Monthly Archives: June 2009

Canadian Dinosaur Find: New Species?

The best of last June

ResearchBlogging.orgThe first dinosaur bones (that we know of) to have been discovered in British Columbia, Canada, are now being reported. These are bones found in 1971, eventually making their way to the Royal British Columbia Museum, and now being reported by V.M. Arbour and M.C. Graves. The bones were initially found by Kenny Flyborg Larsen, a geologist prospecting for thorium. He was drawn to these bones because the bones themselves are radioactive, and his instruments led him to them.

(This is an update on this, as Arbour kindly sent me a copy of the original paper.)
Continue reading Canadian Dinosaur Find: New Species?

Help Al Franken One More Time!!!!

I just got an email from my close personal friend, Al Franken. Here’s part of it (I cut out the personal smushy stuff):

I’ve said it before, and I want to say it again: THANK YOU.

We just received word that the Minnesota State Supreme Court has ruled on Norm Coleman’s appeal. I wanted to let you know right away, the court upheld our victory in a 5-0 decision.

Paul Wellstone said that successful organizing is based on the recognition that people get organized because they, too, have a vision. He also said that politics only has to do with trying to do right by people.

Throughout this campaign we’ve shared a vision of a new direction for our country. We know what we want – an economy that works for everyone, universal health care, and to create new jobs through renewable energy investment. As Senator-elect, I intend to take our shared vision of progress to Washington and try to do right by every single Minnesotan.

That’s the good news. Now, the bad news. Even though this process has reached its conclusion, we still very much need contributions to our recount fund.

It’s taken immense amounts of work by scores of dedicated legal professionals and campaign staff to preserve the win we achieved together. The financial resources required to continually defend our victory in court over the past seven and a half months were enormous.

Come on, just five bucks even. CLICK HERE

FDA: Limits on Acetaminophen

Acetaminophen dose recommendations will be lowered significantly by the FDA, and some products will be pulled off the market, because of concerns over liver damage. If you look up “Tylenol” on Wikipedia as I write this, you see the following:




Despite years of educational campaigns and other federal actions, acetaminophen remains the leading cause of liver failure in the U.S., according to the FDA.

Panelists cited FDA data indicating 60 percent of acetaminophen-related deaths are related to prescription products. Acetaminophen is also found in popular over-the-counter medications like Tylenol and Excedrin.

“We’re here because there are inadvertent overdoses with this drug that are fatal and this is the one opportunity we have to do something that will have a big impact,” said Dr. Judith Kramer of Duke University Medical Center.

Franken Wins Court Battle, Unclear if Pawlenty will Sign


The Minnesota Supreme Court has rejected a legal challenge by Norm Coleman, thereby leaving the vote count determined by an election contest judicial panel placing Franken in the lead standing.

The basis of the Coleman legal challenge is was essentially that all abentee votes shoudl be counted no matter what, because they are, after all, votes.

The reason that is bad election procedure and bad law is that absentee voting is subject to serious abuses, and thus demands a certain amount of procedural control. This has been established previously. The absentee ballots that were not counted in this contest were all in violation of standing procedural rules. Coleman wanted those rules ignored so that the votes could be counted, Franken simply asked that the law be followed.

The court decided in favor of Franken.

…because strict compliance with the statutory requirements for absentee voting is, and always has been required, there is no basis on which voters could have reasonably believed that anything less than strict compliance would suffice…

This, by the way, is one of the reasons that I never vote absentee. You should not either.

Now, the question remains: Will Governor Tim Pawlenty, Republican presidential hopeful, certify the election? The Minnesota State Supreme Court did not specifically order Pawlenty to do so, so there is a chance he won’t.

Pawlenty made these statements during an interview on CNN last Sunday:

I’m not going to defy an order of the Minnesota Supreme Court. That would be a dereliction of my duty … I’m going to follow the direction of the court … I also expect them to give guidance and direction as to the certificate of election. I’m prepared to sign it as soon as they give the green light.

Well, as far as I know, the court did NOT give Pawlenty a “green light” or “guidance and direction.” It seems to me that he spoke on Sunday in such a way as to leave open the possibility of not signing the election certificate.

