May 142008

Articles like this one in Trees and Things rile my blood. Not only is this activity blatantly predatory, but shows both a lack of concern for many of the nation’s pressing issues and a fundamental lack of understanding of (or desire to understand) how endowments work. Yes, the thing known as the Endowment in most top private universities across the United States is increasing, and yes, there is a deficit, but coveting the money of educational institutions to help offset the national debt is an atrocious proposition. Many congresspeople complain that the major Universities with the $10+ billion endowments should allocate more money to financial aid, and use the money to expand programs and admit more students. However, things are [more . . .]

May 082008

Harnessing the millions of easily distractable minds worldwide, groundbreaking science is being done. Rosetta@Home, the software that is modeled after Stanford’s Folding@Home and designed for distributed calculation and prediction for 3D protein shapes on millions of computers worldwide, now has a new feature. As the Economist article describes, the new Rosetta@Home software contains a game in which users (players) can manipulate the 3D protein structure according to basic laws of chemistry and physics in order to minimize energy. This was created due to the fact that 3D protein alignments and folding are still hugely computationally intensive, and often, the best 3D structures are found by molecular biologists working by hand rather than a computer using a heuristic algorithm. Moreover, humans [more . . .]