Posts

November 16, 2014

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11:34 PM | Escaped scientists spotted in Tasmania!
It appears that we forgot to lock the lab and office doors again! A few of our researchers escaped and boarded the brand new Australian Marine National Facility research vessel from the CSIRO, The Investigator.They are taking part in one of the first scientific sea trials which left from Hobart, Tasmania, last Monday. The transect is going northward criss-crossing the continental shelf. These first sets of voyages are used to check, test and optimise all of the equipment onboard, so they can be […]
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9:47 PM | ICERM postdoctoral positions
I’m co-organizing the program Dimension and Dynamics at the Institute for Computational and Experimental Research in Mathematics in Spring 2016. (Yes, this means that I hope to participate in the program. Details to follow when they are finalized.) ICERM has several … Continue reading →
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11:00 AM | Live-tweeting at conferences
The main appeal of scientific meetings is that you get to see results, and what other people are working on, before any of it is published (and free food – seriously, oh so much free food). Given that there is an increasing number of people using Twitter to cover meetings, it’s no surprise that there is an active discussion about what is off-limits, in terms of what to tweet, and what to keep on the down low. To have an idea of the range of different opinions and issues, you should […]
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3:52 AM | How to write a PhD thesis your committee will NOT approve
Sometimes it takes 7 years to get back to square one… Jesse was a bright and ambitious student in a Biochemistry PhD program. She was always ready to learn new techniques, and she diversified her skill set by working in the animal facility, cell culture room, and also in a mass spectrometry lab. Her supervisor [...]

November 15, 2014

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3:14 PM | Advanced photo technology
I do love the Today programme on BBC Radio 4, but when it comes to stories about science and technology or popular culture the presenters can be exasperating. This morning John Humphrey kept calling Philae the “Mars explorer” and seemingly … Continue reading →
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12:28 PM | How Your Facebook Updates Reveal Your Personality
The words you use in your Facebook profile reveal much about your personality, according to psychologists Gregory Park and colleagues in a new study just published. Based on a study of 71,000 Facebook users who reported their personality using an app, Park et al. found some quite unexpected words to be associated with given personality […]The post How Your Facebook Updates Reveal Your Personality appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Park G, Schwartz HA, Eichstaedt JC, Kern ML, Kosinski M, Stillwell DJ, Ungar LH & Seligman ME (2014). Automatic Personality Assessment Through Social Media Language., Journal of personality and social psychology, PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25365036

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11:00 AM | We all took baby steps towards open science
The always excellent and insightful Christie Bahlai has a great blog post about Baby steps for the open curious. Open curious, a term that was coined during a meeting of INNGE’s Open Science group refers to people that would like to start adopting more open practices, but are not sure how to do it, or are still concerned by some of the perceived risks. Our son is learning to stand up and walk, so the metaphor of baby steps is one I can relate to. There are three things to baby steps. You […]

November 14, 2014

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9:34 PM | Computer Sci Continues to Reshape Higher Education
Harvard is significantly boosting its computer science faculty at a time when increased demand for the major continues to reshape higher education. The Harvard Crimson reports the college will add 12 professors. That's a 50 percent increase. On Thursday, the university announced a major donation from Microsoft CEO and Harvard alum Steven Ballmer. The goal, Ballmer says, is to compete with other elite universities that have recently expanded their computer science departments. “Right now I […]
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8:00 PM | Kareem Abdul-Jabbar Takes on College Athletics
This is perhaps not quite as entertaining as the time Babe Ruth wrote an article for the New Republic about Harry Truman's healthcare plan, but former NBA star Kareem Abdul-Jabbar recently penned a piece for the Jacobin, the socialist magazine of ideas, about the labor conditions of college athletes. It's definitely worth reading. College athletes are often exploited. They often generate big money for the schools that they attend, even while they can’t get paid (and are in many ways […]
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7:54 PM | To tweet or not to tweet…at conferences
Live-tweeting, whether a department seminar or a conference talk, is one of the most powerful aspects of academic Twitter I’ve witnessed. It’s not an easy skill, but it’s worth cultivating, because it has tremendous value in bringing exciting research to a broad audience. Instead of the twenty to two hundred people […]
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4:16 PM | Can you taste the rainbow?
This Friday our new Editor-in-Chief Cara Green tells us about synaesthesia. Read on to find out more about how some people can really taste the rainbow. A union of senses Synaesthesia, known as a “blending of the senses” is a  condition in which the stimulation of one neurological pathway triggers an unusual instantaneous response which can…
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2:53 PM | On remembrance
Thirty years ago—plus or minus a week—I visited Berlin for the first time. It was a school trip, organized by our physics teacher. We rode a train from Braunschweig to Helmstedt, where we picked up an East German engine and … Continue reading →
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2:00 PM | The education escalator
I spend a lot of time thinking about the problems with education and what we might be able to do to fix them. I think about it on a small scale (i.e., how can I better explain this concept to the 50 students sitting in front of me right now?) and on a larger scale […]
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1:03 PM | My Stupid Ego.
Wow. Yesterday evening, a couple of major traffic-movers on twitter tweeted my blog post about “That Shirt”, and I ended up getting thousands and thousands of hits. Far more than anything this blog has ever seen before. It was exciting. I watched my stats move and kept up with my twitter stream, and was very […]
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11:36 AM | Friday links: female ESA award winners, #overlyhonestcitations, academic karma, and more
Also this week: George Scialabba vs. depression, Andrew Gelman’s thoughts are worth the wait, baseball player vs. evolution, and more… From Meg: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment had a piece by Chris Beck et al. on women and underrepresented … Continue reading →
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11:36 AM | Friday links: female ESA award winners, #overlyhonestcitations, academic karma, and more (UPDATED)
Also this week: George Scialabba vs. depression, Andrew Gelman’s thoughts are worth the wait, baseball player vs. evolution, and more… From Meg: Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment had a piece by Chris Beck et al. on women and underrepresented … Continue reading →
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9:53 AM | DOs and DO NOTs of moderation
Moderation is the art of “avoidance of extremes in one’s actions, beliefs, or habits”, according to dictionaries.  In academic meetings chances are to find a colorful mix of extremes ranging from big mouths to shy introverts, and making everyone’s voice heard can be quite challenging. In worst-case scenarios, even hearing one’s own voice can become problematic. In order to make a group discussion productive, smooth and -why not? – fun, participants […]
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1:30 AM | Mireia Beas-Moix manages the herpetology collection — 11,500...
Mireia Beas-Moix manages the herpetology collection — 11,500 specimens strong — in UC Santa Barbara’s Cheadle Center. The center both restores campus lands and manages a growing collection of natural history specimens.

