story about the Colombian Man Kills Nephew while trying to Scare the Hiccups out of him on Doc Around The Clock.

Ernie's 3D Pancakes is Learning from students.

Firefly Forest Blog: some Northern Shovelers and a Pied-billed Grebe in Winter.

Genetics and Health Blog: EGFR Gene and Lung Cancer Drug Tarceva.

The Genius on Silencing and Memory in two parts.

Invasive Species Weblog highlights apparently a different species every day!

The Island of Doubt: What would Darwin think? and We're Number 1!.

On No Se Nada, three posts on Jim Hansen here and here and , and some potential trouble for science funding here.

Nature Erratum is a grad student with wonderful stories from lab life. Check out How to Win the Nobel Prize, I’m Just Not That Into You and 10 Things I Hate About You.

Pesticide Testing and Amphibicide on NC Conservation Network blog.

Neurochannels still on hiatus.

More about the Blue Brain Project on Neurodudes.

Evil Monkey of Neurotopia is busy building the website for the Alliance for Science.

From the News From The Scientist: Big numbers, new tools at Keystone and Keystone, like chromatin, all wrapped up.

On Pattern and Process by Newton's Binomium.

Niches takes pictures of some Warm January Mushrooms.

"Bad design," "good design"? - The point is there's no design, says Nightlight.

Polar Bears and Penguins, Mosquitos, Thermodynamics, and a Whole Lot of Ignorance and Scientists Face a Choice, by Ocellated.

When Olduvai George draws and paints he makes it look easy.

A wildfire of controversy - science, politics, and publishing and field trip follies On Being A Scientist And A Woman.

Matt Dowling of Ontogeny: The tale of the flying snail, Scientists Find Gene That Controls Type of Earwax in People and Congress gets briefing on what constitutes science...was it effective?.

Ooblog discovers a Pinkoski treasure trove and a hillarious Dembski quote.

The orca killers on Orcinus.

Tomorrow: P-Q-R.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 10:54 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

New addition to the ScienceBlogs group

Now that the initial baker's dozen plus one of science bloggers are comfortable at their new home on SEED ScienceBlogs, they will start building their numbers a bit.

I expected them to introduce new bloggers in waves of dozen or so at a time, but apparently, now that they have a core in place, they are adding new people one by one.

The first new addition is an old blog-friend of mine, Orac of Respectful Insolence. That link points to his current Blogspot blog, but in about two weeks it will start redirecting to the new place.

Orac is a cancer surgeon and a cancer researcher. He devastates medical quacks, pseudoscientists, Creationists and Holocaust deniers on his blog and he is the proprietor of the Skeptic's Circle carnival.

Congratulations to Orac! Go check out his blog and look through his archives - there is a lot of good stuff there.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 8:50 PM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

If, like me, you cannot make yourself watch the State Of The Union Address tonight...

...read the real thing instead: The America We Believe In by John Edwards.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 4:39 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Koufax Update - new category posted

Mary Beth of Wampum just posted the latest category for the Koufax Awards, the Best Post and there 222 of those!!!

Also, keep checking the numerous nominees in the categories of Blogs Deserving Wider Recognition, New Blogs and Blogs Focusing On State And Local Issues.

Drop the Wampum folks a couple of bucks, too, if you can.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 9:46 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Science News

* Baboons seek "comfort" after deaths in the family:
When a lion killed Sierra the baboon, her mother looked to friends for support.

* Possible "earliest" slave remains found:
Researchers are studying remains of what they say may be some of the earliest slaves brought to the Americas from Africa.

* When déjà vu becomes unbearable:
If you can't watch TV because everything seems to be a repeat -- even the news -- you may have a problem. Scientists are looking into it.

* Can you catch obesity?:
If some researchers are right, you may soon be hearing a surprising piece of advice to avoid obesity: wash your hands.

* Vaccine gives "100%" bird flu protection in animal study:
Mass vaccinations of livestock could help stop the avian flu that is causing global concern, scientists suggest.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 7:19 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Grand Rounds

The new edition of the Grand Rounds medical carnival is up on Barbados Butterfly. Next week, I will be hosting Grand Rounds here on Science And Politics, so send me your entries at:
Coturnix1 AT aol DOT com

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 3:29 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

How Do You Like Me Now?

If you read this on a newsfeed or an aggregator you just HAVE to click through and let me know how much you like my new looks! It's cool, isn't it? Does it look good in all browsers?

No boring standard Blogspot template any more. Makes me really happy. A couple of little things still to fix (e.g., trackbacks instead of two permalinks, the quick-edit button for my use, etc.), but it is pretty much done and looks the way I like it.

Do you like the new logo on top? Feel free to take it (I can send you the image if you e-mail me) and use it as a nifty button/link on your sidebar.

Do you like the picture of myself in the corner? Already so goofy after just half a glass of Guinness! And glasses...ah, glasses, now I will be the target of Shakes' and Tart's lust! Not to mention thousands of books overflowing the dozen or so bookshelves I built over the years. And I do dishes and laundry and other stuff around the house, too.....

Of course, you all know I am a techidiot, so you know I did not do this myself. All the kudos for the redesign of this blog go to Melissa, better known around the blogosphere as Shakespeare's Sister, one of my most favouritest bloggers of all time.

