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Posts

April 15, 2014

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10:14 PM | CCDBG Reauthorization a Must for House Republicans
At least in recent years, Congress is usually where educational improvements go to die. But last month, the Senate passed a reauthorization bill for the Child Care and Development Block Grant. Senators sent the bill over to the House, where Education and Workforce Committee Chairman John Kline (R-MN) held a hearing. But what happens next remains to be seen. This week, I published an op-ed in The Hill urging House Republicans to give the bill a second look. I listed four reasons the members […]
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7:19 PM | California Among the Worst in Awarding Degrees to Hispanics
With a population more than twice as Hispanic as the national average, California has a lower-than-average proportion of Hispanics with college or university educations, and no institution among the top five for awarding them degrees, according to a new study. The state is 38 percent Hispanic, compared to the national average of 17 percent. But only 16 percent of adults aged 25 or older have degrees, compared to the national average for Hispanics of 20 percent, the study, by the advocacy […]
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5:01 PM | Usefulness of my article alert…
Dear readers, I have a simple question for you today: Do you find my posts entitled “Cerebrovascular Physiology – Article alert” useful or should I relay this information on twitter ? Your feedback would be appreciated! Many thanks !Filed under: Uncategorized
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4:59 PM | Boulder blitz
Last week I got to spend a couple of days in lovely Boulder, CO for a meeting (fortunately right before Sunday’s snow). The meeting (which was for the Thriving Earth Exchange’s Advisory Board – keep an eye out for updates!) kept us inside a lot, but the NCAR facility that hosted us has some fantastic views of Colorado’s Front Range and the famous Flatirons. The boulders in the foreground and …
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3:43 PM | Passion? Commitment? High drama? I’m a scientist; give me a break
Happy Easter holiday, everyone. And the same season brings a certain date, so Happy Birthday to me. Yes, it’s around this time of year that the annual involuntary review of achievements (or lack thereof) looms large. Each year it seems to arrive a little sooner. I shall be spending my birthday entirely alone. Well, not […]
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3:32 PM | How to Rescue U.S. Bioscience from its Successes and Excesses
Calling it "a recipe for long-term decline," four of the nation's most distinguished cell biologists describe the present U.S. system of biomedical research as "unsustainable" and "hypercompetitive," calling for a sweeping rebalancing of bioscience education, funding, and direction. In a "Perspective" just published in PNAS, Bruce Alberts, Marc Kirschner, Shirley Tilghman, and Harold Varmus advocate reforms in the scientific workforce with a gradual reduction in the number of students […]
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3:24 PM | Drinking My Education.
Yesterday I wrote about not being good enough to be a professor of systems engineering. But if you’ve read this blog long at all, you know that I’ve wondered if, in different circumstances, I might have been. I don’t know. I’ll never know. I find myself, often, tempted to blame woes in life on my […]
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1:55 PM | This Is What Science Looks Like At NC State: Doreen McVeigh
Editor’s note: This is an entry in an ongoing series of posts that we hope will highlight the diversity of researchers in science, technology, engineering and mathematics. The series is inspired by the This Is What A Scientist Looks Like site. This post focuses on Doreen McVeigh, a Ph.D. student studying marine ecology at NC
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1:55 PM | Challenges and Best Practices for Scaling Home Visiting Programs
Strum the American heartstrings, and you’ll hear a familiar triad of affections: baseball, apple pie, and parenthood. Americans are eager parents—our birth rates, while falling, remain well above many other developed countries. We so revere the practice of parenting, however, that we generally accept that it must necessarily be sacred to the point of magic. “You can’t legislate morality,” goes the truism; most legislators put “parenting” in that same […]
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1:03 PM | Fulfill my dream. Make me society secretary.
I've been asked to run for the position of Society Secretary by a society that I have been involved with for a number of years. As part of the ballot process, they distribute a 1 page bio of those running that includes research area, recent pubs, service, etc. But, the one piece I haven't been […]
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12:00 PM | Backyard science
Spring is springing in Sweden and I’m finally out from under my grant writing load. It is pretty easy to complain about writing grants and I am not innocent in this respect. But it is also an opportunity to explore new ideas and topics. This year I decided to try at the more applied government […]
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11:00 AM | Why Captain America’s Shield Is Basically a Star-Spangled Supercapacitor
Captain America’s shield is famous for absorbing tremendous amounts of kinetic energy, from an artillery shell to a punch from the Hulk – keeping Cap not only safe, but on his feet.  What’s going on here? It’s tough to explain how the shield works, in part because it behaves differently under different circumstances. Sometimes the
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2:30 AM | We have Minions!
A couple of years ago, Oxford Nanopore made a big scientific splash when they announced they had developed a new DNA sequencing technology that would revolutionize genomics. Their MinION devices were the size of a USB stick, but were supposedly capable of sequencing long reads from single DNA molecules. After two years of wondering whether these devices were mythical, I can now tell you they actually exist. Together with Mike Gillings, we received five Minions in the mail today as part of a […]