November 13, 2014

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10:27 PM | Grothendieck 1928-2014
http://www.liberation.fr/sciences/2014/11/13/alexandre-grothendieck-ou-la-mort-d-un-genie-qui-voulait-se-faire-oublier_1142614
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9:00 PM | What Happens to Higher Education Policy after the 2014 Elections?
The American Association of State Colleges and Universities has a brief looking at what changes are in store for colleges given the 2014 elections, in which the GOP swept into control across Congress, governors’ offices, and, perhaps most importantly for higher education, state houses. But it doesn’t appear too many dramatic changes are likely to occur. Leadership of the U.S. House isn’t going to change. Leadership of the Senate will, but while many interesting new people […]
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4:34 PM | Let’s have a discussion about live-tweeting academic conferences
Tl,dr version: I think we need more appropriate guidelines for live-tweeting conferences, specifically regarding the broadcasting of sensitive research. This should be at the discretion of the author, and ideally stated at the beginning of each talk. Suzie Maidment, a colleague and friend of mine, recently started a major discussion on and off the internet […]
Editor's Pick
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3:54 PM | That Shirt.
A senior scientist on the Rosetta/Philae mission (a stunning success, brilliant and audacious, thrilling!) decided to show up for work on perhaps the most important day of the mission, the most important day in spaceflight since Curiosity landed on Mars, wearing a crappy bowling shirt covered in cartoonish images of half-naked women. He further compounded […]
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3:18 PM | The News Is Out
Harvard Computer Science was given a sizable gift from Steve Ballmer;  we're excited at the opportunity to grow this gift will provide us over the next several years.  For more news, see the Crimson article, the Boston Globe article, the New York Times blog writeup, etc. 
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2:53 PM | Inspiring Women in Technology
By: Paula Clerkin, 3rd year CS with AI student at the University of Nottingham As a third and final year, I am having to come to terms with the end of my time at university. It’s pretty daunting thinking about leaving this lovely bubble of support and finding a proper job in the real world. […]
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12:56 PM | How to Save Teachers From Burning Out, Dropping Out and Other Hazards of Experience
An abundance of recent books, research and headlines present growing evidence that our nation’s schools can and must do a better job of preparing teachers for the experiences they’ll face in the classroom. They show that if educators really knew how to address the challenges of teaching in high poverty areas, they would increase their impact and make a longer career out of teaching. Certainly, better preparation is a crucial element to solving our teacher quality and retention […]
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5:00 AM | A Car Crash, a GED Diploma, a Nap on a Concrete Floor—The Making of Cell Biologists Explored in MBoC Prize Essays
For biologists, we are surprisingly shy about the facts of life. After all, where do cell biologists come from? Storks or DNA are not adequate answers. So who are our scientific ancestors and who are our human ones? Who were the influencers, the supporters, and the guides? And from where inside came the endless questions and the itch to see how a thing works? What were the outside events that turned so many into explorers, plodders, geeks, glass washers, and the occasional genius? A man of […]
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4:00 AM | Education Department Asks States to Improve Teacher 'Distribution'
How to improve education by fixing teacher quality is an important policy discussion when discussing where to make changes. Recently the U.S. Department of Education directed states to improve their distribution of teachers, to try to improve the number of poor students who have qualified teachers, or make the number of poor students who have qualified teachers equivalent to ratio at which non-poor kids enjoy them, or something. According to a piece at Education Week: The Obama […]
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1:54 AM | Congrats Dr Kim !
I would like to congratulate my friend Yu-Sok Kim who successfully defended his PhD thesis (Cerebral blood flow control in small vessel disease) today ! I met Yu-Sok for the first time in 2007 during my postdoc in Copenhagen. We were actually the only two people in the lab interested in diabetes ! Hopefully we […]

November 12, 2014

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10:35 PM | New requirement for scientists: You cannot be a sexist pigdog
I live in the city where Richard Feynman did a bunch of amazing things. I’ve chatted with a number of people who knew him. He is fondly remembered as an inspiring teacher, engaging writer and phenomenal scientist. He is also remembered as a creepy guy who frequented a local strip club, and for misogynist quips,…
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6:11 PM | Do Rats Have Free Will?
New research on the neural basis of ‘spontaneous’ actions in rats could shed light on the philosophical mystery that is human ‘free will’. The study, just published in Nature Neuroscience, is called Neural antecedents of self-initiated actions in secondary motor cortex. It’s from researchers Masayoshi Murakami and colleagues of Portugal’s excellently-named Champalimaud Centre for the […]The post Do Rats Have Free Will? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Murakami M, Vicente MI, Costa GM & Mainen ZF (2014). Neural antecedents of self-initiated actions in secondary motor cortex., Nature neuroscience, 17 (11) 1574-82. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25262496

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