Now I have to take a look at the templates of Circadiana and The Magic School Bus...

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 2:42 AM | permalink | (11 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Political Brain No.3

There is no way I cannot comment on the study reported on in this WaPo article. The first part of the article looks at the brain-scan study I mentioned before, but the second half is devoted to a new study, tying - I know, surprise, surprise - racist feelings with conservative ideology:

Another study presented at the conference, which was in Palm Springs, Calif., explored relationships between racial bias and political affiliation by analyzing self-reported beliefs, voting patterns and the results of psychological tests that measure implicit attitudes -- subtle stereotypes people hold about various groups.
That study found that supporters of President Bush and other conservatives had stronger self-admitted and implicit biases against blacks than liberals did.

The study has not been published yet, and I will try to get a copy once it does, so for now we will have to go with whatever the WaPo reported choose to highlight in the article. This ties the two studies quite well - emotions trump rational thought in politics and ideology:

"What automatic biases reveal is that while we have the feeling we are living up to our values, that feeling may not be right," said University of Virginia psychologist Brian Nosek, who helped conduct the race analysis. "We are not aware of everything that causes our behavior, even things in our own lives."
In the best tradition of He-Said-She-Said journalism, there is a paragraph given to the "other side":

Brian Jones, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee, said he disagreed with the study's conclusions but that it was difficult to offer a detailed critique, as the research had not yet been published and he could not review the methodology. He also questioned whether the researchers themselves had implicit biases -- against Republicans -- noting that Nosek and Harvard psychologist Mahzarin Banaji had given campaign contributions to Democrats.
"There are a lot of factors that go into political affiliation, and snap determinations may be interesting for an academic study, but the real-world application seems somewhat murky," Jones said.
Which just goes to show that the guy is anti-science in general, especially when he a priori does not like the outcome of a study. Notice he rejects the study he has not read yet. I am not uncritically accepting the study I have not read yet, I am just reporting on the reporting of the study, with proper caveats. Still, this seems like a reasonable methodology:

Nosek said that though the risk of bias among researchers was "a reasonable question," the study provided empirical results that could -- and would -- be tested by other groups: "All we did was compare questions that people could answer any way they wanted," Nosek said, as he explained why he felt personal views could not have influenced the outcome. "We had no direct contact with participants."
For their study, Nosek, Banaji and social psychologist Erik Thompson culled self-acknowledged views about blacks from nearly 130,000 whites, who volunteered online to participate in a widely used test of racial bias that measures the speed of people's associations between black or white faces and positive or negative words. The researchers examined correlations between explicit and implicit attitudes and voting behavior in all 435 congressional districts.
Keep in mind that this is correlation, not causation:

The analysis found that substantial majorities of Americans, liberals and conservatives, found it more difficult to associate black faces with positive concepts than white faces -- evidence of implicit bias. But districts that registered higher levels of bias systematically produced more votes for Bush.
"Obviously, such research does not speak at all to the question of the prejudice level of the president," said Banaji, "but it does show that George W. Bush is appealing as a leader to those Americans who harbor greater anti-black prejudice."

I am not surprised with the findings of another related study:

Vincent Hutchings, a political scientist at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, said the results matched his own findings in a study he conducted ahead of the 2000 presidential election: Volunteers shown visual images of blacks in contexts that implied they were getting welfare benefits were far more receptive to Republican political ads decrying government waste than volunteers shown ads with the same message but without images of black people.

This is an interesting question:

Jon Krosnick, a psychologist and political scientist at Stanford University, who independently assessed the studies, said it remains to be seen how significant the correlation is between racial bias and political affiliation.
For example, he said, the study could not tell whether racial bias was a better predictor of voting preference than, say, policy preferences on gun control or abortion. But while those issues would be addressed in subsequent studies -- Krosnick plans to get random groups of future voters to take the psychological tests and discuss their policy preferences -- he said the basic correlation was not in doubt.

And I bet that the most significant correlation, according to earlier studies, will be between sexism and political affiliation, as well as between sexism and racism. After all, this is nothing new - Republicans have played the race game for decades:

"If anyone in Washington is skeptical about these findings, they are in denial," he said. "We have 50 years of evidence that racial prejudice predicts voting. Republicans are supported by whites with prejudice against blacks. If people say, 'This takes me aback,' they are ignoring a huge volume of research."

Political Brain No.1
Political Brain No.2

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 2:15 AM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Policing in Primates

I meant to write about the recent paper on policing in primates, particularly as it informs the multi-level selection discussion, but there is nothing I could add to a fantastic job done by John Hawks, so just go there and read his take - it's worth your time.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 1:52 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Monday, January 30, 2006

Tar Heel Tavern - call for submissions

Next edition of Tar Heel Tavern will be hosted by Ogre on February 4th. Send him your best of the week.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 3:04 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

What Is Lab Lit?

Lab Lit is all the buzz these days. Nature magazine had a recent article on it. Blogosphere is abuzz - see Hedwig's take on it.

