Black Like Jim

December 10, 2007

Oh come on now. This is just too good. Almost like the prohibitionist, gay-bashing, pro-family politician caught in the drug-n-gay-prostitute scandal.


Update 1:

Noah Gray of Action Potential continues his ThingForJim (thanks for the link!).

Steve Sailer of iSteve analyzes the evidence for black grandparents and finds it wanting. Of course we know all about how easy it is to detect percent-blackness from just lookin’ thanks to Razib. A comment to iSteve has a more useful point.

Nothing from the Borg yet, waiting with bated breath for the usual bomb throwers to jump in.

Mooney and Kirshenbaum of The Intersection are calling for a Presidential Debate on Science in the 2008 Silly Season. Here’s the manifesto:

Given the many urgent scientific and technological challenges facing America and the rest of the world, the increasing need for accurate scientific information in political decision making, and the vital role scientific innovation plays in spurring economic growth and competitiveness, we, the undersigned, call for a public debate in which the U.S. presidential candidates share their views on the issues of The Environment, Medicine and Health, and Science and Technology Policy.

They have a website up and everything. Go look.


Followup randoms:

Nick Anthis of The Scientific Activist actually mentions NIH funding as one of his ScienceDebate2008 hobby horses. Some readers around here might be interested.

Dr. Free-Ride gets into the “reality” issue.


December 7, 2007

The DM recently used the pejorative term “boondoggle” (Wikipedia, fwiw) to refer to the larger NIH funding mechanisms like Centers and Program Projects (the “P Series“, a comprehensive list of NIH mechanisms is here).

What think you all?  If you’ve been funded under or associated with one of these things, what are your takes? Good thing? Bad thing? Do you see consistent trouble spots for their operation?

Are they a big ol’ waste as DM seems to think?

We’ve been discussing the degree to which insular sub-groupings of scientists protect and maintain themselves and their peers through the grant review process. We’re using “bunny hopping” thanks to whimple and the NIH CSR calls this “clustering“. Note upfront that this analysis and discussion does not necessarily require overt malicious intent on anyone’s part. The presentation at the recent PRAC meeting from Don Schneider identified the IFCN (Integrative, Functional and Cognitive Neuroscience) group of study sections as top suspects in the “clustering” phenomenon. Can we derive a little more information one wonders? Read the rest of this entry »

The inestimable Dr. Free-Ride has tagged us with a meme which runs as follows:

There are a set of questions below that are all of the form, “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…”.

Copy the questions, and before answering them, you may modify them in a limited way, carrying out no more than two of these operations:

  • You can leave them exactly as is.
  • You can delete any one question.
  • You can mutate either the genre, medium, or subgenre of any one question. For instance, you could change “The best time travel novel in SF/Fantasy is…” to “The best time travel novel in Westerns is…”, or “The best time travel movie in SF/Fantasy is…”, or “The best romance novel in SF/Fantasy is…”.
  • You can add a completely new question of your choice to the end of the list, as long as it is still in the form “The best [subgenre] in [genre] is…”

  • You must have at least one question in your set, or you’ve gone extinct, and you must be able to answer it yourself, or you’re not viable.
  • Read the rest of this entry »

The PRAC met 12/3 and their site has the slide files up already. I have some brief observations. Read the rest of this entry »

‘course we never called it that. We were just trying to jump our bikes as far as we could. For those of us who’s formative bike riding years were the 70’s, well, Evel Knievel has passed. See Dave Moulton’s post for the reminiscing about the BMX years…

Sloooow Burn

December 4, 2007

Just noticed this post on Uncertain Principles. Chad’s breaking out the can ‘o whupass on a piece in Inside Higher Ed from a Rob Weir. Go read both. I’m going to have to sit on it a bit before I can even be coherent. What Chad said. The stupid, it buuuurrrns!

Bunny Hopping

December 4, 2007

A recent comment from whimple is pretty self explanatory:

Say I work on the mechanics of bunny-hopping. My papers get sent for review to colleague bunny-hoppers, my grants are reviewed by the bunny-hopping study section, and there is never really an opportunity (ESPECIALLY with the study section) for a non-bunny-hopper to stand up and say, “look, other than the bunny-hoppers, nobody really cares about bunny-hopping, and I think we already know all we need to know about bunny-hopping for now,” and close down the field.

I’ve been thinking about this a bit more. Read the rest of this entry »

As most readers are likely aware, there are currently a number of clinical trials running with the explicit goal of obtaining governmental approval of use 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, aka “Ecstasy”) for medical purposes. I’ve talked about the Slate and Time puff pieces on this before, and the Multidisciplinary Association for Psychedelic Studies (MAPS) which is pushing / sponsoring these trials lays out the whole thing here, if you are too lazy to Google. The short version of the theory is that the subjective properties of MDMA (empathic, inhibition lowering, etc) are consistent with helping people in difficult psychotherapeutic situations (such as for post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and, supposedly, end stage cancer anxiety) make therapeutic breakthroughs during a limited number of treatment sessions of talk therapy. This is not proposed as a chronic medication like a selective serotonin reuptake inhibitor (SSRI). The funny thing is, I approve of the concept of moving forward with clinical trials based on the available evidence. Read the rest of this entry »