October 31st CauseScience Friday! Happy Halloween! #selfie #science

Happy Halloween!!!! Here at CauseScience we take Halloween very seriously. In fact, we are both traveling to Washington DC today for our annual Halloween get together with friends. Every year for awhile now we have picked a group costume… and rocked it! Although it is not really science-y at all, here are a few pictures of us from the last 3 years (#selfie… sort of).

Last year we did Peter Pan – CauseScience as Tiger Lily and Michael Darling!

peterSesame Street… and apparently dancing Gangnam Style… CauseScience as Ernie and the Count!

sesameAnd lastly, Austin Powers with CauseScience as Vanessa Kensington and Frau Farbissina!

austinpowTune in Tonight or tomorrow for pictures from this years costumes… what will they be???

#Ebola news out of Maine is embarrassing and disgusting #IStandwithKaci #MoreSCIENCELessFEAR

gsmithWhat is going on in Maine? and other parts of the country?? Quarantines of ebola health care workers are not supported by science and are a DISGUSTING response towards people that have put themselves at risk to help other people. I am personally glad that Kaci Hickox is taking a stand against anti-science ridiculousness and FEAR-BOLA in Maine. The Governor of Maine should be ashamed of his political actions. Health care workers going to Africa should be commended! They are actually working to STOP THE OUTBREAK. If we don’t help stop ebola in Africa, it will continue to spread. Already, quarantines by state governors ignoring science are having a ‘chilling effect’ on aid work in Africa. If we discourage health care workers from going to Africa, or worse, treating ebola cases here in the US, the ebola outbreak will be significantly worsened and we will only have our selves to blame. MORE SCIENCE. LESS FEAR.

For great coverage of the terrible things people are doing around the country due to stupidity and FEAR-BOLA, watch this segment from Rachel Maddow. It features Gordon Smith, VP of Maine Medical Association. Gordon comments on the irrational fear and politicization of ebola in Maine, “Its embarassing and its not the way we would expect Maine to be.” Gordon also comments about moving forward, “and that a reasonable accommodation here could be made based upon science, not based upon emotion, not based upon politics.”



Update: Today is your last day to send your name into space, and eventually to Mars, with a new NASA program. Sign up for your ‘boarding pass’ to space and Mars as part of NASA’s Orion Mission testing. More info about the Orion and future Mars mission here.

Your name will begin its journey on a dime-sized microchip when the agency’s Orion spacecraft launches Dec. 4 on its first flight, designated Exploration Flight Test-1. After a 4.5 hour, two-orbit mission around Earth to test Orion’s systems, the spacecraft will travel back through the atmosphere at speeds approaching 20,000 mph and temperatures near 4,000 degrees Fahrenheit, before splashing down in the Pacific Ocean.

But the journey for your name doesn’t end there. After returning to Earth, the names will fly on future NASA exploration flights and missions to Mars. With each flight, selected individuals will accrue more miles as members of a global space-faring society.

Smarter Every Day Shows Us How Tattoo Removal Works

fun video! Smarter Everyday~!

Geek Alabama


The YouTube channel SmarterEveryDay shows us how to remove a tattoo from the body.  In this video, you get animations on how applying a tattoo to the skin works, and how a tattoo is removed from the skin.  You also get to see blood from Destin under a microscope to show how your blood cells interact with the tattoo ink.  Then, you see a plastic surgeon removing a sun tattoo with laser treatment!  This video is a lesson to those who get a tattoo, and regret it later, enjoy!

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Antiquated view of drugs = holding back brain research + hurting mental health patients #needasolution


Check out the AMAZING AAAS Sci on the Fly blog post, ‘The Risky Business of Using Criminalized Drugs as Therapies.’ The post, written by Dr. Samantha White, describes the politics that are holding back research of criminalized drugs as potentially promising therapies for mental disorders (shout out! AAAS S&T Policy Fellow Sam White, who is an expert and former researcher on cocaine addiction). White has no shame in declaring her support for research on criminalized drugs for the sake of science, as well as for patient benefit:

As a neuroscientist, I believe Congress and the public should champion basic, translational, and clinical research on how psychedelic drugs could impact affective disorders, addiction, and PTSD.  We lack adequate treatments for these conditions, and similar to chronic pain patients forced to fight for narcotic-based relief, to perpetuate the uneducated belief that criminalized drugs and drug-takers are all bad is to do an extreme disservice to millions of Americans coping with these disorders.

White slams our country’s antiquated view of drugs in general, and describes the negative impact it is having on research and patients. As a science policy trainee and advocate, White highlights the desperate need for this research, and offers up a number of steps towards a solution, concluding:

And we can realize that it is no longer 1970, that the levels of depression, PTSD, and addiction have become a public health crisis, and that, instead of shying away from the risky business of prescribing criminalized drugs, we owe it to ourselves to find a solution.

