Author Archive

Forum on Science Ethics and Policy getting a wider audience

I don’t remember how much I’ve told people about this before, but since moving to Seattle I’ve been involved with a group called the Forum on Science Ethics and Policy. We’re a group of graduate students and post-docs at the University of Washington that is focused on making connections between scientists and the wider public dealing with a variety of issues. We’ve dealt with a pretty wide range of subjects, a few examples range from stem cells, energy policy, net neutrality and drug marketing.

The reason I’m posting now is that we recently reworked our website to make some features that could appeal to people beyond our immediate community, and I figured some of the people around here might find it worth looking at. The most obvious addition was changing the main page to a leadership blog for us to post about things related to FOSEP’s mission.

We had also collected various materials FOSEP members wrote up that was intended to be a resource for people learning about issues, though the static pages tended to become left incomplete or outdated after the creator graduated and nobody took over. To try and get around this we converted those into a wiki format that will be viewable to the public though editable by all FOSEP members. If people have suggestions for changes to make there and don’t have access they could contact me about it.

What computors are good for

I came across this paragraph in the reading for the quantum mechanics class I’m taking, and I think it needs to be shared with the world:

“A great deal of computation is required to perform a Hartree-Fock SCF calculation for a many electron atom. Hartree did several SCF calculations in the 1930s when electronic computors were not in existence. Fortunately Hartree’s father, a retired engineer enjoyed numerical calculation as a hobby and helped his son. Nowadays computers have replaced Hartree’s father.” Quantum Chemistry – Ira Levine

This makes me picture a little old man sitting in a room with all the world’s physicists and chemists sending him equations to solve.

WTF is wrong here

I came across this story today which really made me feel the need to rant for a bit.

Apparently the people in charge at Guantanamo are aware that things are screwy enough that they printed in their procedure’s manual : “The mission has legal and political issues that may lead to interrogators being called to testify … Keeping the number of documents with interrogation information to a minimum can minimise certain legal issues,” (continued)

Blog Class

One of the contributors to a blog I read fairly frequently, Positive Liberty, is about to start a project that might be of interest to the Druid and others with an interest in science fiction and philosophy. Jason Kuznicki had an idea of a class on science fiction and collectivism, and just posted a reading list for this class, a mixture of different science fiction books and movies with the political philosophy that relates to ideas being presented. He’ll be writing posts over the next few months discussing a book per week.

Security Cam Music Video

This band decided they didn’t have money to make a video, so they set up in public places in view of security cameras, then asked to get the footage from the people.

Pretty cool results, though a little creepy to think how much these cameras are around.

A news story about it is here

Are you paying Attention?


Pillow Fight in NYC

Since Fleepster doesn’t show up very often I thought I’d post this. When I was in New York visiting there was a huge pillow fight in the middle of Union Square, which we took part in. To see some of the insanity there’s pictures and video here. (continued)

Dalai Lama’s Thoughts on Science

Recently the Dalai Lama spoke at a conference on neuroscience. There’s a combination paraphrase/transcript of his talk here plus some comments above that.

Holy Blog

Proof that God exits, he has a blog (continued)


I came across a post on a different website asking an interesting question. (continued)


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My first first-author paper!

Just wanted to share that my first first-author paper is now online! In the journal Stem Cells and Development, here’s my paper on “Roles of Integrins in Human Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Growth on Matrigel and Vitronectin.”

The Future of Scientific Publishing

Just read a fascinating (if lengthy) essay on disruptive technology and the future of scientific publishing. Well worth the read!


Just wanted to share’s Visual Guide to Deflation, which is quite explanatory.

All Things Stem Cell

Hey all Paradoxdruid readers! I recently started up a blog on stem cells that I’d love you all to take a look at:

Barely Literate: The Fermata

I participated in another Barely literate book review podcast, this time on Nicholson Baker’s “The Fermata”. Give it a listen!

Time for Change

Obama has outlined a strategy for America, in great depth. Read all about!

Free Rice

Okay, I’ll admit that it’s entirely possible that I am the last person to learn about this website*, but it’s really addictive. 


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