Friday, June 20, 2008


What I'm seeing today.

Für Deutsche die manchmal meinen Blog lesen, erkläre ich. Auf englisch "rot sehen" bedeutet "sehr verärgert sein". Ich weiss nicht, ob man das auch auf deutsch sagt.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

f*ck the NIH!

During the 90s, there was a big push to increase NIH funding. Indeed, funding was doubled over the course of several years.

Well, the Bush administration has not only not kept up pace with the doubling, they've not even bothered to keep funding levels commensurate with the rate of inflation.

In other words: they are defunding the NIH.

Science Blogger DrugMonkey has the story.

A recent NEJM article shows how the recent spending cuts (and that's what freezing spending really is) have reversed the doubling to the point where the effect of the doubling years has effectively been undone. We are on target to revert back to the line of projected growth that the NIH would have been at had the doubling never occurred!


(And I say this not only as a former employee of the NIH who might have been kept on had the hiring freeze been in place. But it's worth including that caveat.)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Don't call it a comeback!

Not much to say about last night's NBA game other than IT WAS THE BIGGEST COMEBACK IN NBA HISTORY!

After trailing by 21 after 1 quarter and 18 at halftime, the Celtics outscored the Lakers by 24 in the second half to win by 6!

I don't think the Lakers can score enough when the Celtics are playing their best defense. In other words, I think the Celtics are better.

A little-known fact that Celtics fans might want to know: the first quarter deficit can all be laid at the feet of Databoy. Had he not wanted to play a second game of Thurn and Taxis, I would have been watching the game from the start (at Landru/Ilse's). Since it's clear that the Celtics' turnaround started when I was paying more attention to them, and they only really kicked in after Reno 911 was over, it's clear that me watching them is the key!

I'm not going to indulge in predictions. As I see it, one of two things will happen on Sunday. Either the Lakers will be so demoralized from the loss last night that they'll show up and lay a stink bomb, or they'll regroup and play their hearts out and win easily.

Or it'll be a close game. :)

I think I've covered all the bases here.

very cool news in evolution

I'm going to be lazy and just link to another blog post.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

fun with image searching

OK, I'm copying Antje

It's no surprise, is it, that searching with Ginger's image finds an orangutan!

Ha ha ha! Ha ha!

Uh oh, she's giving me a dirty look.

If you want to do this with your own pics, look at Idee.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

Celtics v Lakers

OK, so the NBA got the finals that ABC has been wishing for. This could be the most-watched NBA finals since Jordan retired in '98. A lot of the conventional wisdom is that the Lakers should be favored. This seems curious to me, since

a) the Celtics had a lot more wins this season
b) the Celtics were 2-0 against the Lakers this season
c) the Celtics have home court advantage

I think people are judging the Cs poorly in light of their less-than-impressive performances against the Cavs and especially against the Hawks.

The Celtics are an older team. They do not match up well against young, athletic teams like the Hawks and Wizards. But...the Lakers are not a young, athletic team like the Hawks and Wizards.

As for the Cavs series, it is true that, if the Cs play as poorly against the Lakers as they did against the Cavs, they will lose. Kobe is at least as good as LeBron, and the rest of the Lakers are far better than the rest of the Cavs.

But with that in mind, we should note that the Cs played considerably better against the Pistons than they did in the first two rounds. I think that for Pierce, Allen, and Garnett, the big pressure on them was to actually make the Finals. All three had made the conference finals before, only to come up short.

It is hard to foresee how this will play out, because it's hard to figure out exactly how well various players will play. I think we can pencil in Kobe and KG for excellent performances. My gut feeling is that Pierce will have a solid series, and be dominant in at least two games. So it may come down to the less predictable players: Ray Allen, Lamar Odom, and Pau Gasol.

A lot has been written about how good Gasol is, but though he is smooth and quick, he is not a particularly physical center. I think Kendrick Perkins can hold his own, if he uses physical play to keep Gasol in check. As for Odom, I don't think that the Cs have to do much - whether he plays well or not seems to be random. And whether Ray Allen has shaken off his shooting slump remains to be seen, though his shooting in the last two games against the Pistons was excellent.

Bottom line: there appears to be a conventional wisdom that the NBA is an individual game, and whichever team has the best player is going to be the team that wins. This is at best a facile explanation. The Pistons never had the "best player", but they won twice in 89-90 and once a few years back. Michael Jordan never won a Finals by himself, nor did Magic, Bird, Shaq, or Dr. J. And really, if you want this theory debunked as thoroughly as possible, consider Wilt's career.

Consider the 1986 Celtics-Bulls series, when MJ lit up the Cs for 62 points, and the Bulls still lost. Bird described MJ as "God" at that point. MJ was clearly the best player in the series, and, again, the Bulls still lost.

I would give a slight edge to Kobe over KG as "the best player", but it's not a big advantage by any means.

I feel pretty sure the Celtics will win Game 1. We'll go from there. The odds are really stacked against the Lakers in the 2-3-2 format. They either have to win two games in Boston or win three in a row at home and at least one in Boston.

I would put the Cs as slight favorites here. Incredibly, considering they won 66 games, they are generally being underrated by the media.