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Jennifer Raff

Scientist, martial artist, reader. In pursuit of the extraordinary.
Jennifer Raff has written 84 posts for Violent metaphors

A bit of personal news

I’m absolutely delighted to announce that I’ve just accepted a position as Assistant Professor-Molecular Genetics of Human Evolution in the Anthropology department at the University of Kansas. KU has a very long tradition of producing top-notch anthropological geneticists, and I’m honored to be joining the department as a teacher and researcher. I’m deeply grateful to … Continue reading

Storytelling vs. science

Several organizations exploit vulnerable parents by claiming that they can “cure” their children’s autism through various approaches. As Left Brain, Right Brain observes, these “autism cure” movements persist because of the power of storytelling: “Nothing sells unproven “treatments” like testimonials. For autism it has been true since the days of chelation and even before that. … Continue reading

Closing my browser tabs 12/15/14

Here are some serious and not-so-serious things to read about science as you drink your eggnog this week. Vaccines “Vaccines work. Here are the facts” is an awesome cartoon by Maki Naro, refuting the antivaccine arguments and giving a great and accessible overview of why vaccination is important. This deserves to go viral, so please … Continue reading

Yes, doctors know what they’re talking about: Refuting a common anti-vaccine argument.

I usually don’t respond to many comments on my blog, preferring instead to encourage conversation between readers. I also don’t typically close comments on any of my pieces, so conversations and reactions continue for a long time. Sometimes that takes the discussion in an interesting direction. I think that a few recent comments on my “Dear … Continue reading

A scientist was asked to review a new paper. You’ll never guess what happened next!

(Apologies for the egregious clickbaity title.)   A professor I know was recently sent a manuscript to review from PLOS ONE. Nothing unusual in that…except that it was his own paper. After briefly debating how to respond, he accepted the invitation to review the paper, and submitted the following review:

I live only 2 hours from the Ebola hospital in Dallas. Here’s what I’m doing to protect my family.

We Americans sometimes seem to have only two settings when it comes to public health issues;  “unconcern” and “panic”. (I think the media deserve a great deal of blame for this, but that’s another blog post).  The last few weeks have seen the switch flipped to near panic about Ebola, after the recent infection of … Continue reading

Another day, another anti-vaccine paper retracted

  I haven’t written here about the CDC “whistleblower” issue, because I was in Shanghai when the story broke with both limited internet access and limited desire to take time away from adventures to write. Orac did an excellent job of staying on top of the story, and I refer the interested reader to his … Continue reading

Closing my browser tabs: September 10, 2014

I’m putting the finishing touches on a longer article to share later this week, but in the meantime, here are some stories that I’ve found interesting over the last week:

Closing my browser tabs: September 3, 2014

Happy Wednesday! I’ve been home for a few days, getting over jet lag and back into the routine of the semester. I’ll probably do a longer post about China when I have time to download all the photos from the camera. In the meantime here’s a shot of the Bund in Shanghai:     While … Continue reading

The genetic prehistory of the North American Arctic

I’ve been waiting for this paper for months! The Willerslev group has just published the results of their study on ancient DNA from Paleo-Eskimos in the North American Arctic. Unfortunately, this article is behind a paywall at the journal Science, but I’ll give you a brief summary of the results, and talk a bit about … Continue reading

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Jennifer Raff

Jennifer Raff

In pursuit of the extraordinary

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Lunar #eclipse (4/15/14, ~2am). #science
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