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Dover: ?A non-controversial and dull topic?

By | December 13, 2006

Dull and non-controversial: That?s how bioethics pundit Art Caplan described the focus of a panel last night at the Philadelphia?s Franklin Institute titled ?Science, Faith and Darwin,? set to accompany their Darwin exhibit running through the end of December. Caplan meant to be wry, but with a panel (and seemingly an entire auditorium) full of folks in agreement, no sparks flew. That?s not to say there wasn?t star power. Judge John E. Jones who presided over the Kitzmiller v. Dover case over


Ready for your closeup?

By | December 4, 2006

You might have noticed last week, the launch of linkurl:JoVE, the journal of visualized experiments; which gives quick, free, video how-to?s on laboratory protocols. As someone who loves techniques but hates reading dry materials and methods sections, this is a darned neat idea. Blogger Pimm tracked its linkurl:web awareness here,; and apparently it spiked a

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Music and the mind

By | November 21, 2006

I just received a copy of __The Strangest Song__, a linkurl:book; about Gloria Lenhoff, a 51 year old woman with William?s Syndrome whose father Howard left the biochemistry bench to study cognitive neuroscience and foster his daughter?s remarkable musical abilities. I wrote about linkurl:Howard?s work in 2001,; and I remember how driven he was in getting his


An interesting bioethics debate

By | October 31, 2006

Does early detection work? __The New York Times__ today posts a linkurl:story about Claudia Henschke,; a radiology professor at Weill Cornell Medical College who?s pushing for routine CT scans to detect lung cancer earlier. The phrases are so well trodden, they?re often taken at face value: ?We?re lucky we caught it in time,? or ?If only we?d found it sooner.? The problem with simply accepting that earlier detection means better survival i


Ending the sci-religion war (and the Falwell of biology)

By | October 20, 2006

For someone forecasting Armageddon, linkurl:E.O. Wilson; is surprisingly optimistic. The Harvard professor, along with Harvard divinity professor Harvey Cox spoke at the Philadelphia Free Library last night with a message of hope ? not just for rescuing the humanity from its path of self- and planet-destruction, but for doing so through a deeper communication between science and religion. Wilson?s latest book, __The Creation__, calls upon the


Cat cloning company lives final life

By | October 16, 2006

A little under two years ago, Lou Hawthorne, CEO of Genetic Savings and Clone, linkurl:told me; that he hoped the pet cloning company would be profitable within two years, at which point it would consider an initial public offering. Apparently, they didn?t make it. News outlets reported last week that the company had sent letters to all of its clients announcing it would be closing by the end of the year. Clients could continue to bank their pet


Keystone shows Gates the money

By | October 13, 2006

In our May issue, James Aiken, the CEO of the Keystone Symposia, linkurl:wrote that; ?the long reach of Bill Gates? had ?finally touched the Keystone Symposia, and all of conference planning, really.? Aiken was writing a grant proposal to the Foundation, and they required him to show measured value for the conferences. Aiken went on to describe a method for quantifying the conferences? impact. When he tallied the results of the instrument Keys


Nobel keeps it in the family

By | October 4, 2006

Roger Kornberg of Stanford University presumably got the call from Stockholm at 3am in California. He won a solo Nobel in Chemistry for elucidating the mechanics of transcription via the crystallization of RNA polymerase. He?s the third American life scientist to pull down a Nobel this year and the second to win the prize in his family. Father, Arthur Kornberg won the 1959 prize in Physiology or Medicine for elucidating DNA synthesis.


RNAi scoops Nobel

By | October 2, 2006

Andrew Z. Fire and Craig C. Mello have won the 2006 Nobel Prize in physiology or medicine for their work in controlling the activity of genes. This is likey to be a welcome award. RNA interference has taken labs by storm and shows some promise in the clinic. More later from The Scientist's news team.


Introducing Janelia

By | September 29, 2006

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute's new $500 million linkurl:Janelia farm; campus opens its doors officially next week. This week I toured the main building, which will house 26 labs, during a gathering of HHMI's international researchers. The building is striking. It's shaped like a C and tucked into the side of a hill. The roof is covered with grass and serves as such a convincing meadow that several deer have trotted off the edge. Many of the walls are made of

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