Structured Procrastination, 17-Jan-2013 (Science should end, etc.)

By Grant Jacobs 18/01/2013

(A handful of stories for readers to try.)

Science should end. In a follow-on from #overlyhonestmethods (overly honest methods), there is Scientists conclude: ‘No further research is needed’. Teaser: ‘A new paper published in Science has concluded that no further research is needed. The announcement, made in the discussion section of the paper, comes as shock to millions of scientists across the world.’

Science Careers Seeks Good Writing. In the actual journal Science, the Science Careers section is inviting ‘lucid, well-informed analyses of issues relevant to careers in the sciences: diversity, work-life balance, career opportunities, management skills, workforce policy, and so on’ from readers. Anyone?

Follow ScienceOnline2013. The subject of science careers is also being covered at the annual ScienceOnline conference. You can follow the meeting on-line – more details nearer the time. The schedule is well worth browsing even if you aren’t attending or intend to follow it on-line. Lot’s of great ideas and topics there.

Azoor. I occasionally write about disability, most often related to deafness. Being blind in one eye owning to congenital rubella, issues about sight also catch my attention. Regular readers may know Lynley Hood as the author of a comment I promoted as a blog post, “We’re so used to getting a prescription that’s it’s surprising when we don’t”. Lynley has written two excellent pieces on her own loss of sight, On Becoming Illiterate and An Absence of Vision. Check them out.

Cracking privacy of genome data. There’s a lot of talk around the internet about a study that reports that,

surnames can be recovered from personal genomes by profiling short tandem repeats on the Y chromosome (Y-STRs) and querying recreational genetic genealogy databases. We show that a combination of a surname with other types of metadata, such as age and state, can be used to triangulate the identity of the target. A key feature of this technique is that it entirely relies on free, publicly accessible Internet resources. We quantitatively analyze the probability of identification for U.S. males. We further demonstrate the feasibility of this technique by tracing back with high probability the identities of multiple participants in public sequencing projects.

Using the Y chromosome this is limited to males. The full text of the original scientific report requires subscription, but an account of the issues can be read at Nature (Privacy loophole found in genetic databases) and elsewhere.

Other articles in Code for life:

Mad on Radium


Thieves in gold-mining era campsites

Sea stars and mosaics

Brain drain and gain (brain flow) in 16 nations