April 14, 2014

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10:52 PM | Whoa! Do 45 Federal Programs Really Fund Early Care and Education?
Last week, the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee held a hearing on the Strong Start for America’s Children Act, a bill that would help expand state pre-K programs. While there is support among Senate Democrats for the bill, there is less among Senate Republicans. Instead, Senate Republicans want to streamline existing programs and give states much more flexibility in their provision of birth-to-5 early education programs. Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), […]
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10:03 PM | Mosaic is the New Savanna
Time was when the model of human evolution went something like this: our ancestors essentially evolved to climb and live in trees, but with the general drying and cooling of the Earth’s climate over the past few million years, the … Continue reading →
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5:09 PM | Buckle Your Seatbelt or Grab Your Parachute? Turbulent Times Make “Something Else” the New Majority Career Choice in Bioscience
It isn't your imagination. The recent ups and downs in biomedical research funding have made for turbulent times in academic laboratories across the US. Jennifer Couzin-Frankel points out in her overview article to an imaginatively reported "News Focus" section last week in Science on the work force and funding crisis in biomedical science that the NIH budget doubled between 1998 and 2003 from around $14 billion to $27 billion but remained essentially flat for the next five years. The […]
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4:38 PM | Building a better cup of coffee The brave new world of coffee?...
Building a better cup of coffee The brave new world of coffee? Think genetics. UC Davis geneticist Juan Medrano is known for his research on the genetics of milk (and the effect it has on humans), but recently has turned his research efforts towards coffee. The goal is to understand the variability of coffee genes at the DNA level. This would allow Medrano and others to accurately identify genetic forces that contribute to certain flavors as well as the crucial factor of disease resistance. The […]
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3:36 PM | Mendeley for iOS7
Today we’re very pleased to announce the latest update to Mendeley for iOS.  This release brings a refined user interface, that is designed to feel at home on iOS7 and above, but still retains the familiarity and usability of the previous design.  It’s currently rolling out slowly on the app store, but should be available […]
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3:02 PM | Crowdfunding for New Stem Cell Research into MS Treatment
  On the Mendeley blog we’ve often talked about ways that crowdfunding is helping to finance some important research projects. This month’s guest post features a campaign which already surpassed its goal of raising $300,000 to enable a study into a treatment for Multiple Sclerosis, using stem cells to potentially repair the damage caused by […]
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2:34 PM | The cool professor
When I started my lab I had a very distinct idea of the type of PI I wanted to be. I had experienced some different styles and observed many others. I knew what my needs were as a graduate student and a postdoc and recognized gaps in what my mentors had provided for me. Above […]
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12:30 PM | Is requiring replication statistical machismo?
A recent post of mine about why Biosphere 2 was a success stirred mixed reactions. But one of the most common negative reactions was that there was no replication in Biosphere 2, which of course EVERYBODY knows is a hallmark of good … Continue reading →
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12:00 PM | The first days of a new tenure-track faculty job
This is the season when some lucky ones preparing for new jobs in the fall. A few people have asked me what to expect, so I imagine even more are wondering. I’m writing from my own experience (starting 2.5 new faculty jobs), and yours have been different, so please do comment. What can you expect from […]
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11:34 AM | Not Good Enough.
Ed Yong is one of the English language’s better science writers. He often weighs in on issues facing academia, in addition to reporting science. One of the biggest issues facing academia right now is the pipeline problem: too many PhDs are graduating compared with the number of professorships that will ever be available for them. […]

April 13, 2014

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10:18 PM | Etymology. (Not to be confused with entomology.)
It's time I explained where the name of the blog, "q-bingo", comes from.It started last year at the q-bio conference, which is a conference focused on quantum quixotic quantitative biology. Like all fields, quantitative biology involves a certain amount of jargon and buzzwords, and certain words crop up more often than they would in everyday conversation.And where would you hear those words most often? Conferences, of course. In fact, you might start keeping track of how many times certain […]
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12:14 AM | Letting Time Fly and Remembering...
I haven't blogged for a while, sad to say.  It has been a pretty challenging semester, with my 48 "wild" freshmen, teaching "The Unity of Life" (in other words, introductory cell and molecular biology) here at the University of Puget Sound. My students are smart and capable young women and men, and it's my job to get them thinking like biologists, and to become used to the work ethic and philosophy of science courses---and more specifically, prepare them for the kinds of future courses […]

April 12, 2014

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5:12 PM | "If you wait long enough, everything changes."
“If you wait long enough, everything changes.” - Carl Sagan, Cosmos (via lawngirl)
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8:03 AM | The Stuff of Brains
That migraine I was waiting for finally struck this week. Amazingly it didn’t throw my life into disarray, because it hit me during a week I was supposed to be having ‘off’. Consequently it only spoiled a day of relaxation, … Continue reading →

April 11, 2014

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10:59 PM | Should There Be Gainful Employment for College Athletes?
College athletics, particularly the big-revenue sports of NCAA Division I football and basketball, have been in the news lately for less-than-athletic reasons. The recent push by the Northwestern football team to unionize has led to further discussion of whether college athletes* should be compensated beyond their athletic scholarships. And the University of Connecticut’s national championship team in men’s basketball comes a year after they were banned from the tournament due to […]
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7:02 PM | How's that Cooper Union Tuition Plan Working Out? Not So Well.
Recently Cooper Union, the New York City college that didn't charge tuition, decided after a series of bad financial and real estate decisions over the last decade or so (and constructing flashy buildings like that thing, below), to give up and start charging kids to learn. Founder Peter Cooper said the school should be as “free as air and water” when he helped create the institution back in 1859. Charging tuition is, of course, what almost all colleges in America do, but it […]
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3:42 PM | The Virtue of Laziness
My son, Alexey Radul, is a programmer. He taught me the importance of laziness in programming. One of his rules: Not to write the same line of code in the same program twice. If you need the same line of code in the same program, that means you should either use a loop or outsource [...]
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