80% of scientists disgusted at the 80% of scientists who laughed at the 80% of people who think food containing DNA should be labelled

Oklahoma.  In an act of self flagellation not seen since the 13th century, the scientific community are embroiled in an orgy of self hatred after some of them found the results of a survey about food and labelling quite humorous.

The survey, carried out by Oklahoma State, asked respondents whether they supported clear labelling of food which contains DNA.  When 80% responded “yes”, this simply confirmed the well-accepted fact that the general public are morons.  Of course, 99% of food contains DNA, the exception being the cheese found on MacDonald’s burgers, which is thoroughly alien in origin.

However, a microsecond after the first laughter was heard, a liberal posse consisting of Guardian readers and led by Polly Toynbee immediately set about castigating scientists for daring to laugh at stupid people, an act outlawed by the Geneva Convention.

Celebrity science blogger Ed Yong took the full force of the backlash and was forced into an humiliating climb down on Twitter:

Others quickly followed as the wave of ultra-liberal-terror swept social media.  However, the lukewarm reception to Ed’s Tweet (only 35 retweets!) suggests that many in the scientific community do not agree with the change in direction, and many are now worried that scientists will continue to ridicule the idiocy of mankind for many years to come.

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92% of scientists at conferences desperate for a dinner invitation

San Diego, US.  According to a recent survey carried out by the Big Data Institute, over 92% of scientists at scientific conferences are desperate for someone, just anyone, to invite them out to dinner.  TheScienceWeb interviewed anonymously one of the respondents.

“You get there, you’re on your own, in a strange hotel room in a strange place, surrounded by strange people” one said.  “And you know, scientists don’t really have any social skills, so it’s not like we can go up to someone and speak to them, or look people in the eye, nothing like that.  And you’re just desperate for someone to talk to, you know?” they continued, tears beginng to roll down their cheeks. “You just want some no-eye-contact-stare-at-your-feet-awkward small talk, some conversation.  A dinner invite?  Oh my god, that would be heaven” they finished.

Shocked by this, we sought some advice from other scientists that we know.

“This is all too common, I’m afraid” said Laurie Goodwoman, queen of Bigascience, a journal with a presence at many conferences.  “At the top end, you have the famous professors, they give the talks and spend the budget.  And the companies, they employ people with great social skills, and those people take the professors out to dinner.  That works.  But at the lower end, when you have no budget and the companies aren’t interested in you, those guys are up the creek without a paddle.  No-one’s inviting them to dinner.  It’s a problem” she finished.

TheScienceWeb have subsequently discussed setting up a kickstarter, to allow scientists at conferences to talk via an app, rather than speak to the person sat next to them.

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Oxford Nanopore release breakthrough technology

Oxford, UK.  TheScienceWeb have learned that Oxford Nanopore technologies are to announce a breakthrough new technology at AGBT in Florida next month.

The new “technology” will be roughly human sized, and instead of sequence data, will output well-written and informative articles about the MinION in a format suitable for submission to Nature journalsThe new “machine” is called the LomanION, and is available for hire now.

“We’re really excited about this” said Clive ‘Divine’ Brown, chief technical technician at Oxford Nanopore Technologies.  “Users who are familiar with the ONT online store will be able to order the LomanION from tomorrow.  Within 2-3 days, Nick Loman will arrive at your address, give a seminar, and then begin to write high quality articles about the MinION.  You can submit them wherever you like, but they are formatted for Nature.  As an added bonus, in the evening the LomanION will whip up some amazing BBQ” Brown continued.

Rumours are now rife on social media that another new machine, the QuickION, will be available in 2016.  Sold alongside the LomanION, the QuickION will actually do all of the work that the LomanION will write about.


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Nature to provide open access to articles using NOAT™ technology

LONDON UK.  In a ground-breaking move, the journal Nature is to make all future articles open access through their proprietary NOAT™ platform.

Publishers have been put under increasing pressure recently for publishing important science behind paywalls, ensuring that only the wealthy get to read journal articles that they publish.  This is made worse as often the research in question is funded by tax payers, who then can’t read papers about the research they funded.

“We decided that enough was enough” a spokesperson for Nature told TheScienceWeb. “We have developed a proprietary system called NOAT™ which will allow anyone to access Nature articles free of charge” they continued.

