Thursday, February 08, 2007

MIT biology is not good for the health....

Pinko Punko has the inside poop on the latest MIT biology farce (lest you have forgotten the Picower vs. McGovern Institute death match over Alla Karpova)

MIT Prof and UC stem cell bete noir Jim Sherley is starting a hunger strike today for the purpose of ending racism at MIT and advancing his hopeless case for tenure. One of these positions is more noble than the other. Anyone out there with some inside poop-scoop from MIT? We’re looking at a particular someone with our eye-spy.
He also had the background earlier in the year.

You can find more at the Volokh Conspiracy, and 34 other blogs. Mark Eli's words, this one is going to chase Anna Nicole Smith's death (nil nisi bonem) and the homicidal astronaut off the supermarket pages. It has everything, a black professor at MIT hired as an under-represented minority in a program pushed by the Provost who is aggressively anti-abortion and embryonic stem cell research, winner of an NIH Pioneer award to develop adult stem cells, denied tenure and on a hunger strike.

Noam Chomsky, Al Sharpton, Michelle Malkin and James Dobson are going to be on the same side. Pass the popcorn.


Pinko Punko said...

It is really a tough situation, because he is quite popular with grad students and undergrads. Outside of his hot button field he seems to be incredibly supportive and active within the Department (student wise). Students appreciate this kind of behavior as they are treated like cheap labor, and interaction with faculty can be fleeting.

Anonymous said...

Sherley is correct when he points out that there have been overblown (and outright fraudulent) claims made by some embryonic stem cell researchers, but so what?

This hardly taints all embryonic stem cell research and certainly does not mean that embryonic stem cell research will yield no important information.

If you don't do the research, you are never going to know.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of research:

"British tycoon Sir Richard Branson on Friday announced a $25 million prize for a way to extract a billion tons or more of carbon dioxide from the atmosphere each year."

While I don't disagree with this approach -- prizes for breakthtoughs -- I think the idea should also be applied to CO2 emissions reductions as well.

The total monetary rewards would probably have to be much greater than $25 million (and probably sponsored by the government) to get the car companies interested in going after the 40 mpg SUV , for example, but the returns in emissions reductions could be very large.

Technology already exists to produce a 40mpg SUV powered by an internal combustion engine, so a billion dollars pledged to the company (or companies) that produce such a 40 mpg SUV would seem to be more than sufficient incentive.

A more fuel efficient vehicle saves the consumer money on gas as well.

This approach could also be applied on an individual basis through refunds to the consumer if they buy high efficeny fluorescent bulbs.

Replacing all the residential incandescents with fluorescents could reduce US yearly emissions by about 0.21 billion metric ton CO2 per year -- or about 1/5th of the Branson challenge.

The government could easily accomplish this task by giving the consumer a refund on their bulb purchases.

Assume 100 million households in the US and that each household has 50 bulbs yielding about 5 billion bulbs to be replaced. If it costs $2 more for each fluorsecent than it does for the comparable incandescent, that would mean a cost to the government of about $10 billion dollars -- spread over the lifetime of the bulbs (about 5 years with average use).
In other words, the government would have to shell out about 2 billion dollars a year for the program to sustain it. That's peanuts, with a federal budget of 2.5 trillion dollars.

In addition, the consumer would save an average of $30 in electricity over each bulb's lifetime, so with 50 bulbs, that's a savings of $1500 dollars every five years. That's not peanuts to the average person.

guthrie said...

Moreover, why stop at fluorescents? LED lights are already in commercial use, and are just good enough now to be considered for house lighting. Look up Cree for example, they buy insulation off the company I work for, and use it in furnaces making crystals for LEDs.
Obviously they are not ideal for every application, but they will be great for some, and use less power than incandescents.