Posts

April 18, 2015

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12:00 PM | Is There Signal in the fMRI Noise?
A new paper in Neuroimage suggests that methods for removing head motion and physiological noise from fMRI data might be inadvertently excluding real signal as well. The authors, Molly G. Bright and Kevin Murphy of Cardiff, studied the technique called nuisance regression. It's a popular approach for removing fMRI noise. Noise reduction is important because factors such as head movement, the heart beat, and breathing, can contaminate the fMRI signal and lead to biased results. Nuisance regres

Bright MG & Murphy K (2015). Is fMRI "noise" really noise? Resting state nuisance regressors remove variance with network structure., NeuroImage, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25862264

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April 17, 2015

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7:35 PM | The 'Self Esteem' Strategy to Improve Community College Completion
So America’s community college are working on a new strategy to improve graduation rates. It’s pretty… interesting. According to this piece at the Chronicle of Higher Education: A project known as Connect2Complete provides low-income students who are in remedial classes with peer mentors, many of whom have been through the program themselves. During the first few weeks of the semester, the students, mentors, and instructors participate in a service-learning project that is […]
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4:32 PM | Senate Proposes a New Education Technology Program in No Child Left Behind, with Teacher Training a Priority
Legislation headed for debate on the U.S. Senate floor would create a new program to provide the nation’s schools with more money for technology and for training to make the most of it. The program has a nickname, I-TECH, but it’s not yet known how much money will be dedicated for it - or if it will make it as written into whatever version of the legislation eventually becomes law. The program is included in the bill that the Senate committee responsible for education approved on […]
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4:18 PM | The Milky Way’s Alien Disk and Quiet Past
The Milky Way grew by accreting many smaller galaxies. What did these doomed galaxies leave behind, and what could they say about the Milky Way's early past?
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2:39 PM | Determinism and Responsibility.
In a very brief conversation with Nathaniel Comfort, an author on, among other things, genetics, I was inspired to write a bit about determinism and responsibility. The basic concept of genetic determinism as I understand it (spoiler alert: not well) is that the information coded in our genes is responsible for nearly everything about us. […]
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2:27 PM | Open Science News – 17 April 2015
The biggest open science news this week was the announcement that the World Health Organisation is asking for clinical trial data to be made publicly available. Many lives could have been saved if crucial Ebola research had not been behind a paywall, reports TechDirt. Lack of available data could have prevented several cases [...]
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12:40 PM | Earthworms at the Morgan Arboretum
This is a post written by undergraduate student Jessica Turgeon – she’s finishing up a project about earthworms. When I was a child, you could always find me either in a tree or in the dirt. I liked to follow the ants up into the trees and back down again, where I would switch over […]
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11:53 AM | Friday links: surviving science, the ultimate citation, why everything is broken, and more
Also this week: depressing news on gender balance in major scientific awards, when trainees go bad, the history of the passive voice, and more. Oh, and identify any insect with this one handy picture. :-) From Meg: While I was … Continue reading →
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8:40 AM | Productivity!
A few months ago in our weekly NERD club we ran a session on dealing with stress. Part of this session revolved around what made us stressed, and one of the big problems was feeling like we had too much to do and too little time to do it. To follow up on this, this week we looked at how to be more productive. Many of our discussions revolved around the ideas presented here and here. What makes us less productive? The causes of our lack of productivity varied across career stages and […]
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5:54 AM | Lithium
I came across an impressive poem through an interpretation of the poem in the British Journal of General Practice. Lithium After the arc of ECT and the blunt concussion of pills, they gave him lithium to cling to— the psychiatrist’s stone. A metal that floats on water, must be kept in kerosene, can be drawn […] Related posts:Do It Yourself Lithium Kit, Dutch Innovation Jack Nicholson Supported Hydrogen and Solar Power in 1978 Genes Predict Reponse to Lithium Addition for […]

