Monthly Archives: January 2006

More on the Hwang Woo Suk scandal

Just a quick set of links:

New York Times’ Gina Kolata has a report about the process by which a paper in Science is retracted.

Via slashdot, we learn of this crazy defence by Hwang Woo Suk; he has the temerity to talk about a long-planned conspiracy.

The most poignant reaction is by Elia Diodati (link via Tangled Bank #44) who identifies the biggest loser in this scandal: no, it’s not Hwang Woo Suk, nor his department/university, nor yet his collaborators. It’s not even the South Korean Pride. Then who?

the little guys slaving 20 hours a day over dimly lit lab benches are the ones who get the brunt of the stigmata. Imagine what it’s like to take the first tentative footsteps into the world of academia/R&D, only to see their graduate careers terminated with alacrity once their advisors commit unpardonable breaches of ethics or make similar blunders like putting all their eggs in a basket and gambling their entire reputation on a research project that simply didn’t pan out.

This is such a shame.

First anniversary …

… of the infamous Larry Summers episode is just a few days away, and it is time for both his supporters and opponents to get ready for another round of arguments.
It is interesting that though Summers himself has moved on, and instituted some key changes that would make Harvard far more women-friendly, some people would still defend his original thesis.

Steven Pinker seems to be the first one to start this round, with his contribution to the question posed by Edge this year: “What’s your dangerous idea?“. Sean Carroll catches him in the act of willfully misrepresenting the ‘dangerous idea’ in the Summers episode.

I am sure we can expect more views, arguments and analyses during the rest of the month. I don’t know about you, I would actually thank Summers for shining an ultra-luminous spotlight on the topic of women in academia.

Science of cuteness

Cute cues are those that indicate extreme youth, vulnerability, harmlessness and need, scientists say, and attending to them closely makes good Darwinian sense. As a species whose youngest members are so pathetically helpless they can’t lift their heads to suckle without adult supervision, human beings must be wired to respond quickly and gamely to any and all signs of infantile desire.

From Natalie Angier’s piece in the New York Times.

Among the several examples of cuteness-filled 2005, I found this:

Women’s fashions opted for the cute over the sensible or glamorous, with low-slung slacks and skirts and abbreviated blouses contriving to present a customer’s midriff as an adorable preschool bulge.

Do you find this cute? What would be cute in male fashion?