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Posts

March 25, 2014

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7:27 PM | The ultimate interactive experience
Newly appointed Northeastern professor Stacy Marsella is a rockstar in computer science. He develops crazy algorithms that essentially read emotion in snippets of text or audio. He’s put these skilz to use in a variety of platforms, from health applications to virtual reality games (stay tuned for my story on this work in the news@Northeastern). […]
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5:17 PM | The Frog of War When biologist Tyrone Hayes discovered that a...
Photo: Annie Tritt Photo: Annie TrittThe Frog of War When biologist Tyrone Hayes discovered that a top-selling herbicide messes with sex hormones, its manufacturer went into battle mode: In 2001, seven years after joining the biology faculty of the University of California, Berkeley, Tyrone Hayes stopped talking about his research with people he didn’t trust. He instructed the students in his lab, where he was raising three thousand frogs, to hang up the phone if they heard a click, a […]
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4:27 PM | Grit and Galton; Is psychological research into traits inherently problematic?
Is all psychological research on individual differences racist? Can psychologists ever separate our shameful past of scientific racism from the methods, techniques and questions that have grown from it? A recent post criticizing the concept of “grit” (and Angela Duckworth, … Continue reading →
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3:39 PM | Vacation Wrap-Up: Korea.
I didn’t really begin to scratch the surface of what Japan was like in the previous post. Everyone was friendly, but from what I’d describe as a professional distance. In Japan, people didn’t volunteer to help us. But if we asked, they helped without reservation, though seeming slightly startled, as though being asked for help […]
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2:37 PM | The Myth of the Myth of the Science and Engineering Shortage
Given how crowded policy commentary is these days, with blogs, articles, e-books, and the like, the surest way to break through and get attention is to write the “man bites dog story.” And that is exactly what we have seen with the issue of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education and skills. While the evidence shows that the United States is not producing enough STEM workers, a cottage industry of STEM shortage naysayers has emerged. Most recently, Michael […]
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2:30 PM | Teaching a new language in a course, when the language is not the focus of the course
Like many computer science departments, the languages we teach our students vary over time. When I was hired, we taught Java in Intro and C++ in Data Structures (our CS 2 course). The year I started, we moved to teaching Java in both Intro and Data Structures. (Thank god, because my C++ was pretty rusty […]
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1:14 PM | In which satellite models trump circumspection: the case of MH370
The strange disappearance of Malaysian Airlines flight MH340 has captivated the world, myself included. In an era of instant information, it’s sobering that an entire Boeing 777 could just vanish. I am sure I am not the only one who … Continue reading →
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1:07 PM | Alice’s Restaurant Massacree
No summary available for this post.
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12:00 PM | Do individual ecologists review in proportion to how much they submit? Here’s the data! (UPDATEDx4)
One oft-voiced concern about the peer review system is that it’s getting harder to find reviewers these days (e.g., this editorial from the EiCs of various leading ecology journals). Which isn’t surprising, given that academics have strong incentives to submit … Continue reading →
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12:00 PM | Maybe I am a writer after all
I’ve been head down, focusing on writing grants lately. These days I spend a good deal of my time writing and thinking about writing, which isn’t what I imagined life as a scientist to be. When I was much younger, I wanted to be a writer. I read voraciously. Mainly fantasy novels and classics like […]
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11:55 AM | #29 ‘eDNA’
Seemingly, DNA comes in a variety of different ‘flavours’ – well at least if you substitute ‘conformations’ for ‘flavours’. Yeah, not only do we have our run-of-the-mill, bog-standard ‘bDNA’, there is also ‘aDNA’ – a kind of renegade, majorly groovy version (shimmy over here, if you will, for a recent Travolta take on DNA)…and ‘zDNA‘ – […]
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6:38 AM | The Alphabet Soup of Measuring Scientific Output
When I returned to Australian science after twelve years in the USA, one of the first things I encountered was the use of metrics to try to assess a researcher's output. I was used to writing grants in the US system where I would simply list my number of publications. Over drinks with Mark Schembri and Steve Djordjevic at a pub in Adelaide in 2007, I was introduced to the concept of a H-index, which I had never heard of before. After indoctrination into the mysteries of the H-index, I learn't […]
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4:00 AM | Yogurt Shows the Way for a Revolution in Genome Editing
A yogurt producer with concerns, a puzzling aspect of bacterial genomes, a discussion over coffee, and a new MIT faculty member so youthful that he was mistaken for a freshman—these are a few links in the chain of discovery that led to CRISPR, today's hottest genetic rewriting technology. It stands for Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats, and CRISPRs are changing biological research by making it easier than ever to edit genomes, opening whole fields to new […]