SEED magazine has a contest. This is what they are looking for - it explains what they think Lab Lit is:

We are not looking for traditional Sci-Fi—we are looking for fiction that reflects the significant role science plays in our culture; fiction that uncovers the rich narratives in science; and fiction wherein scientists are fallible and human. We are looking for Science-In-Fiction, Fictional Science, Scientific Fiction—in the tradition of Andrea Barrett, Richard Powers, Margaret Atwood and Alan Lightman, writing that brings new meaning to our understanding of Science Fiction.

Chad Orzel, tongue-in-cheek, explains:

A true lab story is never moral. It does not instruct, nor encourage virtue, nor suggest models of proper scientific practice, nor restrain graduate students from doing the things that graduate students have always done. If a story seems moral, do not believe it. If at the end of a lab story, you feel uplifted, or if you feel that you have learned some useful fact about science, you have been made the victim of an old and terrible lie. As an order-of-magnitude approximation, you can tell a true lab story by its absolute and utter lack of any real scientific content whatsoever.

Here is a List of examples of Lab Lit. From the list (as it is today - they keep updating it), this is what I have read, so far:

Brazzaville Beach by William Boyd is a story about a botanist-turned-primatologist, married to a mathematician who is going crazy, going to Africa to study chimpanzees (not gorillas, as The List states) where she gets in conflict with the Boss, gets into mortal danger, experiences civil war firsthand, and comes out of it wiser.

Bellwether by Connie Willis I classified earlier as SF, but that is debatable. Connie always does fantastic research for her books, so I am now wondering if there really are studies on the "bellwether effect" in social animals or something similar. The way the List describes it - "capers, chaos theory and a flock of sheep feature in this rom-com set in a research institute" is pretty correct. I enjoyed this book immensely.

In 1999 I went to the Gordon Research Conference in Neuroethology in Oxford, UK. I was horribly jet-lagged and barely slept throughout the meeting. Punting was a great experience that made me appreciate even more another book by Connie Willis' - To Say Nothing of the Dog (not LabLit but brilliant). After reading recent papers and reviews by the Conference speakers (you have to know who they are because Gordon conferences include a LOT of schmoozing), I was out of reading material for sleepless nights, so I picked up a copy of Menachem’s Seed by Carl Djerassi, a high-speed action drama, involving, well, human reproduction of course - it's Djerassi, inventor of The Pill, after all.

Blood Music by Greg Bear is definitely SF. Lots of nano stuff. Fast-paced, expecially nearing the end. Other Bear's book also have realistic scientists as main characters, including Darwin's Radio, Darwin's Children and Vitals.

Jurassic Park by Michael Crichton. Sure. I've read it. OK....move on.

There are also some books on the list that I own, but have not read. In most of these cases, I have started them, but never found time to finish them. A couple of them are still in the to-read-soon-stack near the bed. These include Passage by Connie Willis, Periodic Table by Primo Levi, Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver, Cryptonomicon and Zodiac by Neal Stephenson. The Darwin Conspiracy by John Darnton has been on my amazon book-wish-list for a while, but I need to add some more from The List.

What I found surprising are the glaring omissions - what should obviously be on the List, but is not. For instance, The Elementary Particles by Michel Houellebecq, Hopeful Monsters by Nicholas Mosley, Rameau's Niece by Cathleen Schine, Evolution of Jane by Cathleen Schine, The Fly Swatter by Nicholas Dawidoff, Easter Island by Jennifer Vanderbes, Mr.Darwin's Shooter by Roger McDonald, The Voyage of the Narwhal by Andrea Barrett, Recombinations by Perri Klass, A Primate's Memoir by Robert Sapolsky, The Camel's Nose by Knut Schmidt-Nielsen and Darwin's Wink by Alison Anderson - speaking just of books I have, and have either read or started or intend to read soon. And then, there are other novels by those same authors. I understand that Andrea Barrett has other good stuff that can be defined as LabLit. Perri Klass wrote other science-centered raunchy stuff - in Recombinations you will learn of another use for lab coats - to make the lab floor softer and more comfortable.

But some of the best Lab Lit is in form of short stories. Main characters in many of H.G.Wells' stories are Victorian scientists and naturalists, in the lab, museum, greenhouse or on a research expedition. "Only He Can Make A Tree" a story by Phillip Jose Farmer (from this collection) is about beautiful and smart Dr.Legsandbrains, her ugly daughter, her three research assistants and the unintended consequences of their experiments. From that story comes the famous quote "Apart from being a failure, the experiment was a complete success".

So, what else is good LabLit? It appears that majority of scientists in LabLit are either physicists, molecular biologists or field naturalists. Any physiology, behavioral biology, chronobiology, sleep biology? Put your suggestions in the coments.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 12:32 PM | permalink | (1 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Carnival of the Green

Carnival of the Green #12 is up on Urban Eco.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 10:21 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Lesson of Dover - stand up and fight back

A nice op-ed in today's Chapel Hill News:

Redefining 'intelligent design'


Just when it seemed our beloved country had been taken over by the barbarians and we were headed toward another dark age of religious tyranny, there came a ray of hope from a small town in Pennsylvania.

The good citizens of Dover, Pa., have set an example that all Americans -- especially those who still live in Kansas -- would do well to follow. They have shown that it is possible to stand up and win against those who are trying to impose their mean-spirited version of religion on the rest of us.

