Mother Nature, the ultimate drug designer: why are we still using cheap synthetic compounds?

“I did not invent penicillin. Nature did that. I only discovered it by accident.” - Alexander Fleming Natural products – chemicals produced by organisms in nature – have been the basis of medicine for centuries. Aspirin is based on a chemical in willow tree bark. Morphine comes from the opium plant. Penicillin was discovered in a mold. Nature …

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Random Biology: 10 fun facts you never knew you cared about

I know this blog's purpose is to help you learn how to improve your scientific literacy, argue with people who are anti-vaccine, etc... but its other purpose is to talk about the fun side of science. So enjoy some random biology facts below, and become instantly more fun at parties. (And hey, it can't hurt …

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How the media screws up climate change, Part 1: Sketchy Sources

Sorry for the hiatus -- turns out working a full-time job and writing a blog consistently is actually pretty difficult! (It doesn't help that I can't drink coffee at my desk, working in a virus lab and all. Being a Seattleite this is my own personal hell.) I want to talk about something I mentioned …

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Toasters and autism: basics of scientific method

Last week, I published a post talking about data manipulation and the importance of controls during an experiment. It turns out, this is a hugely complex subject, so I wanted to follow that whole train wreck with something a little simpler. Here are a few more examples of scientific method. My hope is that these will …

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