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Will Global Warming Freeze Us to Death??

I’m writing this from our camp up north, my wife and I came here partly to experience -20F temps with 25 mph winds pushing the wind chill towards -50F. It’s hard to experience this kind of cold in lower 48. It’s the death zone in terms of survival, unless you’re cozy inside…. Of course, as […]

Wake Up! It’s a New World.

Been awhile since I last made an entry here, lots of excuses: from sloth, to lots going on, to the unending ups and downs of being a soft money research scientist. Not a surfeit of ideas, but a surfeit of putting thoughts to type. Anyway, just got my latest copy of Science magazine in the […]

Tide Pools

I sometimes wonder what has led me into a career in science. It wasn’t my fifth grade teacher, and certainly not my freshman high school science teacher, whose course I scraped through with a D minus. Neither my mom or dad were scientists, although my mom liked to bird watch, and my dad, an ex-merchant […]

The Long March for Science

Wow, it’s already been over a month past since the March for Science that happened this past Earth Day, I’ve gotten too caught up in doing science and life to get this post, or other posts out recently. Anyway here goes. My wife Lucy and I spent Earth Day hiking on the south rim of […]


Eureka is perhaps the word most associated with a startling scientific discovery. It’s thought to be attributed to Archimedes, an ancient Greek mathematician, for a discovery he made about the displacement of water by stepping into his bathtub. Anyway, it’s a nice story or myth, but I’ve never actually heard it said by any scientist […]

We regret to inform you…Part III.

In earlier blogs I was discussing the difficulties of getting funded, about the competition for limited funds, and the cost of doing research. This blog is about the process of how a grant proposal requesting funding is either judged successful or not, mostly not. The process is called peer review, and has been part of […]

I Am Not a Politician! II

I’m still trying to get used to the ramifications of this tawdry election. It was the second big statistical anomaly within three weeks, the first being the Cubbies coming back from a three games to one deficit to force game seven, which was all going their way until a big momentum shift back to Indians […]

Bad Bugs

I was at the International Society of Microbial Ecology’s (ISME) biennial meeting in Montreal a week and a half ago. This is the largest gathering of microbial ecologists in the world; close to 3,000 of us gathered to present data on all kinds of things from the human microbiome, to life at the bottom of […]

Science Meeting

I was at a microbiology conference the other day, it was the wrap-up party after four and a half, fourteen hour days of being immersed in the science this particular group found most fascinating. Sessions started at 9 AM, took a couple of hour break in the afternoon, and then went to 10 PM or […]

Plodding along

When family or friends would ask my Dad how he was doing, one of his typical responses was, “Oh I’m plodding along”. He kind of took pride in being a plodder, whether it was getting another cord of wood cut, or the bottom of a boat painted with red lead paint before launch. The work […]