Posts

January 28, 2015

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6:46 AM | OYM63: Huntin’ Frankenslices with Kimberly Girling
This week, Kim Girling is joining us all the way from the west coast to share what’s on her mind.  Kim is a fifth year PhD student at the University of British Colombia who studies Huntington’s disease, and is working on developing peptides that can be used to decrease the effects of the mutant protein.  ...read more The post OYM63: Huntin’ Frankenslices with Kimberly Girling appeared first on On Your Mind Podcast.

January 27, 2015

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10:15 PM | Why Science Needs Art Physicists tend to be polymaths, so it’s...
Why Science Needs Art Physicists tend to be polymaths, so it’s not entirely surprising that Enrico Ramirez-Ruiz, UC Santa Cruz professor of astronomy and astrophysics, cites the short story “The Library of Babel” by the Argentinian writer Jorge Luis Borges as his inspiration. Borges played with notions of time and space, so it’s easy to see the attraction to a budding physicist. And like Borges, Ramirez-Ruiz can fairly be called a wunderkind.  Ramirez-Ruiz uses […]
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6:08 PM | ucirvine: Gregory Weiss, UC Irvine chemistry prof., is ready to...
ucirvine: Gregory Weiss, UC Irvine chemistry prof., is ready to answer your questions about unboiling an egg & more in a reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) 10 a.m. PST today. https://www.reddit.com/r/science/comments/2tu16v/science_ama_series_im_gregory_weiss_uc_irvine/ Hey, if you enjoyed the story we just posted on chemists “unboiling” an egg — the UCI scientist is doing an AMA right now (and will be answering questions until 3 pm EST, 8 pm GMT)
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6:00 PM | Book Review: Ethics and Values in Social Research, Paul Ransome
Here at the Whisperer we try to make your life easier by reading books and doing reviews. We try to review books which would appeal to most researchers, but some of the books we get sent have more specific audiences in mind. “Ethics and Values in Social research” by Paul Ransome is clearly designed for […]
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5:15 PM | Chemists find a way to unboil eggs It has often been said that...
Chemists find a way to unboil eggs It has often been said that you can’t unscramble an egg. But you might be able to unboil one. When you boil an egg, the heat causes the proteins inside the egg white to tangle and clump together, solidifying it. New research published in ChemBioChem by scientists at UC Irvine shows how they can essentially reverse the clumping process by adding chemicals to a cooked egg. “Yes, we have invented a way to unboil a hen egg,” UCI […]
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2:32 PM | At Last, the Orleans Parish School District Has a New Superintendent - Now what?
After a search that lasted more than two and a half years, the New Orleans Parish School Board found a new superintendent. Henderson Lewis Jr. was the board’s unanimous choice and he will soon have the opportunity to start the 180-Day action plan he presented during his interview. The Jan. 20 selection is cause for celebration - the board can reach consensus. However, let’s hope “Doc” Lewis can rally this disparate group of politicos for longer than the time it took to […]
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2:00 PM | Thirsty for Science: Mendeley teams up with Pint of Science
Some of the best scientific discoveries have occurred over a pint. The Eagle in Cambridge is famous for Watson and Crick’s custom, while an unnamed Mendeley Advisor has confessed to me that some of his best scientific collaborations and discussions occur during his institute’s weekly “beer hour.” So what better way to discuss and learn […]
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1:00 PM | Is it harder, or easier, to publish in your field?
It takes time and effort to publish a paper. After all, if it were really easy, then publications wouldn’t be a workable (albeit flawed) currency in for success in the sciences. I often have heard about how some labs experience a bigger or smaller MPU (minimum publishable unit) than others, as I’ve worked in biology…
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12:49 PM | Open Research London launch event
Last week, on Monday 19th January, I co-organised the first ever Open Research London event at Imperial College London, with the help of local organisers; Jon Tennant & Torsten Reimer. We invited two speakers for our first meeting: Chris Banks (Director of Library Services at Imperial, and an elected Board Member of Research Libraries UK) & … Read more →
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11:59 AM | Why I’m hesitant to recommend flipping the classroom to pre-tenure faculty
As I’ve written about before, we’ve moved Intro Bio towards a flipped model: students have to do pre-readings (and sometimes watch videos) prior to coming to class, they get quizzed before every class (on both the pre-readings and material from … Continue reading →
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8:13 AM | Your PhD Matters
Hey, I just want to tell you that… your PhD matters. Yes, it does matter. Who the $%&@# cares about my PhD? What am I achieving with it? Will my PhD mean anything for the world? I asked myself these questions every single day of that PhD. Do you ask yourself the same? Then keep reading… [...]
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7:05 AM | Reflections of research: more art in science | Richard P Grant
The art of science and the science of art: winners of the British Heart Foundation’s annual Reflections of Research competitionThe British Heart Foundation (BHF) runs a competition encouraging researchers to share their most arresting images – pictures of research that not only are very pretty, but also that tell us something fundamental about biology. A panel of judges select an overall winner, and there’s also a popular vote via the BHF supporters’ Facebook page. The […]
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12:50 AM | Changing course, Part 5: Asking & answering the tough questions
Previously biochembelle unexpectedly shared her plan to change career directions with her postdoc adviser. Would his admonitions change her mind? I hadn’t expected my adviser to necessarily embrace the idea. I had even anticipated some pushback. But I had not … Continue reading →

