May 29, 2009

BikeMonkey Guest Post
TheScienceGirl writes about the Obama SCOTUS nominee Sonia Sotomayor and her critics:

The responses from the media are incredibly predictable; already we have claims of affirmative action, identity politics, and reverse racism. All three of these defenses have something in common; they are buzzwords that boil down to one thing: the white male power structure feels threatened.

Hell yes.

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I know I’ve mentioned this before but two of the substance-abuse type academic societies really annoy me for their habit of closely scheduling their annual meetings in late June. Typically the College on Problems of Drug Dependence and the Research Society on Alcoholism hold their meetings on sequential weeks. Which totally blows because it is really hard to be out of town for substantial parts of two sequential weeks. Especially when you are a parent and school years are finishing up.
This year is even worse.

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Abel Pharmboy has re-posted a blog entry he first published in Dec 2005 entitled Rave drug testing – public benefit?.

Sounds like a good thing to me: your kid is at a rave party and wants to experiment with some substance that you took blindly 30 years ago without thinking about twice. Fortunately, the party has a booth staffed by a staff of profs and grad students who are willing to anonymously run a sample of your stash through a Bio-Rad HPLC that has a library of comparative chromatograms for over 1000 psychoactive compounds.

Today’s issue of Nature brings a study of some rather mundane genetic experiments. I mean, putting an innocuous marker which glows into an animal and showing that it is transmitted to the offspring is tame stuff. It barely even rises to the level of a control these days.
Unless, of course, you do it in a species from the Primate order that can arguably be called a “monkey”. Uh-oh.
Obviously this is the work of, well, you know. The bad guy. Ol’ fork tail hissownself. The absolute proof is after the jump.

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A couple of commenters and YHN were speculating, only partially in fun, that the next couple of NIH grant rounds were high value targets. My rationale is that after this whole ARRA / Challenge wackaloonery passes, people are going to take a little break from writing, get back to doing some science, sit back and see what shakes out from the stimulus package. It was also that case that back before the Challenge details started to overwhelm the discussion, people mentioned getting news that their grants which were sitting just off the prior funding line were going to be funded. So maybe some of those people will heave a great sigh of relief and take a break for a round or two.
This was, of course, just speculation.
Here we are approaching the June deadline for new R01s and I am hearing the first decent rumors…

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When I first started working at a medical center, I noticed that almost everyone in scrubs was wearing these weird-ass dorky shoes that looked like a high-school shop class project gone awry. I asked one of them what the fucking dealio was with these weird-ass dorky shoes. All anyone would say was, “They’re Danskos. Trust me. Buy a pair.” So I did. They are the most comfortable motherfucking shoe on Earth, especially for extended standing. And now they look beeyootiful to me!!!

Readers of this blog are familiar with the financial pressures that the undoubling of the NIH budget during the Bush Administration placed on the research laboratories. They will also be familiar with the relative excitement which attended the ARRA stimulus package and the subsequent NIH announcements on various ways to put that money into the labs.
I don’t believe we’ve talked much about the companies, large and small, that support our science. The manufacturers and suppliers of equipment, reagents, software and other necessary resources. These companies might be diversified, they sell to the for-profit side of science as well, but they’ve been suffering too. After all, when NIH funds are hard to get, PIs were hoarding cash and not buying unnecessary stuff. Shutting down research programs. Waiting. I reckon that everything from Big Pharma to tiny biotech startup pulled back and tightened belts too.
Well, right about the time of the signing of the stimulus package, I started getting emails from various suppliers. They were here to help me apply for ARRA funds! I didn’t read the emails all that closely but some of them seemed to be practically offering to write the equipment supplement grant for me!
Today’s emailbox reveals that things are getting a bit…ugly.

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