Tangled Bank 52

Welcome, everyone, to the latest issue of The Tangled Bank. Everyone has sent in their submissions, and there’s been some really good stuff submitted to me. I now fully appreciate the efforts of all Tangled Bank Hosts, because it is a serious task evaluating several magazines-worth of articles to put together an issue. The Tangled Bank is a model science blog carnival, now let’s set the gold standard!

A long time ago, on a weblog far, far away…

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Episode 52

Turmoil has engulfed the Scientific Enterprise. The communication of scientific information has become compromised. Seeking to cut off the free trade of data, the Emperor has attempted to blockade research with sinister agents. Even the scientific method itself has come under attack from the Sith. Pseudoscience is everywhere.

It is a dark time for the Rebellion, but it has already achieved several major victories. Bloggers of the Scientific Order have broken through the blockade and their Jedi Masters, skilled in the methods of scientific investigation have uncovered the secret plans of the dreaded DISCO STAR. There are heroes on both sides.

Commander Hayes of the Red State Rebels chronicles the stunning victories of Jedi Master Barbara Forrest against the ruthless Sith Lord Count Dembskoo. The Force can have a powerful effect on the weak minded. Speaking of weak-minded, so too does Red Leader “Wheatdog” Antilles blast the doomsday prophecies of comet 73P out of the skies.

But tragedy has befallen the people of the Old Scientific Republic. Stephen “Qui-Gon” Granade has discovered that the dark side of the force surrounds a youngling’s science fair entry that has gone unnoticed, or worse, cultivated by one of the Sith. Always two there are. And two there are of accounts by Jedi Trainer Sandra Porter on how to most effectively bring up padawan-learners to become strong biotech apprentices. And Rebel Flight Officer Tris Hussey recounts his academy days, inviting everyone to relate their favorite science fair experiments at The Homely Scientist.

Failures are a chance for growth for the Jedi. And so Chad “Mace” Orzel recounts his continual self-electrocutions with force lightning as he masters his art. And a humorous report from Admiral Martin Rundkvist of the salvage fleet reports his frustrations with the difficulties of resolving precious metals from an asteroid field littered with aluminum bottlecaps.

One of the side effects from the dominance of the Empire is that non-humans have been relegated to the background. Gray Leader Philip Grupe discusses the many humanitarian issues pertaining to zoo animals, with measured optimism at the end. Green Leader Jeremy Cherfas explains the folly of over-harvesting marine life for commercial purposes, and what might fuel this self-destructive greed.

Matthew “Obie-Wan” Celeskey delves into a triassic Archosaur skeleton that could have been the one that he rode while pursuing General Scordovus. And speaking of riding dinosaurs and other Sith myths, Indian Cowboy goes into how snakes with legs evolved and exactly why those who say otherwise really are lost.

Orac “Skywalker,” Jedi Knight, reveals how disturbing it can be when the healers are seduced by the dark side, and he can sense the conflict. And Mike “Anakin” the Mad Skywalker joins him in restoring balance to the bacterial genetics Force. Twice.

Dave “Yoda” Munger can teach you how to see fear, which is the path to the dark side. But which side of the Force is truly evil? Jennifer Orth at the Invasive Species Weblog shows how cats or rats on an island may be evil, depending on your point of view. But don’t tell GrrrlJedi that they’re going after the birds. She, however, has reviewed a beautiful book about one writer’s intimate relationship with the Force out in the natural world. Another book review by General Danny Yee visits the evolution of the other 90% of the Eukaryotic biomass often forgotten, even in the days of the Old Republic. Yes, Plants!

The Force binds the universe together. And so WanderingVisitor demonstrates the essential connections between all life on this planet. Also in store for Earth Week, Ruminating Dude suggests that the Emperor’s recent interest in hydrogen fuel cells might have something to do with fossil fuels, and not in the way you might think. He knows the ways of the dark side. But as of today the Emperor only has 1,000 days left – even he has foreseen it.

And it seems that fruit flies are always changing their spots, light side, dark side, they have no loyalty. Mon Calamari Jedi Knight Pee-Zed Myers has the report on their outer rims. The galaxy is home to many bizarre creatures, such as the dermophagous sicilians caecilians that feed their skin to their young as posted at Microecos, and Brad “Han Solo” Hoge at HUNBlog discusses director Peter Jackson’s assertions about why we like monster movies. And Professor “Chewie” Quippy wants you to accept the theory behind his new sexual cue ocular protection equipment. The question is, are the men or women the beasts in this matter?

In the realm of genetics, Mike “Wookie” White demonstrates the effects of environment on the evolution of yeast metabolism, and Ruth Schaffer “The Hutt” describes the newest capabilities in DNA disease diagnostics. Still no price tag on the midichlorian test kit, though. And Hsien-Hsien-“Leia” at Genetics and Health says no to DNA blame!

“Ewok” Ewan Callaway uses a botanical garden to introduce a discussion on the forgotton microbes of desert oases at the Complex Medium. An ecosystem’s srength flows from the Force.

Tara the “Tusken Raider” Smith dishes out an analysis of vaccine efficacy. Click though to find out what the evil Darth Voxer has been obsessing about. In him, there is no conflict. A new biology is envisioned by “Red 5” kbzimm, which may put an end to this destructive era. Should we end our lives slowly or quickly? Senator Cathy Davies of Naboo weighs the opportunity costs of food risks. Both are still tasty.

And finally, a lengthy analysis of the future of science blogging by Admiral Coturnix at Science & Politics. If it’s not on our blogs, it doesn’t exist!

Struggling to restore science and reason to the galaxy, this alliance of science bloggers will be found in two weeks at Science Notes on 10 May. Entries can be sent to pzmyers@pharyngula.org, host@tangledbank.net, or direct to Mona Albano.

That is it! But Rebel leaders looking for more efficient transportation or get the scoop on the semantical nonsense of “Total Truth” might want to come back later this week.

The Inoculated Mind will be interviewing a leading expert in hybrid electric cars at UC Davis, Dr. Andrew Frank, and attending Nancy Pearcey’s lecture on TotalUberDoublePlusTruth on Friday. Both will be recorded and blogged about.

Thanks for reading and may the Force be with you.


Published by

Karl Haro von Mogel

Karl Haro von Mogel serves as BFI’s Director of Science and Media and as Co-Executive Editor of the Biofortified Blog. He has a PhD in Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics from UW-Madison with a minor in Life Sciences Communication. He is currently a Postdoctoral Scholar researching citrus genetics at UC Riverside.

13 thoughts on “Tangled Bank 52”

  1. And, in vaguely related news: Some random geek — me — has whipped up (what I hope is) an improved version of the logo for this episode of TANGLED BANK; you can check it out at [ http://transform.to/~cubist/stuff/tangled.lii.gif ]. If you like it, feel free to use it in place of the current logo. -Thanks Cubist, I put yours on the post. I was disappointed that the Star Wars font I got was less interesting for the letters other than “STAR WARS.” Your version has a bit of extra curviness, and doesn’t cover up my spine on the left. -KJM


  2. What’s with the hideous colour-scheme?

    Ugh! – I couldn’t manage to change the link colors for this post only. The light blue totally clashes with the yellow star wars text. I think the other regular colors go well together, though. -KJM


  3. KJM, your link to Red State Rabble is mislabeled. The linked post is about Barbara Forrest, not Eugenie Scott.

    Otherwise, not bad. Definitely very funny. -oops! haha. All fixity. And thanks. -KJM


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