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Links With Your Coffee - Wednesday


  • Terry Pratchett attacks 'ludicrous' Doctor Who
    Discworld author says show 'breaks most of the laws of narrative', and is 'pixel thin' as plausible science fiction

  • Messing With Gene Expression in Corn
    A study is about to be published by scientists at the independent RIKILT - Institute for Food Safety in Wageningen, Netherlands. It will appear in the next edition of Plant Biotechnology Journal - a prestigious, peer reviewed publication. The study followed gene expression, protein levels and other metabolites associated with 60,000 genes in corn. They compared different corn hybrids, GMO and non-GMO lines, and different growing locations. Guess what they found?

    “The researchers concluded that the environmental influences led to a far greater variety in gene expression, proteins and metabolites than did the different genotypes.”

    So it seems like “Mother Nature” is messing with gene expression more than any corn breeder or biotechnologist.

  • Corporate Etymologies
    When Keds kicked off a retro advertising campaign in March as “the original sneaker,” the venerable brand tripped over its own laces. Claiming that “Keds are the first shoes to be called sneakers,” the company’s Web site provided a seemingly authoritative origin story: “The term, coined in 1917 by Henry Nelson McKinney, an agent for the advertising firm N. W. Ayer & Son, refers to their soft, noiseless rubber soles, which allow the wearer to ‘sneak’ up on unsuspecting friends or family.”

    Reporting on the marketing campaign for The New York Times, Andrew Adam Newman decided to check out the historical record. With the help of the lexicographer Grant Barrett, Newman determined that sneakers had been sneaking around since at least 1887, when The Boston Journal of Education observed, “It is only the harassed schoolmaster who can fully appreciate the pertinency of the name boys give to tennis shoes — sneakers.” Presented with the evidence, Keds toned down its marketing copy: “Keds created an American classic,” went the diluted version.

  • Spiderman Traps a Thief - Literally (video)

  • Whatever Lifts Your Luggage

  • What Climate Scientists Think of Ian McEwan's Solar Book
    McEwan is a forceful rationalist and well-versed in science culture, and his witty observations on that are a big part of the fun of his books. In Solar, for example, he pokes some hilarious fun at the social constructivists. Beard chairs a government committee to bring more women into physics, and a social scientist on his committee introduces herself with a speech on how a particular gene is not discovered by scientists, but is rather a social construct.

    Beard had heard rumours that strange ideas were commonplace among liberal arts departments. It was said that humanities students were routinely taught that science was just one more belief system, no more or less truthful than religion or astrology. He had always thought that this must be a slur against his colleagues on the arts side. The results surely spoke for themselves. Who was going to submit to a vaccine designed by a priest?



Discworld author says show 'breaks most of the laws of narrative', and is 'pixel thin' as plausible science fiction

Its no star Trek and the fact that he doesn't carry a gun means that many of his problems need to be solved with a clever speech or sneaking off to use his screwdriver. That said, I don't think that you can really claim that science fiction is too fictiony.

Its entertaining so who cares if it breaks some rules.

I am loving the new season, but tapping the darleks on the third episode was way too early.

I liked that he admits he can't stop watching. I agree with him that the narrative is a bit thin at times compared to earlier Doctors, but like him I look forward to watching every Saturday night.

Exactly, Sometimes I wish they wouldn't reuse the clasic enimies so often and use some sharper effects, but generally the series has been pretty great. I think the episodes when the torchwood crew joins in are really good.


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