July 21, 2010


Time to update my blogroll. Actually, it's been time for a while, but the exodus from ScienceBlogs has made the current status ridiculous. While I'm at it, enjoy a few posts from people's new sites, plus a couple from what is, for now, temporary exile.

A Blog Around the Clock: A Farewell to ScienceBlogs

Of course, I started (in 2003/4) in political blogging where much is a matter of opinion, stakes are high, tempers are short, speed of blogging is important, and stating things confidently and even ferociously is important as a persuasion method. If I have heard some useful factoid somewhere, I would often boldly claim it as true without checking first.

But then I gradually switched to blogging about science. This is the domain of verifiable facts. The goal is education, not so much political action. I wrote about my area of expertise, and I wrote in a way that built on that expertise and made it accessible to the lay public. I wrote about things I knew a lot about and was very familiar with the literature. So I referenced, cited and linked to a lot of supporting documents – peer-reviewed scientific papers.

Are You SciCurious?: Sex, Stress, and Neurogenesis

Sci couldn’t help but notice all the tweets going around the other day talking about how sex stressed you out but was ultimately good for you. She contemplated saving it for a Friday Weird Science, but it’s not THAT weird (though it is interesting), and anyway Sci has something brewing for teh weird skienz.

So this is going to be a post for today. Let’s talk about sex. And let’s talk about stress. And then let’s talk about how increases in glucocorticoids are not the be all end all of psychiatric pathology.

Thus Spake Zuska: How Not To Sell Me Your Fancy HVAC System

Third dude came today and did a long presentation after having measured all sorts of shit and went on about importance of proper installation, bla bla, explained all sorts of bla-di-bla about the equipment, how their employees are carefully screened and drug tested and they don’t allow any convicts to work for them because in prison they teach convicts plumbing and HVAC and here’s a picture of brown dudes in prison uniforms studying to come rape and kill your wife in your own home under the guise of installing your new furnace and ac, and you can get a heat pump too to further reduce costs, and bla bla more tech stuff, and voila! four options for your consideration, good, better, best, wow, ranging from $11k to $16k.

And I said, “WTF?”

White Coat Underground: Reminder: Whooping cough is serious business

I shouldn’t see any cases of pertussis (“whooping cough”), but I do. We have a safe, effective and affordable vaccine. But still, people are getting this disease. In the age group I see (adults), immunity has often waned, and if they haven’t been revaccinated, they can get the disease and pass it on. In adults it often looks like a cold, but not in kids. Most properly vaccinated children are immune and remain so until there little airways are large enough to cope with the illness. But a certain percentage of kids either don’t get vaccinated or aren’t successfully vaccinated, leaving them vulnerable to a disease that shouldn’t even exist at a measurable rate.

DrugMonkey: Blog collective

In the current upheaval of ScienceBlogs, however, I’m seeing a trend by which if people are thinking “blog collective” they are thinking inward toward their respective -ology domains.

The re-launch of geoblog Highly Allochthonous is a case in point. Notice the domain name “all-geo.org”? Gee, I wonder who they are intending to collectivize? Also see the genomesunzipped collective started by Daniel MacArthur who may or may not be closing his Sb shop (hasn’t said, so far as I know).

Greg Laden: Can you train an adult brain?

It is often said that the human brain develops and improves up to a certain age, then becomes stagnant for a while, then slowly (or not so slowly) deteriorates over time. This is an old conception that developed before we knew that neural connections are being modified constantly, and that it is even the case that new neurons can develop in an adult brain. So, it should not be too surprising to find that it is possible to purposefully train the brain to be better at certain functions, even if you are already old and decrepit.

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