Random Thoughts

For THE WIRED WORLD IN 2013 annual prognostication issue, predictions for the year by some of the luminaries in science media, I predicted that one of the Big 5 organs would be created.

The benefit is obvious; organs created from a patient's own adult stem cells mean no chance of rejection and no need for expensive immunosuppressive drugs. Science-fiction/ethical scenarios like raising animals or people for 'harvesting' by wealthy elites are off the table because a customized organ could be grown in the lab.
Sociologists and psychologists know how to get attention - make a crazy claim based on correlations in population data or surveys of college students, use terms like factor analysis and p-value and statistical significance, and it will get into a journal. Since mainstream media love weak observational studies over science, it will be in the New York Times post-haste.

So we have been treated to "just so" science-y claims like:
Twice a day I get an email from someone offering me the outstanding opportunity to carry their infographic, press release or puff-piece interview with someone who has invented a new Miracle Cure and if it seems like it was written by a real person, I will usually tell them I decline.

No one has ever written back and asked why.
Given the flakiness and rush of shipping at this time of year, if you intend to order something online, you really need to do it today. Sure, you can take a flyer on next week but if you have Amazon Prime and its two-day free shipping, today is the way to go and remain drama free. 

With that in mind, here are some cool science gifts, if you are still stumped:
Zombies are really popular - "...and zombies" attached to the end of well-established works of fiction have become a common trope and once they began to swarm over the literary canon, it was only a matter of time before English Lit academics began to overthink the phenomenon.
"In God we trust, all others bring data"

William Edwards Deming
I won't bore you with an introduction but I'll just say "Ghostbusters" is one of the funniest movies of all time. So I decided to live blog it, but just the science parts. Let me know how I did.

Opening: Great movies open with something happening. A rare few, like "Superman", can start with credits. Librarians getting the bejeezus scared out of them are always funny. In 2 minutes, we already feel like something happened, then we get a teaser of the song.
With 365 days in a year and a whole lot of causes and events and gimmicks, it is no surprise that there are sometimes lots and lots of 'National XYZ' Days on the same day.

The National Months get kind of cluttered too. October is Adopt a Shelter Dog Month, American Pharmacist Month, Apple Jack Month, Awareness Month, Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Clergy Appreciation Month, Computer Learning Month, Cookie Month, Domestic Violence Awareness Month, Eat Country Ham Month. International Drum Month, Lupus Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Pizza Month, National Vegetarian Month, National Popcorn Popping Month and, as you can already tell by the tone of this piece, Sarcastic Month.