New blogs!

Busy today and have family visiting from out of town, so I’ll take a few minutes instead to highlight some fairly new blogs.

First I’ll note that my friend and colleague over in the Biology department, John Logsdon, has a new blog: Sex, Genes, and Evolution. He’s a real live evolutionary biologist working on a number of projects revolving around, well, sex and genes. And he has great hair.

Second, the American Society for Microbiology now has an official blog, Small Things Considered, written by past ASM president Moselio Schaechter. I’ve been meaning to mention it for awhile and keep forgetting, so if you’re new to it, you might want to check out his 6 month update post along with the rest of the microbiology content.

Third, Scienceblogs has been steadily adding additional blogs, and the newest one will likely interest many of you who read the HIV denial and intelligent design/creationism posts here: denialism blog, written by Mark and Chris Hoofnagle.

Finally, my blogroll maintenance has fallen by the wayside. Since I’ve had little time to devote to blogging period in the last few months, my efforts have been focused mostly on content and the other stuff has been ignored. So, I know there are a number of other blogs out there that I should probably add to ye olde blogroll, and I’ll probably do an overhaul after finals are over next week. If you have a blog, or know of a good one out there that I should check out, feel free to add suggestions in the comments.

The broad reaches of melamine

Over at Deep Sea News, Craig has a heartbreaking story about the death of his dog a year ago, and it’s possible connection to the current pet food recall. I admittedly haven’t been paying very close attention to all the updates on this. I have two small dogs of my own, a 10-year-old chihuahua and a 8-month-old Boston terrier mix, and they both get boring dry food that hadn’t been implicated in the recall, so I tuned out a bit after assuming their food was safe. However, Craig’s post noted that this melamine spiking has been going on for as long as 15 years, and the American Veterinary Medical Association has an updated list of recalled foods.

Why I bring this up is because in 2005, my chihuahua had horrible pains after Christmas. She could barely walk, would yip in pain with every step, and had nasty diarrhea. When I realized she wasn’t getting any better, we took her in to the vet to get her checked out. Our vet suggested it was probably pancreatitis, and at that point, we stopped feeding her any soft food (previously she’d gotten occasional pouches of Mighty Dog–which is on the affected list). These symptoms can be caused just by fatty food, and so removing the soft food from her diet stopped the symptoms–but was it merely because of the food, or was it because the food was spiked with melamine? I suppose it doesn’t matter much for my dog–if she was poisoned, she’s since recovered, with no apparent permanent damage. But stories like Craig’s are a reminder that we’re not all so lucky, and that despite our best efforts and intentions, we can’t always protect the ones we love. My heart goes out to everyone who lost a friend due to this mess.

Well, isn’t this interesting…

As pointed out by Dale in the comments over at Orac’s post on Duesberg and aneuploidy, Duesberg and fellow HIV “dissident” David Rasnick are marketing a new cancer detection system, AnuCyte Cancer detection system, based upon his aneuploidy-basis-of-cancer ideas. And guess who else is on the company’s Board of Advisors? Our old friend, Harvey Bialy, also a HIV “dissident” and author of a biography on Duesberg: Oncogenes, Aneuploidy, and AIDS. Very interesting….

Now, I don’t besmirch anyone’s ability to make a profit from their research if that’s their angle. Certainly other biomedical researchers patent their ideas and make money from new diagnostics they’ve developed. But it certainly smacks of hypocrisy to me, given all the time the HIV “dissidents” spend criticizing mainstream researchers and pharmaceutical companies for profiting off of HIV (and suggesting therefore that their research conclusions are financially, rather than scientifically, motivated). Think this will make any of them change their tune?

Yeah, me either.

Edited to add: oh, it gets better. They’re doing all their testing in the Bahamas to get around “bureaucratic interference”:

Relocating to Freeport, Grand Bahama allows us to offer our services free of bureaucratic interference and to “leapfrog” countries that continue to use entrenched, antiquated screening techniques for detecting common cancers.

