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Comment Re:I guess it's easier... (Score 1) 425

During my Ph.D. program we had a series of guest lecturers on special topics rotate through, and this venerable senior M.D. came in to lecture about relationships between obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

I felt compelled to ask: "Surely, out of the thousands+ of patients you've seen with type 2 diabetes, haven't some of them decided to become more athletic? The benefits on insulin sensitivity and blood sugar balance are well-established [as he had talked about during the lecture]."

The Dr. looked at me like I just asked him if he had ever treated a unicorn. "It's hard," he said, as if it were an impossibility.

Overall, I think the lardasses are that way not because of imprecision with the calorie, but a lack of willpower, or some other deeply-ingrained psychological problem.

Comment Re:They need to know how to learn (Score 1) 145

How many people see 7 + 9 and immediately think 8, because 7-1? 6 + 7 and immediately think 3, because 6 - 3? 18, 13, didn't even do the math

They call us geniuses

Dear Genius,

You might want to not do your math again and see if you come up with a different answer.



Comment Spur protein synthesis? (Score 5, Informative) 10

Kinases do much more than just spur protein synthesis. They are among the primary signaling enzymes in the body, involved in turning on and off a multitude of cellular processes by attaching phosphate groups to various targets. Some enzymes simply don't function without being triggered by a kinase. The summary just irks me when it's misleading or wrong

Comment Re:How fucking tasteless (Score 1) 341

Not sure why this was voted down as this was exactly what I was thinking.

A 20 or 30 year old represents a large investment of resources in society. Also, a young adult is far more productive than a child. If children as a group or adults as a group magically vanished from society, society would be come to a halt if you lost the adults, whereas losing children would be a much smaller waste of time and money.

Comment Re:A continent of difference (Score 1) 304

It might blow your mind to learn that my idea of riding my bike is attaching it to a car, driving it to a bike trail, biking, and then driving it back. The roads here aren't safe for cyclists unfortunately, unless you participate in one of those huge, thousand+ cyclist events which effectively shuts down traffic (usually on rural streets).

Comment Re:this is not a black and white issue (Score 1) 740

Wanted to toss in my anecdotal experience here.

I work as a biochemist in a research-intensive hospital. Practically speaking, what this means is that I do science in buildings that are adjacent to patient care buildings. Depending on the day, I may wander through the actual hospital, but ~98% of the time I am in a research-only building and avoid patients altogether.

The university, medical school, and hospital are all affiliated, and their policy on flu vaccination had been that it was required for anyone who had direct patient contact. A couple of years ago, this policy was revised to make the flu policy mandatory for anyone who worked in a patient care building (regardless of direct contact). This past year (2014) everyone here received a flurry of rather harshly worded emails saying that flu vaccination would soon become mandatory for all employees, students, and faculty regardless of where they worked or what their position was, so long as they were affiliated with the hospital.

These emails were threatening enough that my boss (a principal investigator scientist) got the vaccine for the first time in his life. Coincidentally, like my boss, I have never received a flu vaccine because I am skeptical about how much it would benefit me or "the herd", and I intentionally avoided receiving the vaccine. For the record, I am pro-vaccine when it comes to things like MMR, polio, and HPV.

Did I lose my job? Funnily enough, the end of 2014 had a major flu outbreak in the hospital. Dozens if not hundreds of people contracted the flu, the majority of whom were vaccinated against it. Oddly have not received any more emails about their new vaccination policy...

Say what you want about how flu vaccines still help by knocking down the common strains or sometimes reducing the severity of an outbreak. I liken flu vaccination (or vaccination against any genetically labile virus) to the same situation we have with antibiotic resistance: the more you select against the common strains, which is clearly an imperfect process, the higher the likelihood that some nastier and resistant form of it will appear.

The point I'm trying to make is that it's not just uneducated dimwits who are skeptical about vaccination, and that each vaccine needs to be evaluated independently based on its merits. As a scientist myself, I trust my judgment over the government's as to what I put into my or my kids' bodies, but at the same time I appreciate the argument for protecting others through vaccination.

Comment Re:"new" research (Score 2) 185

I agree that the title is misleading. The reason that this paper is in one of the highest-impact scientific journals is not because it suddenly dawned on scientists that cancer is pervasive and just a fact of how cells work, but because they found tumors in early (in evolutionary terms) species that had never been discovered before.

Scientists have known since the dawn of knowing what cancer was that this was an intrinsic property of life. When the error-checking machinery is error-prone, things can get out of control.

Comment As a grad student, it is utterly depressing (Score 3, Interesting) 123

Knowing that you could be putting in 70-80 hours a week, and potentially stumble across some major discovery (imagine: cure a kind of cancer discovery). That discovery would be published by your boss, who, adding to his life's work, would cumulatively take most of the public credit for the work. Meanwhile, it doesn't matter if you had some amazing insight or designed the actual experiment to solve the problem.

Look at Nobel laureates and their age and their contributions. How many nameless people enabled them to win that award?

All you can hope for is that you publish a couple papers in top journals that will enable to you to get a solid job in industry, or jump onto the tenure track treadmill, so that one day you can be in a position of exploiting others' work and creativity, potentially in a field completely unrelated to your PhD.

The young have no power to change, and the old have no reason to give up their advantageous position.

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