January 26, 2015

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11:19 PM | Language Pet Peeves #2: “Impact”
Here’s another word I want to add to my pet peeve list: “Impact.” It’s overused to the point of meaninglessness, and it often has little meaning anyhow. I blame Thompson-Reuters for this over-use because they developed the “Impact Factor.” This, of course is a way of assessing the average citation levels for journals. As the […]
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10:01 PM | Find out why carrots taste sweeter in the winter time →
Find out why carrots taste sweeter in the winter time →
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9:24 PM | The ‘magic’ of the FA Cup
With all the FA cup matches that have taken place this last weekend there has been the usual hype about the ‘magic’ of the FA Cup. I suspect the reality is somewhat different for most premiership clubs, whose main concern is staying in the PL and maybe getting into the European places! For them it … Continue reading The ‘magic’ of the FA Cup →
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7:15 PM | [Brainjogging, image via gif-t-s.] Scientists Uncover Surprising...
[Brainjogging, image via gif-t-s.] Scientists Uncover Surprising New Tools to Rejuvenate the Brain Scientists used to believe that our neurologic fate was sealed at birth with a single, lifetime allotment of brain cells. The thinking went – not so very long ago – that little by little, with the bumps of age and lifestyle, this initial stash of neurons died, taking our brain function along with them. Yet, strange as it may sound, canaries, video games, and young blood are finally […]
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6:03 PM | Debunking One Myth About U.S. Teachers
Charts by Jill Barshay. Data source: Who Enters Teaching? Encouraging Evidence that the Status of Teaching is Improving, Educational Researcher, December 2014 Back in 2010, McKinsey & Company issued a report that made a powerful argument: the world’s top performing school systems draw teachers from the best and brightest in their societies, but in the United States, almost half of new teachers come from the bottom third, as measured by SAT scores.  It’s been […]
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1:45 PM | How Cyber Hacks Are Changing Higher Ed
From UMass Boston to Vermont’s Champlain College, institutes of higher education are trying to boost the number of graduates in a field that barely existed ten years ago: cyber security. And colleges and universities are scrambling to keep up with increased cyber security threats. For the past two decades, David Kaeli has been teaching electrical and computer engineering at Northeastern University. Now, a rash of cyber hacks is changing how and what he teaches. “Security has to be […]
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1:26 PM | What Fitness is For.
When presented with images of fitness in the media, we generally see images of almost impossibly beautiful people (often actually impossibly beautiful, due to digital effects), who are probably also suffering from severe, chronic caloric deficits. Often, they are also probably using steroids or other hormones to build muscles that ordinary humans who care about […]
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12:46 PM | New on F1000Research – 26 January 2015
A selection of new content on F1000Research from the past week. To receive notification of all new articles, sign up for our table of contents alerts.   Featured article Binding of a fluorescence reporter and a ligand to an odorant-binding protein of the yellow fever mosquito, Aedes aegypti [v2; ref status: indexed,
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12:40 PM | Mendeley Desktop 1.13 Released – Faster Sync & Catalog Import
Mendeley Desktop 1.13 is now available for Windows, Mac and Linux. This update has largely been about under-the-hood work on sync functionality to make it faster and enable you to access it across a wider range of platforms. Coming soon, you’ll be able to access your Mendeley library from our upcoming new web and Android apps, plus […]