Vonnegut dies at 84

As I’ve mentioned on here previously, I recently moved. Now that I’ve painted every room in the house, I’ve been s-l-o-w-l-y unpacking things, and today I started on my non-essential books (aka, the ones I don’t need on a day-to-day basis for classes). One of the boxes I dragged in from the garage just happened to have all my Vonnegut books; except for my old yearbooks, they’re all that’s sitting on one bookcase in my room right now. I’m a relative latecomer to his novels; we never read Cat’s Cradle or Slaughterhouse Five in school, and I somehow missed out on him during college as well. Then my brother handed me “Galapagos” for its nerd-evolution (and, well, misanthropy) themes that he thought I’d enjoy. Of course, he was right, and I was hooked. Alas, though Vonnegut spent time teaching here in Iowa at the writers’ workshop, I missed his stay by a good 40 years. And now (via Evil Monkey) Kurt Vonnegut has died–a sad day for fans everywhere. So it goes.

Why do I blog?

So, this “why do you blog> meme is apparently making the rounds here at Scienceblogs and elsewhere. Reading the other responses, I realized this is something I’ve discussed in interviews and with friends and others, but I can’t recall writing about here. So, in case anyone is interested in the whole sordid tale, I’ll put a bit about how and why I got into blogging after the jump.
Continue reading “Why do I blog?”

Not your typical high school fundraiser

“Sheesh, kids today” generally is a phrase said to malign the young’ins, who are typically characterized as slothful video game junkies. This stereotype ticked me off when I was a teenager (ah, back in the day…) and I’m sure some teenagers today feel the same way. So just to help combat that for “kids today,” I want to highlight this fundraiser started by two high schoolers, and being spread around on MySpace and other venues: Dollars for Darfur.

We started Dollars for Darfur because we got tired of waiting for others to change the world. Dollars for Darfur is a national high school fundraising effort to stop the ongoing genocide in Darfur. Half of the money raised will fund humanitarian efforts for Darfuri refugees and the other half will fund the advocacy efforts of the Save Darfur Coalition. We believe high school students can help end this genocide.

You can help us spread the word. We are using Facebook and MySpace to organize fundraising events at high schools around the country. We hope you and your friends will join us in showing the people of Darfur that we care.

Nick Anderson & Ana Slavin
Northfield Mount Hermon School

If you have high school-age kids, you might want to mention it and see if their school is involved. I’m going to check at my local district as well.

Strange natural phenomenon observed in Iowa

Well, we missed the ice storms that hit a few other Sciencebloggers, but we did get a bit of this:

My kids, of course, were clamoring to play in it this morning as I rudely shipped them off to school (the nerve!); meanwhile, I’m realizing I don’t even have snowpants and boots that fit them this year, and I haven’t thought about it because this is the first snowfall that’s been more than a dusting (and even this is only a few inches). Maybe tonight we’ll make the tiniest snowman ever.

Say hello, Gracie


So I see from other blog siblings that it’s National Delurking Week. Aetiology has been around now for a year and a half (and just over a year here at Scienceblogs), and I’m thrilled to have a good group of regular commenters, but I never know quite how to answer when people ask who reads my blog. I know a bit just from my sitemeter stats, and a bit more from what commenters occasionally reveal, but that’s only a small subset of regular readers. So for the rest of you who just pop in and read but rarely, if ever, comment, I’d love to hear a bit about you–where/how you found the site, how long you’ve been stopping by, what you hate, what you like, where you are, what you do, favorite color, what kind of af tree you’d be, whatever you feel like mentioning. So, have at it, and thanks for stopping by!

(Image from

Gimmie (another) A….(as in, AAAS)

So this week’s American Astronomical Meeting is the current (as I type this, anyway) Buzz in the Blogosphere. Not being an astronomer, though, I’m wondering who’s heading to another upcoming meeting…AAAS (that would be American Association for the Advancement of Science) in San Francisco, Feb. 15-19? I know a few other Sciencebloggers will be either in attendance, or else in the area and popping their heads in. Who else out there is in?