Blog Profile / Neuron Culture


URL :http://daviddobbs.net/smoothpebbles/
Filed Under:Academics / General Science
Posts on Regator:260
Posts / Week:1
Archived Since:July 11, 2011

Blog Post Archive

The most terrifying childhood condition you’ve never heard of | Spectrum

I’m honored to have written this story of a rare, severely debilitating disorder; the researchers trying to crack it; and the uncommon love between a father and his 24-year-old daughter. You should read it here. For those who like teasers: The first sign, at least in retrospect, was a reticence, he recalls in the memoir, that […]

“He Thinks He’s Untouchable”. Buzzfeed outs another serial harasser. 

Accountability journalism ain’t quite dead yet. Azeen Ghorayshi with another great scoop on horrid behavior. One of the employees was an administrator whom Katze had hired, at an unusually high salary, on the implicit condition that she submit to his sexual demands. He personally rewarded this woman, known as Mary Roe in some court documents, with […]

My Four Months as a Private Prison Guard: A Mother Jones Investigation | Mother Jones

A MoJo reporter gets a job as a prison guard at a private prison. The orientation was a bit disorienting. The human resources director comes in and scolds Reynolds for napping. He perks up when she tells us that if we recruit a friend to work here, we’ll get 500 bucks. She gives us an assortment […]

Andre Fenton, comeback memory player of the year

Carl Zimmer on memory researcher Andre Fenton, comeback researcher of the year. In an age when we get a lot of our medical news in click-baity headlines and hasty tweets, it’s easy to believe that scientific research is constantly barreling forward like a jet. The saga of PKMzeta shows just how contorted the true path of science […]

Felix Salmon: Peter Thiel’s campaign against Gawker is a template for crushing media

Salmon makes a strong and highly unsettling argument: The next step, after the Hogan verdict, was for Thiel to go public. After the enormous damages were announced and the long appeals process creaked into action, it started to become obvious that Gawker would need to raise more capital in order to continue to be able […]

Forget Zika for a moment. The future is in Africa’s yellow fever outbreak. 

From Maryn McKenna at NatGeo: Zika virus has been earning all the headlines, because it is already affecting Americans—including 300 pregnant women, according to a new CDC estimate—and is expected to move into U.S. mosquitoes as the summer bug season starts. But outside the United States, another mosquito-borne disease is attracting the world’s attention, and […]

The Selfish Gene is a static meme, and that ain’t science

Richard Dawkins’s “The Selfish Gene,” book and meme, is now 40 years old. Has it served its purpose? And how do we talk about whether it has? When I argued not long ago that his ‘selfish-gene’ model obscures richer emerging views of genetics and evolution, the responses ranged from enthusiastic agreement to objections both civil and savage. I naturally […]

Is the gene still selfish after all these years?

  Philip Ball on the strange, often savage defense of a 40-year-old meme past its prime: The fact is that genes can only propagate with the help of other genes. John Maynard Smith recognized this in the 1970s, and so did Dawkins. He chose the wrong title, and the wrong metaphor, and wrote a superb […]

How A Billionaire Used a Wrestler to Get Revenge and Silence Gawker

Angel investor Caterina Fake gets real on Peter Thiel: Generally, people avoid frivolous lawsuits because it often exposes them to as much scrutiny as those they sue, so what is significant about this case is that by funding Hogan behind the scenes, Thiel could get his revenge, escape exposure, and influence the outcome of the case. […]

Two Sharp Takes on Mukherjee’s The Gene

Nathaniel Comfort, “Genes Are Overrated”: Mukherjee gives us a Whig history of the gene, told with verve and color, if not scrupulous accuracy. The gene, he tells us, was first described by the Augustinian friar Gregor Mendel, in the mid-19th century. Tragically, no one noticed—not even the great Charles Darwin. “If Darwin had actually read” the reference […]

There are rants and there are rants. This here is a rant.

As Jezebel notes elsewhere, this bomb-throwing freelancer revenge rant burns bridges with admirable abandon. Been a while since I’ve read one quite so fun and strange. It’s a tough trick to write this, for instance: We left Paris and went to the south of France to write the piece that I had promised would be 10,000 words. […]

How Failure Is Moving Science Forward

Psychology, biomedicine and numerous other fields of science have fallen into a crisis of confidence recently, after seminal findings could not be replicated in subsequent studies. These widespread problems with reproducibility underscore a problem that I discussed here last year — namely, that science is really, really hard. Show More Summary

Brooke Borel’s strange story about Kevin Folta interviewing himself, among other (mis)adventures

  The Kevin Folta/Monsanto/Right-to-Know/COI variety show and bazaar just got more bizarre. Brilliant reporting and writing here from Brooke Borel. I love how her attention to the comedy in this situation a)  underlines the strangeness...Show More Summary

Ernest Hemingway, Clutterbug

“Like his father, he saved every totem that touched his hand.” “Hemingway was someone who felt the talismanic power of objects, of things, of the materiality of experience,” Declan Kiely, who is a young and genial Englishman with Irish roots, said when I visited “Between Two Wars.” “If something happened to him, he hung onto it.” The […]

Paxil shown unsafe for teens, drugmaker congratulates self for sharing damning data it hid for years

In 2001, a group of researchers published a study showing that Paxil, one of the first big SSRI antidepressants, was safe and effective for teens. Sales surged; over 2 million prescriptions were written for children and teens in 2002 alone. Now an independent group of researchers, having gained access to the study’s raw data and patient records, reports in BMJ […]

Roberta Payne on the art of schizophrenia

Roberta Payne, author of the superb memoir Speaking to My Madness, did the cover art on the current issue of Schizophrenia Bulletin. The issue also runs an essay she wrote about “schizophrenic art.” I once drew on poster-size paper a gracefully diagonal, writhing black eel. So far, conventional structure that any artist might have planned. But the eel’s […]

What we talk about when we talk about killing Obamacare

  We’re actually talking about killing our neighbors. Late this month the Supreme Court is expected to rule on King v Burwell, a suit financed by the conservative right that seeks to use some trivial inconsistencies in phrasing to gut Obamacare in 37 states and possibly cripple it nationwide. That SCOTUS even agreed to hear the suit is […]

The limits of genetics – my essay at Buzzfeed

A bit late to my own story here, as a reporting trip intervened, but but a couple weeks ago I wrote an essay for Buzzfeed about the overselling of medical genomics, which goes beyond hype in a way that distorts funding, science, and the public’s ideas about genetics. We live in an age of hype. […]

Robin Marantz Henig’s gorgeous story on a woman facing one death to dodge another

Robin Marantz Henig is at her superb best in “The Last Day of Her Life,” a NY Times Magazine feature about a remarkable woman, Sandy Bern, who decides she’ll end her life before she loses her self to Alzheimer’s. At one point, as Bern’s power fades, her daughter, Emily, gives birth to Bern’s first grandchild. Show More Summary

What happiness looks like – Jake Marisnick’s catch in deep center

Is anyone having more fun at anything that Jake Marisnick is having playing baseball right now? Make sure to watch after the catch for a) Marisnick’s smile as he runs back to the dugout and b) the reaction of pitcher Colin McHugh.

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