Posts

August 25, 2014

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11:57 AM | The truth about Islamic State that no one wants to hear
Today’s post is one of obligation rather than enjoyment. It needs saying, but it won’t be popular. It’s about Islamic State, ISIS, ISIL or however we’re currently translating what they call themselves: the repellent gang of criminals currently terrorising large swathes of the Middle East. Not that the Western media would care half as much […]
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11:04 AM | Brief book reviews: The Science of the Struggle for Existence, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, and Why Do Lemmings Commit Suicide?
This post is an experiment. It’s brief reviews of three older books that I think will be of interest to many of you, but that I suspect many of you weren’t aware of. My goal is to say just enough … Continue reading →
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11:04 AM | Brief book reviews: The Science of the Struggle for Existence, Darwinian Populations and Natural Selection, and Why Do Lemmings Commit Suicide? (UPDATED)
This post is an experiment. It’s brief reviews of three older books that I think will be of interest to many of you, but that I suspect many of you weren’t aware of. My goal is to say just enough … Continue reading →

August 24, 2014

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3:56 PM | Culling the deskcrops
If you saw my post for the Geological Society's "Speaking of Geoscience" blog, you'll know that I'm in a transition period - finishing up my job as a policy fellow and getting ready to move on to a postdoctoral fellowship with the USGS in September. In the meantime, that means I've been spending a lot of my time packing all my possessions into increasing numbers of boxes, in between pecking away at various writing projects.
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1:21 PM | The Scottish independence referendum and concerns for the future
In 4 weeks time the Scottish independence referendum will have taken place, and at present the outcome is still unpredictable. I find myself in a difficult place with respect to the referendum. Most of all, I wish it wasn’t taking place at all. But it is, and I am trying to avoid all the hype […]

August 23, 2014

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3:17 PM | Is the ACM "Retaliating" Against SOCG?
Friday afternoon Jeff Erickson posted at Making SOCG blog some "bad news".  Some background:  very recently, the Symposium on Computational Geometry, or SoCG, decided to leave the ACM, for various reasons.  There had been plans in the works for SoCG to be co-located with the Symposium on the Theory of Computing, or STOC, one of the flagship general theory conferences, in 2016.  STOC is an ACM conference.  Reportedly, Paul Beame, chair of SIGACT (the ACM theory special […]
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3:48 AM | Elucidating missing links of the TCR signaling network
Just published:Phosphorylation site dynamics of early T-cell receptor signaling. LA Chylek, V Akimov, J Dengjel,  KTG Rigbolt, WS Hlavacek, B Blagoev. PLOS ONE 9, e104240Stimulation of the T-cell receptor (TCR) can trigger a cascade of biochemical signaling events with far-reaching consequences for the T cell, including changes in gene regulation and remodeling of the actin cytoskeleton. A driving force in the initiation of signaling is phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of […]