October 29th #Ebola update: CDC case counts and WHO situation report

cdcdThe CDC has reported updated case counts for the ebola outbreak, including an updated figure of 13,703 cases of ebola, with 7,637 lab-confirmed cases. The total death count stands at 4,922. This includes an updated figure based on better patient databases. New figures, charts, and maps can be found on the updated World Health Organization situation report here.

#Science and #Ebola Quotable: NATURE Editorial call to action for ebola science

The world would not be in the position it is today, with the possibility of deploying an Ebola vaccine during the current outbreak, without the existence of both high-containment facilities and money for research on diseases that are, thankfully, rare in developing countries. More of both, in more places, can only hasten our understanding of Ebola and other diseases. Because one thing is clear: whether it is Ebola virus, another filovirus or something completely different, there will be a next time. Editorial in NATURE

Destruction of student science projects by Antares explosion provides invaluable lesson for aspiring scientists



When the Antares rocket exploded on Tuesday, it destroyed not only the Cygnus spacecraft, but also the many science experiments it was carrying to the International Space Station. Many of the experiments were from young science students. The explosion hastily destroyed the work of the aspiring scientists in a fiery blaze, providing a valuable lesson about science. Disappointment, despair, and rejection. These feelings faced by the students is a perfect primer for the competitive, harsh, and unsupportive reality of today’s science careers. No classroom education could have better prepared the students for science than watching their work destroyed in a gigantic explosion before their own eyes (although in science, disappointment is rarely accompanied by such a spectacular visual).

Mary Crace Meyer, a fifth grader at Duchesne Academy in Houston, was part of a group of a group that created an experiment to see how algae grows in space under UV light, ABC affiliate KTRK reported. “Kind of weird to hear that something we’ve been working on all year long had just gone to waste and wasn’t there any more,” Meyer said.

Young Mary Meyer’s disappointment is great preparation for the disappointment experienced by scientists on a daily basis.  Hours spent meticulously following a protocol only to find out it didn’t work. Weeks of writing and editing a manuscript that gets rejected by the editor, or returned with overly critical comments from reviewers. Months or years of hard work gathering preliminary data for a grant that doesn’t get funded. Or worst, years of a scientific career wasted because the science is no longer deemed fundable, or the scientist can no longer handle the rejection and disappointment.

And in Michigan, students were disappointed to learn that their E. coli experiment, investigating gravity’s effects on the bacteria, was also destroyed in the blast. Another student group from Michigan had a project on the Antares rocket that examined microgravity’s effect on the muscle of shrimp.

The dashed hopes of the student scientists, who likely held their experiments near and dear to their hearts, will prepare them for the dashed hopes of scientists whose ideas are criticized for being too ‘basic’ or ‘too risky’. In this case, the unexplained explosion represents anonymous peer-reviewers, both having the same non-identity and de-motivating impact.

Some of the experiments were part of Student Spaceflight Experiments Program, which was launched in 2010 by the National Center for Earth and Space Science Education. Stacy Hamel, the program’s flight operations manager, told ABC News today that the students whose projects were destroyed will get another chance to send their experiments to space. “We’re working on a plan for a reflight mission as we speak,” Hamel said. “They will definitely be provided an opportunity to refly those experiments.”

While the explosion will likely turn many of the student scientists away from science, it has also weeded out those not strong enough to survive today’s science environment. Luckily, the students that can pick themselves up from scientific tragedy will realize that, like many scientists, they can continue their pursuit of science with the knowledge and preparation that more disappointment is sure to come.

Video of Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket explosion during launch – lots of science lost :(

Yesterday the launch of the Orbital Sciences’ Antares rocket was postponed. Sadly, tonight the unmanned rocket exploded about 6 seconds into liftoff. No one was hurt. The rocket was carrying a Cygnus spacecraft, which was headed to the International Space Station.

In addition to food, supplies and equipment, the Cygnus spacecraft was loaded with more than 1,600 pounds (725 kg) of science experiments, including an investigation to chemically analyze meteors as they burn up in Earth’s atmosphere.

A big loss for all of the lost property, both science related and otherwise. Turns out going to space is hard.

Antares launch explosion – October 28, 2014 – The launch occurred on schedule at 1822 ET from NASA’s Wallops Flight Facility in Virginia. It was the third U.S. commercial resupply mission to the International Space Station by Orbital Sciences Corp.
NASA says no personnel were injured in the explosion but the launch pad suffered major damage.

Today would be Jonas Salk’s 100th birthday!! Thanks for the polio vaccine! #science #vaccine @google

salkHappy 100th Birthday Jonas Salk!! Jonas Salk researched and discovered the first polio vaccine! Today Google is celebrating his birthday with the above doodle!