September 26, 2014

3:08 PM | Yes, Some Colleges Are Hurt by College Rankings. That's How It's Supposed to Work.
For the last year or so we’ve heard a great deal about President Barack Obama’s proposed college rating system, the basic outlines of which are, according to a 2013 piece in the New York Times: A plan to rate colleges…based on measures like tuition, graduation rates, debt and earnings of graduates, and the percentage of lower-income students who attend. The ratings would compare colleges against their peer institutions. If the plan can win Congressional approval, the idea is […]
12:00 PM | Recommended reads #36
One Woman’s Life in Science. This came out almost twenty years ago in the Sigma Xi magazine, but it reads as if could have been written yesterday. When universities sell their souls, why do they have to sell so cheaply? “Student course evaluations are often misused statistically and shed little light on the quality of…
11:53 AM | Friday links: climate change (for women and the planet), yeast mail, grumpy frog, and more (UPDATED)
Also this week: questioning the evidence for p-hacking, hamster wheel desks, are academics becoming more selfish, new faculty advice, resources for modelers, 35 years of “Spandrels”, zombie ideas in other fields, making nerd fury work for you, and more. From … Continue reading →
9:30 AM | Cat and Dogs: seeking solutions with sniffing canines and science
Hi Mia and Julie,  First of all, I LOVE your blog! After meeting at SPARCS this past summer (summer for us in North America.. I take it summer is just beginning in Australia!), I’ve followed it closely.  You do amazing things for the promotion of  canine science. Serious love. A bit of background for the readers: I’m currently doing my PhD at Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia in Canada, under the supervision of Dr. Simon […]

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Gonder-Frederick L., D. Warren, K. Vajda & J. Shepard (2013). Diabetic Alert Dogs: A Preliminary Survey of Current Users, Diabetes Care, 36 (4) e47-e47. DOI:

Rooney N.J. & Claire Guest (2013). Investigation into the Value of Trained Glycaemia Alert Dogs to Clients with Type I Diabetes, PLoS ONE, 8 (8) e69921. DOI:

Matyka K.A. (2002). Sweet dreams? - nocturnal hypoglycemia in children with type 1 diabetes, Pediatric Diabetes, 3 (2) 74-81. DOI:

Wells D.L., Lawson S.W. & Siriwardena A.N. Canine responses to hypoglycemia in patients with type 1 diabetes., Journal of alternative and complementary medicine (New York, N.Y.), PMID:

2:11 AM | Believe it or not, this is a radio that is roughly the size of a...
Believe it or not, this is a radio that is roughly the size of a small ant. Researchers at ucberkeley and Stanford have developed this device that uses so little electricity that the data it transmits can actually power the device itself. The tiny radios would pass along information like a tiny, wireless bucket brigade. Read more about this tiny device →

September 25, 2014

11:05 PM | PhD students and the cult of busy
  Academics often remind me of the Four Yorkshire Men in the old sketch (not actually originally a Monty Python sketch, but famously performed by them in their live shows – comedy nerd out over, carry on), except rather than trying to outdo each with how deprived we were as kids, we’re always trying to outdo each other with tales of how busy we are. We do it so often that it becomes hard to draw the line between how much this reflects how busy we really are, and how much is […]
7:38 PM | Is the Royal Society Treating Women Fairly?
This year’s announcement regarding successful applicants for Royal Society University Research Fellowships (URFs) has been hailed with deep suspicion by many. Out of 43 awards only 2 went to women and there is no getting around the fact that this … Continue reading →
6:44 PM | Why we LOL
Originally posted on NeuWrite San Diego:Humor is a difficult concept to articulate. We might not always know why things are funny, but we do tend to know what kinds of things are funny. It comes in many forms, and general consensus is that things like videos of treadmill mishaps, cynical comics and corny puns are…
5:12 PM | Magnets!… How do they work?! This...
Magnets!… How do they work?! This “unclassified” US Navy video from 1954 explains how basic electromagnetism works, and we’ve definitely come a long way since then in our understanding of magnets. UC Berkeley researchers are working on replacing traditional transistors with magnets to save power. Transistors are the extremely tiny electronic switches that are in all of our computers and gadgets. About 4 billion of them can fit on a CPU the size of a postage stamp. More […]
3:46 PM | A uniquely human long noncoding RNA story – an interview with Hans Dijkstra
Dr. Hans Dijkstra is a researcher studying molecular evolution at the Institute for Comprehensive Medical Science at the Fujita Health University in Japan. When reading a recent publication in Science he noticed several flaws in a study on a long noncoding RNA. Dijkstra explains why he started a discussion on this report on Inc-DC [...]
3:16 PM | Top 15 things to get excited about at Mendeley Open Day 2014
The days have flown by and now we are less than a week away from the Mendeley Open Day. The Open Day is to connect our user community, including our Advisors and Librarians, together with the Mendeley team, with a smattering of special guest speakers and hilarious entertainment for good measure. We have a packed […]
1:54 PM | Alcohol is not an Excuse.
Drunk people do terrible things. We’ve all experienced this. Whether because we’ve done something stupid and horrible while drunk, or because we’ve been harmed by a drunk person whom we know. And we know these people, or we are these people, and so we also know that they, or we, would never do such things […]
1:45 PM | Molting Tougher on the Mayfly Than Previously Thought
Mayflies undergo a stressful shortness of breath while molting, or shedding their skins. A new paper describes this serendipitous finding.
12:15 PM | Meet the Data Science Team!
A big part of research is data, but for the Mendeley Data Sciences team, data is all they research. The team makes a big deal of big data, acting as wizards in our Mendeley world, magically bringing bits together. The Data Science team links data and projects, and connects research and business to build better products, such as the […]
11:40 AM | Detection probability survey results
Last week, I highlighted some new results from a paper on detection probabilities and placed detection probabilities in the context of estimator theory. This in turn led to a a reader poll to try to get a sense of how people … Continue reading →
11:40 AM | Internship at the Royal Institution
I am very excited to announce that at the start of October I’ll be starting a 3 month internship at the Royal Institution! This internship is part of my BBSRC-funded Doctoral Training Partnership (DTP), and is a newish scheme called … Continue reading →
6:01 AM | So You Think you can Synthesize?
Macquarie University has once again entered a team of undergraduate students to compete in the International Genetically Engineered Machine (iGEM) synthetic biology competition. Over the last four years, our teams have won 3 silver and 1 bronze medals. This year our team is hoping to win a gold medal, though they do have one handicap- I will be coming along with them as a team advisor to the iGEM Giant Jamboree in Boston.This year as an outreach activity, our iGEM team has created an online […]
4:00 AM | Outreach Grants Will Promote Basic Science from Galway to San Quentin Prison
Inmate-college students at San Quentin Prison will soon have microscopes for their biology lab through an ASCB Outreach Grant, offered by the Committee for Postdocs and Students (COMPASS) outreach subcommittee. ASCB members Ryan McGorty and Adam Williamson, both postdocs at the University of California, San Francisco (UCSF), asked for the outreach grant to help their volunteer efforts as instructors for a introductory biology course for prisoners.  Susan Walsh shows […]
2:29 AM | The Onion Predicts the Future
With so much discussion about what we’re going to do about university athletics, this piece of satire from the Onion a few years ago is rather refreshing: Bowing to pressure from alumni, students, and a majority of teaching professors of Florida State University, athletic director Dave Hart Jr. announced yesterday that FSU would completely phase out all academic operations by the end of the 2010 school year in order to make athletics the school's No. 1 priority. "It's been clear for a […]
12:17 AM | scienceandfood: 10 Things About Sushi At our 2014 Science of...
scienceandfood: 10 Things About Sushi At our 2014 Science of Sushi event, Dr. Ole Mouritsen and Chef Morihiro Onodera illuminated the science underlying some of our favorite components of sushi. In case you still haven’t had your fill, here are 10 scientific facts related to sushi…