August 22, 2014

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9:04 PM | End of summer musings on (lack of) rejuvenation and (too much) service
Summer is supposed to be a season of rejuvenation for academics. While research and service obligations remain, we get a break from teaching. Theoretically, since teaching is the major part of my job, this should mean that my summer schedule is (a) more low key, (b) more relaxing, (c) less time consuming, and (d) less […]
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7:18 PM | The Society for Neuroscience receiving both barrels
Apologies for the third post about open access publishing in a row. Normal service will resume shortly! I wanted to bring attention to a second open letter published, inspired by our first one to the Association for the Advancement of American Science (AAAS). This letter was aimed at a smaller society, the Society for Neuroscience, and […]
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6:16 PM | "When you look at the sunflowers you planted six weeks ago and they now dwarf you, it puts all the..."
“When you look at the sunflowers you planted six weeks ago and they now dwarf you, it puts all the intellectual parts of your learning in a pretty real-world frame of reference — you can see growth visibly come to life, and it’s really satisfying.” - UCLA’s Anne McKnight talking about her class on urban agriculture.
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5:42 PM | Michelle Rhee Leaves the Education Reform Trenches
Just about no one has a mixed view of former Washington, D.C. schools chancellor Michelle Rhee. Even the announcement that she’s stepping down from leadership at the education reform organization Students First prompted a firestorm of commentary. So I decided to add a few (quieter) thoughts about Rhee’s departure in a TPM column this week: ...if Rhee’s departure feels like a surrender, her critics have badly misunderstood the state of American education debates. There are […]
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4:10 PM | Open Science News – 22 August 2014
What was new in open science this week? CGIAR is running a competition “to find new, enticing and innovative online ways to present CGIAR research facts, figures and open data sources”. After the Open Source Pharma conference, attendees launched a Thunderclap to draw more attention to the need for open source drug [...]
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4:00 PM | Transfer Students Often Don't Get Credit
A frequent recommendation of financial planners is that for parents want to save money on college they should sending their kids to inexpensive community colleges and then transfer to a four-year schools after two years. That way the student gets the name brand degrees at half the price. While I’ve long questioned how appropriate a solution this really is to the cost problem—If more students want to go to community colleges, how do the community colleges cope? They don’t have […]
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4:00 PM | Sing your spiders away
Just found this in the Metro: Must be something to do with the frequency of his voice, bet it vibrates the web so the spider thinks it either has prey or is being attacked. I am sad that the Metro … Continue reading →
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12:49 PM | The Science of Depression
Good and short video about the possible explanations for the origin of depression. From serotonin, to neurogenesis and genetics.   Related posts:Science, gender and the emergence of depression in American psychiatry 1950-1980 Genes Predict Reponse to Lithium Addition for Treatment Resistant Depression Why Can’t We find a Gene for Depression?
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11:15 AM | Friday links: text mining the ESA meeting, the rise and decline of the US (Forest Service), and more
Also this week: Shark Week jumps the shark, salmon cannon (really?!), depressing data on the gender gap in tenure decisions (in some fields), no we shouldn’t shut down all comment sections, and more. Oh, and Google Maps vs. the Proclaimers. … Continue reading →
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11:11 AM | Why Athletics Resembles Academia
Today it’s four years exactly since my first blogpost appeared. Four years of having fun writing about different sorts of things: academic life, committee work and membership, the issues facing women and the joys and frustrations of working at disciplinary … Continue reading →
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8:53 AM | Peer review service recognition – ORCID-CASRAI recommendations need your feedback
As I posted earlier this year, I have been co-chairing the CASRAI Peer Review Services Working Group together with Laura Paglione (Technical Director, ORCID) to look at the best way to recognise referee reports as a formal output in for example an ORCID profile. This project has looked at the peer review [...]
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3:01 AM | Mills College: Now a Women’s College Any Way You Slice It
Women’s colleges have for the last few years had a little trouble with how to address transgender students. Historically these schools were created to help address discrimination and gender imbalances in higher education. Many of the country’s colleges back in the 19th century only admitted men. The reason we have women’s colleges is to fix that, and give women an education. But with transgender students the question became a little more complicated. Many women’s […]

