Posts

March 28, 2015

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7:32 PM | Links: HBR article on Women in STEM and AAUW Report
A latest article on bias issues for women in STEM by Harvard Business Review.  A slide presentation by AAUW related to their report: Solving the Equation: The Variables for Women’s Success in Engineering and Computing.  The full report can be downloaded for free here.  
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1:35 PM | The World at 7 PM: A Survey of Everyday Life
In the Journal of Personality, a new study reports on the uniformity of human experience around the globe: The World at 7: Comparing the Experience of Situations Across 20 Countries The research was an online survey of a total of 5447 people. Each participant was asked to think about what happened the previous evening at 7 pm. Then they were asked to describe the 7 pm scene by means of 89 statements (descriptors), which included things like: "Rational thinking is called for.", "Situation ra

March 27, 2015

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7:00 PM | Did Jeb Bush's Education Reforms Work in Florida?
One of the positive points of a potential Jeb Bush presidential candidacy is that he has some claim to success as governor of Florida, particularly with regard to education. Some of his education reforms (support for school privatization and more accountability) are unpopular among liberals. Some (particularly Common Core) are unpopular with conservatives. But at least he can claim to be actually moderate. What’s more, according to this article at Newsweek his reforms don’t seem […]
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4:52 PM | Open Science News – 27 March 2015
Lots of meeting notes from Open Science meeting in this week’s roundup! Meeting report from last week’s Open Science meeting at the Center for Open Science, by Amye Kenall. When Data Sharing Gets Close to 100%: What Human Paleogenetics Can Teach the Open Science Movement. Article in PLOS One Notes from the [...]
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3:00 PM | We've Got Education Reform All Wrong
Everyone knows that American education is in crisis. Education is one of the few fields where an obsession with failure can be good for a career. Education secretaries get applause when they talk about the great and immediate need to make radical changes. It is unacceptable that our country performs like Latvia. Our schools are bad. Our teachers are bad. Our children are stupid. And so we’ve enacted near-continuous reforms, and spent truckloads of money, trying to improve American […]
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2:41 PM | One of the Biggest Threats to Student Privacy​? Failure to Communicate
Lorrie Faith Cranor, a professor of computer science and of engineering and public policy in her office at Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pa. PITTSBURGH, Pa. - Online programs bring new educational resources to classrooms and homes. And with them comes the responsibility to ensure children are safe when they log in to play games, chat with friends and explore the world. Policymakers, businesses and educators continue to debate appropriate controls. The U.S. Department of […]
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12:51 PM | Love a duck? Promiscuous birds make genetic mistakes | Amy Coats
Promiscuity could put species in danger of potentially damaging genetic changes, according to new research from UCLSome believe that flowers, chocolate or a freshly cooked bacon sandwich are the way to woo members of the opposite sex. But many members of the animal kingdom have different ideas on how to guarantee intercourse. The Mormon cricket goes to the trouble of growing, maintaining, and eventually giving away, a juicy sperm packet about a fifth of his body weight. The female will compete […]
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12:00 PM | Recommended reads #49
Why is so much of our discussion of higher ed driven by elite institutions? Why has bioinformatics education failed? The five biases pushing women out of STEM. One item that seems to be missing from the list is, “partners that don’t do an equivalent share of parenting.” About a week ago, I came across a…
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11:35 AM | Friday links: scooped by a blog post, the real history of P-values, lab safety, and more
Also this week: the history of #icanhazpdf, microbiome pet peeves, new evidence of widepread p-hacking, the difference between terrestrial and marine ecologists, using software to solve the wrong problem, and more. Oh, and never mess with a manatee. From Meg: … Continue reading →
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9:45 AM | Evolution is – surprise! – Darwinian!
I sometime come across papers that I missed during their publication time and that shed a new light on my current research (or strengthen the already present light). Today it was Cartmill’s 2012 Evolutionary Anthropology – not open access, apologies… Cartmill raises an interesting question from an evolutionary point of view: “How long ago did the first [insert your favorite taxa here] live?”. This question is crucial for any macroevolutionary study (or/and for the […]
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9:00 AM | In which Charles Fernyhough comes to Fiction Lab
One of the great things about being the LabLit Guru™ is that I am constantly receiving interesting books to look over. A stack of lab lit, yesterday – plus an intriguing hanger-on there at the bottom One of the not-so-great … Continue reading →
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7:54 AM | Herbs
I am a meet lover but I also cannot resist the smell of fresh herbs. They are also wonderful with meat, right?

