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Positive attitude and cheerfulness not related to college success

Posted: December 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm

This study investigated the relation between positive affect and college success for undergraduate students matriculating at 21 colleges and universities in the United States.

Positive affect — cheerfulness — was positively related to students’ self-rated academic abilities, self-predicted likelihoods of various college outcomes, self-stated major and academic-degree intentions, and self-reported subjective college outcomes, but negatively related to most objective college-success variables (e.g., cumulative college grade-point average) recorded by the institution of matriculation, and not related to objective college outcomes reported by the student.
Positive affect was thus associated with “positive illusions” about college-success variables.

Positive Affect and College Success. Journal of Happiness Studies - SpringerLink Journal, 2010.

Image source: (public domain).

Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow us on Twitter and connect on Facebook.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Michael Reedy

Posted: December 27, 2010 at 1:22 pm

Michael Reedy She Knows How To Use Them

Michael Reedy Every Last One

Michael Reedy Don't Worry Baby

Michael Reedy Once Removed

Michael Reedy Malum E

Never have I seen such a beautiful and seamless combination of figure drawing, internal anatomy and, well, silliness. It is as if Michael Reedy has grown tired of rendering the classic figure drawing and has drifted to rendering the thoughts and dreams of the subjects. His anatomical artwork is reminiscent of the fanciful anatomy of Albinus’ and Vesalius’ texts from back in the day and he does an excellent job balancing between the fine art and superflous illustration.

From Michael:

The human figure and portraiture have been central to my studies and explorations as a practicing artist for the past twelve years. In a desire to extend beyond historical modes of representation, I have found myself increasingly interested in depictions of the body that fall outside the canon of art history, namely in cartooning and medical illustration. Ultimately, I believe that by combining the visual language and style employed by various modes of representation, both inside and outside the accepted boundaries of fine art, I can locate and capitalize on unique areas of resistance essential to the production of new meaning.

[Spotted by David Cheney]

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Dr. Wowk’s Questionable Defense of Alcor

Posted: December 20, 2010 at 6:17 pm

From my 12/04/2010 post on “What happened when Larry Johnson brought up the issue of OSHA violations, at Alcor? Did his superiors ask him to remedy the situation, or did they ask him to shred documents and delete computer files, related to his complaints?”

Brian Wowk’s response, (which really wasn't a valid response, at all, if you ask me): “Johnson's claims are presently subject to an active defamation lawsuit. Numerous medical professionals have done work with Alcor at various times, including nurses, clinical perfusionists, a neurosurgeon, two doctors who served as CEOs, and two full-time paramedics hired after Johnson. None of them behaved as Johnson did.”

Personally, I am tired of people trying to pretend Alcor’s accusations of defamation prove Larry Johnson to be a liar, and I’m hoping the Alcor vs. Johnson et. al. civil suit makes it to a jury trial, so we can all know the truth about the many accusations between Alcor and Mr. Johnson, (in both directions).

What makes Dr. Wowk’s comments more than a little offensive, to me, is the fact that he knows Charles Platt’s voice, as well as I do, (probably better). Assuming Dr. Wowk listened to the audiotapes, previously published on, Dr. Wowk and I both know Mr. Johnson has recordings of a conversation he had with Charles Platt, (COO of Alcor, at the time), and they seem to be discussing Mr. Platt’s instructions, to destroy the evidence of Mr. Johnson’s complaints about OSHA violations. As I recall, Mr. Platt expressed concern that someone from The National Enquirer might be hiding in the bushes, when they were pouring biohazardous materials down the sewer drain.

Dr. Wowk claims none of the medical professionals, who have been associated with Alcor, since that time, have “behaved as Johnson did.” As far as I know, there is only one paramedic on Alcor’s staff, and I think it’s safe to assume it is the rest of the Alcor staff, whose behaviors have changed, since Larry Johnson published evidence of some very questionable activities at their facility. For example, I kind of doubt they still go around, bragging about having been involved in an alleged illegal euthanasia.

I believe Dr. Wowk has heard the tapes, and I believe he knows certain stories, (whether true, or not), were told to Larry Johnson, by Alcor staff members. I would ask Dr. Wowk, the same question I have asked others, intent on discrediting Mr. Johnson: "If you want to call someone a liar, why don't you point your finger at the Alcor staff members, on those tapes?"

Again, I am hoping for a jury to iron this all out, in a New York court of law. It appears the judge has recently put the trial off, until December 2011, with 30 – 90 day deadlines on things like discovery requests and depositions.

