Posts

July 25, 2014

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11:57 AM | Friday links: zombie ideas in evolution and psychology, a world without statistics, and more
Also this week: “charging a cover” for students to attend lab, the (ridiculous) ecology of Tatooine, and Florence Nightingale vs. Twitter trolls. Oh, and I make fun of some pseudoscience. From Jeremy: Jerry Coyne argues that there are no ring … Continue reading →
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7:41 AM | Parental Leave and Sexism
Parental Leave and Sexism There’s been a bit of a twitterstorm about the story of a ‘techie mom’ who overheard a conversation between two presumed IBM executives on the subject of hiring women. Their view was, don’t do it: they … Continue reading →
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4:00 AM | Estimating SIR model parameters with ABC
I am currently working with Approximate Bayesian Computation for a project. As always when learning a new method, I like to revisit examples i already know about, to see how it compares. So I decided to look at classical data about a flu epidemics in an English Boarding School. It’s a good dataset to estimate SIR parameters, because (1) Influenza transmits in a flu-like way, (2) boarding schools are a closed system from a demographic point of view, and (3) there was no mortality event […]
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3:55 AM | Stop Trying to Plan the Campus for the Future
One of the big trends in policy journalism has to do with discussing college “in the future.” You know, when robot teachers instruct multiethnic superstar children in their bedrooms on Jupiter, or something. We’re never quite sure what’s going to happen, but it’s pretty clear it’s going to involve a lot of amazing new technology. Sometimes institutions attempt to plan for this, and design buildings for technology that doesn’t exist. This is maybe […]

July 24, 2014

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6:02 PM | How can language reveal insecurity?
I just read an interesting Slate post by Katy Waldman on the linguistic nuances that can reveal insecurity. It was an enjoyable read, but also induced some eyebrow raising. The article is based on studies that use sentiment analysis, a natural language processing technique that aims to extract subjective information about a writer from a piece of text. Sentiment analysis […]
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6:01 PM | Eliminating lawn mower pollution Cutting your grass with a gas...
Eliminating lawn mower pollution Cutting your grass with a gas powered mower is 11 times more polluting than driving a car.  Students at UC Riverside have developed a small device to cut down on these emissions. Essentially it fits into the exhaust pipe and can get rid of up to 87% of pollutants: The device can be thought of as a three stage system. First, a filter captures the harmful pollutants. Then an ultra-fine spray of urea solution is dispersed into the exhaust stream. The urea […]
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6:00 PM | Why Grandparents Should Pay for College
The cost of college is looking a little too high? Maybe you aren’t sure how you can ever afford four years of a rigorous collegiate education for your kids. Even public schools are looking pretty pricey these days. What to do? Well, your parents sure look to be living pretty luxuriously in their retirement. Maybe they could pay for your children’s college. That might be a fairly good idea, argues Robyn Post in a Reuters piece: Generosity can also be channeled toward significant […]
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5:20 PM | A Three Month Failure.
Over at Complex Roots, I’m closing up shop after deciding I don’t have what it takes to make that place in my vision.
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4:52 PM | Do you know anything about PhD/JD programs? Or are they generally separate?
UC has a bunch of programs that combine the JD degree with a masters degree (so the curriculum is integrated).  Here are a few examples: Journalism & Law African-American Studies & Law Social Welfare & Law Economics & Law UC Berkeley offers a PhD in Jurisprudence and Social Policy (JSP) and UCLA offers a law and philosophy degree (JD/PhD) You can search for more options using UC’s degree search tool:
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3:43 PM | Survey: where do you prefer to publish your theory papers?
Bruce Kendall, chair of the ESA’s Theoretical Ecology section and an editorial board member at Ecology, is surveying ecologists on where they prefer to publish ecological theory and models, and why. The motivation is to help the ESA make its … Continue reading →
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2:52 PM | OYM42: Taking CUEs
Kat’s away on vacation this week, but that won’t stop her from calling in to talk science with the guys. Although she hasn’t had a vacation epiphany, she brings an update on the controversy surrounding the Human Brain Project (HBP) that she brought up a few weeks ago. All told, close to 600 concerned neuroscientists ...read more The post OYM42: Taking CUEs appeared first on On Your Mind Podcast.
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11:53 AM | Unread classics in ecology
I’ve been thinking more about this recent Crooked Timber post on classic books that hardly anybody actually reads.* Suggestions in the post and comments include The Gulag Archipelago, Joyce’s Ulysses, Gödel, Escher, Bach, the Bible, War and Peace, and anything … Continue reading →
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9:00 AM | Weird foods of the world
Christina Nikolova takes a culinary tour around the globe. Here you are! Exams are finally over — well, for those who have passed them at the first time — and summer is theoretically here, though not so much in Aberdeen. For this reason you start planning your long awaited and well deserved holiday somewhere hot,…