September 24, 2014

1:51 PM | EUMETSAT Conference 2014: Socioeconomic benefits of meteorological satellites
Globally, governments spend about $10 billion on meteorological satellites every year. That’s a lot of money. How do we know it’s worth it? Yesterday night the EUMETSAT conference branched off to the WMO for a side-event asking that very question. I … Continue reading →
12:00 PM | How to write a paper
I must make a confession. Through no one’s fault bu my own, I made it through my PhD without a writing method. Not that I knew how to write, and did not have a routine. I had no method. When it was time to write a paper, I opened a text editor and started writing a paper. It now sounds head-bashingly stupid; it is. It is a wonder that I managed to get any writing done. I started developping an idea of how to write during my post-doc. Mostly by osmosis, and in part because I needed to do […]
11:31 AM | What belongs in the appendices vs. the main text in scientific papers?
So, how do you decide what material to include in the main text of your papers, vs. in appendices? Some things are easy. Raw data, code, and lengthy derivations belong in appendices.* Alternative ways of running the analysis that lead … Continue reading →
11:01 AM | Engineering A Better Food Bank
How an NC State engineering professor is helping food banks help those in need.
10:09 AM | Mendeley API Version 1 is Out!
  It has been a long 12-month journey, and the path wasn’t always lined with rose petals and unicorns, but last week we did allow ourselves a small celebration as version 1 of the Mendeley API was released. The API team designed this from the ground up, working alongside other Mendeley and Elsevier teams as […]
4:41 AM | OYM 49b: Neuroscince Retreats
*producers note: I don’t care how I have to fudge the numbers, we will have a 50th episode reunion!* We’ve got a special episode this week, bringing you our thoughts and experiences from the 2014 McGill IPN Retreat.  Both Kat and Liam had posters at this year’s retreat and discuss their preferred approach to poster more The post OYM 49b: Neuroscince Retreats appeared first on On Your Mind Podcast.

September 23, 2014

9:40 PM | When words fail: women, science, and women-in-science
I don’t want to write about women in science today. I want to write about glaciers, or passenger pigeons, or the way the tilt of the earth is making the squirrels outside my window stash acorns, or about how sharks have been on this planet longer than trees, or why sometimes, the public doesn’t trust […]
8:48 PM | EUMETSAT Conference 2014: Challenges and advances in satellite measurement
Atmospheric measurement is an extraordinarily difficult problem. It’s a fluid capable of remarkable feats of contortion, and it contains a number of important constituents, including one – water – which flits easily between solid, liquid and gaseous forms. Satellite instruments offer … Continue reading →
7:15 PM | Do gut bacteria rule our minds? It sounds like science fiction,...
Do gut bacteria rule our minds? It sounds like science fiction, but it seems that bacteria within us — which outnumber our own cells about 100-fold — may very well be affecting both our cravings and moods to get us to eat what they want, and often are driving us toward obesity. In an article published this week in the journal BioEssays, researchers from UC San Francisco, Arizona State University and University of New Mexico concluded from a review of the recent scientific literature […]
1:48 PM | An Academic Memorial.
Yesterday I attended the memorial service of Mort Friedman, a Vice Dean and Professor at Columbia. He served that university for 56 years. He died suddenly a few months ago, but at advanced age. He was universally beloved, and prodigiously accomplished. A professor whose contributions, even measured against other long-time Ivy League professors, is impressive. […]
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