Our friendly blog builder guy, MarkCC of Good Math, Bad Math, has done a great job getting Scientopia running as a platform. The WP engine is familiar from my original blog so it is nice to have that.

There’s some bad news for you, though, DearReader. Mobile device blogging via the iPhone WP app.

You may be subjected to a higher rate of half-baked thoughts posted without many links to speak of.

You’ve been warned.

Nice one in PNAS today:

Retraction for “HOS10 encodes an R2R3-type MYB transcription factor essential for cold acclimation in plants” by Jianhua Zhu, Paul E. Verslues, Xianwu Zheng, Byeong-ha Lee, Xiangqiang Zhan, Yuzuki Manabe, Irina Sokolchik, Yanmei Zhu, Chun-Hai Dong, Jian-Kang Zhu, Paul M. Hasegawa, and Ray A. Bressan, which appeared in issue 28, July 12, 2005, of Proc Natl Acad Sci USA (102:9966–9971; first published online July 1, 2005; 10.1073/pnas.0503960102).

The authors wish to note the following: “The locus AT1g35515 that was claimed to be responsible for the cold sensitive phenotype of the HOS10 mutant was misidentified. The likely cause of the error was an inaccurate tail PCR product coupled with the ability of HOS10 mutants to spontaneously revert to wild type, appearing as complemented phenotypes. The SALK alleles of AT1g35515 in ecotype Columbia could not be confirmed by the more reliable necrosis assay. Therefore, the locus responsible for the HOS10 phenotypes reported in ecotype C24 remains unknown. The other data reported were confirmed with the exception of altered expression of AT1g35515, which appears reduced but not to the extent shown in Zhu et al. The authors regrettably retract the article.” [Emphasis added]

Sounds like these fuckers were–at best–too happy to see the complementation support their hypothesis, and thus didn’t do appropriate fucken controls, which would have revealed that the rate of complementation was exactly the same as the rate of spontaneous reversion. Or worse, there was some cherry picking of data going on. Also, it is pretty suspicious that–in addition to the bogus complementation data–there was also, coincidentally, altered expression of the same locus that was not confirmable after publication. Again, sounds like some cherry picking may have been going on.

Worst case scenario, all this shit was totally cherry picked data within the normal range of variability and ginned up into a totally fake fucken story.

I’m working up a head of steam on T Ryan Gregory’s idiotic* post which asserts that graduate students are not professional scientists. I disagree. Even as he tries to dance around in the comments and subsequent posts. Particularly with respect to the modifier “professional”; in my view that just means are you getting paid.

While I think about whether I need to add anything to that discussion, I offer up a post I wrote awhile ago which lays out my view about who has a right to the title of “scientist”.

This post originally went up April 22, 2008.

The titular observation was the beginning of a good twenty minute rant from YHN during a lab meeting a few years ago after one of the technicians said something along the lines of “well, but I’m just a tech”. I forget the precise circumstances but it was in the context of some doctor-credentialed person or other not paying attention to the knowledge and expertise of the technical staff. This pissed me off then and many years later I still get irritated by these situations.

I write today in praise of the research technician and, especially, the TurboTech™.

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