Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Back from Prince Edward Island...

Where I was at a biotech conference and watched Mason's own Professor Nadine Kabbani give a bang up excellent talk on her latest work with the alpha-7 nicotinic receptor (which happens to be G-protein linked).

I also got a good view of the progress (or lack of it) in the area of neurodegenerative diseases (such as Alzheimer's). It's frustrating because so much money has been invested and there has been so very little produced for the pipeline (and the patients).

Tomorrow we dive back into building Krasnow's third decade of success....

Monday, July 07, 2014

EU neuroscientists express discord....

About the EU's flagship Human Brain Project, story here. Money quote from the Nature news piece:

The escalating row has dismayed the HBP’s internal and external advisory boards, which had hoped to resolve tensions that, they acknowledge, arose partly from non-transparent management. Sten Grillner, a systems neuroscientist at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm and a member of the internal advisory board, says that it is “disappointing” that the issue has exploded so publicly. “I hope it will not be damaging,” he adds.

Transparency is everything when it comes to funding Big Science I think....

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Comparing programming languages....

In the economic sciences, Tyler Cowen's blogpost is here. I wonder if this has been done in other contexts? Like neuroscience?

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

Uber runs afoul of the UC system in California....well sort of:

UC, perhaps prematurely, issued an edict banning faculty and staff from using Uber (and other such peer-to-peer car services) in university travel. Apparently they didn't talk some folks in the state government and now they are backtracking, story here.

Here in Virgnia, we find the state government also has strong opinions, look here.

Friday, June 27, 2014

Fracking....

This week's special issue of Science magazine is focused on fracking...the technology which has changed the landscape of fossil fuel resources, particularly here in the United States. I would say that this technology has altered considerably more than the oil and gas story. In a sense it has become a key driver of geopolitical change with repercussions from the Levant to Asia.

More on the proposed Scripps USC merger....

From the pages of Science, here. The similarities with MBL and the University of Chicago was of course noticed....

Thursday, June 26, 2014

William Deresiewicz on higher ed....

His long piece essay/movie review entitled The Miseducation of America is here from the Chronicle. It's well worth the read, although I suspect some of our loyal readers may disagree with his positions on MOOCS and other proffered solutions to the mess we seem to find ourselves in.

Money quote:

The truth is, there are powerful forces at work in our society that are actively hostile to the college ideal. That distrust critical thinking and deny the proposition that democracy necessitates an educated citizenry. That have no use for larger social purposes. That decline to recognize the worth of that which can’t be bought or sold. Above all, that reject the view that higher education is a basic human right.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Tyler Cowen's interview with Ralph Nader...

It's here. Extremely interesting, particularly in talking about a Right-Left political reallignment.