The court said, specifically, “Al Franken received the highest number of votes legally cast and is entitled … to receive the certificate of election as United States Senator from the State of Minnesota.” That is clear, but it is not direction. It is guidance, but it is not a “green light.” And keep in mind that Tim Pawlenty is as smarmy and slimy and slippery as they come ’round these parts.

Of course, Coleman could just concede. But no one expects that. The only person smarmier than Pawlenty ’round these parts is Norm Coleman.

We wait. With baited breath.

WCCO reported the story here.

Star tribune reported the story here.

What is the meaning of life?

Science steps in and looks at the processes of nature and shows us how to tease apart the secrets of their workings, slowly and carefully and with missteps along the way. The missteps are readily acknowledged and re-examined. The successes are retested to make sure they closely approximate (within a high confidence interval) the truth. Then they are once again examined as new questions arise that cast doubt on the answers.

… Mike Haubrich on Quiche Moraine

The Science of Lion Prides


Although the paper addresses Tanzanian lions, this is a photograph of a Namibian lion
Starting some years ago, we began to hear about revisions of the standard models of lion behavioral biology coming out of Craig Packer’s research in the Serengeti. One of the most startling findings, first shown (if memory serves) as part of a dynamic optimization model and subsequently backed up with a lot of additional information, is the idea that lions do not benefit by living in a group with respect to hunting. They live in groups despite the fact that this sociality decreases hunting effectiveness. This is a classic case of “but wait, I can see it with my own eyes!” vs. data.

ResearchBlogging.orgSome of the most recent work done by Packer’s team has just been highlighted in a pretty nice write up by Mattt Walker in the BBC, representing a paper just coming out. The most interesting finding: Male lions kill (or attempt to kill) females from neighboring prides in order that their own pride obtains numerical superiority in pursuit of territorial competition.
Continue reading The Science of Lion Prides

The Future of Science Journalism

Nature has a special … special thingie … on science journalism. It appears to be more or less open access so even you, a virtual nobody from the perspective of the pirate publishing companies, can actually see it. There are commentaries and articles on blogs and twitter, on the future of science journalism, and so on.

To mark the 6th World Conference of Science Journalists from 30 June-2 July 2009 in London, Nature is shining a spotlight on the profession in changing times. Science journalism faces an uncertain future. But to what extent should scientists help — or care?

Looks pretty interesting. It is here.

I didn’t say it. And when I said it I shouldnta said it.

And I’m still sayin’ it, and I’m going to continue to deny I’m sayin’ it, and I’m going to keep sayin’ it, and Joe the Plumber, the liberals, I was trapped, they gotta do their job and vet the liberal views in congress, and that’s that’s what I was getting at….

Apparently, the following video from last October was just released by the Star Tribune:

From the Dump Bachmann web site

Biology Will Never Be the Same Again: Scott Lanyon

The best of last June

Note: Since writing this post a year ago, at the time of Scott’s talk, I learned something interesting that I think it is OK to share with you. Prior to the talk, Scott has received an injury, which was causing him considerable pain during the talk itself. He left from the podium directly to seek medical attention. In addition, his power point slides and notes were destroyed somehow, so he gave the talk cold. And you could not tell. It was an excellent talk.

i-68efa548cdb44e33126c5936c96fe3ed-evolution_2008.jpgThe Evolution 2008 conference started out today with a special program for K-12 teachers (mainly life science teachers) organized by the Minnesota Citizens for Science Education (MNCSE). The opening speaker was Scott Lanyon, director of the Bell Museum of Natural History. (The Bell hosted this event.)

i-360cbb04fb3ca5b4766c7598e92870d3-Scott_Lanyon.jpgScott’s objective was to outline several areas of evolutionary biology where fundamental changes had occurred over recent years. This was to provide perspective and food for thought for the Life Sciences teachers attending the event, and Scott was very successful in this effort.

In each case, Scott described a similar trope … “Not so many years ago, understanding [this or that thing] was thought nearly impossible…. but today, look what we have….”

