Friday Foolery #54 The Best 404 Message ever?

25 01 2013

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Somebody send me a direct message via Twitter, asking me if he had missed any posts. Sorting his Google Reader feeds, he saw this blog was last updated October.

And he is right :(.

Just to assure you that this blog is not dead, but hibernating*, I would like to link to perhaps the BEST 404 message ever.

This 404 message aptly shows where you can turn to when you “Lost your sense of direction” at the ASRM (American Society for Reproductive Medicine) website.

http://www.asrm.org/error.aspx?aspxerrorpath=/Media/Ethics/childrearing.pdf

——————————

Hattip: Bora Zivkovic (@BoraZ), @palmd) and Rebecca Weinberg (@sciliz)

* I have little spare time (and energy) at the moment to write my “usual” long exhaustive posts. Sorry. But I will come back!





Friday Foolery #51 Statistically Funny

1 06 2012

Epidemiologists, people working in the EBM field and, above all, statisticians are said to have no sense of humor.*

Hilda Bastian is a clear exception to this rule.

I met Hilda a few years ago at a Cochrane colloquium. At that time she was working as a consumer advocate in Australia. Nowadays she is editor and curator of PubMed Health. According to her Twitter Bio (she tweets as @hildabast) she is (still) “Interested in effective communication as well as effective health care”. She also writes important articles, like “Seventy-Five Trials and Eleven Systematic Reviews a Day: How Will We Ever Keep Up? (PLOS 2010), reviewed at this blog.

Today I learned she also has a great creative talent in cartoon drawing, in the field of …  yeah… EBM, epidemiology & statistics.

Below is one of her cartoons, which fits in well with a recent post in the BMJ by Ray Moynihan, retweeted by Hilda: Preventing overdiagnosis: how to stop harming the healthy. In her post she refers to another article: Overdiagnosis in cancer (JNCI 2010), saying:

“Finding and aggressively treating non-symptomatic disease that would never have made people sick, inventing new conditions and re-defining the thresholds for old ones: will there be anyone healthy left at all?”

I invite you to go and visit Hilda’s blog Statistically funny (Commenting on the science of unbiased health research with cartoons) and to enjoy her cartoons, that are often inspired by recent publications in the field.

* My post #NotSoFunny #16: ridiculing RCTs and EBM even led David Rind to sigh that “EBM folks are not necessarily known for their great senses of humor”. (so I’m no exception to the rule ;)





Friday Foolery #41. A Special Offer for the Major [#4square]

15 10 2011

Foursquare (4squareis a web and mobile application that allows registered users to connect with friends and update their location. Points are awarded for “checking in” at venues. The user with the most number of *days* with check-ins at a specific place within the past 60 days qualifies to become the mayor of that place.
To foster brand loyalty some businesses are offering specials for the mayor of the venues. Recently I received a USB-stick for becoming the major of a computer shop.

Today at Department X of our hospital, I saw this Special offer:

Apparently it was unlocked….

OCT = Optical coherence tomography





Silly Sunday #29 World Cup 2010-Twitter Reports of England’s Loss.

27 06 2010

The World Cup Soccer 2010 started 2 weeks ago. For now I only follow the Dutch team live. But indirectly I follow many other matches via Twitter. It is very entertaining, especially if things go awry, like the way the English were crushed by the Germans today (1:4). This was partly due to the referee who ruled out a legitimate goal by Frank Lampard when it was still 1 : 1.

Below are some of the tweets in my timeline. I especially like @precordialthump’s comparison of the English knock-out with apoptosis.

@Precordialthump opens with the best Faulty Tower fragment: “Don’t mention the War”. I can’t resist to show the fragment here.

And don’t miss the pic: “It wasn’t a goal” (via nutrigenomics)