----large snip-----------------

I'd suggest that this case offers a good use for the phrase "intelligent design." It's already in our lexicon, so why not co-opt it and use it. From now on, let's think of "intelligent design" in terms of citizens banding together in outrage whenever they are bullied or lied to -- and fighting within the system to bring about change. I say: on to Washington with the spirit of Dover, Pa. If they can take back Dover, we can take back America.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 9:40 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Need help regarding publication of a book

Dr.Predrag Milosevic, an architect from Sarajevo (Bosnia) has written a book "Architecture in the Kingdom of Yugoslavia (Sarajevo 1918-1941)". In it, among else, he writes at length about my grandfather, Dr.Isidor Reiss, who designed and built a number of buildings in Sarajevo between the two World Wars, a few of which are now preserved as cultural heritage of the city, including the first skyscraper in the Balkans.

Graham Foundation in Chicago is ready to fund the publication, but it needs a large reputable publishing house to ask for it, to print it and to publicize it. If such a publishing house is found, then a publisher in Belgrade would also print a Serbo-Croatian language edition. If I understand correctly, the book has been printed in Sarajevo and is used as a textbook at the University there.

Dr.Milosevic, as the author, is precluded from contacting Graham Foundation himself - a publishing house needs to do it in his name. Publication of the book, both in English language in the USA and in Serbo-Croatian language in Belgrade, would mean a lot not just to the author, but also to the architectural world, the University of Belgrade school of architecture and, of course, to me and my family.

Is there anyone reading this blog who has experience with the world of publishing and can make some suggestions?

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 9:30 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Update on the Pyramid in Bosnia

I have written before about the strange find of a Pyramid of Sun in Bosnia and how fishy the whole thing was. Now there is more information coming out that makes the whole thing even more fishy - my skepticism was, it appears, quite warranted. You can read more here.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 7:35 AM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Circus of the Spineless

The January edition of the Circus of the Spineless appeared this morning on Pharyngula.

I love the thumbnail concept - it is so pretty and elegant and easy to use. It should be used more often on carnivals. So far, I've seen it only a couple of times when a Tar Heel Tavern was hosted by photobloggers.

Anyway, go read a bunch of cool posts about all those creatures large and small and all those creatures wild and beautiful that have no vertebrate columns. Oh, and by the way, the February edition will be hosted by me here, on or around February 29th.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 10:37 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Link-love: more Alphabet Soup of science blogs

First, a little catching up with A-K blogs I missed, then continuing with L and so on....

Some scattered thoughts on interviews, Jorge Cham, computer science, and grad student hardship from The Abstract Factory.

New Insights Into Cult Behavior, FMRI as Philosophical Tool and Peer Pressure Changes Perceptions, all on BrainScan Blog.

Check out Climate Change Action and Environmental Action Blog. Not just talk - action!

Discovering Biology In A Digital World: Diversity in science: will we ever see a rainbow?

Here's the Dubious Biologist.

Razib of Gene Expression, in his new digs on SEED is shying away from politics for now and writing some really good posts. Check out this history of genetics, statistics and evolution of the early 20th century.

Chris Mooney has also moved The Intersection over to SEED. All War on Science all the time, but here is something different - sport.

Hedwig The Owl of Living the Scientific Life (Scientist, Interrupted) is also one of the new SEED bloggers now and there she continues with her famous series of Birds in the News. I hope she also decides to write some of her own LabLit.

LadyScientist: From Stingers to Gryphons, Blues and Rams.

From The Lancelet, on a great field course and on squid brains. I am assuming that PZ Myers has not linked to these two posts yet because he is saving them for the Circus of the Spineless later today.

Skeptics using Intelligent Design for fundraising on Lippard Blog.

I am assuming that everyone interested in biology already reads Carl Zimmer's blog The Loom. Check out The Return of the Puppet Masters and A Complicated Death.

Matthew C. Nisbet's Framing-Science is what my blog was supposed to be but never was. Check out FRAME DEVICES: Wiretaps/Eavesdropping or Terrorist Surveillance Program or CHRONICLE OF HIGHER ED: Schatten and the Korean Case or SOCIAL PROGRESS TAGLINE: 'Research is the best medicine'.

I hope you are reading Mike The Mad Biologist, for instance these recent posts: A Silly NY Times Book Review, Imagine If... and Some Good News About Influenza.

Learn about a project to genetically reverse-engineer a Quagga on Milkriverblog.

Everything you wanted to know about the Brain (but were too afraid to ask, of course) you can find on Mind Hacks.

Self-evidence and ID: KY Style, on Missing Shades of Grue.

Chris of Mixing Memory is an old blog friend of mine. As a cognitive scientist, he will always make you think. Think hard.

OEC, YEC, IDC, Pastafarianism...those are just a few creation stories out there. But More Evolution Theories blog is collecting many more of them.

Science of music? Music perception? See Musical Perceptions.

An Armoured Snail, The smallest vertebrate and Children are less able than they used to be, on Muton.

ADHD and autism on Myomancy.

Next time, we move on to letter N and on....