March 26, 2015

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5:50 PM | Education Technology Hasn't Worked Yet. Why's It Going to Work Now?
It’s tempting to think technology can fix most of education’s problems. There have, in history, been lots of problems that seemed intractable and in need of vast complicated policy initiatives to address them. And then, in an instant, technology makes them disappear. During the 19th century, for instance, the streets of America were covered in horse excrement. Public health reformers puzzled for years about how to fix this problem, how to get the horse poop out so children could […]
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3:54 PM | Wiley are charging for access to thousands of articles that should be free
[Update 5.30PM 2015-03-26: Wiley have now ‘freed’ the wrongly-paywalled articles in response to this. It doesn’t change the fact that these articles were wrongly on sale for 2 months and 26 days. They have also wrongly sold access to these articles.] Wiley are currently (3PM 2015-03-26) charging for access to thousands of articles that should … Read more →
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3:28 PM | Neuroskeptic On Bloggingheads
Over at Bloggingheads.tv, I've been interviewed by John Horgan, science journalist and author of books such as The Undiscovered Mind. We talked about whether neuroscience will be able to help diagnose mental illness; why we need to reform how science is published; the mess that is the Human Brain Project; and on a more personal note, about why I became a neuroscientist and why I blog pseudonymously as "Neuroskeptic". Check it out!
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2:44 PM | Meet the Newsflo Team
At the beginning of this year, Elsevier acquired Newsflo, a unique media monitoring tool to allow academics to get additional “impact” metrics, in additional to the traditional citation metrics, on your Mendeley profiles. Since then, co-founders Freddie Witherden and Ben Kaube have moved into the Mendeley offices, with all our glory of unlimited coffee and […]
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2:33 PM | Three Cheers for Failure! Wait, What?
ATLANTA, Ga. - A faux evergreen tree set up inside a convention center hotel here last week was festooned with hand-written confessions from school leaders. “Inadequate WiFi density caused classroom technology to crash during Open House!” “Teacher technology stipends: All pain, no gain.” “Did not check references.” “Poor construction management destroys existing network.” Of course, most of the events at the annual conference for the Consortium […]
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2:29 PM | Trash to Gas: A Solution to Half Our Problems?
“New innovation from scientists,” read the subject line from my Mom’s email. Attached was a link to a Youtube clip of a male scientist balling plastic bags, sealing them in a steel vessel, and pushing a button. After a couple of hours, the eager scientist cracked open the vessel, and poured out a dark, ominous […]
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2:19 PM | Is NSF's postdoc mentoring plan actually doing anything?
NSF first introduced the Postdoc Mentoring Plan as a supplementary document a few years ago. At the time everyone was all: LOOK AT ME TYPING A "PLAN"! YES A PLAN! There was basically no information on what we should be writing and panels had no idea what they should be expecting. It was basically a […]
Editor's Pick
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2:11 PM | A new study on layouts may surprise people who think...
A new study on layouts may surprise people who think ‪comic ‬pages are read like textCommon wisdom is that people read comic page layouts the same way that they read writing — For English speakers, that’s left to right and then down (known as the “Z-path”).Research from UC San Diego’s Neil Cohn indicates that several spatial arrangements can push readers to deviate from this order. These manipulations include separating panels from each other, […]
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1:00 PM | Upcoming peer review workshop in London
As you might know, we’re partnered with Sense About Science to support their “Nuts and Bolts” peer review workshops in the UK. We recently published a report by Anna Cupani who attended the previous workshop at St Andrews University. The next workshop has now been announced and will take place in London on [...]
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1:00 PM | How should we talk about sex? Ditch the baseball
Whenever we talk about abstract or complex topics (and even when we talk about things that are neither abstract or complex) we can almost guarantee that metaphors will be at the center of the stage. This is especially true when it’s not appropriate to focus on certain aspects of a situation or when we want to lighten a […]
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12:55 PM | How many grant proposals?
One thing that is really hard to figure out, especially as a n00b, is how many grant proposals is the "right" amount to be submitting. One has a tendency to ask those slightly more senior and that's when you get an interaction like this: @kejames currently 5 pending, all NSF. Internal prop pending. Another NSF […]
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12:24 PM | Why am I running?
I’m returning from a little blogging hiatus (that ran a bit longer than intended). Here’s a photo from one of the reasons for the disruption. Last month, Dr. 24Hours and I took a trip to Spain. It was supposed to be … Continue reading →
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11:55 AM | Ephemeral art
It’s a difficult time of year for many people: Instructors are looking at how many lectures are left before final exams, and starting to panic about how much material hasn’t yet been covered! We are planning field seasons, applying for research permits, juggling meetings, and starting to think about how the summer’s work-life balance will […]
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11:12 AM | Jupiter is my shepherd that I shall not want
Our Solar System is just plain odd compared to other star systems across our galaxy. Once again the finger of blame points towards the gas giant Jupiter as the simulations in this paper show.
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10:28 AM | Heads up: You will need a visa to travel to #Evol2015 in Brazil!
Just as a heads up: if you are planning on traveling to the Evolution 2015 meeting in Brazil, you need a visa, and it takes a month to get one. More info is here. And, via twitter, Emilio Bruna recommends … Continue reading →

March 25, 2015

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8:53 PM | A New Top Dog in North Carolina
Coyotes - newcomers to North Carolina - may fill the role wolves once did.
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8:01 PM | "Our state’s water management is complex, but the technology and expertise exist to handle this..."
“Our state’s water management is complex, but the technology and expertise exist to handle this harrowing future. It will require major changes in policy and infrastructure that could take decades to identify and act upon. Today, not tomorrow, is the time to begin.” - UC Irvine’s Jay Famiglietti, California has about one year of water stored. Will you ration now?
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6:24 PM | What if a High School Diploma Guaranteed a Highly Paid Job?
WACO, Texas — At first glance, there’s nothing revolutionary about the Greater Waco Advanced Manufacturing Academy, a vocational school opened in 2013 to serve students in and around this central Texas city. The machines are fancy and gleaming, but the students here learn skills for the sorts of jobs that fueled America’s economy last century: welding, manufacturing, building homes. Around Waco, though, those jobs are still heavily in demand. And the academy offers a unique […]
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