2011: The year in blog numbers
Dec31

2011: The year in blog numbers

Well, we’re right about at the end of 2011 and it’s time to thank you find readers for checking in with us throughout the year. We’re slowly rebuilding our momentum here at CENtral Science since moving from ScienceBlogs and were just shy of 90,000 visits for the year. Many of our colleagues get that many each month or week, and a few even each day. Still, we’re very happy that you take time to read here – we consider our readers to be top-quality – brilliant, creative, good-looking, and they even smell good, too! I’ll take 90,000 of you folks any day over millions of other less desirable readers. I can’t resist the temptation to put up our year-end traffic report since I have the data available and I just love data sets. In addition, I find it interesting to see what topics garnered the greatest traffic. Below, I’ve put up the list of posts that received 100 or more views. The homepage is obviously the first because of those who have us saved as a browser bookmark. But, no surprise, our major topic of interest overall was synthetic marijuana and other until-recently-legal high such as “bath salts.” But ranking quite highly were our posts on dietary supplements containing aromatase inhibitors for bodybuilding and the newly-approved natural product analog for multiple sclerosis, fingolimod (Gilenya). Title Views Home page 18,563 DEA already admits defeat on synthetic marijuana ban? 10,400 Flurry of FDA action against aromatase inhibitor supplements 5,970 What’s the buzz?: Synthetic marijuana, K2, Spice, JWH-018 5,373 “Synthetic marijuana” chemist John W. Huffman interviewed on regional NPR program 2,856 iAroma synthetic marijuana and the loss of Max Dobner 2,456 K2 Synthetic Marijuana: Heart Attacks, Suicides, and Surveillance 1,853 Fingolimod (Gilenya; Novartis) for Multiple Sclerosis 1,775 NC legislators aim to clean up “bath salt” omission 1,737 David Nichols, legal highs, and the social responsibilities of the scientist 1,611 Compilation of synthetic marijuana posts 1,510 Mephedrone in the U.S. 1,465 NIH biosketch change as “Kick Me” sign? 1,150 Strong chemistry in NC bills banning legal highs 1,121 Ch-ch-ch-ch, Changes 1,093 Skin-bleaching: got mercury? 909 Who decides what’s an analog of a controlled substance? 843 About David 753 Poppy seed tea can kill you (repost) 752 Mike Kastan to lead Duke Cancer Institute 741 GSK to sell iconic Elion-Hitchings building 675 The Future of Chemistry Jobs – Keep Reading and Commenting 670 Real-life NCIS: USNA midshipmen expelled for K2 Spice distribution ring 617 Synthetic marijuana for pharmacists 587 Racism charged in DePaul chemistry tenure denial 540 #icanhazpdf: Civil disobedience? 533 Norman R. Farnsworth, grandaddy of medicinal plant research, passes at 81 521 Intravenous...

Read More
Amy Harmon’s “Navigating Love and Autism”
Dec26

Amy Harmon’s “Navigating Love and Autism”

I can’t gush enough about today’s page one story by Amy Harmon in The New York Times. As part of her continuing series, Love on the Spectrum, Amy follows a college couple who are emblematic of the relationship and intimacy challenges of young adults with Asperger syndrome or other forms of autism. I thought that CENtral Science readers would be interested in both Kirsten Lindsmith and Jack Robison, the latter having an intense interest and facility in chemistry. The article leads with a warm and well-edited, five-minute video of the couple (by Sean Patrick Farrell) but I’d encourage you to read the whole piece first, as I did. But when you do watch it, pay attention to Kirsten’s closing statement on the definition of love. I left the story seeing glimpses of myself and my own relationships, although I’ve not been diagnosed with any spectrum syndromes. In fact, I’d venture to say that many readers here might see some commonalities with Kirsten and Jack. I absolutely loved these two kids and seeing the video has me cheering that they do indeed successfully navigate the challenges we all face between our scientific passions and personal relationships. While Harmon’s article isn’t open to comments at the NYT, I’d welcome any thoughts here that folks might have after reading her brilliant piece. Source: Harmon, Amy. Navigating Love and Autism. The New York Times, 26 December 2011. Twitter: Amy Harmon @amy_harmon Sean Patrick Farrell @spatrickfarrell...

Read More

An apology to my readers

I have changed the title of my previous post to more accurately reflect a comment by Michael Eisen that sharing PDFs of journal articles is an act civil disobedience toward the scientific publishing enterprise. I had previously compared the practice to the Underground Railroad or Napster music file sharing. I deeply regret the use of the analogy of PDF file sharing to the Underground Railroad, a network of abolitionists who facilitated the safe escape of enslaved African-Americans in the southern US to freedom in the North and northward to Canada. I, in particular, should be especially sensitive to making such an ill-considered analogy of one of the most degrading episodes in US history to an intellectual discussion of sharing scientific papers. It was wrong, period. I apologize deeply to my friends, students, colleagues, and any others who were offended by my thoughtless...

Read More

#icanhazpdf: Civil disobedience?

Some lively Twitter banter has arisen this evening regarding the practice of sharing PDFs of scientific articles when one does not have personal or institutional access. Specifically, some among my stead have taken to tweeting requests for articles using the #icanhazpdf hashtag. For non-open-access articles, does this practice violate a publisher’s copyright? Discuss. (And I welcome input from my ACS overlords.)   Update 24 December: I have changed the title of this post to reflect a comment below by Michael Eisen that sharing PDFs of journal articles is an act civil disobedience toward the scientific publishing enterprise. I had previously compared the practice to the Underground Railroad or Napster music file sharing. I deeply regret the use of the analogy of PDF file sharing to the Underground Railroad, a network of abolitionists who facilitated the safe escape of enslaved African-Americans in the southern US to freedom in the North and northward to Canada. I, in particular, should be especially sensitive to making such an ill-considered analogy of one of the most degrading episodes in US history to an intellectual discussion of sharing scientific papers. It was wrong, period. I apologize deeply to those offended by my thoughtless...

Read More

GSK Sells Off BC and Goody’s Powders

My friends, today is a dark day in the history of traditional, old-timey pharmacy in North Carolina. According to Raleigh News & Observer reporter David Ranii, GlaxoSmithKline has sold their interest in two legendary analgesic powders and other over-the-counter products to Prestige Brands Holdings in Livingston, New York and Cody, Wyoming. Cue the old Pace Picante advertisement about the competitor’s “Mexican” salsa made in New York City. GSK even sold off Tagamet. Yes, Sir James Black’s cimetidine – the founding histamine H2 receptor antagonist for which Sir James shared the 1988 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine with Trudy Elion and George Hitchings. Hell, they even sold Beano. If you want to know what I’m talking about, seriously, please see my explainer from April on the rich North Carolina history of analgesic powders. A shorter distillation of my post is this story at the North Carolina History Project. The $660 million sales price will put $375 million directly in the hands of shareholders (*check TIAA-CREF mutual funds to see if I hold any $GSK). Sorry, I can’t type anymore – I’ll be in mourning. In fact, I think I need me a BC...

Read More