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  • A short rant in G minor
    2014 1 September 2014 1 June 2014 1 April 2014 1 March 2014 2 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 1 November 2013 1 October 2013 1 September 2013 2 August 2013 1 July 2013 1 April 2013 1 January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org A short rant in G minor September 16th 2009 by Bill in Uncategorized Ben Goldacre is debating the science minister Lord Drayson tonight on science and the media at the Royal Institution I d love to go but have ahem another engagement I did catch an opening skirmish on the Today Programme this morning in which Goldacre complained about the media and Drayson gave the impression everything was grand and we are living in a golden age of science reporting Bullshit Every single national newspaper including Goldacre s Guardian is guilty of huge and sustained science abuse The vast majority of journalists charged with reporting science have only mastered the copy and paste function necessary to crib their articles from the helpful press release And when you complain you get some patronising fool whose ignorance is matched only by his self regard banging on about the 24 hour

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2009/09/a-short-rant-in-g-minor/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Wayne Rooney, Eduardo and quantum physics
    2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org Wayne Rooney Eduardo and quantum physics September 16th 2009 by Bill in Uncategorized Someone almost certainly Jenny is going to immediately start claiming I am biased on this but I think Uefa made the correct decision in rescinding their 2 game ban on the Arsenal striker Eduardo for his alleged dive in the recent home game against Celtic Now I don t like diving any more than the next fan and I certainly feel for Celtic goalkeeper Artur Boruc who showed remarkable reactions in trying to get his arms away from the oncoming striker While it can t strictly be described as a dive I feel queasy when I think a player is falling before contact is made For another example see Wayne Rooney s successful penalty claim against Arsenal the following weekend But crucially in the case of Eduardo and Rooney I do think contact was made As it happens I think both fall into the could be given category and the question as to whether they should depends on whether the ball was under control As an example of a blatant dive I cite Rooney s other successful penalty claim against Arsenal a few years ago when he jumped over Sol Campbell s leg This from a man who doesn t dive Doesn t dive my arse The scientist in me also comes to the defence of Eduardo and even Shrek when wondering what happens in the mind of a player approaching a challenge In video replays these milliseconds get stretched out to an extent which it is absurd to expect a referee to be able to detect but also to a point which may not be accurate when judging a player s intent I play football Badly I might add In fact appallingly But I am less appalling as a forward than a defender so that is where I tend to play I have never had the benefit of a replay of myself confronting an oncoming player at speed and I have never consciously dived But would I start to fall before the contact is made Is that what I recall If not is that a false memory or is it simply that anticipating contact a player s body reacts in the same way that a fighter rolls with the punches What I am saying is firstly we cannot read minds and secondly we tend to see replays of controversial incidents vastly more than others this biasing our sample Anyone know how often players show signs of falling before contact and the extent to which it happens more in the penalty area I would be

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2009/09/wayne-rooney-eduardo-and-quantum-physics/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Sporting chances
    A quick look at the karyotype had shown the underlying cause was Klinefelter s syndrome an extra X chromosome He was XXY rather than XY While considering the case it was emphasized that explaining this to a teenage boy is something must be done with care Apart from anything else the patient s fertility would be greatly reduced and Klinefelter s carries an increased risk of several tumours Having discussed the need for delicacy the consultant invited the boy and his mother to join him in his office with my friend cleared his throat and kicked off as follows Now you know that there are men and there are women Well you are somewhere in between Now it s just a guess but I imagine the consultant in question might have had a glittering career with the International Association of Athletics Federations IAAF the governing body of world athletics which has in the last month or so done its utmost to torment the young South African middle distance runner Caster Semenya To recap very briefly in case you have just arrived from a parallel dimension in which this has not happened Semenya has emerged with stunning swiftness literally as a new force in women s middle distance running Only 18 she won gold in the 800m at the 12 th World Championships in Berlin without looking as if she was really trying But already there were whispers that Semenya had an unfair advantage At first this was simply due to her to be fair strikingly masculine appearance Then the day before the 800m final it was announced that she was to be investigated by the IAAF to determine her gender I should not need to comment on how bizarre and cruel this is not least because this is not a question of deliberate doping Were Semenya suspected of cheating through taking banned substances she would be subjected to less humiliating scrutiny than she has through an accusation for which even if upheld she bears no blame for whatsoever And to compound this leaked stories are prejudging the results of the examination It must be said that it does seem that Semenya has abnormally high levels of testosterone for a woman though still low for a man and will probably be barred from further competition as a result It would take a heart of stone or failing that an IAAF official to not be moved by this Questions of gender go to the core of our identity and whatever the results of the investigation Semenya will certainly be scarred by the experience Whatever teasing she endured as a child through her appearance could be put aside as she discovered her gift for running Now it seems that gift is worthless Having said that her case makes me wonder about sport in general What is it intended to celebrate The person who has worked the hardest to develop themselves or the most naturally gifted Semenya is undeniably naturally gifted and yet to

