Can the teardrops that fall after reading bad science writing generate renewable electricity? Yes, they can. 1. The puzzle of power from raindrops The usually excellent Marginal Revolution blog features daily “Assorted Links” that point to interesting articles on an exceptionally wide variety of topics, most often related to economics or sociology. Monday’s included a … Continue reading Can the teardrops that fall after reading bad science writing generate renewable electricity? Yes, they can.
About a new paper from my lab  on how membranes flow through water, featuring our shortest title ever! For many years I’ve been interested in the physical properties of cell membranes, properties determined in large part by the underlying lipid bilayer. Bilayers are remarkable materials, and my research group has measured characteristics such as … Continue reading Watching membranes do nothing
There is a deluge of research papers; it is impossible to keep up. Everyone knows this and tackles it in their own way — plowing either systematically or randomly through as many new publications as they can, or giving up and just searching for papers when needed. I think it’s important to be aware of … Continue reading Papers as noise
Synopsis: In a recent paper from my lab , we report on watching gut bacteria get pummeled by low doses of antibiotics. The antibiotics induce changes in the spatial organization of the microbes, with major consequences for their ability to persist in the gut. Motivations At high enough doses, antibiotic drugs will kill bacteria, or at … Continue reading An intestinal amplifier for antibiotics
For months I’ve been intending to write about a fascinating and frightening 2018 paper on the “half-life” of scientists — how long scientists remain in the scientific workforce. I was reminded of this recently by an excellent paper comparing the impact of small and large research groups on science. The two papers should perhaps be … Continue reading Science, Small Groups, and Stochasticity
Are there general laws governing the gut microbiome? This is an important question if we’re to make sense of how the microbial ecosystem inside each of us influences health and disease, without being overwhelmed by its diversity and complexity. It’s also the question that, almost verbatim, starts off a recent paper from my lab, … Continue reading Kepler, Newton, and Gut Microbes
Yesterday I spent over 3 hours reviewing a paper for a journal, capping off a jam-packed day of semi-improvised discussions with high school students, grant proposal writing, a very tiny bit of lab work, and more. A friend of mine, coincidentally, also spent several hours yesterday reviewing a paper. This morning, I read a blog … Continue reading Peer Review, and Lying Injured on the Sidewalk