April 16, 2015

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9:00 PM | Sushi Meets Science: “The Wasabi Receptor”Researchers at UCSF...
Sushi Meets Science: “The Wasabi Receptor”Researchers at UCSF have pulled aside the curtain on a protein informally known as the “wasabi receptor,” revealing at near-atomic resolution structures that could be targeted with anti-inflammatory pain drugs. The newly visualized protein resides in the cellular membrane of sensory nerve cells. It detects certain chemical agents originating outside our bodies — pungent irritants found in substances ranging from wasabi to […]
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6:45 PM | On the Need for Shiny New Facilities
I’m off to open a new block at Brighton and Hove Sixth Form College tomorrow. A shiny new building to provide fresh classrooms and additional study space, something many schools would dearly love to have. A decent working environment is … Continue reading →
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4:05 PM | Sure, More Education Will Reduce Inequality (A Tiny Bit)
A recent editorial in the Wall Street Journal entered a long and contentious debate about the economic impacts of college. Would more Americans earning further credentials beyond high school reduce the well-known problem of American inequality? The piece answers this question with a resounding yes. This is technically true. More education would reduce inequality, but only by a very, very small amount. According to the article: Education remains the chief American institution that promotes […]
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4:00 PM | Sex and the successful fundraiser | Richard P Grant
A real-world study shows that in the art – and science – of fundraising, some of us have a natural advantage...It’s Spring, and everybody’s at it.The neighbours’ cats stroll into my garden, mewling and hoping for a little bit of in flagrante. Honey bees brazenly assault the cherry blossom. Tulips coyly invite flies to more closely examine their seductive stamen. The blackbirds and robins and and tits and finches shout at each other, chups and warbles and chirrups […]
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3:06 PM | The For-Profit College Job Placement Rate Scandal Revisited
Now that the U.S. Department of Education has taken decisive action against Corinthian Colleges for cooking the books on its job placement rates, I thought that it was worth revisiting a series of posts we ran on our retired blog Higher Ed Watch in 2011 warning of an emerging “for-profit college job placement rate scandal.” I hope these posts are helpful reminders that this is not just a problem at Corinthian Colleges but throughout the for-profit higher education industry. “A […]
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1:32 PM | My Number
Here is my new logic puzzle. I thought of a positive integer that is below 100 and is divisible by 7. In addition to the public knowledge above, I privately tell the units digit of my number to Alice and the tens digit to Bob. Alice and Bob are very logical people, but their conversation […]
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11:01 AM | What if coauthors disagree about what their ms should say? (UPDATED)
In a recent interview, Richard Lewontin talks about how he and the late Stephen Jay Gould came to write their famous polemic “The Spandrels of San Marco” (ht Small Pond Science). Basically, Lewontin says all the polemical bits were by … Continue reading →
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1:45 AM | The psychology of mean bossesPeople who feel powerful — even if...
The psychology of mean bossesPeople who feel powerful — even if it’s fake power — are less likely to be considerate of others.via UPWORTHY:Clearly, it doesn’t take much to start these behaviors. All the researchers did in this study was give a few cookies to someone with completely artificial power.What should you do if your boss is a cookie monster?I don’t want to get all MBA on you, but managing up is a thing. By putting some thought into what makes your cookie […]

April 15, 2015

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8:58 PM | Autistic Traits Aren't Linked To Brain Anatomy?
According to a large study just published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders, there's no correlation between brain anatomy and self-reported autistic traits. Dutch researchers P. Cedric M. P. Koolschijn and colleagues looked at two samples of young Dutch adults: an 'exploration' sample of 204, and a separate 'validation' group of 304 individuals. Most of the participants did not have autism. The researchers looked for associations between various aspects of brain

Koolschijn PC, Geurts HM, van der Leij AR & Scholte HS (2015). Are Autistic Traits in the General Population Related to Global and Regional Brain Differences?, Journal of autism and developmental disorders, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25847757