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2009/09/sporting-chances/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Uncategorized - Lab Literal
    want Christmas escapism searching for CP Snow LabLit chats with Anna Ziegler Summer reading LabLit com will be ten years old on 7 March 2015 Lab Twitterati Links LabLit home Categories Comics Drugs Essays Fiction Films Guest post Lab LabLit Meta Podcasts Reviews Students Uncategorized Video Wide world Archives Archives Select Month March 2016 1 January 2016 2 December 2015 1 October 2015 1 June 2015 1 February 2015 2 January 2015 1 December 2014 1 October 2014 1 September 2014 1 June 2014 1 April 2014 1 March 2014 2 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 1 November 2013 1 October 2013 1 September 2013 2 August 2013 1 July 2013 1 April 2013 1 January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/category/uncategorized/page/11/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Lab Literal
    The Origin of Species Evolution and more specifically the Origin itself is one of the most successful franchises in the history of science Despite their importance the Principia the general theory of relativity and quantum electrodynamics have never found their way into the popular psyche in the same way Relativity probably comes closest but while many people know that e mc 2 a far smaller proportion know what it means or why it matters let alone how to derive it In contrast almost everyone knows that evolution means humans arose from an ape species Indeed humanity still is an ape species albeit one with a highly developed sense of entitlement Darwin is associated with dinosaurs ape men fossils and to his great benefit the peerless David Attenborough You could scarcely wish for a better champion than such an eloquent and accomplished natural historian Nevertheless despite the elevated position of evolution inspired books in the Pop Science bestseller lists public understanding of natural selection is patchy It is difficult to study evolutionary biology especially in the US without being acutely aware that many people find it offensive The reasons for this are many and varied Some object to the repudiation of their creation myths More generally some people feel queasy with the lack of morals in the Origin though why it should be there in a scientific text escapes me They find their experience of love demeaned by the idea that it is a trick played on us by our genes to get reproduced The vision of us as gigantic lumbering robots in the service of our genes probably the most unfortunate metaphor Richard Dawkins ever devised is a turn off Tied together with that sense of entitlement I mentioned earlier this can lead people to feel deeply uncomfortable even insulted After all we re not just animals are we Yes we are I only take issue with just Some of my best friends are animals Others often on the opposite side of the political spectrum are disturbed by the idea that evolution could support features of society which are politically unattractive for example by suggesting a selective rationale for behaviour like rape This is understandably disquieting to say the least When considering such statements it may be useful to take Dobzhansky s famous quote that nothing in biology makes sense except in the light of evolution and remind ourselves that it does not necessarily follow that all explanations which cite evolution will make sense Here s a classic example Consider the following quote It is not the strongest of the species that survive nor the most intelligent but the ones most responsive to change which is widespread on the internet and usually attributed to Darwin except he never said it Have a look for it in his published work and correspondence It is instead a platitude invented comparatively recently by management consultants Obviously they discovered people took it so much more seriously as a catchy justification for widespread redundancy when

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/page/12/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Thank God for geeks and pedants
    Twitterati Links LabLit home Categories Comics Drugs Essays Fiction Films Guest post Lab LabLit Meta Podcasts Reviews Students Uncategorized Video Wide world Archives Archives Select Month March 2016 1 January 2016 2 December 2015 1 October 2015 1 June 2015 1 February 2015 2 January 2015 1 December 2014 1 October 2014 1 September 2014 1 June 2014 1 April 2014 1 March 2014 2 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 1 November 2013 1 October 2013 1 September 2013 2 August 2013 1 July 2013 1 April 2013 1 January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2009/09/thank-god-for-geeks-and-pedants/ (2016-04-26)
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  • The resemblance is startling
    2016 1 January 2016 2 December 2015 1 October 2015 1 June 2015 1 February 2015 2 January 2015 1 December 2014 1 October 2014 1 September 2014 1 June 2014 1 April 2014 1 March 2014 2 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 1 November 2013 1 October 2013 1 September 2013 2 August 2013 1 July 2013 1 April 2013 1 January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org The resemblance is startling September 14th 2009 by Jenny in Uncategorized It might be a bit too early on a Monday morning to be irreverent but when I was walking through the Quad this morning I noticed a sorry looking creature on one of the benches She had disheveled hair and clothing and a bag stuffed to the brim with paper I was surprised the university staff are usually quite brisk about politely but firmly moving the homeless on But then I thought it s graduation ceremony time and the Quad has been absolutely heaving with strangers albeit much more smartly turned out ones It was only then I got close enough to realize that the person on the bench was actually a respected

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2009/09/the-resemblance-is-startling/ (2016-04-26)
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  • Bottled water with something extra
    Snow LabLit chats with Anna Ziegler Summer reading LabLit com will be ten years old on 7 March 2015 Lab Twitterati Links LabLit home Categories Comics Drugs Essays Fiction Films Guest post Lab LabLit Meta Podcasts Reviews Students Uncategorized Video Wide world Archives Archives Select Month March 2016 1 January 2016 2 December 2015 1 October 2015 1 June 2015 1 February 2015 2 January 2015 1 December 2014 1 October 2014 1 September 2014 1 June 2014 1 April 2014 1 March 2014 2 February 2014 1 January 2014 2 December 2013 1 November 2013 1 October 2013 1 September 2013 2 August 2013 1 July 2013 1 April 2013 1 January 2013 1 December 2012 3 July 2012 1 May 2012 1 March 2012 1 January 2012 1 November 2011 1 October 2011 1 September 2011 1 August 2011 1 July 2011 1 June 2011 2 May 2011 4 April 2011 2 March 2011 2 February 2011 3 January 2011 1 December 2010 2 November 2010 3 October 2010 2 September 2010 3 August 2010 14 July 2010 6 June 2010 4 May 2010 6 April 2010 5 March 2010 3 February 2010 3 January 2010 6 December 2009 5 November 2009 5 October 2009 10 September 2009 14 August 2009 8 Admin Log in Entries RSS Comments RSS WordPress org Bottled water with something extra September 8th 2009 by Bill in Uncategorized I promised labliterate photos but all I could come up with was this cheap gag water with a hint of yeast Fnarrr So far as I am aware candida means candid in Italian which is still a pretty strange name for bottled water There was also a whole shelf in the supermarket of canine food marketed under the name Randy Dog Sardinia is a beautiful

    Original URL path: http://blogs.lablit.com/2009/09/bottled-water-with-something-extra/ (2016-04-26)
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