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 1:10 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Tar Heel Tavern

This week, Tar Heel Tavern came out in two stages, over two days, on NCBlue blog. The first part is here and the second part is here.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 11:30 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Lefty Blogosphere and the Love/Hate of Hillary

Chris Bowers on MyDD recently had a post asking why the Progressive blogosphere does not like Hillary Clinton. Here's a little bit from Chris:

Now I can explain what this all has to do with Hillary Clinton. As obvious as I thought my last point was, it is probably even more obvious by now that Hillary Clinton is, um, not exactly the most popular Democrat within the blogosphere and the netroots. I can offer loads of anecdotal information to support this, but perhaps the most striking evidence is that despite her large lead in national telephone surveys, she polls around fifth or sixth in our presidential preference polls. The real question we face is to figure out why she is not very popular among this large segment of the progressive activist class.

People will offer lots of reasons for this. In the past, I have done so myself. However, when one understands who actually makes up the blogosphere, a rarely, if ever, discussed reason comes to the fore. Within the progressive activist class, there is also a very real class stratification. While the blogosphere and the netroots may not be "the people" within America or the Democratic party as a whole, within the world of progressive activists, they are definitely "the people," "the masses," "the rank and file," and any other populist term you want to throw out there. I believe the main mark against Hillary Clinton within the blogs and the netroots is the degree to which she is perceived as the uber-representative of the upper, aristocratic classes of the progressive activist world.
My first gut response to it - but we do like her! Thus, his premise is wrong, making his question wrong, making his answer wrong, too. That is soooo off the mark (as many commenters remark), and not even in sync with what Chris wrote before. Why did he say that when traces of the correct answer are in an older post of his in which he provides some good examples, as well as in another post on voters knowledge:

Looking into the internals of these numbers, "independents" and "moderates" have almost always scored noticeably lower on the knowledge scale than liberals, conservatives, Democrats and Republicans. I don't find this surprising, as it backs up my general thesis that many of the people who consider themselves "independents" or "moderates" do so primarily because they are less politically engaged than the rest of the population and are not even aware of their strong similarities to one coalition or the other.
Not to mention that his post was inspired by this from MysteryPollster:

Either most Democratic identifiers know that Hillary has taken a lot "moderate" or "conservative" positions as a US Senator and tend approve OR (more likely in MP's opinion) most Democrats simply like Hillary, know her stands on issues only vaguely and do what voters typically do, those who like her tend to project their own ideological identity on to hers. Liberals think she is a liberal, moderates think she is moderate and so on. Either way, the overwhelming majority of those who consider themselves Democrats rate Hillary favorably, and at least a third do so with intensity and liberal Democrats appear to like her better than moderate or conservative Democrats.
The thing is, it is not that we don't like Hillary, it is that we do not want her to be the next Presidential candidate because we do not want to lose. Again.

Most of us liberal bloggers are also Democratic activists. Yet, apart from the blogosphere (and Kossosphere) we also live in the real world, many of us deep inside the Red territory. We encounter, every day, people who are not Democratic activists, but who vote nonetheless. We have a gut feeling that most of those people will NEVER vote for Hillary and that is the only reason why we are opposed to her nomination.

We like her personally. We know she would be a good President if elected. But we know she has no chance of winning - only people who live in D.C. can ever imagine it happening, but then, they do not live in real America.

To understand why Hillary cannot win, one has to move away from analysis of polls and from political science. One has to look at the psychology of the voter and the sociology of politics in the USA. In the political ecosystem of the country, Hillary is not a person. She is a Symbol. And not a nice symbol either. She is the Devil. The Satan himself. The Vagina Dentata personified. Our old friend Rush Limbaugh made sure that this is so. He started early - in 1992.

The way Hillary was villified is expertly documented in Michael Kelly's masterful book, The Great Limbaugh Con - the first book I am aware of that looks at framing in American politics, i.e., how both the words and the underlying beliefs differ between conservatives and liberals. BUY THE BOOK!!!!!!

And the villification never ceased. Rush and his multitudes of copycats have been at it ever since. There is a whole chapter on Hillary (and a lot on her in another chapter) in Stephen Ducats' brilliant book Wimp Factor. You can search inside the book for "Hillary" on Amazon.com to see some examples and whet your appetite. BUY THE BOOK!!!!!!

Once you are finished reading these two books (and Lakoff's Moral Politics will help you clear your thoughts on this, too - BUY THE BOOK!!!!!!), you will understand why Hillary's candidacy is not a potential but a certain disaster.

This is how it will play out. No matter what Hillary says, it does not matter one bit. She can speak in English with a Southern accent, or in Chinese, or in Church Latin, or Esperanto - it makes not one iota of difference. Nobody but Democratic activists (who will vote for pretty much anyone with D after the name anyway) is ever going to listen to her, to hear what she says, to understand what she says and to evaluate what she says. As soon as her face shows up on the screen, the Regular American will recoil in fear. All rational brain activity instantly ceases. "The Democrats are running the scary toothy vaginal Devil! Take cover! Quick!"

Chris' expert analysis of the distinction betwen activists and the rest of voters just does not jibe with what he wrote in that post. The activists do like Hillary but do not want to run her for the White House because they understand, at least on a gut level, that the uninformed, apathetic voters (too-nicely and diplomatically refered to as "Independents" although their thinking is the least independent of all voters out there as they pay no attention and know nothing) HATE HER GUTS!

