Archive for July, 2011

NCBI ROFL blog – funny items with a serious scientific crust

July 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Most of us are trying to do science and treat our experiments and scientific subjects as a serious business. This is not always the case, though. There are people who do ‘science’ on some silly things. Rather then just trying to find these silly ‘scientific’ papers, there is a blog out there that does it for you: NCBI ROFL (link to blog).

Here are just some of this blog entries:

Airplane vacuum toilets: an uncommon travel hazard.

When it comes to penis length and economic growth, size does matter.

Domestic cats do not show casual understanding of a string-pulling task.

The efficacy of stethoscope placement when not in use: traditional versus ‘cool’.

Effects of menstrual cycle phase on ratings of implicitly erotic art.

And yes, these are all real articles you can find on NCBI’s pubmed.

Categories: Funny Links/Comics

A sucessful webside

July 29, 2011 Leave a comment

Categories: Funny Links/Comics

Mendeley v1.0 – and its free

July 28, 2011 Leave a comment

All of us are familiar with Endnote or Reference Manager, including all the troubles it causes when trying to use it. Now there is a new option which has been in beta-mode for a while: mendeley and it’s free. It not only does the same things as Endnote and alikes, it also looks for duplicate articles you have, open pdf’s inside the program, and you can share your articles with fellow researchers, as in social networking. Oh, did I already mention it is free?

What is Mendeley? from Mendeley on Vimeo.

Also note, that one of our professors, Jonathan Eissen, likes this program. He is an advocate for Open Access in science.

Categories: Interesting link

10 rule-of-thumb in genomics

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

More and more people are working on genomics. Although the term genomics embrasses a large and poorly defined field, there are common features. Ewan Birney, head of Nucleotide Data at EMBL’s EBI, shared 10 rules of how to go about genomic data. It is always good to be reminded of the pitfalls of genomic data.

Thanks to Keith Bradnam (here is his blog) for pointing out this interesting item.

Categories: Interesting link

Retractions – how to keep track of them?

July 27, 2011 Leave a comment

Science is a human endeavour and humans are notoriously bad in judging their own mistakes and being honest about them is not always their virtue either. The one part that makes science a unique human endeavour is that published results are being replicated by others, as well as different labs are competing to answer the same question(s). This results in, by approximation, self-correcting communal behaviour. Because of this self-correcting behaviour of the scientific community, it would seem obvious that cheating is not going to bring very far as it will most likely be revealed sooner or later. Once it is proven you have committed to biggest sin in science: scientific misconduct, you are done being a scientist. But these are the big cases to which the main-stream media loves to point at and magnify beyond recognition. Honest mistakes are far more common and will subsequently result in retractions.

You would expect that journals are in line with the overall goals of the scientific community to promote truth-finding over anything else. In other words, if a paper is to be retracted, that all journals would deal with these cases in a similar way that would be obvious to the readers, both scientific as well as non-scientific readers. This is not the case.

It is not uncommon that a journal will just post a short message that a paper was retracted, without removing the original paper from their online archives. If you would do a PubMed search, you would still find these papers. In other words, retracted papers are still part of the large body of published results.

For this purpose Adam Marcus and Ivan Oransky made a blog on retracted papers called: retraction watch.


Categories: Interesting link

Klingon-cloaking protein coat on human sperm

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Does human sperm have a ‘Klingon cloaking-protein coat’? A recent study from UC Davis does suggest this might be the case and could be accountable for male infertility without low sperm count.

Link to original article.

Categories: Interesting link, UC Davis

Photo contest 2 for Fall Colloquium

July 21, 2011 Leave a comment

Hello everyone,

The first year (incoming second year) BMCDB students are in the early planning stages for the fall colloquium. We are currently looking for research images to adorn the booklets for this year’s colloquium.

If you are interested in having an image of your research featured on the booklet, please send a file to Andy Murley ( and/or the BMCDB blog ( All submissions will be featured on the BMCDB blog ( and 1-2 images will be selected for the front and back covers of this year’s booklet by the colloquium planning committee. Winners will receive fame and a prize that is TBD.

Please send your submissions by Friday August 12.


BMCDB 1st Years

Categories: Uncategorized