December 17, 2014

9:06 PM | AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Day 2
Tuesday I spent most of my time in the poster hall - a full day on my feet, in fact, which I'm regretting slightly today. In the morning I was learning about fluids and mineralization in hydrothermal systems in a number of places - Iceland, Chile, mid-ocean ridges, among others - and in the afternoon I saw some presentations on eruptive dynamics, particularly at my old field area of the Santiaguito lava domes in Guatemala.
8:53 PM | End of teaching update
I have done my last teaching for 2014. Today’s Materials Chemistry and Catalysis poster session went surprisingly well, and even those whose posters were not the best defended them with conviction. Of course, marking remains to be done, but my next undergraduate lecture will be on X-ray diffraction, in 2015! I now switch to research … Continue reading End of teaching update →
8:15 PM | Updated Cerebrovascular Physiology Links – 17/12/2014
I have updated the Cerebrovascular Physiology Labs section. You will now see a link to the lab of Dr Hélène Girouard from Université de Montréal. Her research interests are related to cerebrovascular pharmacology, neurovascular coupling and interactions between astrocytes and blood vessels. In addition, I have added a new section entitled “Theses”, where you will […]
7:34 PM | skunkbear: skunkbear: Back when I was a studying biology, I...
skunkbear: skunkbear: Back when I was a studying biology, I noticed that a lot of anatomical terms sound like they come straight from Middle Earth. So, to celebrate the release of the last Hobbit film, I’ve created this INCREDIBLY nerdy quiz. Do these words and phrases refer to parts of the human body, or reference people and places from J. R. R. Tolkien’s work? Antrum of Highmore Crypt of Morgagni Caves of Androth Lobelia Loop of Henle Scapha Great Vein of Galen Halls of […]
3:19 PM | Why Did Mississippi Lose out on Preschool Funding — Again?
Mississippi’s flawed application and underdeveloped plans to provide preschool for all children is partly to blame for why the state’s youngest learners were bypassed once again for federal funds that could have provided a boost to early education, a review found. Last week, Mississippi was passed over for a preschool grant that would have tripled the number of children enrolled in early education classes in four years, increased the number of highly qualified preschool teachers and […]
11:23 AM | Preferring a preference index
I’ve been reading about preference indexes lately, specifically for characterising pollinator preferences for plants, so here is what I learnt. Preference is defined as using an item (e.g. plant) more than expected given the item abundance. First I like to use … Continue reading →
11:14 AM | Ecologists who are awesome at things besides ecology
In this old post asking readers “What were you, or what were you going to be, before you became an ecologist?”, several examples came up of ecologists who were or are very accomplished at something besides ecology or some related … Continue reading →
6:53 AM | OYM58: Ain’t no REST for Nipun Chopra
We’re excited to welcome Nipun Chopra (@nipunchopra7) to the On Your Mind studio this week, who’s taken time out of his own science and podzilla life to talk neuroscience with us.  Having gone from high school biology teacher to doctoral student at Indiana University Indianapolis, he’s got a lot to add to the On Your more The post OYM58: Ain’t no REST for Nipun Chopra appeared first on On Your Mind Podcast.
1:46 AM | ucsdhealthsciences: JUST THE FAQs: Why Do Macrophages Do What...
ucsdhealthsciences: JUST THE FAQs: Why Do Macrophages Do What They Do? A new study led by Christopher K. Glass, MD, PhD, UC San Diego School of Medicine professor, answers longstanding questions about what makes a macrophage the sort of macrophage it is. What are macrophages and what do they do? Macrophages are a type of immune cell. They respond to infections and injuries in the human body. Macrophages are found in all tissues of the body, where they are best known for engulfing invading […]

December 16, 2014

6:51 PM | What right do they have?
What right to members of the public have regarding decisions to undertake large science projects? a) The right to be informed? b) The right to be consulted? c) The right to vote? I’m not sure c) has ever happened so let’s look at some examples of a) and b) a) The public was informed that […]
6:10 PM | Make the best pie ever using science One of the staples of the...
Make the best pie ever using science One of the staples of the holiday season is pie and while you may have Grandma’s recipe for the perfect crust, do you really know what goes on at a molecular level? UCLA biophysicist Amy Rowat shares some of the scientific aspects of apple pie and explains how you can apply these insights in the kitchen. Think of butter as a gas. Butter is really just a bunch of teeny tiny water droplets dispersed in a matrix of fat. In the oven, these water droplets […]
5:00 PM | AGU Fall Meeting 2014: Day 1
And we're off! Monday was a mixed bag of service and science for me - I started off as a panelist for the first-ever workshop on Honors nominations, talking about the successful nominations I've seen while serving on the Science For Solutions committe
2:24 PM | Why University of New Orleans Faculty Would Be Better off Taking Their Concerns to a New Governor
NEW ORLEANS - Organizing to solve deeper political problems requires much more effort than the finger pointing currently under way at the University of New Orleans. The schools’ Faculty Council issued a vote of no confidence for Peter Fos, its president, a week before the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors approved Fos’s plan to eliminate seven academic programs from the institution. Low enrollments and wanting completion rates were the cited reasons why […]
1:36 PM | Everything is Slower than I Want.
I’m in an impatient place at the moment. My anxiety has been off the charts lately, about everything. Health, home, work. I’m disappointed at how rapidly my fitness falls off when I take a break. Even just a few weeks off and I feel like I’m substantially degraded from my peak at the end of November. […]
1:00 PM | Be a gracious winner and not a sore loser (or don’t be a jerk)
There are a bunch of life skills that come in handy in academia. Some are obvious and discussed a lot like time management, setting goals, getting stuff completed, etc. Others fly under the radar but maybe shouldn’t. One of those things is how you handle competition. Academia is one of those careers where competition is…
11:37 AM | Some talks that surprised me from #BESSfe
I have a quick post about the joint BES-Sfe meeting in Lille at Journal of Ecology Blog. My talk went very well and if interested you can find the slides here.
11:27 AM | Religion and Politics in Japan: A Conversation with Religion Scholar Levi McLaughlin
In the wake of Japan's recent national elections, we talk to scholar Levi McLaughlin about the role of religion in Japanese politics (and why no one talks about it).
10:00 AM | Introspection on insomnia
Vanessa De Mello explains the mechanisms that malfunction to cause this nocturnal nuisance. I write this lying awake at 2.38am, wondering why I can’t for the life of me sleep. To make the situation even worse, ‘Let it Go’ from Frozen is going over and over in my head. Do you ever suffer from this…
12:50 AM | Top 4 of 2014: Your Favourite Canine Science Posts
As December rolls into its second half, and the days warm up - or cool down - depending on where you are situated on the globe, we wanted to say thank you for joining us in 2014 - we are continually blown away with the popular and supportive community we have around us at Do You Believe in Dog? here on the blog, on Facebook and also on Twitter. Taking our lead from Companion Animal Psychology, we decided to jump into some statistics (because hey, we are scientists!) to see […]

