#SciLogs Weekly Roundup: Tasmanian Devils, Nautilus Interview, Health Privilege, Replication Failure

4 May 2013 by Khalil A. Cassimally, posted in SciLogs

Every weekend, I publish a roundup of the week’s SciLogs.com blog posts along with some reactions from the comment feeds and social media.

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Enjoy and stay safe.


Kausik Datta: Interlude: Birds of Paradise

Mićo Tatalović: Could the ‘brain drain’ be good for the Western Balkans?

Anne-Marie Hodge: Devil Dispatch: MHC the Key to Contagious Cancer Vaccine?

polarisdelta on Reddit

Tumours have cheat codes to let them slide through the immune system like it doesn't even exist, letting them kill every time. If we can figure out how to teach the immune system to see through those cheat codes, we can kill the tumours. If we learn how to do it with this kind of tumour, we might be able to learn how to do it will other kinds of tumours that behave similarly, some of which might affect humans.

rabidg00se on Reddit:

This paper provides an explanation for why T cells don't do anything in affected animals, but can't explain why NK cells are shut off. That probably has something to do with chemical factors secreted by the tumor, independent of MHC expression.

Danny Haelewaters: Effective skin protection in freshwater turtles

Matt Shipman: What to Expect from Nautilus: an Interview with Amos Zeeberg

Rayna Stamboliyska: #aMomentaryLapseOfReason: Till Death Do Us Part

Matt Shipman: Wise Words (From Other People) on Science Writing and Social Media

Ned Rozell: Big booms over the northland

Mićo Tatalović: Will Kosovo’s new science law turn the tide on its poor research funding?

Agnese Kalnina on Google+:

The budget share is not the only factor, though. As long as the system rules that existing PhDs can just sit back and enjoy their degrees, earning careers automatically [as the article says], as long as the universities gain their budget just according to the number of graduates and not by their quality [don't know if this is a problem for Kosovo, but other countries have this issue], the money is not the main factor.

Alex Brown: Since you asked… April 13

Lowell Goldsmith: Mosaicism—the New Plastics

Tania Browne: Check Your Privilege

Mićo Tatalović: Kosovo’s deal with Serbia brings high prospects for boost in EU research funding

Matt Shipman: Good News: Science Festivals are an Effective Outreach Tool

Tom Webb: The big blue bit in the middle: Still big, still blue

Ivana Gadjanski: Memorable talks from TEDMED 2013_part I

Malcolm Campbell: In it for the long run

Pete Etchells: It’s not a failure when you fail to replicate

Rolf Zwaan:

Great post. I agree 100%. In fact, I just made the very same points in an email to the Nature journalist. One additional point though. Smeesters has never admitted to having committed fraud. The scientific integrity committee I chaired was able to show that some of his findings were too-good-to-be-true and that he had lost most of his raw data. We decided that based on this, we had no confidence in the findings of those studies, which were subsequently retracted. Given that we were not able to prove fraud, I think it's even unfair (or premature) to say that Smeesters has committed fraud.


[...] Contradictory results lead to more questions - not about the integrity of the scientists, but about what small aspect of the changes in experimental procedures may have led to the divergent findings - which may lead to important changes in how we think about the world. If the finding can't hold up to seemingly minor modifications, then it's something important to know, but if the media is going to call "fraud" on every study that isn't replicated, then that would be good enough reason to not WANT to try to replicate things - and that alone would set back our science in many ways.

Lee Turnpenny: Yet further comment...

Malcolm Campbell: Morsels for the mind – 3/5/2013

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