July 23, 2014

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11:07 PM | What do you know about MD/JD's, have you ever come across one? Do you think there's a major intersection between the fields of law and medicine? I'm determined to pursue medicine but law has always intrigued me too and I can't help but think there is some kind of relationship between the two. Thoughts? Thank you!
Hey, this is a really good question! There definitely is an overlap between the two disciplines in the field of health law — so looking at the regulation of the health industry, representing patients/providers, and developing health policy. UCLA offers a law/public health concurrent degree and UC San Diego offers a Health Law degree.  It may be worth reaching out to these programs (or the faculty who teach there) and seeing if they can tell you more about what you could do at the […]
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9:11 PM | Best Abstract Ever
This is just.. amazing. So wish I was allowed to do this, would have saved tons of time in my undergrad… Original paper available here. I found this via io9.com here.Filed under: Fun Tagged: abstract
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9:08 PM | A Path Forward on Early-Ed Reform
If the recession was difficult for adults, it was just as hard on young children. Between 2009 and 2013, enrollment in state-funded pre-K programs barely budged, up from 40 to 42 percent. Meanwhile, per-child spending on those pre-K programs fell, and Head Start programs felt the effects of sequestration more acutely than most, with 57,000 kids forced out virtually overnight and their parents stranded to scramble for child care. Policymakers continued to ignore the needs of […]
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6:44 PM | Attack of the Giant (Plastic) Spider!
Even while away at Latitude Festival I just can’t get away from spiders! He was a handsome beast, made from recycled plastic plumbing. Maybe I can make an anatomically correct one as a project…Filed under: Fun Tagged: festival, plastic spider
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6:26 PM | How diamonds and lasers can recreate Jupiter’s...
How diamonds and lasers can recreate Jupiter’s core Understanding what the insides of the biggest planets in the universe has been largely wrapped up in theories.  Now scientists at Lawrence Livermore National Lab have recreated these conditions with the help of diamonds and the world’s largest laser: Though diamond is the least compressible material known, the researchers were able to compress it to an unprecedented density, greater than lead at ambient conditions. The hope […]
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5:44 PM | Researcher as Teenager: Parsing Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated
I have a distinct tendency to see everything through the lens of what it means for research communities. I have just finally read Danah Boyd’s It’s Complicated a book that focuses on how and why U.S. teenagers interact with and through social media. The book is well worth reading for the study itself, but I would argue it is more worth reading for the way it challenges many of the assumptions we make about how social interactions online and how they are mediated by […]
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5:13 PM | Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research
Writing in the European Journal of Clinical Investigation, three Dutch researchers say that All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry Citing the fact that all clinical trials are (in theory) already registered, authors Jansen of Lorkeers et al say that the system should be extended to cover preclinical medical research, […]The post Preregistration for All Medical Animal Research appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Jansen of Lorkeers, S., Doevendans, P. & Chamuleau, S. (2014). All preclinical trials should be registered in advance in an online registry, European Journal of Clinical Investigation, DOI: 10.1111/eci.12299

Citation
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4:45 PM | Medicine Will Never Cure Alcoholism.
A couple of online conversations have me thinking. I’m about to put forth a fairly long “No True Scotsman” description of alcoholism. I am friends with a bunch of neuroscientists. Many of them study addictions. I am not going to pretend that I understand the first thing about neuroscience. I don’t even understand basic cell biology […]
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3:24 PM | The Computational Chemist said...what?
So I like cruising around Reddit.com's subreddit on chemistry from time to time because it's a generally useful place for seeing others' work, help out aspiring academics, and generally have a place to get extra help on advanced chemistry techniques. The atmosphere around there is full of polite, like-minded individuals all looking to have a good time in their field.But sometimes people get a little too helpful, and step outside their comfort zone.I took this little screen grab from a […]
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1:41 PM | Disturbing the natural order – the case of neonicotinoid insecticides and farmland birds
  One of my favourite nature writers is Mark Cocker who has the ability to capture a scene or an idea in a few hundred words. Despite his immense knowledge he never loses his sense of awe and with clever … Continue reading →
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11:23 AM | Neglected classics in ecology and evolution
What are the greatest neglected classics in ecology and evolution? Truly great papers or books that deserve to be much more widely known than they are?* Part of the challenge here is deciding how little-known a paper has to be … Continue reading →
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7:28 AM | Advice on presentations: I’m not as clever as you think
I spent the last two days in Leicester at Translation UK, a two-day conference that is an annual gathering for scientists working on all aspects of translation — the protein synthesis kind. The conference is friendly and informal. It is … Continue reading →
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3:19 AM | The human factor
A recent Telegraph article suggests that “females, as a whole, are not hugely engaged by science.” Emphasis mine: The problem with science is that, for all its wonders, it lacks narrative and story-line. Science (and maths) is about facts, and … Continue reading →
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12:07 AM | Unaccompanied Children Crisis Has Implications for Education Budget
By now, readers have undoubtedly heard about the tens of thousands of children streaming over the border, largely from Guatemala, El Salvador, and Honduras. The ranks of unaccompanied children, as they are known, has grown dramatically in recent months as children flee some of the most dangerous countries in the world outside of active war zones in hope of finding safety and refuge away from the gang violence and murder in their hometowns. Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson predicted a […]

July 22, 2014

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9:04 PM | The falsehood of the perpetual candle
“Oh ye seekers after perpetual motion, how many vain chimeras have you pursued? Go and take your place with the alchemists.”         – Leonardo da Vinci, 1494Found in an article about a "perpetual candle" and a designer's ill-fated attempt at creating a renewable candle by recycling mass/energy. 
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8:49 PM | Imitating White Privilege: Why Our Public Schools Don't Look Like the Public
“Why can’t New Orleans have a charter school for middle class blacks?” A black physician and parent of a teenage daughter unashamedly asked me this question as we deboarded a first class cabin from our flight to the Crescent City. If I weren’t bourgie (African American slang for Bourgeoisie - pronounced boo-zhee), I would have cringed. Our affectations won’t allow us to admit, but black middle class families really do need quality public schools. Many middle-income […]
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8:14 PM | Spider silk as a high-performance material If you’re one of the...
Spider silk as a high-performance material If you’re one of the nation’s experts on spiders and the properties of their silk, you best not have a hint of arachnophobia. Fortunately for us, UC Riverside’s evolutionary biologist Cheryl Hayashi does not have this problem.  Spiders actually produce more than one kind of silk.  For example, a spider uses a different type of silk to capture prey vs. building a web.  Hayashi’s research focuses on this […]
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