March 24, 2014

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10:37 PM | Seahorses like this little guy have been an inspiration...
Seahorses like this little guy have been an inspiration for engineers at UC San Diego’s Jacobs School.  They have a surprisingly strong (yet flexible) tail, which could inform the way robot arms and medical tools are designed.  
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7:46 PM | Science and researcher diversity tweet chat recap
This past Wednesday, March 19th we had our third #F1000Talks tweet chat installment where we discussed science and researcher diversity. The discussion was a fast-paced one, full of great ideas and advice from all of our participants. Be sure to join us again in April for another exciting afternoon! We will announce the topic and special guests shortly. In the [...]
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6:52 PM | Schools Struggle to Count Algebra Classes
Politico posted a nice roundup of new data from the U.S. Department of Education on March 21, 2014 that highlights racial inequities in education. They led with the provocative statistic that more than 8,000 three- and four-year olds were suspended from preschool in 2011, but most of the story covers how minorities have less access to important math and science classes and experienced, well-trained teachers. Deep into the story, there’s a critique of the data that made me pause. The […]
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4:30 PM | Every drop counts
March 22nd was World Water Day, and Au is somewhat delayed (even editors need sleep from time to time) jumping on to the bandwagon. Every year since 1993 the UN has observed World Water Day on the 22nd March to raise awareness of ongoing water issues worldwide. Many other non-governmental organisations (NGOs) have followed suit, …
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2:30 PM | Vacation Wrap-Up: Japan.
Oh my goodness. What an incredible trip. The first and best thing was that my new relationship flourished throughout. BB is an excellent and intrepid traveler. It took her about 48 hours to learn everything I’ve ever known about traveling and by day three she was taking charge of subway navigation and map-reading. It was […]
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12:00 PM | Scientists know how to communicate with the public
I bet that most of us are steady consumers of science designed for the public. Books, magazines, newspaper, museum exhibits, radio, the occasional movie. The people who bring science to the masses are “science communicators.” (The phrase “science communication” is a newish one, and arguably better than “science writing,” as a variety of media involve […]
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12:00 PM | Links Roundup #18
Blog of Interest My Google Alert for Evernote just turned up a blog that may be of interest, called The Digital Researcher. The Digital Researcher is a resource for writers and researchers who want to make the most of the … Continue reading →The post Links Roundup #18 appeared first on Personal Knowledge Management for Academia & Librarians.
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8:27 AM | “Make me thrill as only you know how, sway me smooth, sway me now…” – ‘Dancing’ grasshopper
Last September in the south of Spain, I came across an insect, a grasshopper of the Acrididae family (I believe), that struck me by its unusual behaviour. I was getting closer to the individual to take a quick picture, but the it turned out that it was not fleeing from me, as I had expected. In […]
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4:00 AM | Don't be afraid of Open Access
This post is a copy of a response Karthik Ram and I wrote to a recent paper in Trends in Plant Science, criticizing Open Access as being risky, especially to early career people. Stephen Curry wrote a great reply. Our paper never made it past the editor, so I reproduce it here. In a recent Letter, Agrawal (2014) raises four points for which scientists should be skeptical of the Open Access (OA) movement, two of which we think are particularly mis-leading.Agrawal (2014) Trends in Plant […]

March 23, 2014

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9:15 PM | Edinburgh: Old Town and older volcanoes
My PhD advisor relocated to Scotland last year, and I finally had a chance to visit her in Edinburgh. And wow, what a great place for a geologist to go!
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5:23 PM | Alumnicious
You know the feeling – no sooner have you graduated from some hallowed hall of learning or another than one’s alma mater sends you a begging letter. It’s rare for one to receive such a missive from an institution of … Continue reading →

March 22, 2014

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5:34 PM | Cerebrovascular physiology – article alert #71
Vasopressors and the brain 350- A decrease in spatially resolved near-infrared spectroscopy-determined frontal lobe tissue oxygenation by phenylephrine reflects reduced skin blood flow – Ogoh et al. 351- Is hypotension or tissue oxygenation responsible for morbidity and morality after cardiopulmonary bypass? Brassard + Reply to the editor – Ono, Brady and Hogue Brain injury 352- […]
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5:06 PM | It’s beyond time we ditched the impact factor
“I am sick of impact factors and so is science.” Stephen Curry said it best back in 2012. The impact factor is just one of the many banes of academia, from it’s complete misuse to being falsely inflated by publishers. I want to draw attention to a new article  that addresses the causes behind this […]
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1:05 PM | The Cambridge Science Festival
Last night, I was honoured to have spoken at the final evening lecture at the Cambridge Science Festival, along with Nick Crumpton, Anjali Goswami, Rob Asher, and Stephanie Pierce, about why palaeontology is important. Below is a rough transcript of some of what my talk was about. Unlike the others, I didn’t discuss my own […]
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10:59 AM | The Explosive Brain
A few months ago, I blogged about The Hydraulic Brain – an unorthodox theory which proposed that brain function is not electrical, but mechanical. On this view, neuroscientists have it all wrong, because nerve impulses are in fact physical waves of pressure that travel down neurons as if the brain were made up of billions […]The post The Explosive Brain appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Robertson DS (2014). Percussion circuits and brain function - A hypothesis., Medical hypotheses, PMID:

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March 21, 2014

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8:16 PM | The Department of Ed Needs Bang for its Buck in Preschool Development Grants
The Department of Education got a surprise from Congress in its fiscal year 2014 budget passed in January: $250 million for Race to the Top grants that will support early childhood education. According to the Department of Education, the dollars will be used for a competition to promote systems-building for high-quality early learning, similar to the Preschool Development Grants program included in President Obama’s original pre-K proposal last February. The last few years have shown […]
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5:26 PM | Pass me the 'dog book'
(Source)Hi Mia!So many books. Written about dogs. Most I see at the airport, memoirs of someone’s ‘very special relationship’ with a 'very special' dog, another about dogs ‘racing in the rain,’ (seems like it would be a pretty short book, or would make a better YouTube video), and some even feature a dog as a private eye (many are fans of this one, see Patricia McConnell’s review). Sometimes while sitting in the living room I joke with my boyfriend, […]

Horowitz A. (2014). Domestic Dog Cognition and Behavior The Scientific Study of Canis familiaris, DOI:

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