In the Hunt

The blog is posting a few hours later than usual this week because I’m just back from dinner at my mother-in-law’s after flying in from Houston: ham, peas, scalloped potatoes. It was cooked up special by the kitchen, and the place was buzzing with relatives of other residents visiting for the Easter weekend. Food becomes central …

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Chin Warmers

Adzuki beans and arepas make for a pretty good cold weather supper about this time of year. I know we are supposed to be in the midst of Earth shattering changes that will drive all of us into our backyards during late March to grill out before the seriously hot weather sets in. In total …

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Dialog 2016

Everything at this meeting is off the record, so I can’t say much about it. The one comment I’ll make is that among this group of elites almost no one I’ve spoken to groks Trump or his appeal to a large number of Americans. Dialog is an biannual 2-day thought retreat, gathering 150 global leaders …

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Trump on Trump

Someone sent me a link to this 1990 Playboy interview with Donald Trump. There’s much more in the interview than what I have excerpted below. See also Crazy like a fox. What satisfaction, exactly, do you get out of doing a deal? I love the creative process. I do what I do out of pure enjoyment. …

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NIH peer review percentile scores are poorly predictive of grant productivity

The impacts of studies ranked in the 3rd to 20th percentile are more or less statistically indistinguishable. With current funding lines as low as 10th percentile, this means that many unfunded proposals are more meritorious than funded studies. NIH peer review percentile scores are poorly predictive of grant productivity DOI: 10.7554/eLife.13323.001 Peer review is widely …

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Good-Evil Ambigram in Pub Med!

My Good-Evil oscillation ambigram design is easily one of my most popular designs – having made it to multiple publications, websites, covers of magazines, on the TV Show Brain Games… and now it has made its way into a medical research journal Frontiers of Physiology in an article on (of all things), cardiac remodeling. You can read the …

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Deep-Play & the Engaged Scholar

The Engaged Scholar is a magazine published by MSU’s Office of University Outreach and Engagement with the goal of celebrating “Michigan State University’s ongoing partnership with Michigan, our nation, and our world.” I just got the 10th anniversary issue in the mail and was pleased to find an article about the MSU Museum and their collaborations with …

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Peter Singer

We’ve arrived at the fifth Sunday in January. Both of my regular readers know that I am now contractually obligated to come up with one more “food ethics icon,” and that given the parameters laid out on January 3, it has to be a full-bore, no-questions-asked philosopher. (For stray web browsers who just happened to …

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In vivo gene editing with CRISPR

Safe and Effective soon for humans? In vivo genome editing improves muscle function in a mouse model of Duchenne muscular dystrophyin vi Science DOI: 10.1126/science.aad5143 Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD) is a devastating disease affecting about 1 out of 5000 male births and caused by mutations in the dystrophin gene. Genome editing has the potential to restore …

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Happy 2016, New Video

Since 2009, our family has been creating videos to welcome the new year. The videos are typically typographical in nature, sometimes including a visual illusion or some kind or the other. So as usual, we have a video for welcome 2016. Shot on our dining table, with a budget of four dollars, this video was, as they all …

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Credit and the Public Good, Part 1

(An earlier version of this was published in City Pulse, a local alternative weekly serving Michigan’s Capitol region.) I suspect that few folks reading this don’t have an account at a bank or credit union. I belong to two credit unions. Credit unions differ from traditional private banks in that they are member owned. This …

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Overheard at Ellyington’s

It’s hard to avoid a little inadvertent eavesdropping when you are waiting for breakfast by yourself at a quiet restaurant. The two guys at the adjacent table are also waiting for their food, but they are engaged in an intense conversation over things like “core samples” and some sort of foibles that have occurred of …

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Beyond Individualism

Two books completed recently share some common ground although using different lenses to see it. George Rupp, former Harvard Divinity School dean, President of both Rice and Columbia University and most recently president of the International Rescue Committee, has penned Beyond Individualism: The Challenge of Inclusive Communities (Columbia University Press, 2015). The chapters are largely …

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W-2s don’t lie

These numbers are derived from aggregate W-2 incomes for 158 million working Americans (see link for full table). The “raw” average wage, computed as net compensation divided by the number of wage earners, is $7,050,259,213,644.55 divided by 158,186,786, or $44,569.20. Based on data in the table below, about 67.2 percent of wage earners had net …

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Protests in Berlin

Protests in Berlin Berliners have been demonstrating today against the conditions at a registration point for refugees in their city. Tim Lüddeman (@timluedde) tweeted this composite image and a link to photos of the demonstration for non-commercial purposes with the hashtag #EsReicht (Enough!) that was the slogan of the demonstration, along with #LeGeSo, the German abbreviation …

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Vellum : Before and After

Vellum is a hygroscopic material, which means that it has the ability to attract and hold water molecules from the surrounding environment. Vellum will expand in humid conditions, and contract in dry conditions.  Even normal fluctuations in temperature a humidity can cause vellum bindings to warp.  Over time, this book became badly warped.  At it’s …

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Babette’s Feast

We’ll finish up “food flics month” with the film I take to be the granddaddy of them all: Babette’s Feast. It came out way back in in 1987, before food was cool. Unlike the other three films we’ve mentioned, it is not a documentary. It’s based on a story by Karen Blixen set in 19th …

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Food Inc.

“Well it’s another burrito. It’s a cold Lone Star in my hand. It’s a quarter for the jukebox boys, play the sons of the mother lovin’ Bunkhouse Band.” This would be Gary P. Nunn explaining “What I Like about Texas”. He goes on to mention Mi Tierra, which has come up once before in the …

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MSU Fight Song: MAET style

The summer of 2015, there were 133 students and instructors in the hybrid and overseas components of the MAET program. These people were spread out across three locations: East Lansing, MI (with 2 cohorts, Yr1 and 2 of MAET); Chicago, IL (with 2 cohorts of the MSUrbanSTEM program) and  Galway, Ireland (with 3 cohorts, Yr1, 2 & …

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Autocorrupt in R

You know that “autocomplete” feature on your smart phone or tablet that occasionally (or, in my case, frequently) turns into an “autocorrupt” feature? I just ran into it in an R script. I wrote a web-based application for a colleague that lets students upload data, run a regression, ponder various outputs and, if they wish, …

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HaploSNPs and missing heritability

By constructing haplotypes using adjacent SNPs the authors arrive at a superior set of genetic variables with which to compute genetic similarity. These haplotypes tag rare variants and seem to recover a significant chunk of heritability not accounted for by common SNPs. See also ref 32: Yang, J. et al. Estimation of genetic variance from …

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