Many activists say they do not like her triangulation. Even Molly Ivins makes the same mistake. But really, they mix two disparate things:

One - they fear Hillary's candidacy because they know she is not going to be treated as a person, as a normal candidate, like Kerry was (and see how that worked!), but as evil incarnate. And not just by the opponents and the chattering classes, but by millions of Joe Blows everywhere. She'll never get a hearing - not an honest hearing, but hearing period.

Two - they fear any candidate who triangulates because they know there is no such thing as "moving to the right" - it is like a high-wire circus artist leaving the Liberal tower to walk across the wire over to the Republican tower - but there is NO WIRE there, just a chasm to fall into. That is why nobody even considers supporting such sell-outs like Joe-squared (Lieberman and Biden). As they say, facing the choice between a True-Believer Republican and a mushy Republican-Lite, people will always choose the person with obvious convictions, the Real McCoy.

Thus, if Hillary was just any candidate, her triangulation would be troubling. But because she is Hillary, it does not matter what she does - nobody is going to listen long enough to figure out where she stands on any issue at all.

So, is there any scenario in which Hillary can win? Yes, but chances are soooooooooooooooooooo slim, it is not even worth considering.

First, the opposing candidate would have to be Condoleeza Rice. Facing any male candidate, Hillary automatically looses all the femiphobic men among the "Independents" and loses the election.

Second, Karl Rove, Frank Luntz and the rest of the Republican machine would have to be too busy to be able to run Rice's campaign well - perhaps busy in court, perhaps busy playing cards in some federal prison somewhere.

Third, Condi would have to make a gaffe after gaffe after gaffe.

Fourth, Osama would have to be caught or found dead and the Iraqis enjoying blissful peace, so fear-mongering cannot work as well as before.

Only with all of the above Hillary could win, but not because she won, but because Condi lost. Far too many racist, femiphobic, anti-elitist men on the Right will abstain from voting if Condi is their candidate even if this means preventing horned, hooved, tailed Hillary from ascending the throne. She is a woman, she is black, and she is an elitist academic spoiled rich woman with no husband. The LGF and Freeperland crowds do not like her.

There is no way Condi can buy a ranch and pretend to enjoy fixin' grits and greens. Nobody can sell her as a person you would want to have beer with. She looks, carries herself, and behaves even more of an elitist than John Kerry.

Back in the primaries, when they were all flipping pancakes every day, Dean looked like a natural, as if he does this at home every day (he may - I don't know). Kerry looked like he is used to flipping something more expensive on a grill, but definitely had the technique he could apply to pancakes. And Edwards...heck, forget the pancakes, you can imagine him getting all black, oily and dirty trying to fix the engine on his pick-up truck. We know he actually eats grits and greens at Elmo's Diner here in Carrboro almost every weekend.

Condi cannot even start pretending not to feel like fish out of water in such a situation. And frankly, neither can Hillary.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 10:48 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Must-reads of the Day

Michale Berube wrote a fantastic post on academic freedom - something to print out and post on your office door.

Three related posts on the reasons why today's journalists treat GOP as if it was a legitimate political party and the Democrats have no idea how to counter this. All three posts are uber-excellent. First, by Digby, on the origins of the He Said She Said journalism. Second, Amanda Marcotte: Who the hell are you calling 'churlish'? Third, Toast on Shakespeare's Sister: Your Media: Objectively Pro-GOP.

From Phantom Professor, a chilling tale.

From Red State Rabble: ID's Split Personality.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 9:48 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Various carnivals are looking for your submissions.

Next edition of the Tar Heel Tavern will be up this weekend on BlueNC. North Carolina bloggers - send the best post of the week to Lance.

Circus of the Spineless will be up on Sunday, January 29th, on Pharyngula. Any type of posts about Invertebrates, from detailed science to a pretty picture are welcome.

Grand Rounds will be hosted on Monday at Barbados Butterfly.

Tangled Bank is coming up on Wednesday, February 1st on Adventures in Ethics and Science. Science, nature, environment, medicine, the War On Science - if you write something about these topics, send it in.

Carnival of the Liberals will be hosted by Modem Butterfly also on Wednesday. Since this is a competitive/edited carnival, entries are due on Monday to give the host enough time to read everything and choose the best 10 posts.

Carnival of Education will be hosted by Diane Weir, also on Wednesday.

Then on Thursday, it is time for Skeptic's Circle on The Photon in the Darkness.

And speaking of carnivals you can see a link on the side bar to all the Carnivals I Hosted where you can also find the dates of carnivals I have signed up to host this spring.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 6:25 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Friday, January 27, 2006

Essential Reading of the Day

If you have not read these before, do it today.

Echidne's series on Gender Gap in Income:

Empirical Evidence
Addressing Wingnut Distortions

Lance's series on Gender Gap in Education:

Boys are dumb, so there!
Snakes, and snails, and puppy dogs' tails
Classism One: Title IX
Barely able to write their names in the dirt with a stick

...and related to this, from Shakespeare's Sister:
Boy sues; schools are 'designed to the disadvantage of males'
Lindsay: Gender gaps
Amanda: Daring white boy rebels strike for stupidity

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 3:59 PM | permalink | (5 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Science News

* Searching for extra dimensions:
A new detector of elusive particles called neutrinos might provide evidence for extra dimensions, researchers say.