Specifically, Scott, a bird phylogeny expert, outlined four areas of research corresponding to four major areas of evolutionary biology:
Continue reading Biology Will Never Be the Same Again: Scott Lanyon

B-GIRL BE: Fourth International Multimedia Festival


Intermedia Arts Presents
Fourth International Multimedia Festival

Summer Camps — August 11 – 14, 2009
Mama Said Knock U Out! Exhibition — August 27 through October 23, 2009
Dance Performances — September 17 – 20, 2009
B-Girl Be Block Party– Saturday, September 19, 2009

art . dance . dialogues . dj . fashion . film . graff . history . media . poetry . rap

Minneapolis, MN— After B-Girl Be’s year hiatus and a challenging start to 2009 for Intermedia Arts, the organization and directors of B-Girl Be are proud to announce that the much-loved event will be resurrected this fall. Thanks to the generous support of the National Endowment for the Arts, Intermedia Arts is able to breathe life into the B-Girl Be festival for the fourth installment of this internationally recognized platform for women in hip-hop.

Building on three years of a wildly successful summit, Intermedia Arts is proud to present its fourth B-Girl Be: A Celebration of Women in Hip-Hop, a multimedia festival encompassing the four elements of hip-hop: MCing, turntablism, breakdancing, graffiti–and more. The mission of B-Girl Be is to influence and inspire leadership to change the perceptions and roles of women in hip-hop for current and future generations. This annual event is a place to make connections, build confidence, sharpen skills and gain access to the tools to create music, film, poetry, rap, aerosol art and dance.

The celebration begins with summer youth camps for girls August 11-14 at Intermedia Arts led by Desdamona and Katrina Knudson. Leading up to and during the block party, check out an international graffiti mural in progress throughout the weekend and don’t miss a hip-hop dance showcase featuring local and national talent curated by local dancer and choreographer Amy Sackett.

On Saturday, September 19, 2009 B-Girl Be culminates its series of events from August through October in a one-day festival at Intermedia Arts. The festival is a multidisciplinary showcase that brings international, national and local women in hip-hop together in Minneapolis for dialogues, painting, screenings, music, performances, workshops and networking opportunities.

Curated by Theresa Sweetland and Michele Spaise, this year’s B-Girl Be gallery exhibition, Mama Said Knock U Out!, will be a multi-disciplinary, cutting edge exhibition that highlights the distinct aesthetics of hip-hop. B-Girl Be proves that women in hip-hop aren’t making a comeback; we’ve been here for years- fighting oppression and knocking down barriers to equal representation in hip hop culture. These artists from all over the world paint on walls, wood, clothing, vinyl, canvas, and metal. Female filmmakers direct, produce and edit their visual journeys. Inside Intermedia Arts’ main gallery, viewers can check out aerosol art, clothing, paintings, photographs, music videos, sculpture, and illustrations representing hip-hop inspired artwork from women around the world. The exhibit Mama Said Knock U Out! runs from August 27 – October 23.

For the most up-to-date information and to learn how to purchase tickets, call Intermedia Arts at (612) 871-4444 or visit All events take place at Intermedia Arts unless otherwise noted. Intermedia Arts is located at 2822 Lyndale Avenue South, Minneapolis, MN 55408.

Funding by: The National Endowment for the Arts/ Sponsored by: Moxie Salon and Emetrece Productions.


Schedule of Events:

B-Girl Be Block Party
Saturday, September 19, 2009; Noon-10:00 PM

Project Girl & B-Girl Be Summer Camps
August 11-14, 2009

Mama Said Knock U Out! Exhibition
August 27-October 23, 2009
*Exhibition Opening Reception
Friday, August 28, 2009; 7:00-10:00 PM

B-Girl Be Dance Performances
September 17-20, 2009
September17-18: 8:00 PM
September 19: 2:00 & 10:00 PM
September 20: 3:00 PM

Fundraising Events:

Moxie Hair Salon
Hair Raising Event For B-Girl Be*
Sunday, August 30th; 10:00 AM-6:00 PM
Uptown Location
$30 Haircuts, Reservations and Walk-ins welcome

PHOTO / INTERVIEW OPPORTUNITIES: Featured Artists and Curators, Local B-Girls,

Intermedia Arts’ Staff and Board

Melisa Riviere Theresa Sweetland
B-Girl Be Co-Founding Director B-Girl Be Co-Founding Director
Media and Marketing Director & Aerosol Art Curator Executive/Artistic Director, Intermedia Arts
Phone: 612-281-9970 Phone: 612-874-2813
Email: ~