Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: low carb and T3, gender bias in STEM, and VR goggles.

Eating low carb will lower your T3 levels, gender bias in STEM is still a thing, and VR goggles can save the planet.

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: what you study is more important than where, and dead geese.

Blood sugar targets, what you should study is more valuable than where you study it, and dead geese. Lots of dead geese.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Walkabout wednesday: Wolves, deer and TV ownership. Yes, really.

Really. I'm not really sure how to categorize some of these things I've wondered about this week. Mostly "Our Environment".

Monday, March 16, 2015

More on the credibility of science, and why it is hard to believe.

Science is hard to believe. But can any of that be blamed on scientists?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Can or should UNL reduce carbon emissions in Nebraska

It's a simple idea. We should set a goal to reduce carbon emissions in the state of Nebraska. Shouldn't we?

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Friday, March 6, 2015

Do you speak data science?

If I can describe myself as anything these days, it's "self-taught (ie. underqualified) data scientist". Then I read this, and maybe I don't want to be a data scientist! Too funny. Good to take a hard look at the latest fads. Most of this too will pass, and what remains will be useful.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: I mean Thursday!

I'm a bit late this week. A busy couple of weeks of talks on the road, and a couple days of illness to seal the deal. All's good now!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Did my LDL particles get larger?

Low Density Lipoprotein (LDL)l, commonly called the "bad cholesterol",  is linked with high risk of heart disease. But just the total mass of LDL doesn't tell the whole story.

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Walkabout wednesday

Why don't epidemiologists use model simplification?

Monday, February 16, 2015

Sometimes we should not avoid Type I errors

In any introductory statistics course you will learn how to control the probability of making a Type I error. This is the error of concluding that the alternative hypothesis is true, when in fact it is not. But sometimes that kind of error is much, much better than the opposite.

Friday, February 13, 2015

Gluten, again.

A colleague brought this post on the fivethirtyeight blog on the gluten free fad to my attention. They make a couple of good points about Non-celiac gluten sensitivity (NCGS), focusing mainly on a couple of studies done by a group in Australia. I wrote about these 2 studies in my post on why I went gluten free. The 2011 study found that NCGS was real, and found that perhaps 10% of people suffered from it. However, science, you know, so they modified their design and repeated the study, and their 2013 paper found that the effect was not due to gluten but rather to Fermentable Oligo- Di- Monosaccarides and Polyols, or FODMAPs for short. FODMAPs are found in lots of plant foods including foods containing gluten.

FWIW, the 2013 study was funded by the Australian Wheat Board*, so keep the source in mind when looking at the conclusions!

The main point that Emily Oster is trying to make is that many people are jumping on the Gluten Free bandwagon unnecessarily, and that is creating a market opportunity for food manufacturers. Yep, I can see that; 30% of the population buying gluten free products is way higher than any estimate of NCGS prevalence. It's worth noting that the only estimates of NCGS prevalence are from surveys asking people if they avoid gluten in their diets; answer yes, and boom, you're considered to be a NCGS sufferer. What makes that interesting is that those prevalence estimates are on the order of 1%! So, only 1% of people say they are avoiding gluten, but 30% of the population are buying gluten free products. Hm. Well, no one insists that your personal choices have to be consistent or make sense.

For my part, I avoid gluten by not eating refined carbohydrates to control my blood sugar, so even if there's no effect of gluten on my physiology, I'm not going to start eating bread again. Beer. Well, the odd beer might creep in there.

Besides bloating and flatulence, there's the disturbing possibility that gluten rots your brain. Even the possibility of that being true is enough to make limiting gluten attractive to me. Maybe time to revisit the distinction between Type I and Type II errors in decision making, as opposed to statistical hypothesis testing.

*I mentioned the funding source thing before too.

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: angiogenisis is interesting, and more politics in the environment (surprise ...)

Angiogenisis is the formation of blood vessels, are your professors lazy, and politics taking over sage grouse management in Montana.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: missed a week!

Insulin can be a weapon, who's the richest college grads again? and babies. Baby pallid sturgeon ...

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Walkabout wednesday: I'm really messed up, gender equality in hiring, and pretty pictures!

My Health

Cristi Vlad has a nice post this week looking at a carefully controlled, but short, dietary intervention on a bunch of physiological metrics. My typical "low carb" gets into the range of the low carb diet there in terms of total grams, but not in terms of percentage calories. These folks were eating way more than me! Of course, the subjects were all obese, with average BMI of 34 (mine is currently 24). Other than weight I'm much more messed up than these subjects, with more inflammation (hs-CRP), higher triglycerides, lower hdl, etc etc.

Your Education

My field (or at least my academic unit) is far, far behind on gender diversity among the faculty. But at least some departments at UNL have fixed that problem, and as a result it improves the recruitment of women into their graduate programs, which makes it easier to recruit women faculty etc etc. I don't know how well our graduate program does at recruiting and graduating women. Hmm, might be worth a look for the 2015 Academic Program Review.

Our Environment

This is a really nice visualization of increasing global temperature. I like visualizations that use the ability of an animation to move time off the x-axis in a meaningful way. Although, I don't think that visualizations like this increase the likelihood that we (as in, members of the species Homo sapiens sapiens) are likely to "...act hard and fast." 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Walkabout Wednesday: vampire aphids

Does red meat trigger immune reactions, what is the value of a postdoc, and vampire aphids. No kidding.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

How do perennial plants avoid senescence?

If you know, please tell me! The following is part of a pre-proposal that Brigitte and I are submitting to NSF. This is our justification for continuing to spend a week each summer counting fruits on a small shrubby, not particularly attractive plant. I mean, other than the fantastic hiking and fishing in the area.