Well, sort of – a round-up of the quirky, interesting and merely newsworthy.*

Baron Greenfield has upset some people over, apparently, linking internet use and autism. Professor* Dorothy Bishop responds in this open letter. (* Professor of developmental neuropsychology.)

Deborah Blum describes an almost perfect murder she learnt of during research for The Poisoner’s Handbook.

ERV has an excellent take on media reports that wine prevents sunburn. That story made it to New Zealand too, I believe. She gives a great take-down.This job description I recently read started,

A Senior Bioinformatician with bioinformatics experience will assist with […]

Er, yes, I’d hope a bioinformatician had bioinformatics experience… (It’ll be a classic case of what they meant, as opposed to what they wrote. They’ll have meant that they want an experienced person.)

Fracking is a topic that has come up in Christchurch earthquake discussions. An article at Scientific American blogs examines the evidence for fracking polluting subterranean wells.

Not mad at all, this one. Simon Singh is looking for an assistant. I get a feeling he’s going to be swamped with applicants! (These will have to be people in London, but then there’s always plenty of ex-pat Kiwis there.)

PZ Myers, whose blog Pharnygula has recently been reworked to operate from two bases, has written an excellent ‘explainer’ of a recent scientific paper examining the way guts are arranged in bodies. My only quibble stems from a hobby horse. The key thing isn’t really that guts behave according to an equation, but that simple, general physics is determining their form. Yes, I’m nitpicking a single word, but it matters to me. Biophysics is important, and think often under-rated by some experimental biologists, perhaps through not being comfortable with the mathematics involved. A lot of processes in life exploit fairly simple physics. That’s what the equations capture.

If you need more, and missed it earlier, Alison  has her biological oddities, including the naughty bits.


* Yes, I’m clearing those web browser tabs out again. Getting this out while I’m working on a science post, maybe even two!

Other articles on Code for life:

“Knowledge is merely opinion.” Storm – in cartoon and words.

Google personalised searches and the ‘echo chamber’ effect?

How algorithms shape our world

Appeals court concludes that Myriad can patent BRCA genes

Haemophilia – towards using a cure using genetic engineering