A Farewell to Scienceblogs: the Changing Science Blogging Ecosystem. Bora Zivkovic is leaving ScienceBlogs, and has a very long retrospective. The only portion I would take some issue with is the ambivalence toward the introduction of bloggers who focused mostly on science and less on politics. Bora says: “In this effort to dilute politico-religious content with science content, Sb grew, in my opinion, too big. I think 80-something blogs with 90+ bloggers is too big.” Probably it did grow too big…but I think the addition of science-focused blogs served as a critical dampener to the deteriorating reputation of the network, and more seriously the cohesion of the bloggers. But, for the reasons Bora alludes to above, politics still remained a major focus of the website because 5 bloggers focused on controversial non-science topics can easily outproduce 80 bloggers focused on science. (for the record, by the time I left I felt that the network was going in the right direction when it came to science/non-science balance)
Adventures in Very Recent Evolution. Nicholas Wade reviews the last few years of human evolutionary genomics. I assume we’ll see some stuff coming out with the addition of new populations to the HapMap in the near future.
Missense mutations in the APOL1 gene are highly associated with end stage kidney disease risk previously attributed to the MYH9 gene. This variant may be responsible for the elevated kidney failure rates of African Americans vis-a-vis other populations.
More Than Half the World’s Population Gets Insufficient Vitamin D, Says Biochemist. Remember that even if you live in a sunny clime, that doesn’t mean that you’re exposed to much sun. Consider Arab women who live in the Gulf. Therefore deficiency may be common even in regions where it once was not due to human activity outdoors.
Washington Post – Can we take the higher road? If this blogger is to be believed The Washington Post basically had a thesis, and went looking for confirmatory quotes, or, consciously distorted and misrepresented communication to transform them into confirmatory quotes. This is not totally surprising, and most of us now assume that this happens with the media all the time, making the pretense they make of objectivity something of a farce, but nice to see it unmasked so explicitly.