August 21, 2014

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5:24 PM | Scientific conferences, the too-slow movement of ideas, and giving an engaging talk
I went to a bunch of scientific conferences this summer. Four of ‘em. I have a smorgasbord of reflections on the whole experience to share with you. I spent about fifteen days padding around convention centers this summer. In early June there was Goldschmidt in Sacramento, then in July were both Social Insects and then Tropical Biology in…
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4:16 PM | chipstea: hello & goodbye Saving the rarest of penguins...
chipstea: hello & goodbye Saving the rarest of penguins from extinction The Yellow-Eyed Penguin builds a nest in a much different way than most penguins.  In a colony you would think the flock is in one big crowded group, but this penguin needs its space and their nests need to be hidden from view.   This presents a problem with human development because these birds need a much larger area to live and due to encroaching development they’ve become endangered. UC […]
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1:45 PM | Hashing Summer School
Back in July I took part in the Hashing Summer School in Copenhagen.  This was nominally set up by me, Rasmus Pagh, and Mikkel Thorup, though Mikkel was really the host organizer that put it all together.The course materials are all online here.  One thing that was a bit different is that it wasn't just lectures -- we really did make more of a "summer school" by putting together a lot of (optional) exercises, and leaving time for people to work through some of them in teams.  I […]
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12:51 PM | Do ‘green’ access strategies actually achieve public access?
I note with interest that article publication charge data from the University of Edinburgh has been released on Figshare today. There are some fascinating numbers in there and I applaud the transparency. One particular article that took my eye is this one: Paradoxical effects of heme arginate on survival of myocutaneous flaps Page charges were … Read more →
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12:35 PM | The CellSlam that Would Not Die Steps out Again at Philly 2014
Back from the undead, the 2014 "Zombie Cellslam," the Public Information Committee's stand-up science slam, is slouching toward Philadelphia where it will take the stage again at an Annual Meeting of the ASCB for the first time in five remarkably peaceful years. No more. The 2014 Zombie Cellslam, so named because it will not die, is set for Monday evening, December 10, at the joint ASCB/IFCB meeting in the Pennsylvania Convention Center. It will offer a variety of wit, music, and outrageously […]
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11:53 AM | Is blogging with someone a conflict of interest?
Most journals and granting agencies have conflict of interest policies, though in ecology and evolution they’re often fairly non-specific, so that in practice much is left to the discretion of people with decision-making authority. For instance, the Journal of Ecology … Continue reading →
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6:32 AM | Trends in Rare Diseases or why the ice bucket challenge is a cold dash of temporary relief | Heather Etchevers
Governments fund research into diseases that are popular with voters. But what about rare diseases, or the ones that arent popular, that nonetheless affect thousands of lives?Out of 14 different titles, Elseviers Cell Press has no Trends in Rare Diseases.To be fair, there are some rare diseases mentioned in some of the existing journals. Trends in Parasitology covers diseases that are not rare at all, but are still not trendy anyone you know affected by schistosomiasis? Nonetheless, literature […]

August 20, 2014

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11:01 PM | Do You Believe in Dog? A New Ball Game
Hello Do You Believe in Dog(ers)!(source)After two years of mostly pen-pal style blogging, we're excited to share our new direction!When we first decided to create Do You Believe in Dog?, we committed to blogging back and forth about canine science for two years. We were able to celebrate achieving that goal at the recent 4th Canine Science Forum in Lincoln, UK and also reflect on the future of Do You Believe in Dog?The DYBID blog, Facebook and Twitter feeds have become vibrant places to […]

Dijk E.M.V. (2011). Portraying real science in science communication, Science Education, 95 (6) 1086-1100. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/sce.20458

Fischhoff B. & Scheufele D. (2013). The science of science communication, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 110 (Supplement 3) 14033-14039. DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1073/pnas.1213273110

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8:52 PM | Thousands of California Kids Don't Get Past Middle School
LOS ANGELES - Devon Sanford’s mother was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer when he was in the eighth grade. After barely finishing at Los Angeles’s Henry Clay Middle School, he never enrolled in high school. Instead, he spent what should have been his freshman year caring for his mother and waiting for the police to show up asking why he wasn’t in school. No one ever came. “That was the crazy part,” he said. “Nobody called or nothing.” Although the […]
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5:31 PM | "Just six Walmart heirs have more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined."
“Just six Walmart heirs have more wealth than the bottom 42 percent of Americans combined.” - UC Berkeley’s Robert Reich, The Rise of the Non-Working Rich.
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3:40 PM | Continuing the battle for open access that’s good for science, not publishers’ profits
Two developments since the last post regarding open access things for anyone interested! First, is a little interview I had with the Open Access Button folk about er, open access: http://blog.openaccessbutton.org/2014/08/19/every-time-you-hit-a-paywall-thats-a-publisher-announcing-that-their-role-is-to-prohibit-the-progress-of-science-as-much-as-possible/ Second, is that our open letter to the AAAS has spawned a second one addressed to the Society for Neuroscience, led by Erin […]
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