* New lakes found beneath Antarctic ice:
Scientists report finding the second and third largest known of nearly 150 lakes locked under Antarctic ice.

* Many "Earths" out there, scientists say after planet find:
A discovery is raising astronomers' hopes that an Earth-like planet will turn up before long.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 7:14 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

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Thursday, January 26, 2006

I'm Gone Country...

Oooh, I like this one.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 11:55 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Carnival of the Balkans #6

Want this Badge on your Site?

The latest edition of the Carnival of the Balkans is now up on Estavisti. Go say Hi and read (at least those written in languages you know).

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 5:12 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Global Warming

Check out this movie. It is funny. Especially the very beginning - exactly what the War On Science is.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 2:05 PM | permalink | (3 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Link-Love: science-blogs down the alphabet, Part III

Continuing with the alphabet. First, a few A though E that I missed, then on to F and see where it ends...

Importance of blogging for ethnographic fieldwork, Importance of blogging towards primatological fieldwork, The changing face of human skulls and The atlatl is making a comeback are just a few of the recent posts on Anthropology Net.

Archaeoblog collects lots of cool news items in the field.

From BrainBlog: Abstract of the Day: Cognitive Demands on Functional Decisions.

Cognitive Science News is a blog of the Cognitive Science Program at the University of Evansville.

Dieneke's Anthropology blog on the Recent origins of East German population.

Free Association is the offical blog of Nature Genetics.

Genetics & Health Blog: DNA Is Here to Stay.

What is an expert? asks Adam Lerymenko of GreyThumb blog.

Hairy Museum of Natural History has a good post on the new oviraptor-like crocodile fossil Effigia.

JM O'Donnell of Immunobloging on DNA justice, Viral outbreaks and Dembski flops in...Kansas.

The blog of Improbable Research is into food lately: Dean drinks with a purpose, Celebrity dog food and Boiled Banged Mush.

Humor and attraction, A good time to wake up and effects if global warming on the quality of liquor, and much much more canbe found on Inkycircus.

Every day a new Invasive Species.

The Invisible Dragon loves pie-charts to illustrate student learning in science classes. See here, here and here for some cool examples.

John Hawks Anthropology Weblog has a different take on the Thames whale story, Genetics of orangutan demographic collapse and about Darwin's experiments with bird feet, which I remember reading but now cannot remember in which of his books (I have read quite a lot of Darwin a few years back), do you?

Keats' Telescope, one of my favourite science bloggers writes about viral source of DNA, adaptive function of laughter, narrow focus of science journalists, inappropriate names of genes and weather on Mars.

Kele's Journey dismantles the What are evolutionists afraid of Creationist canard, and comments on the recent Dawkins program.

OK, that was F, G, H, I, J and K. More of the alphabet tomorrow.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 9:47 AM | permalink | (4 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Framing on AlterNet

There is an interesting article on AlterNet about Lakoff and framing. They have recently started a blog devoted to framing, and, as expected, someone had to (Don Hazen in this instance) make the connection between the brain-scan study I mentioned yesterday and framing.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 8:38 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Koufax continues

Another category is up on Wampum - the semi-finalists for the Best State And Local Blog. Several North Carolina blogs are to be found there. Take a look. Again, the comments section will open in a few days, so until then you have time to check out all the blogs before deciding on which one to vote for.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 8:02 AM | permalink | (3 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Carnival of the Liberals - call for submissions

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Modem Butterfly has issued the call for submissions for the next edition of the Carnival of the Liberals. Send your best recent post by Tuesday at 5PM EST. The carnival will be posted on Wednesday, February 1st.

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 8:46 PM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Link-Love: some more science blogging

Earlier, I linked to a bunch of science-related blogs starting with A and B. Let's proceed with Cs and see how far down the alphabet we can get.

Over on Circadiana I cover some media reporting on clocks and sleep, and on my friend's research.

On Cognitive Daily: What aspects of facial movement convey emotion? and Do kids prefer cheap healthy food or expensive junk food?

The Hanging Hill of Meriden and its legendary Black Dog, a two-part look by Connecticut Windows On The Natural World here and here.

Corpus Callosum on the rising cost of textbooks and on Bisphenol-A.

Over on Cosmic Variance, Sean has more on one of my favourite microorganisms, the “Conan the Bacterium” of the Archaeobacterial world, the Deinococcus radiodurans, the bug that lives in nuclear reactors. He also announces an interesting literary contest by Seed Magazine - not science-fiction, but science in fiction.

Craving Progress is taking a little break in blogging while cramming for the prelims.

Creek Running North: 27 new species in California, the Sentinel Cave and another Harquahala chapter. Buy Chris Clarke's book (and I mean BUY it, drop him a few bucks instead of downloading for free) here.

John Quiggin on Crooked Timber on metric system, creationism and inefficiency. Interesting comments.

Teach your goldfish to play soccer, says Culture Dish.

