(Roughly) Daily

“Only two things are infinite, the universe and human stupidity; and I’m not sure about the former”*…


Figure 1. Screenshot of a video of a Golden Retriever chasing its tail on YouTube™.
“Tail-chasing is widely celebrated as normal canine behaviour in cultural references. However, all previous scientific studies of tail-chasing or ‘spinning’ have comprised small clinical populations of dogs with neurological, compulsive or other pathological conditions; most were ultimately euthanased. Thus, there is great disparity between scientific and public information on tail-chasing. I gathered data on the first large (n = 400), non-clinical tail-chasing population, made possible through a vast, free, online video repository, YouTube™…” (more…)


Meredith Carpenter and Lillian Fritz-Laylin, “two prone-to-distraction grad students,” are NCBI-ROFL (National Center for Biotechnology Information- Roll on the Floor Laughing), the source of a daily blog, nestled in the Discoblog section of Discover.com.  Day in, day out, they post what they describe (with estimable understatement) as “real scientific papers with funny subjects”… like the one above.

For a quick– and enormously entertaining– survey of the sorts of research they’ve uncovered, readers should view this presentation (from O’Reilly Media’s Ignite Sci FOO, 2011):

*Albert Einstein


As we rethink our dissertation topics, we might send carefully deduced birthday wishes to criminologist Dr. Henry Chang-Yu Lee; he was born on this date in 1938 in Rugao city, Jiangsu province, China, and fled to Taiwan at the end of the Chinese Civil War in the late 1940s.  He entered the police force there, and rose to the rank of Captain before coming to the U.S. in 1972.  He studied forensics at John Jay College, then biochemistry at NYU– after which he moved into law enforcement in Connecticut, where he became Director, Connecticut State Police Forensic Science Laboratory and Chief of the Division of Scientific Services and Chief Criminologist of the State.

Dr. Lee has authored or co-authored of 30 books and over 300 articles, for most part academic forensics works; but of late, “true crime”: after his retirement some years ago, Dr. Lee turned to consulting, mostly to criminal defense teams, on high profile cases (O.J. Simpson, Jon-Benet Ramsey, Laci Peterson), and on investigations of note (Vince Foster, 9/11)… stories he also recounts on his TruTV series, Trace Evidence: The Case Files of Dr. Henry Lee.  While Dr. Lee and his work remain widely respected, he is not without controversy:  In 2007, Los Angeles County Superior Court Judge Larry Paul Fidler, the judge in the Phil Spector murder trial, said that he had concluded Dr. Henry Lee hid or accidentally destroyed a piece of evidence from the scene of actress Lana Clarkson’s shooting.



Written by (Roughly) Daily

November 22, 2011 at 1:01 am

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