Kevin Beck points to this article from the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. Apparently some genius in Marietta is selling a shirt with the following logo out of his store and (gasp) some people find this just the teeensiest bit offensive.

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A recent post of Zuska’s discusses the pejorative use of “anecdote” to dismiss personal accounts of gender bias. The generic argument will be well familiar to many scientists who are used to sneering at sources of insight that are limited to individual data points. I concur in many cases however I also value anecdotal observations much in the way that commenter Sanguinity identified a number of useful applications of the anecdote in science including the following:

– suggest a new direction for query/research.

In that last case, the anecdote is a potential source for a vast new amount of information, but only if you don’t dismiss it out of hand as “just an anecdote.”

This reminded me of a post I wrote previously on the value of anecdotal case reports describing MDMA-related fatality and medical emergency.


The singular of data is “anecdote”.
We all know this hoary old scientific snark. Pure Pedantry ponders the utility of Case Reports following a discussion of same at The Scientist.
The Pure Pedantry Ponder identifies “rare neurological cases” as a primary validation for the Case Study, but the contribution goes way beyond this. Let’s take YHN’s favorite example, drug abuse science and MDMA in particular.

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A recent post of Zuska’s discusses the pejorative use of “anecdote” to dismiss personal accounts of gender bias. The generic argument will be well familiar to many scientists who are used to sneering at sources of insight that are limited to individual data points. I concur in many cases however I also value anecdotal observations much in the way that commenter Sanguinity identified a number of useful applications of the anecdote in science including the following:

– suggest a new direction for query/research.

In that last case, the anecdote is a potential source for a vast new amount of information, but only if you don’t dismiss it out of hand as “just an anecdote.”

This reminded me of a post I wrote previously on the value of anecdotal case reports describing MDMA-related fatality and medical emergency.


The singular of data is “anecdote”.
We all know this hoary old scientific snark. Pure Pedantry ponders the utility of Case Reports following a discussion of same at The Scientist.
The Pure Pedantry Ponder identifies “rare neurological cases” as a primary validation for the Case Study, but the contribution goes way beyond this. Let’s take YHN’s favorite example, drug abuse science and MDMA in particular.

Read the rest of this entry »

I have some brilliant and enthusiastic friends in the science blogosphere who are putting substantial effort into building on-line venues where working scientists will create scholarly communities to engage in vibrant scientific discussion and commentary, as well as disseminate novel scientific information. As appealing as this may sound—and it does sound appealing in some respects—it is currently doomed to failure, at least in the case of the biomedical sciences.

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Abel Pharmboy pointed to a piece in The Scientist entitled “Losing Your Lab” which discusses the plight of the soft-money researcher who has run out of funding. Actually, the plight of one researcher in particular. The commentary is, however, getting interesting and I thought many of our readers might want to go play.
There are a couple things in the article however that seem a bit off-kilter to me.

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Members of San Diego State University are expressing an interesting attitude in the aftermath of the drug sweep which arrested 75 students of SDSU. According to the initial reporting it is clear that members of an organized drug marketing organization were targets.

One alleged dealer, Theta Chi member Kenneth Ciaccio, sent text messages to his “faithful customers” announcing that cocaine sales would be suspended over an upcoming weekend because he and his “associates” planned to be in Las Vegas, authorities said.
The same message posted “sale” prices on cocaine if transactions were completed before the dealers left San Diego.

It is equally clear that some individuals arrested were merely customers. Drug users, not dealers. Presumably this is why elements of SDSU are now questioning the appropriateness of calling in undercover federal agents on this case.

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Perennial Playboy Magazine Top-Ten Party School San Diego State University is in the news following the arrest of some of its students on allegations of illicit drug dealing and drug possession. The San Diego Union Tribune is reporting:

Federal agents and SDSU police culminated a yearlong investigation into drug dealing around campus yesterday, …Ninety-six suspects, including 75 SDSU students, have been arrested on drug-related charges…The SDSU Police Department approached the DEA and county narcotics task-force officials for assistance in December, when it became clear that the trafficking was more widespread than it could handle.
Investigation seizures by the numbers (sidebar; SOURCE: SD County District Attorney’s Office)

  • 50: Pounds of marijuana
  • 4: Pounds of cocaine
  • 3: Semiautomatic handguns
  • 1: Shotgun
  • 48: Marijuana plants
  • 350: Ecstasy pills
  • 30: Vials of hash oil
  • $60,000: Cash

Sadly, the investigation was sparked by a drug-overdose fatality, albeit of an anonymous undergraduate rather than someone as famous as Heath Ledger or Len Bias. There is also another drug-overdose fatality caught up in this story.
I want to talk about Jennifer Poliakoff and Kurt Baker today.

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DrugMonkey posted yesterday about the “A2 bump” and other study section behaviors that are designed to create a “holding pattern” for grants that will ultimately almost-certainly be funded, but only as a subsequent resubmission. Although he alluded to the fact that this kind of behavior is greatly encouraged when funding is very tight, he didn’t really explicitly lay out why. So here we go!

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The NIH grant applications which will be reviewed Jun/Jul are going out to reviewers right about now. Poking through my pile of assignments I find that I have three R01 applications at the A2 stage (the second and “final” amendment of a brand new proposal). Looking over the list of application numbers for the entire panel this round, I see that we have about 15% of our applications on the A2 revision.
Oi. What a waste of everyone’s time. I anticipate many reviewers will be incorporating the usual smackdown-of-Program language. “This more than adequately revised application….”

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The NIH grant applications which will be reviewed Jun/Jul are going out to reviewers right about now. Poking through my pile of assignments I find that I have three R01 applications at the A2 stage (the second and “final” amendment of a brand new proposal). Looking over the list of application numbers for the entire panel this round, I see that we have about 15% of our applications on the A2 revision.
Oi. What a waste of everyone’s time. I anticipate many reviewers will be incorporating the usual smackdown-of-Program language. “This more than adequately revised application….”

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The workaday high points of bioscience careers are fairly obvious. Getting that publishable result finalized, analyzed and figure-ified. Getting a paper accepted. Getting a fabulous score on that grant proposal. But these moments are as much celebrational as motivational. Perhaps even more so.
Sometimes it is the little moments that are the best motivators.

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Grad School Malaise

May 5, 2008

I have been receiving some thankful e-mails regarding a comment I left recently concerning dissatisfaction and malaise in the later stages of a PhD program to a post at Green Gabbro (Hi, Maria!), and I have been implored to lift this comment up to a post here at DrugMonkey. We always try to give our readers what they want, so here you go!

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Salvia divinorum smoking is apparently popular with the kids these days.
Drug Law Blog had a recent note on progress of a California Assembly bill AB 259 which:

Provides that any person who sells, dispenses, distributes, furnishes, administers, gives, or offers to sell, dispense, distribute, furnish, administer or give Salvia divinorum, or Salvinorin A, or any substance or material containing Salvia divinorum or Salvianorin [sic] A, to any person under 18 years of age shall be guilty of a misdemeanor.

Currently legal psychoactive? Efforts afoot to regulate and/or limit use? Game on, DearReader…

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The Centers for Disease Control reported a higher number of measles cases in the US for first quarter 2008 in a recent report [h/t: occasional commenter ddt].

However, during January 1–April 25, 2008, a total of 64 confirmed measles cases were preliminarily reported to CDC, the most reported by this date for any year since 2001. Of the 64 cases, 54 were associated with importation of measles from other countries into the United States, and 63 of the 64 patients were unvaccinated or had unknown or undocumented vaccination status.

The CDC also took the opportunity for directly addressing idiot anti-vaccination parents such as the ones causing the San Diego measles scare. Bravo.

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