The Mad Scientist of The Daily Transcript interviews his physicist father.

What is science, what is fiction, what is science-fiction, wonders Reed of De Rerum Natura.

The same question, posed by Jim of Decorabilia.

Blind shrimp, the Origin of Life, the Ostracods and the Pram Bug - all found in the Deep-Sea News.

Deltoid on Fumento and, of course, on Lott.

Dharma Bums at the bird feeder.

Get your anthropocentric ego deflated by The Disgruntled Chemist (cool photo - worth a click).

I love the way Disgruntled Julie writes about her research and her life in the lab in post after post. Here is the latest.

Ed Brayton of Dispatches From The Culture Wars responds to Bo Grimes on Card on ID and to Bob Murphy on ID.

Why Dogged Blog breeds dogs? (really cool pictures!)

Dr.Petra announces the Bitter Pill Awards, complains about PR companies peddling questionable 'research' and examines why is the press incapable of discussing prostitution.

Science Illustration, Electron Microscope images and the six degrees of separation in science, all on Easternblot.

Effect Measure is the place to go for all the Bird Flu information, for instance this and this, but other stuff sometimes appears, for instance...did you know that your keyboard is dirtier than your toilet seat?

Evolgen on doctoring images in science papers and on discrepancies between
fossil and molecular data.

Evolutionary Times observes an IDC discussion on a computer forum.

Jason on Evolutionblog got into a multipost debate with Krauze of Telic Thoughts. The first post, the second post and the third post. A good Harpers article written by Darwin's great-great-grandson and summaries of two more good articles.

John Wilkins of Evolving Thoughts on evolution rules and laws and on science fraud.

OK, enough for today. Let me know if I have missed any good science blogs so far in the alphabet. One day I'll see if I have the energy to proceed with F, G, H....

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 5:54 PM | permalink | (2 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink

Link-Love: A little bit of science blogging

OK, I wanted to do a linkfest of science blogs. I went to my Bloglines and here is just the stuff from Blogs that start with A and B:

Mike of 10000 Birds (that is listed before the As and Bs) wrote about a long-eared owl, summarized his blog for new readers, and is daydreaming about leaf-cutter ants.

Tara Smith of Aetiology looks at the Athens plague and writes the, IMHO, best blog-post on the topic. Any thoughts on improving science education?

Afarensis comes to my neighborhood in search of Trail of Tears and then revisits one of my favourite topics, the magnetotactic bacteria with some novel findings.

Daniel, A Concerned Scientist went to an anti-ID talk and comments on the meeting of all former chiefs of the EPA.

A Pixelated Mind is dreaming about a utopian world in which teachers know everything.

Lori of a.d.d. has been having too much fun lately to write much about science.

Duane has Abnormal Interests, for instance in the great Athens plague. Others write about it, too, but others do not include the text in the original Greek!

AJMilne of The Accidental Weblog (formerly of a blog with the formula of caffeine for the title) is wondering if permafrost is a place where microorganisms lay dormant, or if they actually live in slow-motion.

Acronym Required summarizes the endocrine disruptive effects of Bisphenol-A and reports on research (discussed on NPR last Friday) about using soil samples not to look for antibiotics, but to look for entibiotic resistance mechanisms.

Alun of Archeoastronomy also takes a look at the plague in Athens, but also at Egypt and the PR companies selling 'psych research'.

Andrew Jaffe reports on a science version of the Million Dollar Page.

Ann has a great cartoon to go with this post about Fiorenzo Facchini's article in the Vatican newspaper.

Arcane Gazebo on experimentalist physicist bloggers.

Archy tries to write about mammoths every week. Sometimes it veers beyond science.

The Art Of Teaching Science finds parallels between two books, one on evolution, the other on plate tectonics.

Evolution makes mockery of fishery science, says Wesley Elsberry of Austringer. And a study of owls shows that the coordination of sight and sound processing in the brain modulates attention, too.

B and B celebrates the launch to Pluto with blog carnivals.

Phil Plait of Bad Astronomy announces that the Dawn mission is postponed indefinitely, that Sen. Buttars is dragging Utah back to the Dark Ages, that his blogs is a finalist for Bloggie Awards (I have voted for him, have you?), and that a new extra-solar planet will be announced today.

Dave treats sick and injured birds in Alaska.

Cornell Medical School has rewritten the Hippocratic Oath says Blog Bioethics.

John Rennie rips into Judith Shulevitz.

Nuthatch of Bootstrap Analysis reviews the Volume Eight of the Handbook of the Birds of the World.

Botanizing looks at Onion Creek and early flowering of daffodils in Montana.

You can see midges, dirty streams and UCLA students on Bug's Eyes.

Buridan's Ass has a good post on the Boston Globe article on difficulties science journals face in detecting fraud.

NY Times had a similar article, focusing on doctoring images in science papers and Dr.Free-Ride of Adventures in Science and Ethics, now at her comfy digs on Seed, discusses the article. Also, what do you think about outsourcing research?

Just the first two letters of the alphabet, and just my blogroll, and it is as big as a Tangled Bank!

posted by Bora Zivkovic @ 9:58 AM | permalink | (0 comments) | Post a Comment | permalink