Monkey ping pong foreigner gangs and the pursuit of happiness

8 09 2009

All from the internets:

Final image by me – original base by smooshmasterflex (Creative Commons)


Love, share, learn

13 07 2009

As seems to always be the case, as soon as I decide to take a short blog break, people link to me.

Greg did it twice. Hat-tipping me for that cool UK Swine Flu video I spotted – and also featuring some of my flu posts on this month’s Scientia Pro Publica – a collection of awesome science blogging written for the people – this month’s theme: OMG … Science is Everywhere! You can read more about SciProPub at Grrl Scientist.

I have also been quoted (and named, with my real name!) at BNET Pharma industry blog. I do have to agree with the sentiment. It would be a lot easier to sound sane if when I try to defend Pharma against claims of unethical practices if the industry I am trying to defend would just kindly stop engaging in them…

Semi-finals to get excited bout

16 06 2009

Congratulations to all the finalists (and semi-finalists) for the 3 Quarks Daily. Go Christie at Observations of a Nerd! I’m also a fan of Darren Naish at Tet Zoo. But I gotta say my pick is David’s post at Southern Fried Science (be sure to check out his followup post, oh hell, check out the entire blog).

Possibly because it feeds into my “everything you have been told is lie” skepticism, but also because secretly I think we all know dolphins are total jerks (if you want some seriously fucked up lols – follow the comments on this post, find commentor “Malcolm”).

Winners will be announced on Sunday. Good luck!

3 Quarks Daily: Science blog prize vote started

4 06 2009

The nominees are up for the 3 Quarks Daily blog prize for science is open.

You can vote here.

Read the posts here.

And read about the contest and prizes here (yes! actual prizes! money prizes!).

Go and read some posts and vote for them.

Oils ain’t oils: the essentials

2 06 2009

ResearchBlogging.orgYou may have noticed my general feeling about so-called “alternative medicine” is that there is no “alternative” to medicine. One of my friends puts it another way:

Q. What do you call an alternative medicine that works?

A. Medicine.

There is no grand pharmaceutical conspiracy against natural remedies. Once a treatment demonstrates value to medical science, it will become accepted as medicine. That’s why, while you last month science bloggers descended upon a laughably flawed acupuncture study flouted as proof of effect and tore it to pieces, I doubt there’ll be a similar response at this a new international study currently in print that shows essential oils may have a role to play in combating infections caused by multi-resistant microbes.

It’s actually quite a well done study, with interesting results that provide an opportunity for the complementary medicine industry to clean up it’s act and get on board with whole evidence-based medicine paradigm, rather than remaining in the realm of snake oil and shamanism.

Read the rest of this entry »

More than medicine

26 05 2009

Hot on the heels of discussions about Pharma and digital media – GSK has recently launched a corporate blog More Than Medicine. They aren’t the first Big Pharma to do so, Johnson & Johnson is also present in the blogosphere with JNJ BTW.

The idea behind the blogs is to create a more comfortable dialogue between these large overarching organisations and the end-product consumers (i.e. you and me).

J&J: “Everyone else is talking about our company, so why can’t we?

GSK: “Our goal is to encourage an open, productive discussion about a range of topics .. that doesn’t sound like it’s written in ‘legalese’.

Already GSK has been called out for having pseudonymous bloggers – but while it might somewhat detract from their claim to broad openness, it’s hardly a rare thing amongst bloggers (ummm… does yours truly qualify?*) Relationships don’t have to be built up on a first name basis.

Already the two blogs have very different styles, and showcase positive ways in which Pharma can successfully harness this new media. Read the rest of this entry »

Frankenfoods and anthrax

19 01 2009

The SciBorg Seed-Cube has had another of their industry-sponsored blogs for a small while. At first it showed as an inaccessible anomaly in my rss feeder, but now it seems Invitrogen’s is live and screaming.

Yes, asking “What’s new in life science research” brings up doom and gloom. It started of with bioterrorism, and has now moved onto genetically modified organisms. While its certainly quite difficult to argue the merits of bioterror-orientated research (“just-in-case” is often as best as it gets), the merits of GMOs are all around us. Nutritional food. Economic boom. Less environmental impact of pesticides. Antibiotics. Biofuels. Extended shelf life.

Some of the recent discussion has been on labelling.

Labelling on GMOs I don’t see as a problem. At a basic level its as reasonable as allowing sellers to mark their food and products as “organic”, “98% fat free” or “heart-safe”. Consumers have a right to make informed decisions about their consumption, even if their decision is stupid.

I’m a bit disappointed with the Invitrogen/Seed blog though. These aren7t “new life research”. Bioterror is centuries old (plague-ridden bodies were “weaponised” during the Black Death). And even GMOs on the level with Bt-cotton and Monsanto’s dubious canola IP-debacles getting old hat. Where is something truly new – like synthetic life, personal genomics, or I don’t know, something more 2009, less 1999.