The Revolutionary Minds Think Tank blog ( which I mentioned over at A Vote for Science yesterday) is a new pet project to transfer a Seed project over to the ScienceBlogs side of the Seed Media Group. In the initial post the editors asked the following question, to be followed by answers from, one assumes, revolutionary minds.

The boundaries of science are continually expanding as scientists become increasingly integral to finding solutions for larger social issues, such as poverty, conflict, financial crises, etc. On what specific issue/problem do you feel we need to bring the scientific lens to bear?

I am not a revolutionary mind but I have a minor thought on the application of the scientific lens to the political process. The key concepts are “experimentalism” and “sunset provision“.

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One link to pwn them all

August 24, 2009

Anti-vaccers, that is. I was recently sent this by a reader.
Why we immunize at the Making Light blog.

There’s a manual that every Navy gunnery officer was required to read or re-read every year: OP 1014; Ordnance Safety Precautions: Their Origin and Necessity. It’s a collection of stories about, and photographs of, spectacular accidents involving big guns and ammunition. Gun turrets that have fired on other gun turrets on the same ship. Holes in the coral where ammunition ships were formerly anchored. That sort of thing. It’s simultaneously grim and fascinating.
Nowadays there’s some kind of movement afoot for claiming that immunization against common childhood diseases is unnecessary. That they cause disease. That they’re harmful. It is true that rare adverse reactions to immunizations occur. It is also true that adverse reactions to the diseases themselves are not at all rare if you don’t immunize. So let’s call this post Immunizations: Their Origin and Necessity.

Read. Bookmark. View the linked pictures (Not for the sensitive).

Writedit points to the following story.

Focus reported that the professors from a dozen German universities took payments of between 4,000 and 20,000 euros ($5,700 and $28,600) to grant doctorates to students.


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Poster Version
from Research!America
As PhysioProf just posted, we received a note from Heather Benson of the New Voices blog alerting everyone to a new poster created by Research!America. These sources also point us to a nifty web site which allows you to examine the distribution of NIH ARRA funding in the US.
Pretty interesting. In a couple of prior posts I talked about using NIH funding data to enhance your communications with your Congressional Rep I notice that the ARRA tables provided by the Research!America site include a national rank for each Congressional district. I make out the top Congressional NIH ARRA recipient districts as:
1. MA 8
2. NC 4
3. CA 53
4. NY 14
5. PA 2
Hmm, pretty good concordance with the overall NIH allocation, the only outlier seems to be MD 07, which falls to 6th on the ARRA list from 4th overall.
If you have received any ARRA funding I would encourage you to print out the poster and stick it up somewhere. Remember, all those support staff of your institution right down to overnight custodians are taxpayers and voters. It is important to communicate to them that the stimulus is supporting your work (and therefore their jobs) just as much as the new bridge-fixing or pothole-filling projects that impede their commute.

We just received a nice e-mail from Heather Benson–Manager for Science Outreach of Research!America, a research advocacy organization–giving us a heads up that they have created a nice poster for ARRA (i.e., “stimulus”)-funded labs to put up on their doors. How fucking coolio is this?!?!?
You can download a vector-based PDF version here.

In case you have been living under a rock (yet inexplicably reading this blog) Usain Bolt has now run both the 100 meter and 200 meter track events faster than anyone ever. The margin of improvement in the 100 meter event (which occurred earlier) was sufficient to start the sports world abuzz. Naturally, sports fans are willing to talk endlessly about the most absurd minutia and implications of such an event in terms pedestrian and embarrassingly overwrought.
YHN is no different.

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In case you are just entering the discussion I’m following up on points I’ve made on shifting the intrapersonal Overton window and communicating unmistakeably to your opponent that they are not in your camp. This series on How to Argue more or less in response to Ethan Siegel and Isis the Scientist, kinda taking a Ladenesque or UncertainChadian approach of being unable to relinquish the bone…except without the initial pronouncements of disinterest.
Personal confession after the jump.

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