Scanlon E. (2013). Scholarship in the digital age: Open educational resources, publication and public engagement, British Journal of Educational Technology, 45 (1) 12-23. DOI:

Stilgoe J. & J. Wilsdon (2014). Why should we promote public engagement with science?, Public Understanding of Science, 23 (1) 4-15. DOI:

Wong-Parodi G. & Strauss B.H. (2014). Team science for science communication., Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, PMID:


December 15, 2014

10:45 PM | The first mountain bike race Preserved green space was crucial...
The first mountain bike race Preserved green space was crucial to the invention of mountain biking. These cyclists would casually go out on these rides which soon got competitive. Since everyone was tweaking their bikes with DIY parts there would be debates on who could go down the hills the fastest. As more of them started doing it, the idea of actually doing a race emerged. They chose a particular stretch of road near Mt. Tamalpais. It’s right around two miles long, drops about 1,300 […]
9:59 PM | Stress: Competition and Ranking
One issue I keep seeing in comments here and elsewhere on this issue is that academia is very competitive, with everyone worried about their rank.  In my last post, I admitted that it would be hard to completely deny that there is competition, particularly when people are younger, which tends to come out when jobs are at stake.  But, for the most part, I think the role of competition is completely exaggerated, strangely so.  Academia -- at least, certainly, my branch of it -- […]
9:24 PM | Vanity project
I haven’t written a book. And this is it. Well, I did write it of course. The words are mine. But there is nothing new here. I’ve just pulled together a selection of my blogs posts from the last six … Continue reading →
6:58 PM | If Eggnog Has Eggs In It, Why Is It Safe To Drink?
Eggnog is a holiday treat, but it contains – surprise! – eggs. So how come it’s okay for us to drink it? Here are a few questions and answers about eggnog and food safety.
6:34 PM | The winds of Titan As sand dunes march across the Sahara, vast...
The winds of Titan As sand dunes march across the Sahara, vast dunes cross the surface of Saturn’s largest moon, Titan. New research from a refurbished NASA wind tunnel reveals the physics of how particles move in Titan’s methane-laden winds and could help to explain why Titan’s dunes form in the way they do. "Conditions on Earth seem natural to us, but models from Earth won’t work elsewhere," said Bruce White, professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering at the UC […]
5:49 PM | Back to Center.
I give up. I am pulling back from things I tried to force because I wanted to be popular and important. I like being popular. I like people respecting me and wanting to be around me. But none of that is good for me. Pursuing it is not good for my ego, and I don’t […]
4:00 PM | F1000 Specialist of the Year 2014
For the past few weeks, the F1000 Outreach Directors have looked at lists of all of your past activities to figure out who deserved to be crowned this year’s F1000 Specialist of the Year. The decision was much harder than last year because so many of you have done so much this past [...]
2:36 PM | 500 dead bumblebees – the chemical blitz of modern farming
Earlier this year, Sheila Horne was walking at Hacton Parkway, a public park and conservation area in Havering, East London. April is normally a good time to see insects in their prime so she was very surprised to find many … Continue reading →
2:00 PM | Metaphor is beautiful, too
When we first learn about metaphor in elementary school, we learn that it’s a figure of speech that involves referring to one thing as an unrelated thing. A very prototypical example is Juliet is the sun. We acknowledge this phrase because it’s beautiful and creative. I spend the good part of many days thinking, reading, and […]
1:54 PM | California Study Finds Harm for Some in Repeating Algebra, Questions Whether it Benefits Anyone
One of the most often repeated courses in U.S. high schools is algebra. Teachers and school leaders understandably worry whether a student who can’t solve basic equations should move on in math, to geometry or advanced algebra. So the student takes algebra again. Sometimes, even students with B’s in algebra are asked to repeat it because their teachers are concerned that they haven’t mastered the material. Unfortunately, a growing body of research is showing that when you […]
12:00 PM | This Is What Science Looks Like At NC State: Magdalena Sorger
Meet Magdalena Sorger, who left business school to study ants from Florida to Ethiopia to Borneo.
299 Results