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12:00 PM | It’s kind of like a turtle-fish-dolphin…
Close your eyes. Go back in time 250 million years, and the world would seems as strange to you as a different planet. On land, there was a whole host of bizarre and now extinct animals: strange, crocodile-like things, and the precursors of dinosaurs; weird mammal-like beasts, that looked like the lost offspring of a hippo and a monitor lizard. In the seas, marine reptiles dominated. A whole range of unusual animals lived, such as the long-necked plesiosaurs, popularised with reference to the […]
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11:58 AM | Parental leave, beyond the numbers (guest post)
Note from Jeremy: This is a guest post by Margaret Kosmala, a postdoc in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. My series of posts on the statistics of parental leave has prompted responses like Really great/horrifying post by @margaretkosmala @DynamicEcology … Continue reading →
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10:00 AM | Stratospheric aerosol geoengineering and the polar vortex
Geoengineering by reducing the amount of solar radiation the Earth absorbs has become a hot topic in the last few years. Of all the impacts geoengineering might have on our climate, why on earth should we care about what goes … Continue reading →
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8:41 AM | Seven crucial academic skills parenting teaches you!
Parenting and academia are not mutually exclusive states. Many academics are parents, we take on different caring responsibilities at different stages in our careers and take on more or less of the parenting responsibilities depending on our family situation. However, parenting is often seen as detracting from our ability to succeed in academia in the zero sum game of work-life balance. Yes parents* can be under significant time pressures and may have their mobility restricted, but the […]
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12:10 AM | Om nom nom!  Can a little bit of power turn you into cookie...
Om nom nom!  Can a little bit of power turn you into cookie monster?

January 25, 2015

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1:03 PM | Lectures: to capture or not capture?
My colleague Katherine Haxton has recently published an interesting post on the recording of lectures. This has led me to think about what I do, whether it is working, and whether I could do more. Thinking about this now is well timed, since we resume teaching tomorrow, after our Autumn Semester exam period finished on … Continue reading Lectures: to capture or not capture? →

January 24, 2015

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4:11 PM | The day Churchill died
I remember the day Churchill died. We didn’t have a TV at home, but got the news from the radio. At the time my grandparents lived in Norwich, and we visited them that day. As a keen 8-year old, I remember asking my grandparents when we arrived at their house ‘have you heard the bad … Continue reading The day Churchill died →
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2:39 PM | Urban Legends In The World of Clinical Trials
Ethnographer Jill A. Fisher offers a fascinating look at the rumors and urban legends that circulate among the volunteers who get paid to take part in medical research: Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA Fisher visited six clinical trial facilities across the USA. All of these facilities were exclusively devoted to running phase I trials, testing new drugs to see if they are safe in humans. She spent a total of 450 hours in the field, getting to know the 'guinea pigs', and the staf

Fisher JA (2015). Stopped hearts, amputated toes and NASA: contemporary legends among healthy volunteers in US phase I clinical trials., Sociology of health & illness, 37 (1) 127-42. PMID: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/25601069

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