October 13, 2014

12:00 PM | The Church of High Impact Practices
Educational fads come, and educational fads go. A dominant fad at the moment is “High Impact Practices.” Several years ago, George Kuh wrote a book about High Impact Practices that has come to dominate discussion in universities throughout the United States. If you want the nutshell version of the book, this seems to be a…
11:41 AM | The Devil’s in The Details: More Research Needed To Address Synthetic Biology Security Concerns
A new paper examines security risks and policy questions related to the growing field of synthetic biology, highlighting significant gaps in our understanding of the nuts and bolts of lab work in synthetic biology that can contribute to security risks.
11:00 AM | How I quit academia and vowed to never come back (for a month)
I am currently going through the Instructor Training for Software Carpentry. It is a really rich and transformative experience, and besides the software side of things, full of useful elements for teaching in any context. As we are currently discussing how motivation affects learning, our weekly assignment is to write the story of our biggest de-motivation, how it affected us, and what happened (and should have happened) next. Here’s mine. Very few people know it, even fewer know the name […]
6:01 AM | When tumours meet fashion | Esther Baena & Arielle Gogh
When a scientist and a fashion designer get together, they make cancer research tangible. Scientist Esther Baena and fashion designer Arielle Gogh from team Transmutation, Descience, talk about their experienceMy name is Esther Baena and I am a junior group leader conducting cancer research at the CRUK Manchester Institute, UK. I heard about the Descience project and the first ever Descience competition over a glass of wine with friends at a barbecue in Boston, Massachusetts, and my first […]

October 12, 2014

11:01 PM | PhD – Positive, Happy, Developments
When wrong is right part 2 This post follows on directly from my previous discussion of my PhD going wrong. As a brief summary of the previous episode: I ran time consuming simulations that took me around 6 month to design and another 6 months to run. The simulation failed in the end because of a bug in some of the software I was using. Therefore, I had to run them all over again!  That took me one day (at least to relaunch it, the simulations are actually still running). In this post […]
8:45 PM | On a hill
Jenny and I took some friends around the Rotherhithe peninsula yesterday, cutting through Russia Dock Woodlands and finally climbing Stave Hill. From the top of Stave Hill you can appreciate just how flat London geography really is. The Hill’s not … Continue reading →
6:42 PM | Spreading the Word, Drop by Drop
There are times when I feel as if I’m talked out about gender. I know what the issues are, I’ve written and spoken about them often enough; I’ve dug up and read through some of the relevant papers (though that … Continue reading →
6:11 PM | What Really Drives Academic Citations?
Citations are today the international currency of the scholarly economy. In theory, academic citations are the gold standard measure of the ‘impact‘ of a piece of work. If it gets other academics talking then it’s important. But why do individual academics cite particular articles? A paper out now in the Social Studies of Science journal […]The post What Really Drives Academic Citations? appeared first on Neuroskeptic.

Erikson MG & Erlandson P (2014). A taxonomy of motives to cite., Social studies of science, 44 (4) 625-37. PMID:

2:05 PM | Colouring by letters: the life of Dorothy Hodgkin
BBC Radio 4s An Eye for Pattern: the Letters of Dorothy Hodgkin provides a vivid insight into the life of one of Britains greatest scientistsThe kindly face of one of Britains most accomplished scientists gazes out from the photograph. But the hairstyle and the fact that the picture is black and white distances her from us this is clearly a figure from history. Photography is all very well for recording details precisely but when drained of colour something of the life of the sitter is lost in […]

October 11, 2014

8:28 PM | In which my palm is crossed with silver: Suffrage Science 2014
Inheritance doesn’t have to be genetic. This past Thursday at London’s Dana Centre, I was one of this year’s recipients for Suffrage Science. For those of you unfamiliar with the scheme, it was launched in 2011 by the Medical Research … Continue reading →
5:12 PM | txchnologist: Key To LED Lighting Revolution Wins Three Physics...
(L) LED is a layered semiconductor light source. (C) One or more LED chips + lead wires & epoxy shell make a bulb. (R) Multiple LED chips + supporting components make a system. Courtesy GE Lighting. The principle for a light-emitting diode – LED (upper left) and an example of a blue LED lamp. Courtesy Swedish Academy of Sciences. Courtesy GE Lighting. LED lamps require less power to emit light than older light sources. Efficiency is denoted in luminous flux (measured in lumens) per […]

October 10, 2014

5:10 PM | "Some of the students would scream when the bugs flew at them in the middle of the night, which made..."
“Some of the students would scream when the bugs flew at them in the middle of the night, which made others mad because it woke them up. We all had to get up by 5 a.m., since that’s when the howler monkeys would start screaming.” - UC San Diego’s Ryan Kastner talking about what it can be like to conduct research in the middle of the jungle. The team is developing ways to explore Mayan ruins with 3D imaging as a way to see hard-to-reach tunnels hidden underneath the thick […]
4:39 PM | De-stressing Jokes
Whenever I am under stress, I turn to jokes. My recent problems with spam attacks on my blog led me to surf the web for new math jokes. Here are some of my recent translations from Russian. * * * Two is the same thing as eight, to some degree. * * * A girl […]
2:08 PM | My Blog is under Attack
My readers noticed that my blog disappeared several times. Here’s what’s been happening. Spammers were sending tens of thousands of comments a day, which crashed the server several times. My hosting provider couldn’t handle it and took down my blog. They asked me to install CAPTCHAs. Installing CAPTCHAs became a big issue. Since I […]
12:00 PM | Recommended reads #37
“If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it in an anonymous review.” Boat parts or names of unvaccinated children? A quiz. I’m not a big fan of crowdfunding, because of the asymmetries in who gets money. And I’ve seen firsthand that expressed need sometimes doesn’t match reality. Caveats aside, I really like this one: Planting…
11:52 AM | Friday links: dump the Canadian CCV, unreclaiming zoology, billion dollar grant, and more
Also this week: new videos for teaching ecology, social media as professional development, the pluses and minuses of minority-focused conferences, the best ecology blog you’ve (well, I’d) never heard of, and more. From Meg: I added two fun, deep sea-related … Continue reading →
11:31 AM | By-election results October 2014
The results of the by-elections held on 9 October 2014 are predictably being over-hyped in the media. OK, UKIP won in Clacton and came a close second in Heywood and Middleton. But I don’t think these results are as significant as some would claim. Concerning the Clacton result: (i) By-election protest votes are not unusual, […]
2:14 AM | PhD scholarships available

