A new font – the alphabet in proteins Grant Jacobs May 12

We’re all looking for new fonts to express ourselves.[1] If you’re a biologist[2] you can use a protein alphabet created by Mark Howarth’s laboratory.[3] Their web page for it is excellent,[4] and gives some more details along with a list of the proteins featured in their alphabet. They’ve also made this great video of their proteinaceous font: [...]

Luminous Moments Grant Jacobs May 11

Paul Callaghan is well-known to many New Zealanders as a scientist and science communicator. His little book, Luminous Moments, published posthumously, is well worth while reading. It contains “some of his more personal speeches and essays”, seven in all, apparently edited from his hospital bed. The book is put together and prefaced by a foreword by Paul’s daughter, [...]

All the science that is fit to blog – an analysis of science blogging practice Grant Jacobs Apr 25

Those who use blog software as the media to distribute their science writing might like to browse Paige Brown Jarreau’s summary of her Ph.D. thesis, All the Science That is Fit to Blog: an analysis of science blogging practice, or to download a PDF copy of it. You can also download the data and figures. Her [...]

Kumara are transgenic Grant Jacobs Apr 21

Like some genetically-engineered plants are. Kumara have a long history in New Zealand, being brought here by early Polynesian settlers and are well-known to Kiwis.[1] They’re a crop that has been cultivated in South America for about 8,000 years that have been spread to other parts of the world.[1] Research just published show that they [...]

Press Council rules on knowing readers minds? Grant Jacobs Apr 14

Today the New Zealand Press Council released it’s rulings on complaints filed by Mark Hanna and the Science Media Centre about an article on homeopathy in the Wairarapa Times-Age. Mark and Peter have already covered the back story and how these rulings would seem to ‘allow’ newspapers to write inaccurate or unbalance coverage on the [...]

Communicating controversial science in context Grant Jacobs Apr 08

Over the years I’ve spoken out about a number of issues through this blog, some controversial. (Well, at least some people think they are controversial. But that’s often the point: the issue is often not considered controversial to most scientists, but is to others.) There’s a lot of things you could consider about speaking out [...]

CRediT where it is due: the Contributor Role Taxonomy for research journals Grant Jacobs Mar 19

Five years ago I wrote a piece titled Retrospective: Credits, Dis-credits and mis-credits, recycling an article I wrote for my consulting website in 2002 triggered by an article written earlier that year by Peter Lawrence about credits for research work, Rank Injustice. Yesterday the Wellcome Trust and Digital Science announced an updated “Contributor Role Taxonomy to [...]

Terry Pratchett lives on in the wires and how to see it for yourself Grant Jacobs Mar 18

Many readers will know the wonderful satirical writer Terry Pratchett passed away last week. I’ve just learnt from the Guardian newspaper of a rather sweet—and very geeky—memorial: Pratchett’s 33rd Discworld novel, Going Postal, tells of the creation of an internet-like system of communication towers called “the clacks”. When John Dearheart, the son of its inventor, is murdered, [...]

Calls to remove homeopathic remedies from pharmacies Grant Jacobs Mar 17

Or: Homeopathic remedies in NZ pharmacies redux A little over five years ago I wrote suggesting New Zealand pharmacies should not be selling homeopathic remedies. Over the past few days there have been renewed calls for pharmacies to stop carrying these junk remedies following an Australian survey of the evidence. One call has come from [...]

The sheep-leaf nudibranch Grant Jacobs Mar 15

Feeling a little sheepish? What do you think of this little creature: I’m not a marine biologist, but when curious things come across your way on-line[1] it can be fun to track down what you can about them. ‘Sheep-leaf’ isn’t a real name, but a nickname.[2] It’s very apt, though. Apparently they’re not really nudibranches either, [...]

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