(Roughly) Daily

Posts Tagged ‘Dr

“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

Staying current with the past…

click here to download a pdf of the article

The New York Times Sunday Magazine (or “The Magazine Section,” as it was originally known) has been in continuous publication since 1896.  David Friedman, a professional photographer and proprietor of the lovely blog Ironic Sans, has introduced a new service, Sunday Magazine, in which he promises to reach back every week exactly one hundred years to

…dole out a few of my favorite articles from each week on a new blog: SundayMagazine.org. I have a couple weeks’ worth of posts up, and the next two months’ worth already in the hopper. They range from historically interesting to downright bizarre. I hope that you’ll see it as a new source of reading material. Some of the articles are short, and some are as long as 4,000 words crammed on one broadsheet.

Read it and reap!

As we search (in vain) for the antique crossword puzzles, we might recall that it was on this date in 1755 that Samuel Johnson’s A Dictionary of the English Language was published in London.  [Readers will recall that Dr. J has made numerous appearances in (R)D, e.g., on his birthday, and in a nod to Yale University’s Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library’s wonderful “word a day” service.]

Johnson’s dictionary wasn’t the first English dictionary; over the previous 150 years more than twenty dictionaries had been published in England, the oldest of these being a Latin-English “wordbook” by Sir Thomas Elyot published in 1538.  But in 1746 a group of London booksellers, dissatisfied with the dictionaries available, contracted Johnson to write one– a feat he promised to complete in three years.  It took him nine.  Still, he did so single-handedly, with clerical assistance only in copying out the illustrative quotations that he had marked in books.

It was, of course, an epoch-making accomplishment.  Until the completion of the Oxford English Dictionary, 173 years later, Johnson’s held sway as the preeminent English dictionary.  As Walter Jackson Bate observed, the Dictionary “easily ranks as one of the greatest single achievements of scholarship, and probably the greatest ever performed by one individual who labored under anything like the disadvantages in a comparable length of time.”

Title page (from the second edition) of the Dictionary

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