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Entries Tagged as 'bio'

Great Success = Some Talent + A Lot of Luck

February 18th, 2008 · 7 Comments

Spotted this wonderful, and very accurate, ‘equation’ by Daniel Kahneman:
The Secret of Regression to Mediocrity
Success = Some Talent + Luck
Great Success = Some Talent + A Lot of Luck
The term ‘regression to mediocrity’ (also known as ‘regression to the mean’) was first coined by Francis Galton in 1886. Galton showed that, on average, the children [...]

Tags: bio · philosophy · psych · science

Food Miles

August 8th, 2007 · 7 Comments

Sometimes, when I come across a particularly interesting article, I try to find the research paper that it’s based on. I don’t always read the entire paper (in fact, I normally skip over huge chunks) but it’s always instructive to see the results and analysis as the original author wrote them; it’s not rare for [...]

Tags: adrian · bio · politics · science

The Name of the Gene

November 12th, 2006 · No Comments

While studying biology and genetics at Cambridge, we learned the names of a lot of genes. One of these was Sonic Hedgehog, a rather important gene involved in development of many organisms. Our lecturers always seemed inordinately pleased to tell us this gene’s name, perhaps hoping that the ‘cool’ name would rub off on the [...]

Tags: bio · science

Anti-Addiction pill

June 25th, 2006 · No Comments

An Anti-Addiction Pill? – a clear and well-written article from the New York Times on new methods to treat addiction. Quite a nice way for me to catch up on recent developments in the field.

Tags: bio

The cause of Type 2 diabetes

December 29th, 2005 · No Comments

Why a fatty diet leads to diabetes – type 2 diabetes, specifically. This article at the Times is a surprisingly detailed report of how researchers at UCSD determined that hyperglycaemia suppresses the GnT-4a enzyme, which is basically a blood glucose sensor for the cells that produce insulin. Too much suppression results in pancreatic [...]

Tags: bio · science

Lab: The Show

June 22nd, 2004 · No Comments

During the England game yesterday we came up with an idea for a new reality show. There are already shows centred around pop stars, hospitals, pirates and all sorts, but what about scientists?
Introducing LAB: The Show. 12 graduate and postdoc students in biology are placed in a lab for ten weeks in order to produce [...]

Tags: bio · science · silly · tv

Some Things Are Better Left Unsaid

April 20th, 2004 · No Comments

Olivia Judson, an evolutionary biologist at Imperial College, has written a piece in the New York Times yesterday called Some Things Are Better Left on Mars, where she argues that the risk of infection by Martian lifeforms far outweighs any scientific gain from bringing back rock and soil samples. Given that we know organisms on [...]

Tags: bio · science · space

Genetic Enhancement

April 16th, 2004 · 1 Comment

The Atlantic ran an anti-genetic enhancement article this month called The Case Against Perfection. Written by Michael J. Sandel, a member of the notorious President’s Council on Bioethics, the article is cogent and well-argued.
Essentially Sandel believes that embryonic or hereditary genetic enhancements would remove the ‘giftedness’ of every child – in other words, the fact [...]

Tags: bio · science · spec


February 11th, 2004 · 1 Comment

The feeling of total, horrified incredulity is not one that I get to enjoy very often, but this afternoon I had a stiff dose of it. For the past week or so I’ve been working on some tissue samples that have probably seen close to a dozen hours of solid work going into them. Today, [...]

Tags: adrian · bio · science · silly

The Sunny State

February 6th, 2004 · No Comments

After a week of dismal weather and tiring winds that sap all of the enjoyment out of cycling, not to mention dozens of niggling problems at the lab and a whole host of other things, things have finally started to improve here in Oxford. Yesterday I found out that I’ll be going to a vision [...]

Tags: adrian · bio · science