Wednesday, December 3, 2014

TMFW 65 - Tangled Up in Swedish Academic Journals

Stupid old Real Work is interfering with my True Music Facts writing, so today's entry is short.  But it's charming, I think.

In 1997, Professors John Jundberg (or maybe Lundberg, as he is credited in the paper) and Eddie Weitzberg published a scientific paper in Nature Medicine titled "Nitric oxide and inflammation: The answer is blowing in the wind."  Jundberg and Weitzberg were colleagues at the Karolinska Institute in Stockholm, Sweden.  The abstract of the paper promises a discussion of a "novel, minimally invasive technique" for the "detection of mucosal inflammation." 

Because this is True Music Facts Wednesday and not True Mucosal Inflammation Detection Technique Facts Wednesday, we will focus on the latter part of the paper's title.  I should expect that TMFW readers recognize that "the answer is blowing in the wind" is from the Bob Dylan song "Blowin' in the Wind," from the album The Freewheelin' Bob Dylan.

After inserting that first Dylan lyric into their journal article, the Swedish scientists decided to keep up the effort.  In 2010, they published "The biological role of nitrate and nitrite: the times they are a-changin'" in the official journal of the Nitric Oxide Society.  That one of course references the song of the same name.

The pair of professors learned recently that two other of their colleagues - from the same institute in Stockholm - had published an article in 2003 titled "Blood on the tracks: a simple twist of fate?"  That paper questions whether "non-neural cells can generate neurons in mice and humans," and more importantly it features both a Dylan album name AND a Dylan song in the title.  So they decided to make a contest of it.  The four have wagered that whoever can rack up the most Dylan references in scholarly papers before retirement will earn a free lunch.

(It will no doubt feature lingonberries.)


BONUS FACT:  As described in the last link above, a new book from May of this year titled The Dylanologists: Adventures in the Land of Bob discusses a number of works from which Dylan has allegedly "appropriated" (or if you are feeling less charitable, plagiarized) material.  Dylan's inspiration covers everything "from American classics and travel guides, fiction and nonfiction about the Civil War, science fiction, crime novels, both Thomas Wolfe and Tom Wolfe, Hemingway, books on photography, songwriting, Irish music, soul music and a book about the art of the sideshow banner." 

Dylan has previously responded to plagiarism accusers: in a 2012 Rolling Stone interview, he offered the subtle opinion that "wussies and pussies complain about that stuff" and that "all those evil motherfuckers can rot in hell."


  1. If it's okay with you, I'd like to post a link to this page over at the True Mucosal Inflammation Detection Technique Facts Wednesday blog.


  2. BTW, it is the Karolinska Institute that decides the winners of the Nobel Prizes. --Cliff

  3. andy - you know that I run the competing blog True Mucosal Inflammation Detection Technique Facts Monday. I've got dibs on this one.