Rethinking the world isn’t an option

I just had to follow up the previous post featuring horrendous denialism over truth and evidence based science with a more pro-science quote:

If you’ve got a religious belief that withers in the face of observations of the natural world, you ought to rethink your beliefs — rethinking the world isn’t an option.

PZ Myers, biology professor (b. 9 Mar 1957)

#ASAPbio is currently discussing the future of #science publication! #scicomm #starstuddedcast

Just in case you weren’t aware, ASAPbio is currently underway and is likely going to influence the future of science publication!!

Accelerating Science and Publication in Biology (ASAPbio) will be an interactive meeting to discuss the use of preprints in biology held on February 16-17, 2016. The meeting will be streamed online, and we welcome participation from all interested parties through this website and on Twitter (#ASAPbio).

For background on the issues facing science publication, especially in biomedical science and biology, check out this primer from Nature last week (Does it take too long to publish research?). We here at CauseScience think that the answer to that title is a resounding YES!! One option that ASAPbio is considering are preprints – commonly used in other science fields. Nature this week featured another article related to ASAPbio about preprints (Biologists urged to hug a preprint).

For up to date info on the conference, check out the twitter hashtag #ASAPbio, which thus far has included tweets from well-known scientists, and fun pictures of former NIH directors and Nobel Laureates!! Or just visit the ASAPbio website!!

Definitely exciting to see people discussing the problems of science publication, but more importantly, discussing potential solutions!!

The Ten Craziest Things Cells Do – Wallace Marshall (UCSF)

Dr. Marshall refutes the commonly held idea that cells are just bags of watery enzymes. He runs through his “Top 10 List” of unexpected and amazing things that individual cells can do. These including growing to be huge, navigating mazes, and performing feats that seem to belong in science fiction.

Awesome @radiolab episode on CRISPR and Cas9 DNA editing!! #science

Check out this podcast episode from Radiolab focusing on CRISPR and its potential applications.

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Out drinking with a few biologists, Jad finds out about something called CRISPR. No, it’s not a robot or the latest dating app, it’s a method for genetic manipulation that is rewriting the way we change DNA. Scientists say they’ll someday be able to use CRISPR to fight cancer and maybe even bring animals back from the dead. Or, pretty much do whatever you want. Jad and Robert delve into how CRISPR does what it does, and consider whether we should be worried about a future full of flying pigs, or the simple fact that scientists have now used CRISPR to tweak the genes of human embryos.

Awesome @okaytobesmart Video – The Recipe for Life… !!!!! #science

The Recipe For Life… – We’re cookin’ in the primordial kitchen!

If the human body could be distilled down into one molecule, what would our chemical formula be? And WHY is it that way? Is that one scene from Full Metal Alchemist even a little bit true?

There’s a whole lot of elements on the periodic table, but life depends on relatively few of them in order to build all the things that keep us alive. This week, we’ll look at why the chemistry of life is the way it is…

Oliver Sacks – The Man Who Turned Life Into Magic – @MGleiser @npr13point7

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Be sure to read this beautiful piece by Marcelo Gleiser praising the work of neurologist, writer, and chemist Oliver Sacks (The Man Who Turned Life Into Magic), who recently revealed in the New York Times that he has terminal cancer. I have had the pleasure of reading a number of Sacks’ books and seeing him give a terrific talk in Philadelphia a few years ago. Oliver Sacks is among the strongest of my inspirations for studying the brain!!

Oliver Sacks is a rare soul-reader among us, a golden heart that beats in resonance with an enlightened intellect and a refinement of feeling that finds the humanity cloistered in the deepest recesses of a damaged life. The stories he tells are the stories of his patients, but also his own; he knows and tells us, beautifully, how each experience touches and transforms his own, how each tale he narrates becomes part of his own narrative, his own life story. In this, and in writings such as Uncle Tungsten or Altered States, his New Yorker essay on hallucinatory drugs, we learn that to Oliver life is a grand experiment of the human condition, an experiment that can only bear fruit if we have the courage to engage fully with it. Oliver is the bravest man I know.