Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Catching up on the posts ...

Sheesh, I ignore the blogosphere for a week and a whole bunch of great posts get written:

Confessions of a Community College Dean looks at how community colleges are portrayed in Strapped, a book by Tamara Draut; in doing so the Dean counters some common misconceptions about the role of community colleges in higher education.

PZ Myers wrote an excellent post on the molecular underpinnings of fly eye development.

Deep Sea News summarized the variety of habitat types found in the deep ocean.

Prometheus analyzed how some mail-order labs bias their tests so that they are much more likely to report an abnormally high level of some toxic compound (e.g., urine mercury concentration, which is often used to support alternative-medicine claims that mercury poisoning is causing autism). (Via Orac)

Orac started a new series on his blog called Medicine and Evolution, and as the series' inaugural post he summarized a study that uses an ecological diversity index to predict the likelihood that a non-cancerous condition (Barrett's esophagus) will develop into cancer. Very neat stuff.

UBC Botany Photo of the Day had a picture of Illicium anisatum (Japanese star anise), which is toxic, even though it's a close relative of Illicium verum (the star anise commonly used in cooking). According to the Wikipedia, the two are sometimes confused, leading to unhappy consequences.

And, for a bit of fun, Orac linked to an amazing lego aircraft carrier.

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