June 4, 2009

I’m old enough to remember this. And like Janet, I recall the palpable sense of dismay and reversal of progress.
Those of us in biomedical research fields frequently operate in environments that bring us in contact with other scientists who originate in China. Some of us are lucky enough to know a span of age ranges from the older generations who left China before Tiananmen or in the immediate aftermath down to the young whippersnappers fresh out of undergraduate or graduate education. There is a difference. I don’t know if it is a change in who China trains scientifically or who they let seek postdoctoral training in the US. It is possible. But assuming that is not the case, the political attitudes have shifted in the post-Tiananmen generations. They seem to toe the national political line more. They view the demonstrators and civil liberty political types as dangerous, wrong and subversive. And to view the Tiananmen massacre as either necessary or a lie.
My readers are for the most part domestic US folks. China is a far distant place with a different culture and politics. What could we possibly take away from this?
Well, I think some of our younger generation here, politically active and progressive as they are don’t really get it. Luckily, we have revere. Who placed this into the appropriate context.

And who also talks about his history of Palin’ around with terrorists.
If you happen to work with a lot of younger Chinese scientists who seem to have a different appreciation of the events of 20 years ago on Tiananmen Square…check your attitudes on our own political history. It’s worth a thought or two.

The good Dr. Jekyll & Mrs. Hyde spotted something the other day that I can’t believe hasn’t been noticed by a wider audience. In the wake of the Sotomayor nomination, DJ&MH posteda telling quote from Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg of the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS).

From this week’s NY Times Week in Review:

But Justice Ginsburg said her own influence in all sorts of cases at the justices’ conferences was uncertain. “I will say something — and I don’t think I’m a confused speaker — and it isn’t until somebody else says it that everyone will focus on the point,” Justice Ginsburg said.

That is, she is one of the nine highest-ranking judges in the nation, with the power to define and defend constitutional law, and she sometimes kinda feels like people ignore the points she makes…until a guy says the same thing ten minutes later.

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Secret Science, Again

June 3, 2009

My usual preamble is that I don’t really get on board with the OpenScienceEverything!!!! types but I do back some essential principles. One, that if the taxpayer funds our work than that taxpayer has a right to the usual output of our work (i.e., the papers) without a lot of additional hassle or charge. Two, our usual output is intended to be public. Meaning that while various interests may want to make money from our output, the goal would be to make it available (again, at a charge) to as many people who would want it. Three, our usual output is also intended to be archival to history
Well, awhile back some colleagues and I were discussing a situation that was initially sort of amusing. Then I realized that the situation was complicated and I’m not really sure where I stand.
Should people be allowed to blog and Tweet and otherwise discuss results that are presented at scientific conferences?

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As of our last discussion, it emerged that the stimulus legislation specifically exempted itself from the SBIR requirements.
Our good blog friend Anonymoustache alerts us to a glimmer of hope for small businesses looking to get in on that NIH ARRA/stimulus action.

Now the NIH puts out some token fucking bullshit funding opps for small businesses from the ARRA funds. And it just screws things up.

Go read the details.

This is odd. A blog on results of a “working paper” on Twitter behavior from a MBA student and professor at Harvard Business School.

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In case you managed to miss it, this round of NIH reviews will use a changed scoring system which we’ve previously discussed. It will also be associated with an unfamiliar summary statement. For those of us that review we will have to put away our venerable Stock Critique Templates. Fortunately, the Center for Scientific Review has provided a replacement along with a host of other informational documents on the new review system.

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I was inspired by kemibe who wrote:

I just made a modest donation to Planned Parenthood in honor of George Tiller, the doctor who was gunned down yesterday morning by an established whack job/separatist/bomb-happy felon.
I want these assholes to know that every bullet fired on behalf of their corrupt cause will result in level-headed activism that will only set them back by leaps and bounds. If you care to pony up even $5, you can do that here.

It wasn’t something that I would have thought of doing right off so I’m happy to have this option brought to my attention. Perhaps you will be as well.

Silence is the Enemy

June 1, 2009

In case you have not read it by now, the Nicholas D. Kristoff Op/Ed in the NYT about the aftermath of civil unrest in Liberia is the trigger. In After Wars, Mass Rapes Persist Kristoff describes an ugly, despicable reality:

Jackie is too young to remember the 14-year civil war in Liberia, from 1989 to 2003, when as many as three-fourths of women were raped. Jackie’s world is one of a bustling, recovering Liberia with a free press and democratically elected leaders.

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