What did you do last week?

In my case, there was a the usual – I ordered DNA primers, sequenced some DNA, went through that sequence and assembled it into my model… I cooked some dinner, slept some. But last week was punctuated with something a little different.

Monday morning, the first new episode of my old radio show The Inoculated Mind Radio and Mindcast, aired on the local Madison student station, WSUM.  The show was pre-recorded the week before, because I was not going to be in Madison to do it live.

The same day, I was visiting the San Francisco Bay Area with Anastasia, zooming around the City, meeting up with PZ Myers, and oh yeah – having dinner with Michael Pollan at Chez Panisse! My review is up, as well as Anastasia’s.

As for the show, I used to host the Mindcast here on this blog, however, I have built a completely new site called Inoculated Media dedicated to hosting the show. Continue reading What did you do last week?

Getting my wish

After an abnormally warm fall it seems that Winter has finally arrived in Madison. Less than a week has passed since our first snowfall and we’ve had a second one. Furthermore, starting tonight we’re about to get one heck of a storm that could drop as much as 11 inches on Wisconsin!

I wonder, why does the Copenhagen climate conference always happen in the Winter? Maybe the response to the bogus ClimateGate should have been to move it to the summertime? Maybe it will be easier to talk about global warming if people aren’t freezing.

I wonder what crazy things people might misconstrue my emails to mean?

Update 9:30 pm: The University will be closed for Wednesday. I received an email at 9:20 pm (a little late?) telling me what I already guessed. All non-essential personnel are to stay home, classes are canceled, etc etc, but there was something ominous at the very end of it that caught my attention:

Happy snow day! I think I will spend it designing primers and writing my term paper.

Happy Birthday Carl Sagan

Tip of the pipette to Phil Plait for reminding me.

Today, Carl Sagan would have been 75 years old if he had not died in 1996. As a scientist, communicator, and humanist he knew the value of science and the importance of helping people understand its full implications. The notion that we need an army of Sagans to fix the problems with public understanding and acceptance of science is often criticized by communication experts as naive – we need more approaches than just his.

But you know what, it wouldn’t hurt to have a few more Carl Sagans running around. There’s room for some more scientist-communicators like Sagan on this pale blue dot.

And the winner is…

Previously, I asked my readers to come on over to Biofortified, my new home for all things transgenic, and vote for it in the Ashoka Changemakers GMO Risk or Rescue contest. Due to a large amount of support from the science blogging community, we gathered over 800 votes, winning the contest by more than a 2 to 1 margin! Read more about it here. Now I’m enjoying a nice reward of oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, early-season candy canes, and writing a paper due tomorrow. No rest for the weary!

Please vote for us!

I have a special request to ask of you, dear readers, that will take only a couple minutes of your time but will totally make my day. My Biofortified group blog I started last year with Anastasia Bodnar, Pam Ronald, David Tribe, etc, has been entered into an online contest hosted by Ashoka Changemakers. If we win, we get a $1,500 grant to help run the site, and a conversation with Michael Pollan. (I’ve been trying to get an interview with him for the Mindcast for 3 years!)

We’re at 23 votes right now, the top entry is currently at 34 (and hasn’t budged much in the last month), but a new entry might be a challenge because it comes from an organization of sixty or more people by itself. So I could really use your votes!

The contest website is a little counter-intuitive and people have gotten lost in it, but thankfully our blog mascot Frank N. Foode wrote a detailed step-by-step post on how to do it.

And for those who are worried about giving out your email address and getting more junk mail in your inbox, if you check a box on the registration form you will not have any problems. The voting ends in one week, so there’s not much time left. If you know of anyone who might be willing to pitch in and help, please spread the word! If you blog, please do! You’ll be in my list of people to thank publicly for helping us to make a bigger and better online forum for talking about genetic engineering in agriculture.

One thing to keep in mind is that voting for Biofortified is not a vote for genetic engineering – it is a vote for dialogue in a forum built to handle this important discussion. None of the other contending entries are about dialogue but are instead about trying to eliminate or stigmatize the technology. Our entry – our site – is about bringing science and scientists and the public together to get people talking and learning in both directions. If you think this is a good idea, please go on over and vote. 🙂

Thanks for your time, and hope that mechanistic causality works in our favor!

Doubtbreak

Swine Flu versus Media woo:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Doubt Break ’09
www.thedailyshow.com
http://media.mtvnservices.com/mgid:cms:item:comedycentral.com:252494
Daily Show
Full Episodes
Political Humor Health Care Crisis

In other news, Bill Maher finally expressed his true opinions of vaccines while interviewing Bill Frist. After being told he was crazy by a doctor, he followed up with being told he was crazy by three non-doctors the following week. Antiscience comes in many strains and Maher’s got a bad case of the Doubtbreak.

Ladies and gentlemen, don’t wait, inoculate!

P.S. I love how Jon Stewart worked in a joke about being a “Pasteurized Milk Drinker!” Take that, Raw Milkers!

Local Community Radio Act on fast track to approval

I just got this in my inbox today. I keep tabs on my ol’ Davis station, KDRT, and I’ve been hearing about legislation designed to help Low Power FM stations get on the air and stay on the air. They’ve been treated as second-class citizens in the radio world, which hit home when a commercial station, KMJE, tried to wipe KDRT off the air by moving closer to Davis a little more than 2 years ago. Technically, KDRT would be encroaching under the old rules… not for much longer, it seems! (It still gets me that NPR was an opponent of LPFM. Glad to see that the laws of physics have changed for NPR.) Here is the press release from Prometheus Radio:

Energy and Commerce Committee Unanimously Supports
Local Community Radio Act:

Bill Moving Swiftly Toward Full House Vote

With a unanimous voice vote, the House Energy and Commerce Committee passed the Local Community Radio Act this morning. By repealing restrictions that drastically limit channels available to low power FM (LPFM) stations, the Act will allow hundreds of community groups nationwide to access the public airwaves.

The popular, bipartisan legislation is on the fast track to becoming law. Shortly after all five FCC Commissioners reaffirmed the FCC’s longstanding support, the bill passed out of the House Subcommittee on Communications, Technology and the Internet by a voice vote. After today’s passage out of committee, the Local Community Radio Act heads for a floor vote in the House. Continue reading Local Community Radio Act on fast track to approval