Posts

October 23, 2014

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11:39 AM | What if NSF preproposals WERE the proposals?
I just finished my NSERC grant (hooray!), so thought I’d fire off a quick post with some thoughts on the difference between NSERC grants and NSF grants. At the end, there’s a radical suggestion for NSF grants: do away with … Continue reading →
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11:30 AM | Regular Hours
I’ve been on my internship for almost three weeks now, and I have to say that working regular hours is marvellous. As a PhD student, it can be difficult to work regular hours when you have the freedom and flexibility … Continue reading →

October 22, 2014

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11:58 PM | How the United Kingdom Stopped Grade Inflation
Grade inflation, the long-term increase in the average GPA earned by American college students, has worried education observers for years. While the ultimate drawback is perhaps a little unclear (are people really getting hired for jobs or being admitted to law schools who don’t really know what they’re doing because admissions officers and human resource professionals were hoodwinked by high grades?), inflation is a very real thing. In 1991 the average college GPA was 2.93. In 2006 […]
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6:17 PM | Cuckoo Filters
An upcoming paper appearing at CoNext will be of interest to any Bloom Filter user or aficionado:Cuckoo Filter:  Practically Better than Bloom(Bin Fan, David Andersen, Michael Kaminsky, Michael Mitzenmacher)Let me describe a cuckoo filter and some of what's in the paper for you.  If you want to avoid a technical discussion, all you need to know is that for reasonably large sized sets, for the same false positive rate as a corresponding Bloom filter, cuckoo filters use less space than […]
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4:27 PM | Stuck at 225
My weight loss progress is progress no more. I am stuck at 225. I have my morning routine. I wake up and jog to the facilities; then I weigh myself. Why do I do this in this order? Because I do not use an alarm-clock. I depend on my own hydro-alarm that wakes me up […]
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3:49 PM | Private Companies Increasingly Drive Innovation at Public Research Universities
The new Raytheon-UMass Lowell Research Institute is housed inside the Mark and Elisia Saab Emerging Technologies and Innovation Center, home to cutting-edge advances in nanotechnology, plastics engineering, optics and more. (Photo Courtesy of UMass Lowell). The amount of research dollars public colleges and universities receive from federal and state governments is dwindling. Private companies are picking up the slack, driving innovation at public research universities. Starting next semester, […]
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1:22 PM | From Campus DJ to Kaluza Prize Winner, Josie Clowney Connects to Science
To be clear, E. Josephine Clowney, the 2014 winner of the $5,000 ASCB Kaluza Prize supported by Beckman Coulter, says she met her husband and learned to be a good scientist as a disc jockey for her college radio station. Leaving the husband part aside, Clowney explains the scientist part this way—playing all kinds of music on the highly eclectic WCBN-FM at the University of Michigan (UMich) in Ann Arbor, including music she didn't think at first was music, such as a Thai elephant […]
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12:57 PM | What do you want to know about writing a preproposal?
I've been tasked by my Research Office to give a presentation on writing NSF preproposals. This is a topic I've written about before, but I am curious what types of questions are out there. If you were attending such a presentation, what information would you hope to hear about?
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12:00 PM | Conference report: SACNAS
Here is a detailed report on my brief experience with the SACNAS meeting, aggregated as an unordered set of observations and thoughts. Just a short while ago, I was wondering whether my students are better served attending a disciplinary meeting, or a minority-focused conference. I was given the opportunity by SACNAS to see for myself.…
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11:43 AM | Elliot Sober on the present and future of philosophy of biology
Back in Sept. I was fortunate to be able to attend a philosophy of science “summit” at the University of Calgary, with talks by a bunch of the world’s top philosophers of science. I thought I’d share my notes from … Continue reading →
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10:41 AM | Discussing the Future of Recommender Systems at RecSys2014
Maya and Kris from the Mendeley Data Science team have just returned from RecSys2014, the most important conference in the Recommender System world. RecSys is remarkable in that it attracts an equal number of participants from industry and academia, many of whom are at the forefront of innovation in their fields. The team had a […]
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8:08 AM | Are you Shutting Up and Writing?
Inspired by the awesome blog, the Thesis Whisperer and under the constant reminder that we must publish or perish, post docs from the School of Natural Sciences have been meeting on a weekly basis, on and off for the past year to sit down, shut up and write. Here is a bit of background on the Shut Up and Write ‘movement’, a little bit of what we’ve learned along the way and a big invite to any post grads, post docs and PIs in TCD’s School of Natural Sciences to come […]
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6:22 AM | OYM51: Pruning and Postdocs
On Your Mind is going international!  Liam and Kat will be heading to Washington this year for the 2014 Society for Neuroscience Meeting.  We’ve even got an exhibitor booth this year!  So, if you’re attending the conference, stop by to say hello and talk science with the team. It’s the calm before the storm for ...read more The post OYM51: Pruning and Postdocs appeared first on On Your Mind Podcast.