October 09, 2014

11:01 PM | Still Life
I thought it would be a nice idea to have the occasional photography contest on the blog. So starting today and running until Monday 10th November anyone can submit one photograph to this Dropbox folder. Don’t make it obvious that it’s your image in case it biases the judge. The theme for this month will be ‘Changing Seasons’. Prizes will be determined in due course. I just want to say good luck. We’re all counting on you. Author: Adam Kane, […]
10:44 PM | Male allies, trusting the system, and tone deafness at GHC
Every year, I look forward to attending the Grace Hopper Celebration of Women in Computing. I enjoy being in a space with so many other talented technical women at all stages of their careers, from students to CTOs, where I can network, meet new people, meet up with old friends, hear about some cool research, […]
9:53 PM | How To Not Be A Sockpuppet
As a pseudonymous blogger and defender of the idea of anonymous and pseudonymous writing, I believe that you shouldn’t need to use your real name in order for your ideas to be taken seriously. However, pseudonymity can be abused. When this happens they cross the line and become sockpuppets. But where exactly is that line? […]The post How To Not Be A Sockpuppet appeared first on Neuroskeptic.
6:12 PM | Study of leaping toads reveal the mechanisms that protect...
Study of leaping toads reveal the mechanisms that protect muscles Most people are impressed by how a toad jumps. UC Irvine biologist Emanuel Azizi is more impressed by how one lands. “Toads are ideal for studying jumping and landing because they’re so good at it,” he noted. “This work is providing the basic science on how muscles respond during high-impact behaviors like landing or falling.” They discovered that during landing, toads’ muscles adapt to the […]
6:00 PM | That Homework Kids Have Is Pointless
New research indicates that homework may not really be that important. This is not exactly groundbreaking—no one’s ever really been able to show that time spent doing homework mattered much for standardized test scores—but this study may perhaps be more rigorous because it looked at grades. One might expect to find a correlation between time on homework and grades, even if more time on homework doesn’t actually cause higher grades, because one might think that harder […]
11:45 AM | Poll results: what should ecologists learn less of?
Here, for what they’re worth*, are the results so far from yesterday’s poll asking readers to name the most important thing for ecologists to learn more of, and the thing they should learn less of in order to free up … Continue reading →
11:00 AM | Tubus tubulus
  Labs are usually ‘crawling’ with tubes – ranging from the larger, more common Tubus eppendorfis spp. microcentrifungus to the smaller Tubus pcr spp. flatlid and the closely related spp.roundlid (see Figure(d), above). The former has a remarkably varied diet and will sustain itself on many everyday lab solutions such as NaCl, buffers, BSA protein, and sometimes even DNA and RNA. The latter, […]
6:30 AM | New Standards Seek to Measure What Students Actually Know
As students, employers, and policymakers continue to question whether earning a college degree really proves that graduates are ready for work, a new set of voluntary standards proposes to set out what they should be learning—and measure whether or not they have. The Degree Qualifications Profile specifies what students should know and be able to do at every level of their higher educations—what a bachelor’s or master’s degree actually represents, in other […]
6:00 AM | They have chosen ignorance open letter
The national policymakers of an increasing number of Member States, along with European leaders, have completely lost touch with the reality of research, say a concerned group of European scientistsScientists from different European countries describe in this letter that, despite marked heterogeneity in the situation of scientific research in their respective countries, there are strong similarities in the destructive policies being followed. This critical analysis, highlighted in Nature and […]
4:00 AM | Show Congress the Face of Biomedical Research—Your Face
ASCB’s third annual We Are Research campaign needs you and your labmates to put a face on biomedical research. At your next lab meeting, lab happy hour, or lab karaoke party, round up the gang, snap a photo of your team, and submit it ASCB’s third annual We Are Research campaign needs you and your labmates to put a face on biomedical research. At your next lab meeting, lab happy hour, or lab karaoke party, round up the gang, snap a photo of your team, and submit it here by […]

October 08, 2014

11:00 PM | Are the days of parsimony numbered? Probably.
April Wright recently published a cool paper looking at how to bring morphological analyses of evolutionary relationships into the Bayesian realm. This is her take on it – enjoy!  Author Bio: My name is April Wright, and I’m a graduate student in David Hillis’ lab at the University of Texas at Austin. I’m largely interested […]
7:37 PM | Feeling Other.
One characteristic that is common to most of us in AA is the sense that we feel “other” from the mainstream of society. We don’t belong. We don’t get it. We don’t feel comfortable participating in ordinary social and societal situations. We feel outcast, downcast; belittled and degraded. We seek ways to feel less like […]
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