Ask Your Doctor How To Make A Pharma Commercial
Sep03

Ask Your Doctor How To Make A Pharma Commercial

Things are winding down here at The Haystack in anticipation of the long Labor Day weekend. But I thought I'd share a video of a Pfizer commercial from Canada that caught my eye- it's part of an in-depth post at PhD biochemist Jovana J. Grbic's ScriptPhD blog, which is all about the intersections of research, pop culture, and the media. I'll leave the in-depth analysis to ScriptPhD, but I thought this commercial played out like a mini-movie. I wonder what kind of feedback Pfizer will get on this "More Than Medication"...

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Canadian Science Headed By Creationist?
Mar18

Canadian Science Headed By Creationist?

Yesterday, the Globe and Mail printed a story about the religious beliefs of the Canadian Minister of Science & Technology, Gary Goodyear.  When Goodyear commented to reporter Anne McIlroy that he wasn't "fussy on this business that we already know everything. ... I think we need to recognize that we don't know" and asked to clarify whether he was talking about a creator, I think the reporter found a better story than she the one she was expecting about Canadian science and the recent federal cuts to basic research funding. Goodyear refuses to discuss evolution because he is Christian and thinks being asked about his religion is inappropriate.  He is also a chiropractor and has taken chemistry, phsyics, and physiology courses during his education. Goodyear's response isn't an outright admission to creationist beliefs, but by citing "religious" reasons for not discussing evolution, he definitely tossed the ball into that arena.  To me, evolution really has nothing to do with religion.  The idea of a higher power doesn't have much bearing on the idea that organisms, over time, adapt to their environment via selective pressure etc.  Whether a divine force created these organisms is a different question, but evolution in and of itself is pretty much pure science—it can be observed, tested, repeated, and analyzed. But you, gentle readers, what do you think of Canada's Science & Technology Minister's refusal to discuss evolution—on grounds of religious beliefs?  Do you think someone who views evolution as a religious issue can successfully head a country's scientific efforts?  How diametrically opposed are the ideas of god and evolution, really?  Some of this is discussed in a recent C&ENtral Science post...

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Science In Halifax
Feb10

Science In Halifax

I recently went to Halifax, Nova Scotia, for a vacation to visit my old haunts and get reacquainted with friends. When I think of Halifax, I think of scarves and hats, the Titanic, the Halifax Explosion (the largest recorded explosion prior to the atomic bomb), Alexander Keith’s brewery, and nice, friendly Canadians. A culture of science doesn’t even register as a blip on my radar. But while walking down Lower Water St. to get a latte near the Halifax Harbour, I passed a building called the BioScience Enterprise Centre. It’s right next to the Maritime Museum of the Atlantic and the bear claw booth (open only in the summer, unfortunately). Assuming the place was a museum or a tourist destination, I decided to go in and ended up speaking with an administrative assistant, Moscoula Mallis. As it turns out, the center is an incubator for Nova Scotia start-up companies doing R&D and commercialization of their products and services, which range from DNA-based tracking technology to alternative energy consultation to stackable buoys to pharmaceuticals. The center is managed by InNOVAcorp, which works with the start-ups and provides some funding, mentoring, and an infrastructure (lab/office space) to help the firms through whatever stage of research, development, or commercialization they are in. InNOVAcorp, a provincial corporation under the Nova Scotia Economic Development department, has a mission to promote Nova Scotia as a hub of technology research to engender a culture of science, discovery, and product innovation in the province, Mallis says. Some companies have been pretty successful, according to Mallis. Ocean Nutrition Canada is now a full-fledged marine nutrition company, providing omega-3s as food additives and nutritional supplements. Even Wyeth (soon to be Pfizer) did some vaccine work at BioScience Enterprise Centre earlier this millenium, Mallis says, although I can’t find any reliable information about this. It might not be science in my own backyard (not anymore at least), but it just goes to show that science, and chemistry, is...

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