Posts

February 13, 2015

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7:28 PM | ucfoodobserver:Once, People Thought Chocolate Could Make You...
ucfoodobserver:Once, People Thought Chocolate Could Make You PregnantLearn more other historical notions about the delicious stuff from popsci. 
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7:00 PM | How Companies Can Make Millions off American Public Education, Despite Not Doing a Very Good Job
Pearson Education is one of the country’s largest education companies. The British-owned conglomerate is the parent of a variety of media brands, including Addison-Wesley, BBC Active, eCollege, Fronter, Longman, MyEnglishLab, Penguin Readers, Prentice Hall, and Financial Times Press. The company’s Operating profit in 2012 was about $1.4 billion. But that doesn’t mean the company is altogether doing a good job. According to this fascinating article at Politico: Pearson stands […]
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6:00 PM | Restful sleep: a how-to guide for a purr-fect night
Au Magazine to the rescue! Lie back and relax as Alison Thomson talks you through getting a good night’s sleep. University students are well known for their constant utterances of “I’m so tired”, “I could sleep for a week”, and the old favourite: “It’s time for my afternoon nap”. Recently, some institutions have embraced the…
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5:15 PM | The science of love: why some couples last for life.Love can be...
The science of love: why some couples last for life.Love can be a battlefield. So what makes a successful relationship?Psychologist Robert Levenson (known for his work on the “marry me” gene) and his team at UC Berkeley had a hunch that the key to a relationship’s stability was the ability to deal with conflict.So they gathered 156 middle-aged couples who had been married a long time. Every five years, these couples came to the lab and the researchers watched them interact and […]
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4:46 PM | Open Science News – 13 February 2015
A mixed bag of open science news in this week’s round-up. We’ve mentioned the Open Science Q&A proposal on Stack Exchange before. They now have 58% of the required number of committed users. Commitment is minimal: if you can answer just a few questions about open science, please sign up to help them reach [...]
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3:39 PM | Avoiding the 'Recipe for Disaster' in Ed Tech Plans
MIAMI, Fla. — Every school in the Miami-Dade County Public School system - nearly 400 buildings - is wired with Wi-Fi. The nation’s fourth largest school district, with about 355,000 students, also revved up bandwidth to ensure that schools had enough speed as more students and teachers went online. District leaders purchased new devices and digital curricular content to use in the classroom. They are now well ahead of President Obama’s goal to modernize connectivity in every […]
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2:03 PM | Churn.
The eve before discovery, we wait on crested waves of fear and churning hope. Which unturned stone is poised to change our fate? What prize is perched atop that dizzy slope? So run, alive, with me these ancient trails, and stand on stones ten centuries stacked! We’ll fly those waves with pregnant sails, We’ll climb […]
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2:02 PM | The Ugly truth
Scientists are far too preoccupied with aesthetics! I’m mentally absorbed writing a manuscript at the moment so this will be a brief post along the lines of ‘you know what really grinds my gears…’ There is an unwritten rule, at least among researchers I’ve interacted with in the UK and Germany that the best science […]
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1:00 PM | Recommended reads #46
What happens when you get paid 18 grand from NASA to stay in bed for two and a half months? Ever wonder what it’s like to remove your own appendix? How should we be selecting our grad students? This study indicates that we shouldn’t be looking at stuff like general GRE scores, GPA, and the fanciness…
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11:02 AM | Friday links: lego entomology, a blast from ecology’s past, France is bacon, and more
Also this week: text mining Rate My Professor, reproducibility is overrated, camera traps vs. Harvard students, overly honest R package help files, and more! From Meg: Entomologists are using legos to help work with collections of pinned insects. The pictures … Continue reading →
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8:40 AM | Trip to the tropics: rising water in the Rift Valley lakes
We drive out of the compound just after dawn; a convoy of four vans full of final year science students and staff. We heard lions calling beyond the fence last night, and we haven’t gone 500 meters before we see them: two males strolling off to the left. Within hours, we will have seen herds of buffalo, jackal, giraffe, vervet monkey, baboon and, most impressively, both black and white rhino, among many other birds, reptiles and mammals. The tourist in me is delighted to see so much so […]
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1:45 AM | How a single gene can influence your emotional reactionsIt’s...
How a single gene can influence your emotional reactionsIt’s challenging to understand how something as simple and small as a gene can affect something as complicated as human behavior — the effects can take a long time to manifest. With this in mind, UC Berkeley’s Robert Levenson embarked on a 20 year study. For the study, he looked at a particular gene that’s involved in the regulation of serotonin in the brain. A variation of this gene — known as the […]
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1:29 AM | Movies in your geology
No, that's not a typo - it's the topic of a discussion I prompted on Twitter a few weeks ago and then immediately forgot to post about. Fortunately, through the wonder of Storify, I can recap it for everyone. The backstory is that I had a request from a reader for movies he could show that featured geologically interesting places, but weren't necessarily about geology or disasters. He also requested that they be fairly popular (things that had done well at the box office and might be expected […]

