science and scientists

Augh, so I thought I must’ve just slept funny on my arm two nights ago, but I guess all the skidding around my bike was doing day before yesterday (lots of loose gravel on the trails) meant I was yanking the handlebars around to try and correct, and I guess this is an old injury flaring up, which is apparently a thing that happens now. At least it’s just the one arm.

Don’t break both arms at the elbows, kids. It’s still annoying years later.

Scientists of Chicago - 2

“My father is a biochemist, so I grew up learning things like this is what fart gas is made of and the periodic table. Science was all around. To me, it’s a fundamental curiosity about the way things work. You want all the information in front of you, and you want to be able to think about that information in an organized fashion that gets you where you need to be. 

I majored in neuroscience and had a specialization in immunology. Unfortunately, I left research because of funding cuts and having to make a living wage. I had applied for PhD programs, but when NIH started cutting their grants it made it way harder into get a lab of your choice. I ended up going into healthcare IT. 

What I actually do right now is data analytics. I spend all day with data, which is still pretty good because it was something I liked about the lab.”

“One of the coolest parts of research was every time you answer one layer of questions, you open up a whole new avenue of them. Especially in biology, it’s so messy and unpredictable in really cool ways. Part of the process is also questioning yourself: 

 ‘Am I just taking the information that I like? Am I just taking the information that doesn’t scare the shit out of me, you know?’ 

It’s about being able to step back from yourself, and see the big picture and making decisions that will help you even when they’re counterintuitive.”

“For a while now there’s been kinda this anti-science trend. There’s been this outlook that scientists are holed up in some ivory tower. This is about reconnecting with everyone who feels as though science is shuttering them out, or doesn’t have their interest in mind. The end goal for research is to connect back to reality and make changes. 

 It really troubles me that trust is being faded out, and on purpose. It’s a systematic movement to say, ‘No guys, the scientists aren’t really on your side, they’re just obsessed with their agenda.’ Believe me, scientists don’t always want to be finding those results. 

We don’t want a bad thing to be happening. But, there are issues that are actually happening and we’re worried.”


Vera Rubin, the woman who discovered the first evidence of dark matter, has died at 88

  • Vera Rubin, the astrophysicist responsible for confirming the first existence of dark matter, died on Sunday night at the age of 88.
  • Carnegie Institution president Matthew Scott called Rubin “a national treasure as an accomplished astronomer and a wonderful role model for young scientist.”
  • Rubin and her colleagues observed galaxies in the 1970s, they learned the motion of stars is a result of a “material that does not emit light and extends beyond the optical galaxy” — also known as dark matter.
  • Swiss astrophysicist Fritz Zwicky proposed the idea of dark matter in 1933, but Rubin’s groundbreaking work subsequently led to the confirmation of the material.
  • This finding is what led to the discovery that 90% of the universe is made up of dark matter, a finding some colleagues felt was overlooked and deserving of a Nobel Prize. Read more

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Sea ice swaying in waves, just off of Elephant Island, Antarctica

Rachel and I were discussing the reemergence of the speakeasy during the Trump administration, but instead of alcohol, the illicit material being bootlegged is climate science data. Underground communities of scientists meeting in smoky jazz joints to discuss CO2 emissions over stiff sidecars, miniature flash drives loaded with forbidden EPA data passed between folded napkins, scientific equipment hidden in saxophone cases. Ask the bartender for a ‘Pine Island melt’ and he’ll hook you up with some Antarctic temperature readings.


Bernie Sanders Supports March for Science: We “cannot survive” without scientific research

  • Sen. Bernie Sanders offered the March for Science movement his resounding support via a Facebook post Thursday evening.
  • The movement — comprised of people in STEM fields, their advocates and those who support evidence-based research — formed in response to Trump’s administration, which has shown flagrant disregard for science and climate change.
  • The date of the march has yet to be set, but it will likely spark satellite marches across the country akin to Saturday’s Women’s March. Read more

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Geneticist launches bid for US Senate
Michael Eisen hopes a victory in 2018 will bring a new scientific voice to the US legislature.

In the week since President Donald Trump took the oath of office, scientists have taken to social media en masse, decrying the new administration’s plan to dismantle climate regulations, reports that the administration has censored government scientists’ speech and the coining of the term “alternative facts.”

But Michael Eisen, a geneticist at the University of California, Berkeley, thinks that the situation requires more drastic action. So on 25 January, he announced on Twitter that he will run for US Senate in 2018.

Eisen, who is best known as an advocate for free access to scientific publications and as co-founder of the Public Library of Science (PLoS) journals, may have a viable path to elected office. Dianne Feinstein, the 83-year-old senator from his state, California, has indicated that she might not run for re-election in 2018.

Nature caught up with Eisen to ask him about his plans. This interview has been edited for length and clarity.

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I’m back and I come bearing a whole bunch of Sanses!

I’ve been working on these little guys on and off for a couple weeks now, so I’m really excited to finally post them! I hope it was worth the wait.

credits under the cut

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