Google “moonshot” project to sequence genome of Haemophilus influenzae

BREAKING NEWS. The Science Web have learned that a huge new “moonshot” project at Google plans to sequence the genome of the bacterium Haemophilus influenzae, a project that was completed by The Institute for Genome Research in 1995.

“Look” said Larry Page, “it doesn’t really matter if someone else has already done it. We’re doing it now and that makes it news!”

Future google “moonshots” are to include discovering the Higgs boson, eradicating smallpox, isolation of an antibacterial compound from an as-yet-unnamed fungus and the discovery of The Americas.

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Genetic basis of disease directly related to size of investment, say Broad

Cambridge.  The genetic basis of a disease has been found to be directly correlated with how much you are willing to invest in research into that disease, researchers at The Broad Institute have found.

With DNA sequencing now being cheaper than a bag of chips, there is a renewed pressure to sequence things to balance the books.

“The fact is, most interesting things have been sequenced” our source said “and there’s no money to sequence the stuff that’s left.  So we have to find more and more ridiculous reasons to sequence humans” they continued.

Professor Lord Admiral Vaig Venter started the trend, hypothesizing that simply by sequencing 1000s of old people we will somehow be able to lengthen their lives.

“It doesn’t matter what the disease is, what matters is the size of your investment.  You got 300 million and your kid died of gout in the 1930s?  Let’s sequence people with gout.  You got 700 million and an unfortunate family resemblance to Homer Simpson?  It’s in the DNA, let’s sequence it.  What you people don’t realise is, it doesn’t matter what we’re talking about, everything has a genetic basis – as long as you sequence it” our source finished.

The Science Web has heard rumours that “everything has a genetic basis – as long as you sequence it” will become the new slogan at The Broad Institute.

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Old rich people to fund diseases that only affect them

MADRID.  A group of the most powerful (old) scientists who run the world’s research funding bodies have today said that they intend to only fund research into diseases that directly affect them.  Their aim is simply to extend their lives and ensure they remain rich and powerful, a source added.

Despite record numbers of people in Africa now suffering from HIV infection, a deadly outbreak of ebola and childhood cancers still robbing thousands of children of the right to life, old rich people have decided that lengthening their privileged lives and ensuring they don’t lose their marbles are higher priorities.

Professor Oldfart Lockheed III, who invests several hundred millions dollars worth of research funding evey year, said “I didn’t do all of this hard work, get to the very top, reach such a powerful position, only to stop and die!  I intend to stay here as long as I can.  I’m a very important person, and it’s worth spending hundreds of millions of dollars to extend my already long and over-privileged life!”

When asked about the plight of poor Africans, Professor Oldfart replied “What?  Is that where Mexicans come from?”

In related news, a group of high profile, bitter and jealous scientists wrote an open letter criticising the EU’s Human Brain project, a multi-million EU project designed to ask the question “If we’re so intelligent, why do we keep doing stupid things?”.  The Science Web has learned that hidden within the open letter is a secret code that states “please, please, please let us in!”

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OMICS group to start selling V I @ G R A

HYDERABAD.  Professional spam generator and non-conference organiser OMICS group are to start selling off-label V I @ G R A, The ScienceWeb have learned.

OMICS group were formed in 2008 and have created over 200 fake open-access journals that have never been read; many of them have not published a single paper.  They also organise non-conferences, fooling scientists into attending by announcing fake keynote speakers, such as Professor Optimus Unicorn.

When scientists actually turn up to OMICS group non-conferences, they find only a room containing 4 confused scientists and a table with some half-eaten custard creams on it.

The real value of the group is in the 1000s of real e-mail addresses that they have managed to scrape from the internet, which they constantly spam with invites to their non-conferences and non-journals.  To further exploit these e-mails, they are about to begin a concerted effort to sell them off-label V I @ G R A and C ! @ L 1 5.

In a related move, BITS conferences (China) are about to take over the Nigerian lottery, as well as bank accounts containing the lost fortunes of Royalty and politicians throughout the African continent that need to be transferred to a bank account in the West as soon as possible.

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This weeks paper of note

The Science Web would like to begin a series of mini-articles alerting our readers to papers of note.  This week, an article from the New England Journal of Bullshit detailing how the use of completely made-up scientific terms almost saved a boys life (but ultimately didn’t):

Wilson M. et al (2014) Probing genomic dark matter using unbiased next-generation sequencing and a cloud-enabled bioinformatics pipeline. NEJB 1:1-57


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STAP papers to be re-submitted to PLOS ONE

JAPAN.  The two controversial stem-cell papers recently retracted by Haruko Obokata of the RIKEN institute are to be re-submitted to PLOS ONE, The ScienceWeb has learned.

In the papers, Obokata claimed to be able to create embryonic-like stem cells simply by stressing normal cells with acid (the pH kind, not the hallucinogenic kind).  However, after several attempts to reproduce the findings failed, both papers were retracted.  The related research on stressing researchers with coffee is unaffected.

As the papers have now effectively been rejected by Nature, Obokata plans to spend two weeks re-formatting the text, ready for a submission to PLOS ONE.

“We thought about the obvious candidates, like PLOS Biology, Genome Biology, PNAS etc, but we thought we’d run into exactly the same problem as before – people would notice that the research is crap” a source from RIKEN stated.  “So we’ll just go straight for PLOS ONE, it should get published there with no real issues” they continued.

The habit of submitting to a high-impact journal, being rejected and then reformatting for PLOS ONE is becoming increasingly common in academic circles, so much so that certain researchers have sarted to miss out the first step entirely.  Those rejected from PLOS ONE simply submit to bioRxiv and move on.

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Top journals in bioscience release guidelines for publication

LONDON, UK.  The World’s top ten journals in the biosciences have come together to release guidelines that they believe scientists should follow to ensure publication, and The Science Web has gained exclusive access to these.  We print them below, without modification:

In order to ensure that we publish only the very best news-worthy stories, we encourage all of our submitters to follow the guidelines below.

1. First, choose an interesting, though controversial, topic; such as “the impact of the microbiome on health”, or “trans-generational epigenetic effects”.

2. We recommend that you carry out experiments on only a few, well chosen individuals.  Using a small numbers of subjects increases your chance of finding an effect; also, we simply don’t have the space to publish studies on larger numbers of samples.  Be wary of increasing the numbers, or checking in an independent population – your effect may disappear completely, and we would definitely not publish a negative result.  Don’t worry about the “small N” problem, we can simply extrapolate.

3. You should probably look at only a small number of well-chosen candidate genes.  Again, by limiting the number of genes you look at, you will increase the chance of finding a difference.  There’s really no need to look “genome-wide” – simply use your awesome encyclopaedic knowledge of the subject to pre-determine what the answer is – after all, you knew what you would find before even starting the study, didn’t you?

4. If at first you don’t find an effect, torture your data until you do.  This can be done by dropping “pesky” outliers from the dataset.  And remember, it doesn’t matter how small your effect is – simply fiddle with the scale on your graphs to make it look bigger!

5. Speculate wildly and inaccurately about the significance of your results; don’t worry if your results, only ever observed in a tiny population on a small number of genes, and completely unreplicable, have very little real-world significance – simply make stuff up about how it impacts our understanding of e.g. human evolution or the existence of alien life

6. Ignore statistics, almost completely.  Definitely do not correct p-values, it only makes them less significant. We don’t have space for error bars

7. Please do not put any interesting methodological information in the main paper – our readers are not interested in *how* you did it; bury that in the supplement


There we are!  The Science Web are proud to bring you this exclusive guide on how to get published in only the very best high-impact journals.  Enjoy!

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