NOAT™, which stands for Novel Oral Aural Technique, involves someone with a full paid-for access subscription to Nature, actually picking up the telephone, dialling the number of someone without a subscription, and reading the contents of the paper to a person at the other end.

“With our new proprietary NOAT™ platform, we are opening up science to the masses, and enabling true open-access to science” the Nature spokesperson continued, without any hint of irony.

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90% of researchers sequencing things because they “can’t think of anything else to do”

Cambridge, MA.  90% of genomics researchers are sequencing things because they exist in a complete intellectual vacuum and can’t think of anything else to do, a recent survey suggests.

The survey asked the simple question: “If you are currently involved in a genome sequencing project, can you identify any real reasons why?”.  92% of the 10,000 scientists surveyed ticked “no”.  In the comments box beneath the question, respondents had written “if it moves, sequence it”, “I don’t understand the question” and “you could sequence an ant’s scrotum and Genome Research would publish it”.

Recent papers in genomics include those describing the genome of the cucumber, the genome of the centipede and the genome of the ferret.  Some have suggested that scientists are simply following the alphabet, but Arthur MacDaniel of the Wide Institute denies this: “Following the alphabet would imply that genomicists are following some kind of logic or rational; they’re not.  Their motto is ‘sequence first, think later’ but too often they only complete half of those tasks.  These guys are frothing at the mouth for DNA.  In fact, they’d sequence the froth and submit it to Nature if they could” Arthur continued.

In related news, in human medicine where genomics could actually make a real difference and cure disease, the society of doctors (SODs) have refused to adopt routine genome sequencing, issuing the following statement: “we didn’t think of it first, so **** you genomics!”

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Real science found to be contaminating microbiome studies

Birmingham, UK.  In a result that has shocked the entire field, researchers led by Dr Callum Porker at the University of Aberdeen have revealed that some microbiome studies are becoming contaminated with real science.

“For ages, microbiome research has been like a really bad B movie” said Dr Porker yesterday.  “You know, wild claims… alien bacteria that cause everyone to turn into zombies, people swimming in lakes who swallow algae and turn into cannibals, that type of thing” he continued.  “But increasingly we’re finding weird contamination in microbiome papers that looks actually real – like, you know, an actual real scientific result” he finished.

The paper, published today in BMC Couldn’t Get In To Genome Biology, has caused quite a stir, with many scientists jumping on the bandwagon, such as Dick Spotson at the University of Edinburgh.  “I’m really glad this is out now, I’ve been presenting these results as if they’re my own for some time” said Dr Spotson.

However, perhaps unsurprisingly, the results were not taken well by everyone.  “Who the hell do these guys think they are?”  said Gilbert Jack, Professor of Microbiomes at University of the Planet.  “If we wanted real science, we’d have done real science.  Microbiome doesn’t need facts or statistics or reality!  If people who work in our field want to say that soil bacteria cause cancer and algal viruses cause stupidity, they should be allowed to do so.  Get off my lawn!” he finished, red faced.


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Stupidity found in humans, slows brain activity

NEBRASKA.  For the first time, stupidity has been found in the brains of senior academics, slowing down their brain activity and making them publish absolute bollocks in high-impact journals.

“This is really big news” said James Van Halen, senior author on the study.  “No-one has ever found stupidity in the brains of academics before, it’s normally only found at the bottom of the social ladder.  We’re trying to figure out how it got there, because it’s really out of place” he continued.

Once stupidity had been found in the brains of academics, the hunt was on to find the effects of such an infection.  “We did some tests on a very small number of individuals, and once we’d thrown away the outliers that didn’t agree with our preconceived vision of what we’d find, there was a statistically significant effect” Van Halen said.  “What we found was that stupid academics were far more likely to publish absolute bollocks”.

To test for causality, stupidity was injected into mice by making them watch Jersey Shore continuously for 96 hours.  “The stupid mice, the ones who watched the show, couldn’t get out of a maze; they actually just stood next to a wall and repeatedly banged their head against it”.  Causality proven, the team began to get really worried about the health impacts of stupidity.

However, before we all become alarmed at this awful, emerging threat, Van Halen offers some hope.  “Luckily, we’ve found natural antibodies to stupidity right here in the academic community.  We found that a significant number of open scientists, those who submit to open access journals, those who publish pre-prints and those who engage in open review, you know, the PLOS hipster crowd; those guys all seem to have natural antibodies against stupidity” Van halen said excitedly.  “So, for those of us infected, there is hope!”

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