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8:25 PM | Our Adjunct Professors Are on Welfare
In the last 20 years or so, even as college tuition keeps rising, schools are not spending more money on professors. What they are spending money on is a matter of debate but they’re increasingly relying on adjunct professors, teachers who are paid only by the classes they teach, and who don’t receive the generous benefits provided to full professors. But how bad is the problem? Colleges often suggest that, yes, they use adjunct professors, but there’s nothing inherently […]
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6:57 PM | Running Harder.
I’m in a bit of a strange spot with my running. I really want to be running further. I want to get into the 18 mile Saturdays, the 40 mile weeks. I want to be doing three-hour runs every weekend and kicking out 150 mile months. The kind of running I’ll need to peak at […]
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3:56 PM | C-3PO, PhD: Machine Learning in Astronomy
AutoScan was able to correctly identify real sources in the validation set 96% of the time, with a false detection (claiming an artifact to be a source) rate of only 2.5%.
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3:34 PM | A Conference in Arizona Emerges as a Power-Player in Education Technology
Pop quiz: Define equity. That question, posed to an educator, will probably spark a conversation about the uneven learning outcomes for disadvantaged students. But the word ‘equity’ means something very different to venture capitalists who invest in education technology. This dynamic was on display last week in the halls and lobby of the Phoenician Resort in Scottsdale, Arizona. The ASU+GSV Summit, an annual education technology conference, was the place to be and be seen. […]
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2:08 PM | How a Team of Engineers Is Trying to Save Dairy Farmers Time (and Money)
Five electrical engineers have taken on an unlikely project – finding a way to make the U.S. dairy industry more profitable.
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1:36 PM | OYM73: Klingon Repo Men
It’s finally spring!  We can tell because Liam’s been busy fine-tuning his study skills for a final exam, and Kat’s been embracing abstract season with full force.  Oh, and because the temperature has finally climbed above 0°C. Besides enjoying the sunshine, Kat’s been reading up on the future of the postdoc, and brings us an ...read more The post OYM73: Klingon Repo Men appeared first on On Your Mind Podcast.
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12:00 PM | Portable peer review and the manuscript cascade
I really hope portable peer review picks up speed. It’s normal for people to shoot high with submissions. Start with a journal that feels like a little stretch, and then work one’s way down the tiers of impressiveness. I do it myself, sometimes, though this game gets weary and seems rather wasteful of everybody’s time.…
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11:39 AM | Is it really that important to prevent and correct one-off honest errors in scientific papers?
Wanted to highlight what I think has been a very useful discussion in the comments, because I know many readers don’t read the comments. Yesterday, Brian noted that mistakes are inevitable in science (it’s a great post, BTW-go read it … Continue reading →
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10:01 AM | Community Support for ORCID – Who’s next to the plate?
Geoff Bilder, Jennifer Lin, Cameron Neylon The announcement of a $3M grant from the Helmsley Trust to ORCID is a cause for celebration. For many of us who have been involved with ORCID, whether at the centre or the edges, the road to sustainability has been a long one, but with this grant (alongside some other recent successes) the funding is in place to take the organization to where it needs to be as a viable membership organization providing critical community services. When we wrote the […]

April 14, 2015

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7:00 PM | Sink or Swim?
This post is the joint effort of Victoria Graham and Michelle Redman-MacLaren, both of James Cook University. Victoria is passionate about conservation biology and has dedicated the last four years studying just this. She loves to write and is currently completing an MPhil at James Cook University investigating the potential of a carbon incentive scheme […]
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3:24 PM | Test Case New Orleans: Will Charters Choose Community Over Union Busting?
Tiana Nobile, co-president of the new United Educators Morris Jeff teachers union, starts the day with her kindergarten class on October 28, 2014. Teachers at Morris Jeff Community School in New Orleans voted to unionize last year, making them the first to do so in a city that has had virtually no union representation since Hurricane Katrina. (Photo: Alex Neason) Don’t call it a comeback. But unions are beginning to take root once again in the New Orleans “portfolio […]
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