February 12, 2015

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10:50 PM | The biologist who left me out in the cold
Two weeks, two books. In Unweaving the Rainbow Richard Dawkins takes issue with the poets. He argues that the poetry revealed deep within Nature by scientific investigation is more wondrous than the musings of those who make do with superficial … Continue reading →
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10:02 PM | Congressional Report -By Colleges- Complains They're Over-Regulated
A congressional task force says colleges and universities are overburdened by federal regulation, including requirements that they disclose certain consumer information to students and families. The task force, appointed by a bipartisan group of senators, consists entirely of 16 present and past university and college chancellors and presidents and representatives of university associations, and the report was produced by the universities’ primary lobbying organization, the American […]
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9:30 PM | A Digital AfterlifeDeath has always presented a delicate problem...
A Digital AfterlifeDeath has always presented a delicate problem for Facebook and other social networks. In theory, the deceased’s timeline is the perfect virtual venue for far-flung friends and family to commiserate and share their memories. But people don’t always leave their Facebook pages in a condition that they—or their loved ones—would want to see preserved for all posterity.Today the social network announced a new setting that will give every Facebook user the […]
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9:25 PM | If your love life is less than ideal, don’t worry — your hat is...
If your love life is less than ideal, don’t worry — your hat is awesome.Further reading: Dr. Lewis’ A General Theory of LoveResearch on chocolate + opiates →
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7:07 PM | Strengthening Early Learning in a New ESEA
This is the first of three posts on early learning in a new Elementary and Secondary Education Act. Change is on the horizon for reauthorization of the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, a process which acquired some new urgency when the Republicans took control of the Senate in January. And “change” is really the only way to move things forward. Senator Alexander’s (R-TN) bipartisan partisan approach—where he introduced a discussion draft without conferring with […]
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6:56 PM | Butts on fire
English speakers use a lot of butt-on-fire metaphors: we can say someone’s ass is on fire, that he needs to light a fire under his ass, and even the visual of someone flying by the seat of her pants in a chaotic situation conjures an image (for me) of smoking butt. These metaphors all mean different […]
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5:55 PM | The influence of fatherhood on the science of Charles...
The influence of fatherhood on the science of Charles Darwin Happy Birthday Charles Darwin!There are drawings in Charles Darwin’s manuscripts that defy explanation — until we remember that Darwin and his wife Emma had a huge family of ten (rambunctious) children. Scholars believe that a young Francis Darwin —the naturalist’s son— drew this on the back of Darwin’s manuscript for On the Origin of Species. UC Berkeley psychologist Dacher Keltner has noted that […]
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2:52 PM | A formula for making a terrible argument
Last night I was browsing twitter and saw something that popped up in my timeline a few times. I won't link to the exact tweet because I've seen virtually the same on from a dozen different people, but the formula will be very recognizable: (My experience is THIS)+(Other people say THAT, which =/= my experience) […]
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1:00 PM | Spider Book!
WE are excited. The “We” is me and Eleanor Spicer Rice, of Buzz Hoot Roar fame, and author of the incredible e-books about ants. Here’s the really big news… We are teaming up with The University of Chicago Press, and writing a book about spiders! There are already some really amazing spider books out there […]
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11:58 AM | Is the PEG model paper an indicator of changing authorship criteria?
To freshwater ecologists, the PEG model paper is a foundational paper (current citations: 1064) that lays out a model of seasonal succession in the plankton. It starts out with a verbal model comprised of 24 statements/stages; for example, the first … Continue reading →
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11:54 AM | Creating a new society
I was in Melbourne last week meeting with synthetic biologists from all around Australia. We have  decided to form a new society or association representing synthetic biologists. Claudia Vickers from the University of Queensland is the driving force behind this new body and our meeting decided this she should be our chairperson or president (still working on the terminology). I was volunteered into being deputy president? vice chairperson? something like that anyway. As well as needing to […]
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10:50 AM | Congratulations Dr. Farrugia!
Congratulations to Daniel Farrugia, who has been awarded a PhD for his work in my group on the bacterial pathogen Acinetobacter baumannii. Daniel has published a couple papers examining the differences between hospital and community strains of this pathogen, and when I manage to find time to finalize them, has two more manuscripts still to come. Daniel is now currently taking a well deserved break in Malta, and I believe will soon be looking for a postdoctoral position in Europe.  You are […]
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10:09 AM | Happy Darwin Day!
Source. ;-)Filed under: Just for fun
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2:00 AM | ucresearch:A view of Halley’s Comet on June 6th, 1910 from the...
ucresearch:A view of Halley’s Comet on June 6th, 1910 from the UCSC Library’s Digital Archives. Many astronomers think that the gold found in our jewelry came from meteors and comets about 4 billion years ago, but where did the gold on those celestial objects come from??Watch the video about where gold actually comes from

February 11, 2015

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11:45 PM | New Heapable Subsequence Paper
In the "only a dozen people could care about this category"...About 4 1/2 years ago, I posted about a paper we had put up on the arxiv about Heapable Sequences and Subsequences.  The basic combinatorial structure we were looking at is a seemingly natural generalization of the idea of Longest Increasing Subsequences.  Say that a sequence is heapable if you can sequentially place the items into a (binary, increasing) heap, so each new item is the child of some item already in the […]
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10:39 PM | How genes can affect your love lifeAn enduring mystery is of...
How genes can affect your love lifeAn enduring mystery is of love: what makes one partner so attuned to the emotional climate in a relationship and another so oblivious?With new genetic findings from UC Berkeley, researchers now have a better understanding about why people some people are more sensitive to the emotions of their relationship. Watch the video →
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9:43 PM | Q and A with Daniel Weisberg of TNTP
NEW YORK — Is there a better way to recruit, train, evaluate and retain public school teachers? As much of the country shifts to new Common Core standards, Daniel Weisberg, named CEO last week of the alternative teacher-certification and advocacy group The New Teacher Project (TNTP), thinks that question is more important now than ever. It’s one reason the former private sector lawyer and chief labor strategist under New York City Schools Chancellor Joel Klein believes giving […]
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