I've got some science and technology-related reading for you this weekend:
First up, a post from well-known pharma industry blogger Derek Lowe (if you have an interest int he drug discovery and development business and wonder how it looks from the inside, his blog is an excellent place to start) on the difficulties of replicating some of the big academic discoveries in industrial settings. It references a post from a biotech venture capitalist, which is also an interesting read. The point about the potential bias in academic studies ties into the point I often argue when reacting to food scares and the like- it is fine (good, even) to be skeptical about the studies your hear about. But you really need to be an equal opportunity skeptic. All scientists need money to live, so we are all theoretically susceptible to bias when our research findings have the potential to conflict with the source of that money. This is not a problem that is unique to industry.
Next, Marion Nestle has a post up about food coloring and hyperactivity. It is short, but gives a sense of the history of this issue, of which I was only vaguely aware. I generally enjoy Dr. Nestle's posts and don't find her too preachy. Some of her commenters, on the other hand, live in an idealized world that bears no resemblance to the one I inhabit- so read the comments at your own risk! Also, Derek Lowe had an interesting post today about potentially favorable effects of some dye compounds- so the story is not a simple one. Perhaps this is a case where the data are not clear so people's opinions are influenced more by their own biases than we'd like.
Finally, this post about the aptly named Creepy app, which was developed by a privacy research to show how much location information can be easily gleaned from people's tweets, etc., is worth a read. I am feeling better and better about my decision not to go "all in" on social media!