  1. Maria Wolters
    mariawolters PHEW! #ger AND #gha are through! Go Ghana, go Africa! Now on to #ger / #eng. Mwahahaha …. #fb
  2. precordialthump
  3. precordialthump
    precordialthump Oh my god!!!! Come on England – 1966 in reverse!!!
  4. Sally Church
    MaverickNY @SallyWalker exactly kind of gobsmacked. If they ditch all the bad refs there won’t be any left for the final tho
  5. Maria Wolters
    mariawolters at least #eng will be spared the excruciating penalty shootout this time #brightside #schlaaaaand #fb
  6. Richard Herring
    Herring1967 I blame our 12th invisible player. Everyone keeps passing to him and then he fucks it up.
  7. Theodor Adorno
    TW_Adorno Your team qualified with ease under a Labour Govt and have struggled in every game under the Conservatives. How could this be?
  8. Stephanie Merritt
    thestephmerritt Is this happening because they’ve cut the defence budget? #ididafootballjoke
  9. precordialthump
    precordialthump The England team’s performance turned out to be the World Cup football equivalent of apoptosis… well done, Germany.
  10. Sally Church
    MaverickNY @whydotpharma not sure which was worse: refereeing, #eng or american tv commentary. Probably the last one was most clueless.
  11. jdc 325
    jdc325 Watched the England game with my Dad. My summary: what a shit waste of time. I could have gone for a walk or read a book.
  12. Nutrigenomics
    nutrigenomics Ha RT @biomatushiq: [pretty fast] ROFL RT @sotak: It wasn’t a goal! [pic] http://bit.ly/aHon2g #worldcup #eng #ger
  13. Daft-bint
    TheMarydoll Just been announced that the england team are flying back to glasgow airport so they can get a hero’s welcome.
  14. Laika (Jacqueline)
    laikas RT @BrettAwesome: Breaking News: England have a new coach. It takes them to the airport in 15 minutes.
  15. Maria Wolters

this quote was brought to you by quoteurl





Friday Foolery #20 What is in an element’s name?

19 03 2010

You probably know the periodic table of elements. The  table contains 118 confirmed elements, from 1 (H, hydrogen) to 118 (Uuo, Ununoctium).

In Wikipedia. you have a nice large periodic table with chemical symbols, that link to the Wikipedia pages on the individual elements (left).

As a chemist, David Bradley at Sciencebase must have been bored with it, because he designed an unusual version of the periodic table, where the chemical symbols will take you to his various accounts online rather than information about a given chemical. Quite a few elements remained and he invited other research bloggers to claim an element if your or your blog’s name fit in terms of initial letters. David started this morning and in about a few hours almost the entire table was filled.

I claimed Li (my surname), but that was already taken by David’s Linkedin account and he suggested that I should take La of Laikas. La is Lathanum.

Of course this can be hilarious. I tweeted to Andrew Spong that he would surely fit As (Arsenicum) -poisonous as you may know- and he replied he would rather choose absinth, which unfortunately isn’t an element.

There are still a few elements left. Thus if you would like your site highlighted as an element, let David know via Twitter, give him the link to your blog and an appropriate element.

This is how the table looks. You can go to the table here (with real links).
The original post is here

And if you don’t particularly care about this table, perhaps the following adaptation suits you better. It is still available via Amazon (click on the Figure).

This table was also found on David’s blog ( see here)





Friday Foolery #18 Childbirth Under Water…. Beautiful!! ;)

19 02 2010

Childbirth Under Water…. Beautiful!! I’m not chicking kidding.

http://www.mobypicture.com/user/promedia/view/6023995
(Vincent Sparreboom, from Promedia and Vincentsparreboom.com)





Friday Foolery #14: Pronouncing Hoechst

4 12 2009

Ever had that? You ‘re giving a scientific lecture and you mispronounce one or a few words. Sometimes you know a word is hard to pronounce, but, knowing that, it even gets harder to pronounce the word correctly. For instance, I find it hard to pronounce certain gynecological and dermatological diseases.

Sometimes you don’t know that you mispronounce certain words. Perhaps because you never spoke the words out loud, just read the text. These words need not be very exotic.

Once it was my turn to lead the journal club at the genetics department. Afterwards the Professor, Gert Jan van Ommen, came to me and said: “It was a nice talk, but please never say “mature” in the way you say “nature” again!

Foreign firm names may also be hard to pronounce. The following video from Benchfly illustrates that.

Hattip: @nutrigenomics on Twitter (see tweet)

Benchfly is a resource, initiated by the chemist Alan Marnett in 2009, dedicated to providing researchers with current protocols to support their lives both in and out of the lab. For instance by instructive videos.

One such video protocol is “how to send DNA”. Ingenious, but I wonder if it is legally permitted to send it abroad (customs). But who ever tried to send DNA samples styrofoam box hunts via FedEx will welcome this tip. Pity it doesn’t work with cell cultures….

By the way David Rothman pointed at the pronunciation guide Forvo (http://forvo.com/): all the words in the world pronounced by native speakers.

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