Thanks, 1970s U.S. Navy for teaching me about gonorrhea and syphilis

This is too good not to repost. In the 1970’s, the U.S. Navy took a Schoolhouse Rock approach to teaching soldiers about venereal disease, and it’s super awesome (I learned something, AND I had no problem watching all 20 mins of it, even though I should be working right now). Anybody know of more videos like this?

Thanks to Gawker, Boing Boing, and Heather for spreading this around.

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Playing devil’s advocate to the internet: k3rn3d

This is a month and a half late and a few dollars short, but deal with it.

So in early October, there was this huge hubbub about this article called “Where’s the passion?” by Scott E. Kern in Cancer biology and therapy. He basically complained that scientists weren’t working hard enough. The internet exploded. Now, I don’t always notice these things, but this time people were saying hilarious things on twitter with the hash #k3rn3d, involving what they were doing (going on vacation, taking care of kids, eating and sleeping occasionally, etc.) that was preventing them from curing cancer. Eventually, I wanted to be a cool kid too, and went on a scavenger hunt to see for myself the inspiration for all this hilarity.
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Music Makes Learning Fun!

To stick with the theme of this week, which seems to be “Dorky Science Musical Videos”, I’ve decided to make a collection here of the most well known.  This will be in order of when I heard about them (most recent to least recent).

The Gibson Assembly Song (Parody of Deep Blue Something’s Breakfast at Tiffany’s):


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A Young Lady’s Guide to Science in 2010

So… a long time ago, perhaps when it was still appropriate to refer to 2010 as being in the future, I was asked to write “A Young Lady’s Guide to Science in 2010”.  So now instead of a prospective, it’s more like a retrospective, or if you want you can just think of it as “A Young Lady’s Guide to Science in 5771” since, you know, it was just Rosh Hashanah and all. 


I had a draft of this post almost done when I realized I was taking it way too seriously (I do that sometimes, don’t worry).  I was all NIH, DOE, GFP, LHCing it up, when I checked out the previous young lady’s guides, and realized I was being boring as chicken mittens.  And I am NOT falling into the trap of saying that science is just plain not as interesting as sports or oral piercings because we all know that’s not true. 

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Is science really the great antidote?

Okay, so I know what you’re thinking: Why in the world did she name her blog “The GreatAntidote”?  I mean isn’t that a little presumptuous?

The quote (AKA my subtitle) helps explain it a little bit:

Science is the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm and superstition.  – Adam Smith, The Wealth of Nations, 1776

Sweet, this is a blog about SCIENCE.  Okay, cool, but what about it? Really the quote isn’t even 100% clear to me, and I’m the one who liked it enough to name my blog after it.  So… after some thought, I’ve decided that the title “The Great Antidote” stuck because it allows me to simultaneously address three complex questions:

1) Is science the great antidote to the poison of superstition?
2) Is science the great antidote to the poison of enthusiasm?
3) Will science give us the great antidote?

Check out a bit of Stevie Wonder and PhD Comics after the break.

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Semantics rise again: discipline (v) vs. discipline (n)

Found this in my early stages of setting up this blog, way back (a week or so ago) when it was on posterous instead of wordpress.  It was introduced to me via @alicebell via @InSIS the latter of whom subsequently became my first follower!  But I decided to repost the link here, where I can add a slightly offensive picture and write a little bit more about my feelings.

This article, The Complacent Disciplinarian by Ian Hacking, first caught my attention because I am one of many young scientists currently struggling with the idea of being interdisciplinary.  It’s not so much that I can’t decide whether I am interdisciplinary or not, but more that I can’t decide whether it’s significant to even bring it up any more, as it seems that good science, in a general sense, has got to be interdisciplinary anyway.

Ultimately, however, the reason I’m posting this link  is the joy of wordplay.    I’m not really much for arguing, mainly because most of the arguments I’ve witnessed, no matter what the subject, usually deteriorate into arguments over the meaning of words.  “You said this, but what you really meant was this” kind of thing.   Hacking, through study of his own life and the singular word discipline confirms a  personal belief of mine that categorizing and labeling things is most useful after the fact, and that in the present it is best to just do whatever the hell you want.

How strange that word is, ‘discipline’. An old word, or words, as old as European vernaculars, and traipsing behind them not so much Roman Latin as the learning of Mediaeval times. In both French and English, there is both verb and noun. The noun that makes for interdisciplinarity implies fields of study defined by content and institution. But the verb implies chastising and punishment.

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Hello world!

Long and short: I’m a grad student. Lots of ambition. Lots of dumb. I’m in this crazy program in which I’m doing a collaborative project between a biomedical research institute in the states and a Major Research University in England. Just finished my first year of crapping all over myself, but it’s still pretty awesome.

Why do this? Why would you care about what I have to say? Well, I can’t say that you will, but my reason for doing this is that I started following some baller folks in the sci journo community about a year ago via twitter, and have now decided I should stop being a passive observer (because, you know, I really need more ways to divide my time).

If you’re a real person, feel free to follow me on twitter @daGreatAntidote

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