October 21, 2014

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11:01 PM | The light keeper’s house and elephant seals at UC Santa...
The light keeper’s house and elephant seals at UC Santa Cruz’s Año Nuevo Island Reserve. Hundreds of thousands of northern elephant seals once inhabited the Pacific Ocean. They were slaughtered wholesale in the 1800s for the oil that could be rendered from their blubber. By 1892, only 50 to 100 individuals were left. The UCSC reserve supports a 40-year ongoing study of the growing elephant seal population, which has rebounded from near extinction a century ago. Explore some […]
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5:12 PM | A peanut in the middle of our galaxy It turns out that the...
A peanut in the middle of our galaxy It turns out that the center of our galaxy resembles the shape of a peanut according to new research.  UCLA’s R. Michael Rich is looking to map this dense inner region of the Milky Way. It can be thought of as a big metropolitan area with “stellar suburbs” of stars at the edges that can be anywhere from a few million years old to some 12 billion years old. The way he plans to do this is to use images taken from a 500 megapixel camera […]
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4:25 PM | Standing on the San Andreas Fault
Having just arrived in California and still in the process of unpacking boxes in my apartment, I decided the most productive thing to do was go on a hike. Silicon Valley is near a lot of Open Space Preserves as well as various local and state parks, and I was really eager to get outside and explore. And because I'm in California, I was hungry to finally set eyes (and foot) on the biggest fault I could get to.
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3:16 PM | Louisiana, Do Your Homework: Student Absenteeism, Not Ebola, is the Real Epidemic
As a preventative measure to protect against the spread of Ebola, the Louisiana State Board of Elementary and Secondary Education made new emergency changes to the state’s governing handbook. However, there is no emergency — just an Ebola scare, which the board simply contributed to by making changes to sound policy. There is currently no epidemic of the Ebola virus in the U.S., where three cases have been reported, with one fatality. The best preventative measure schools can take […]
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2:40 PM | Taxonomy vs research theme based conferences: which do you attend?
These two weeks are allowing me to contrast two very different kinds of meetings. As a member of the Linnean Centre of Plant Biology in Uppsala, I attended our yearly meeting last week*. The centre aims to bring together the plant biologists working in Uppsala and I was lucky that it started up in the…
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7:30 AM | How super-resolution microscopy made me fall in love with science (again) | Steve Caplan
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then a super-resolution image may be worth a thousand gigabytes and its changing the course of biomedical researchSeveral weeks ago I signed up for a workshop in super-resolution microscopy. In the meantime, before even arriving here at the US National Institutes of Health, the workshop took on dramatic additional significance, with the announcement of the three 2014 Nobel Prize winners for chemistry: Eric Betzig, Stefan Hell and William Moerner. These […]
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3:09 AM | Killer Lessons from an Astronaut
Wikimedia – public domain  During a  Fresh Air National Public Radio program, astronaut Christ Hadfield said that during their flight rehearsals at NASA, Astronauts go sequentially over the various problems that may result in rapid (and usually final) death if they do … Continue reading →

October 20, 2014

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11:00 PM | Play with your food UC has been part of so much research related...
Play with your food UC has been part of so much research related to food so we’re celebrating with peppermint trucks and garlic-and-bean dragons. Make a delightfully delicious collage entirely from local produce. If your collage is selected as a favorite, you can win a $75 LocalHarvest gift certificate. Get started on your collage here →
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3:00 PM | Preparing students for less-supportive environments
Over at Small Pond Science, I have a post today about how the events at last week’s Grace Hopper conference led to a discussion about better preparing our students to navigate less-supportive environments, particularly in jobs, internships, and research positions. Check it out, and if you have any insights to share, join in the conversation […]
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2:12 PM | A Resolution in October.
I am a goal-driven person. That’s how my ambition manifests. I often think, when imagining taking on some new project, that “I don’t want to die without having done it.” That’s how I felt about writing my symphony, a work still unfinished. I will work on it again one day. I think I’ll finish it. […]
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2:11 PM | Twenty Five Percent of Low-Income Urban High Schools Beat the Odds
It won’t surprise anyone to learn that wealthier high schools send more students to college than low-income high schools. But a October 2014 report from the research arm of the National Student Clearinghouse, which tracks college students, reveals that a quarter of low-income urban high schools are doing better than a quarter of their high-income counterparts. On average, low-income urban high schools with high concentrations of minority students sent about half, or 51 percent, of […]
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1:18 PM | What math should ecologists teach
Recently Jeremy made the point that we can’t expect ecology grad students to learn everything useful under the sun and asked in a poll what people would prioritize and toss. More math skills was a common answer of what should … Continue reading →
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1:16 PM | Thoughts on preprints and citations
A couple of months ago Micah J. Marty and I had a twitter conversation and subsequent email exchange about how citations worked with preprints. I asked Micah if I could share our email discussion since I thought it would be useful to others and he kindly said yes. What follows are Michah’s questions followed by […]
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12:49 PM | Red-Collar Research
Thanks to the real-world ingenuity of NC State textile and engineering students, there’s a passel of elephants in South Africa who’ll find it impossible to forget which villages they’re supposed to avoid.
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12:23 PM | How to answer to reviewers
This is another of the aspects of doing science that nobody explicitly teach you. The basics are pretty simple to explain (just respond to everything and point by point). You start by mimicking what your mentor does, how other co-authors respond, and how … Continue reading →
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12:00 PM | Having “The Talk” with students
Recently, I posted on my regular blog about two separate incidents at the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. One was a male allies panel gone horribly awry, and the other (which was all over the news outlets the next day) was a statement from Microsoft’s CEO about how women should trust the system…
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11:31 AM | New on F1000Research – 20 October 2014
Happy Open Access Week! Make sure to check out what we have planned this week, and join us later today for our Google Hangout. Featured article Commercial antibodies and their validation [v2; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/4jp] JLA Voskuil This week’s featured article is about the validation of commercial antibodies. [...]
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