Monday, May 25, 2015

In vitro, in vivo
The revolution's begun

A 2006 paper in Cancer, let me show you it:
See Fig 2 below. Each column contains cultures of a different line of human prostate cell -- normal (PrEC), and three less-to-more invasive lines of prostate cancer. Each row shows different samples that have been fixed and stained with monoclonal antibodies to depict the level of expression of three separate components in a novel cytokine pathway.

Clearly the plan was that Sheldrake's Morphogenetic Field would guide the proliferation of the cells as they teem and pullulate in their petri dishes, inducing the same clusters to recur until a repeating pattern formed that could be used as wallpaper. Of course you could obtain the same effect with Photoshop but that would lack the challenge.
There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down
This came to the notice of Retraction Watch readers thanks to a sharp-eyed pseudonymous commenter. The fourth author of the paper, Anil Potti, enjoys a kind of celebrity status at Retraction Watch on account of his aggressively lawyered-up response to questions of research probity and requests for original data.
The degree of recurrence from one cell-culture to the next is most easily dramatised by turning one panel into a photographic negative, rotating it through 180° if necessary, and superimposing it on the other with 50% transparency, so that corresponding pixels will cancel out if they are identical.

And then things escalated at RW and at PubPeer until we wound up with a colour-coded tequila hangover:
Petrie dishes (UCL Museums, London)
In each combination of panels there are sections which do not match, and do not cancel, as if the separate panels were themselves photomosaics. Thus the experiment can only be considered a partial success and the jobs of wallcovering designers remain secure! Chen &c should have borrowed the Morphogenic Field Flux Intensifier!
I get positively angry with the impertinence of it and the everlastingness. Up and down and sideways they crawl, and those absurd, unblinking eyes are everywhere. There is one place where two breadths didn't match, and the eyes go all up and down the line, one a little higher than the other.

1 comment:

Big Bad Bald Bastard said...

There is a recurrent spot where the pattern lolls like a broken neck and two bulbous eyes stare at you upside down

Put a candle on it to make a Gland of Glory.