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Murder Your Darling Hypotheses But Do Not Bury Them

Posted 28 April 2015 by Jalees Rehman

"Whenever you feel an impulse to perpetrate a piece of exceptionally fine writing, obey it—whole-heartedly—and delete it before sending your manuscript to press. Murder your darlings." Sir Arthur Quiller-Couch (1863–1944). On the Art of Writing. 1916   Murder your darlings. The British writer Sir Arthur Quiller Crouch shared this piece of writerly wisdom when he gave his inaugural lecture series at Cambridge, asking writers to consider deleting words, phrases or even paragraphs that are especially dear to them. The minute writers fall in... Read more

African-Americans Receive Heart Transplants at Hospitals With Poor Performance Track Records

Posted 31 March 2015 by Jalees Rehman

About five million people in the US suffer from heart failure, and approximately half of them die within five years of being diagnosed. Only about 2,500 people a year receive a heart transplant – the treatment of last resort. A new heart can be life-saving, but it is also life-changing. Even under the best conditions, the surgery is complex, and recovery carries a heavy physical and emotional burden. And not all heart transplant recipients fare equally well after the surgery.... Read more

STEM Education Promotes Critical Thinking and Creativity: A Response to Fareed Zakaria

Posted 30 March 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Fareed Zakaria recently wrote an article in the Washington Post lamenting the loss of liberal arts education in the United States. However, instead of making a case for balanced education, which integrates various forms of creativity and critical thinking promoted by STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and by a liberal arts education, Zakaria misrepresents STEM education as primarily teaching technical skills and also throws in a few cliches about Asians. You can read my response to his article at 3Quarksdaily.   ... Read more

“She’s strong for a girl”: The Negative Impact of Stereotypes About Women

Posted 8 March 2015 by Jalees Rehman

This is a guest blog post by Ulli Hain (Twitter: @ulli_hain, Email: hain.ulli[at]gmail.com). Ulli is a postdoctoral researcher in the field of autophagy and also a science writer/blogger. Her blog Bench and Beyond reports on interesting scientific studies and explores life as a scientist including issues of gender and science. We have all heard the stereotypes: women can’t drive, they don’t understand computers, and how many blondes does it take to screw in a light bulb? But those are all in good... Read more

Does Thinking About God Increase Our Willingness to Make Risky Decisions?

Posted 2 March 2015 by Jalees Rehman

There are at least two ways of how the topic of trust in God is broached in Friday sermons that I have attended in the United States. Some imams lament the decrease of trust in God in the age of modernity. Instead of trusting God that He is looking out for the believers, modern day Muslims believe that they can control their destiny on their own without any Divine assistance. These imams see this lack of trust in God as... Read more

When can you have sex after a heart attack? Most doctors do not talk about it.

Posted 17 February 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Each year in the United States about 720,000 people have heart attacks and about 124,000 people in the UK and 55,000 people in Australia will have them as well. Since the 1980s, survival rates from heart attacks have improved – a lot of people get them, but more and more people are surviving. A recent study of patients in Denmark showed that in 1984-1988 31.4% of patients died within a month of having a heart attack. From 2004-2008 this was... Read more

Literature and Philosophy in the Laboratory Meeting

Posted 2 February 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Research institutions in the life sciences engage in two types of regular scientific meet-ups: scientific seminars and lab meetings. The structure of scientific seminars is fairly standard. Speakers give Powerpoint presentations (typically 45 to 55 minutes long) which provide the necessary scientific background, summarize their group's recent published scientific work and then (hopefully) present newer, unpublished data. Lab meetings are a rather different affair. The purpose of a lab meeting is to share the scientific work-in-progress with one's peers within... Read more

Fixing ‘Leaky’ Blood Vessels in Severe Respiratory Ailments and Ebola

Posted 15 January 2015 by Jalees Rehman

When you get an infection, your immune system responds with an influx of inflammatory cells that target the underlying bacteria or viruses. These immune cells migrate from your blood into the infected tissue in order to release a cocktail of pro-inflammatory proteins and help eliminate the infectious threat. During this inflammatory response, the blood vessel barrier becomes “leaky.” This allows for an even more rapid influx of additional immune cells. Once the infection resolves, the response cools off, the entry... Read more

How Often Do Books Mention Scientists and Researchers?

Posted 14 January 2015 by Jalees Rehman

Here is a graphic showing the usage of the words "scientists", "researchers", "soldiers" in English-language books published in 1900-2008. The graphic was generated using the Google N-gram Viewer which scours all digitized books in the Google database for selected words and assesses the relative word usage frequencies.   (You can click on the chart to see a screen shot or on this link for the N-gram Viewer) It is depressing that soldiers are mentioned more frequently than scientists or researchers... Read more

Typical Dreams: A Comparison of Dreams Across Cultures

Posted 5 January 2015 by Jalees Rehman

But I, being poor, have only my dreams; I have spread my dreams under your feet; Tread softly because you tread on my dreams.                                     William Butler Yeats – from "Aedh Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven"       Have you ever wondered how the content of your dreams differs from that of your friends? How about the dreams of people raised in different countries and cultures? It is not always easy to compare dreams of distinct... Read more