About this Author
DBL%20Hendrix%20small.png College chemistry, 1983

Derek Lowe The 2002 Model

Dbl%20new%20portrait%20B%26W.png After 10 years of blogging. . .

Derek Lowe, an Arkansan by birth, got his BA from Hendrix College and his PhD in organic chemistry from Duke before spending time in Germany on a Humboldt Fellowship on his post-doc. He's worked for several major pharmaceutical companies since 1989 on drug discovery projects against schizophrenia, Alzheimer's, diabetes, osteoporosis and other diseases. To contact Derek email him directly: Twitter: Dereklowe

Chemistry and Drug Data: Drugbank
Chempedia Lab
Synthetic Pages
Organic Chemistry Portal
Not Voodoo

Chemistry and Pharma Blogs:
Org Prep Daily
The Haystack
A New Merck, Reviewed
Liberal Arts Chemistry
Electron Pusher
All Things Metathesis
C&E News Blogs
Chemiotics II
Chemical Space
Noel O'Blog
In Vivo Blog
Terra Sigilatta
BBSRC/Douglas Kell
Realizations in Biostatistics
ChemSpider Blog
Organic Chem - Education & Industry
Pharma Strategy Blog
No Name No Slogan
Practical Fragments
The Curious Wavefunction
Natural Product Man
Fragment Literature
Chemistry World Blog
Synthetic Nature
Chemistry Blog
Synthesizing Ideas
Eye on FDA
Chemical Forums
Symyx Blog
Sceptical Chymist
Lamentations on Chemistry
Computational Organic Chemistry
Mining Drugs
Henry Rzepa

Science Blogs and News:
Bad Science
The Loom
Uncertain Principles
Fierce Biotech
Blogs for Industry
Omics! Omics!
Young Female Scientist
Notional Slurry
Nobel Intent
SciTech Daily
Science Blog
Gene Expression (I)
Gene Expression (II)
Adventures in Ethics and Science
Transterrestrial Musings
Slashdot Science
Cosmic Variance
Biology News Net

Medical Blogs
DB's Medical Rants
Science-Based Medicine
Respectful Insolence
Diabetes Mine

Economics and Business
Marginal Revolution
The Volokh Conspiracy
Knowledge Problem

Politics / Current Events
Virginia Postrel
Belmont Club
Mickey Kaus

Belles Lettres
Uncouth Reflections
Arts and Letters Daily
In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

In the Pipeline

« More Fun With Impact Factors | Main | Crossing Your Fingers, Authoritatively »

September 1, 2005

Thought For a Long Weekend

Email This Entry

Posted by Derek

Many of my readers here are scientists, and it's fair to say that everyone who stops by regularly must have an interest in the subject. It's easy to forget that scientific research is (like many other things) one of the brightly colored dabs of paint that make up the very thin veneer we call civilization.

There's a lot of stuff underneath, and a lot of it is ugly. It's the Hobbesian state of nature down there, a struggle for food and water and territory. Being able to think all day for a living - well, that's a huge outlier exception to the way the vast majority of human beings have had to live their lives. What's happened to New Orleans has been a terrible reminder of this truth. It's taken just a few days for the Lord of the Flies to become mayor in a special election there, and the same thing could happen anywhere else on Earth.

Let's hope that it never happens to us. Be grateful that you have the weekend to enjoy in peace and sanity, and consider giving something to help pull those people out of the water, out of the mud, and back to the dry land of the 21st century. I've given to the American Red Cross, and there's a list of other suggestions here. I'll see everyone on Tuesday.

Comments (9) + TrackBacks (0) | Category:


1. daen on September 2, 2005 8:51 AM writes...

It’s the Hobbesian state of nature down there, a struggle for food and water and territory.

Some of those stranded in NO are behaving in ways even weirder than Hobbes could have imagined. Where's the immediate survival benefit in looting a wide screen TV or 12 boxes of Nike trainers? Mass advertising and marketing has been so successful that some Katrina survivors have their hierarchy of needs upside-down, and will empty the consumer goods aisles of WalMart before they consider where the next meal or bottle of water is coming from.

Permalink to Comment

2. Timothy on September 2, 2005 2:25 PM writes...

Daen: or they got there after the food was gone/spoiled/ruied and decided to take stuff anyway.

Permalink to Comment

3. tom bartlett on September 3, 2005 10:34 AM writes...

Non-survival related looting and violence can not be excused, but the big looters here were the GOP. They took flood protection money (73 million-- seems like a bargain now) and moved it to Iraq. They took the Louisiana and mississippi natl. guard and sent them looking for "WMD's".The FEMA chief? A political-appointee who got fired from his previous job (a counsel for Horse trainers).

All is not lost. Congress is back to repeal that nasty estate tax. I am sure Skilling, and Eisner, and Ikan and all those other fine Americans who have benefited from the govt's largesse will now be opening their pockets and rolling up their sleaves. Sending their coporate lear jets to pick up survivors. Not!

Permalink to Comment

4. tom bartlett on September 3, 2005 10:35 AM writes...

And let us not forget that global warming thing that caused/exacerbated the storm in the first place.

Permalink to Comment

5. Kevin on September 3, 2005 1:17 PM writes...

Global warming? That's just an unproven theory pushed by the scientific cabal, like evolution...

Permalink to Comment

6. tom bartlett on September 4, 2005 12:27 AM writes...

Kevin: I hope for your sake that you are just being a troll today, but let us assume you really believe in "scientific cabals". Why don't you take off the tin foil hat for a while and check out the following links:

Permalink to Comment

7. Kevin on September 4, 2005 4:46 PM writes...


I wasn't trolling, it was merely a bit of gallows humor. Anything to stay sane in these trying times. Nonetheless, good informative links. I imagine they will come in handy here in the near future.

Permalink to Comment

8. daen on September 4, 2005 6:52 PM writes...

I have to say I find it a little incongruous that on Thursday GWB said, "I don't think anybody anticipated the breach of the levees." I'm sure that blasé statement galls LSU engineer Joseph Suhayda, who has been trying to draw attention to New Orleans' potential plight for years, and also probably annoys Jefferson Parish's director of emergency management Walter Maestri, who after a 2002 exercise to see what a Category 5 hurricane's impact would be on New Orleans famously christened the simulated hurricane KYAGB (Kiss Your Ass GoodBye).

Permalink to Comment

9. tom bartlett on September 4, 2005 9:10 PM writes...

Yeah that GWB statement killed me, too. I guess the levee reports weren't good vacation reading. Check out It is my favorite politics blog. Very funny, in a sad, dark way.

Permalink to Comment


Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):

The Last Post
The GSK Layoffs Continue, By Proxy
The Move is Nigh
Another Alzheimer's IPO
Cutbacks at C&E News
Sanofi Pays to Get Back Into Oncology
An Irresponsible Statement About Curing Cancer
Oliver Sacks on Turning Back to Chemistry