Monthly Archives: June 2009

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: ~

Racist bomber in the dock at Old Bailey

A racist arrested by chance at a railway station was “on the cusp” of waging a terror campaign using tennis balls and weedkiller, a jury has heard.

Neil Lewington, 43, had a bomb factory at his parents’ home in Reading, Berks, and wanted to target those he thought “non-British”, prosecutors alleged.

The Old Bailey heard he was carrying bomb parts when arrested at Lowestoft, Suffolk, for abusing a train conductor.

details here at the BBC

Flu Update: Millionth American Case, Scams, Prospects

The novel swine flu has affected its one millionth American. The first death in England has been recorded (a 9 year old girl). Yesterday, the first Brazilian death was recorded. When we look at the map of the disease, note that many regions of Africa are totally devoid of cases. Just so you know … this is not some special African immunity. This is simply because the global health network has failed Africa and we have no clue what is going on there, and never have had a clue.

A new wrinkle in the process for North Americans, possibly with parallels elsewhere, is the summer camp phenomenon. This is where we take children from multiple communities, only some of which have some dreaded disease, or perhaps just an annoying meme, and we ship them all to one location either every day for the whole day, or for weeks at a time overnight. In this way, the diseases or annoying memes can spread among them and all the children can bring them home!

There have been some summer camp closings.

Despite rumors to the contrary, the novel swine flu is roughly as deadly as the regular flu. I’m still seeing people, even experts, indicate that it is relatively mild. It is not. It is typical.

The novel swine flu seems to be affecting younger individuals in part because of an immunity found in older individuals, presumably from exposure to a similar flu in the past. This is interesting news if confirmed. This touches on another area of confusion. The 1918 pandemic flu was famous for being extra deadly for healthy individuals. This was for a very specific medical reason. The current flu seems to be affecting ‘healthy’ individuals more as well. This is for a totally different and utterly unrelated reason, probably.

This is subject to revision, but here’s the story:

The 1918 pandemic flu killed healthy people more because healthy = stronger immune system. These people were killed by the way their immune system reacted to the flu. A person with a strong immune system would be more strongly affected by the flu, possibly fatally.

The novel swine flu appears to be affecting healthy people more because healthy = younger than a certain age. That age cut off separates individuals (older) who have an immunity from prior exposure to a similar virus from younger individuals who don’t.

Again, this is subject to revision. This is subject to revision in two ways:

1) The assertion I make above about the 1918 flu is very likely true and well demonstrated, but the assertion I make about the novel swine flu is speculative at this time; and 2) the phenomenon seen in the 1918 pandemic flu, while apparently not happening with the current novel swine flu, could develop later on during the pandemic.

Why do I say that? Because that is what happened in 1918. The flu went around the world ‘off season’ (as the current flu is doing) and was typical in virtually every way but its timing. Then it went around the world again with this extra glitch of killing people with their own immune system.

The fact that the 1918 flu did this has flu experts worried, and they should be. However, I have yet to see a biological argument for why this flu should follow the same pattern in regards to this specific feature.

What is going to happen next? In late (?) September (+/-) there will be a flu vaccine available for the regular flu. Get one.

Later, maybe in October (?) there may be a vaccine available for the novel swine flu. This may be a two dose vaccine. Get it, get them both if there are two. There will be instructions as to who should get it and when. But since those instructions will be filtered through the usual sources, be careful what you pay attention to. The little people sitting at the colorful desk on the news show will not be giving you useful information. They never get this stuff right. You should rely on the blogosphere this time around, I think.

(People who have gotten the novel swine flu already seem to be immune but unless you know you had it from a clear test, I would not assume that.)

And speaking of people getting it all wrong … have you heard about any of the flu woo scams going around regarding the flu? There is a treatment in which photons are passed into your cells to kill the virus. There is an anti-flu vaccine. There is a ‘do it yourself’ flu vaccine kit, which involves you sending in your credit card number but then never hearing back from them.

Obviously, don’t fall for that.

CDC flu site

Skepchickcon is this weekend!

Skepchickcon is a Track at Convergence 2009. Convergence 2009 is one of those science fiction conventions where everyone dresses up as Klingons and such. I’ve never been to one but I’ve sure seen plenty of them on TV and in the movies.

Skepchickcon is a “Track,” which means it is a series of panels and stuff integrated with systematic planned partying parallel to other “Tracks” at the convention.

Personally, I’m on three of the panels: Blogging Skeptically; Science Online, and Evolution 101. Plus I’ll try to attend some of the parties.

Here is my schedule:

I’m less sure about the July 3rd stuff, but I’ll do what I can.

There is much more information available about Convergence and 2009, as well as the Skepchickcon Skeptics track here at Skepchick.

There is also a facebook page here.

Anyone else going? Who/what are you dressing up as?