Recently I was lounging at an on campus coffee shop, melting into a plastic chair, tired around my eyes, and grimacing at the ache in my arms that I was convinced signified the flu. Only three weeks into the semester, and already brain matter regenerated over the summer was turning into mush.

You've probably heard that saying, 'if your only tool is a hammer you tend to see every problem as a nail.' So it goes with culture too. People who have an agenda jump on every opportunity to advance it in every exploitative way - they are culture vultures. Obviously it's easy to be jaded because I live in California and California is home to cultural fundamentalists in a way that people in actual religious areas of the US can only dream about - because they aren't pushed off to the fringes, they have center stage. John W. Kindt is a University of Illinois professor in Business Administration and a fundamentalist about gambling in a way that would work well in California. I don't gamble, I am too good at math to think I am going to win when casinos hire people a lot better at it than me to make sure I don't, but I don't tell people they are too stupid to be good at it. Why? Because I don't have the fundamentalist mentality it takes to think everyone is too stupid to think for themselves.
Who wouldn't want a map of all the known yeast metabolic pathways on the wall? Download your copy here (PDF). The catch is you have to print it out yourself. This poster offers a birds-eye glance at some of the complexity that goes on inside just a single cell. All of these pathways have to be coordinated with environmental cues, like changing sugar sources, and major cell processes like division. Most of these pathways happen in our cells too, and many of the key the enzyme players in yeast are conserved in humans as well. By figuring all of this out in yeast, we learn about the complexity inside of our own cells.
American Physical Society (APS) published on 16 September 2008 its energy report entitled Energy = Future (Think Efficiency) -- A Different Kind of Energy Efficiency Report. To facilitate discussion of all of its recommendations, I have posted them below. Your comments are welcome here on these seventeen recommendations by the APS.



Summary of Recommendations*

1. The federal government should establish policies to ensure that new light-duty vehicles average 50 miles per gallon or more by 2030.
The recent announcement that Sergey Brin, the multibillionair co-founder of Google, has discovered that he possesses a genetic mutation that predisposes him to a form of Parkinson's disease has resulted in multiple stories in the news on the "genetic basis" of Parkinson's and the candidate gene LRRK2.
Sex with robots available in five years!(1) Not so fast -- do we love robots? How about -- do we understand how we love each other? Let's limit the subject even further to just the science of love between a man and a woman.



Well, we have the anthology of love all the way back to the earliest civilizations in Western Asia. What do we know today about the anatomy of love between a man and a woman? What have we learned since the days of William Shakespeare and 'How do I love thee? Let me count the ways?'


Today, Sept. 19, 2008 is the major sign that NASA finally gets it! Risk understanding has arrived at NASA with the move of the Space Shuttle Endeavour to the launch pad. This is the first time that NASA has had a space shuttle in a rescue mode.



NASA gets it that their risk management requires action in case something goes wrong with the upcoming Hubble Space Telescope Mission of Atlantis. Endeavour traveled all night to its destination so that it can lift off within a week of Atlantis' launch, if required.


A current news piece announces the end of scientific secrecy. Scientists can "forgo the long wait to publish in a print journal and instead to blog about early findings and even post their data and lab notes online. The result: Science is moving way faster and more people are part of the dialogue." Really?
Two years back, the US Congress passed the NIH Reform Act of 2006 in an effort to get the NIH to adapt its structure to the new landscape of biomedical research, and to institute more transparency and accountability so that Congress can do its job. Last week, the NIH Director Dr. Elias Zerhouni went to Congress to report on how well his agency has done meeting the new demands of the law. He lays out the challenge in today's interdisciplinary world:
Public access for studies paid for by taxpayer money seems like a no-brainer. There's no reason peer-reviewed journals should get to charge researchers (paid for again by taxpayers) and then have a copyright on the work. Last year the government approved a bill that would require government-funded (NIH) researchers to submit their studies to PubMed Central no later than 12 months after publication in a peer-reviewed journal. It was a real win for open access advocates, many of whom wrote here about it.