(On a tangent...Was Dr. Wowk the "Brian," at the Ted Williams case? If I had witnessed that fiasco, I would have gone straight to the authorities. It was a mess...a mockery of both modern medicine AND science.)

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Visualizing Social Networks in Open Notebooks

Posted: December 20, 2010 at 5:57 pm

Increasing the role of automation in the scientific process has long been a fundamental objective of Open Notebook Science. The automatic discovery of new connections in open scientific work is potentially a very important contribution to this end.

Visualizing social networks within and between Open Notebooks is certainly a good first step. Luckily, our Reaction Attempts project has already abstracted the key elements of organic chemical reactions within a collection of Open Notebooks. This means that creating connection maps between people and chemicals can be attempted with reliable and semantically unambiguous database sources.

The Reaction Attempts database records the identity of reactants and products as ChemSpiderIDs for each reaction within a collection of notebooks. Also the name of the researcher, the solvent, the yield (when available) and a few more key identifiers are recorded.

We are very fortunate that Don Pellegrino, an IST student at Drexel, has selected the analysis of networks within Open Notebooks as part of his Ph.D. work. He has started to report his progress on our wiki and is eager to receive any feedback as the work progresses (his FriendFeed account is donpellegrino).

Don's first report is available here. He is using the Open Source software Gephi for visualization and has provided all of the data and code on the associated wiki page. (also see Tony Hirst's description of mapping ONS work which provided some very useful insights) Don has provided a detailed report of his findings but I think the most important can be seen in the global plot below.
This represents a map connecting people through chemicals. The large top right structure represents the connections within the UsefulChem project and the main circle represents the activity of graduate student Khalid Mirza who was the most active on this project. The crescent structure to the right of the circle represents other students - mainly undergraduates - who worked with the same chemicals as Khalid.

At the top left there are 3 isolated small networks, representing completely separate projects: the sodium hydride (NaH) oxidation study, Dustin Sprouse and Sebastian Petrik. I'll be posting about Sebastian's work in a future post.
Near the bottom middle there is another small network connected to the main group by a single link mediated by 2,2-dimethoxyethylamine.

This represents the overlap between Open Notebooks (Wolfle from Todd group and Mirza from Bradley group) that I mentioned previously.

I think that automatically discovering such connections as they occur could be a really useful outcome of this network analysis work. For example, the researchers could be alerted by email that a new potentially interesting overlap between their projects now exists. This could accelerate new collaborations.
A key challenge in Don's work is to figure out the right questions so that the results will be genuinely useful and novel to the researchers involved and the research community. I'm optimistic that he will succeed. As a separate outcome, just learning how researchers collaborate and record their work over time is bound to be interesting.
For a description of Don's planned work over the next several months take a look at his full Thesis Proposal: "Proposal of a System and Methods for Integrating Literature and Data".

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

Dripping Red Skull

Posted: December 20, 2010 at 1:16 pm

Paul Alexander Thornton is back with a new stop motion skull. His Sugar Skull was featured in July.

He created the dripping effect using watercolor and red ballpoint pen.

[via tdw]

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

30 minutes is not enough – middle-aged need full hour of exercise to avoid gaining weight as they age

Posted: December 20, 2010 at 1:13 pm

Middle-aged women need to get at least an hour a day of moderate exercise if they hope to ward off the creep of extra pounds that comes with aging.

According to JAMA, among women consuming a usual diet, physical activity was associated with less weight gain only among women whose BMI was lower than 25. Women successful in maintaining normal weight and gaining fewer than 2.3 kg over 13 years averaged approximately 60 minutes a day of moderate-intensity activity throughout the study.

Already, two-thirds of U.S. adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese.

Sheila Anderson, 50, works out at the fitness center three to four times a week, doing 45 minutes of cardiovascular training and a couple of hours a week of weight training.

"Does it strike me as too much?" she said of the finding. "Maybe. It sure is hard to fit in an hour each day. I could not come to the gym seven days a week," she said.

One hour per day of exercise is difficult to achieve. However, even 30 minutes is better than no exercise at all.

Dr. Michael Roizen, Cleveland Clinic Chief Wellness Officer, answers the question "How much exercise is enough?"

Three parts of exercise have been shown to be beneficial to health:

1. Moving the equivalent to 10,000 steps a day.
2. Resistance exercise for 30 minutes a week.
3. 20 minutes of cardiovascular exercise.


Posted at Clinical Cases and Images. Stay updated and subscribe, follow us on Twitter and connect on Facebook.

Recommendation and review posted by G. Smith

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