Posts

December 11, 2014

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5:00 PM | There is mole than meets the eye
The unique appearance of these creatures may provoke some surprised looks. While not the most aesthetic of animals, the naked mole rat (Heterocephalus glaber) has captivated the scientific community during recent years. Among its appealing features are record-breaking longevity and cancer resistance. These exciting adaptations earned the naked mole rat the “Vertebrate of the Year”…
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4:22 PM | This Is What Science Looks Like At NC State: Jeni Burnette
Editor’s note: This post was written by Jeni Burnette, an assistant professor of psychology at NC State. The post is an entry in an ongoing series that we hope will highlight the diversity of researchers […]
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3:40 PM | Can a School District's Technology Program Lift a Rural Alabama Town Out of Poverty?
PIEDMONT, Alabama — For years, Chasity Tucker got frustrated when she tried to use her home computer for schoolwork. The 17-year-old senior at Piedmont High School in this rural northeastern Alabama town said her computer was slow and frequently got viruses. Then, in eighth grade, Tucker received a free laptop through the Piedmont School District as part of a new program. Tucker was immediately hooked. She could use her computer to quickly research topics and complete assignments. When […]
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2:54 PM | Like Retailers Tracking Trends, Colleges Use Data to Predict Grades, Graduations
DALLAS — Stephanie Dupaul jokingly consults her collection of Magic 8 Balls — those novelty toys that tell your fortune through a little window at the base — when her students ask her things like, “Will I get an A in that class?” Now she can answer that question with a great deal more accuracy. Associate provost for enrollment management at Southern Methodist University, Dupaul is one of a growing number of university administrators quietly consulting years of data […]
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2:12 PM | The grant game: Momma said there'de be days like this
Lot of NSF BIO folks are getting feedback on their grants right now. As expected, most of it is bad news. Merry Christmas. But lest we forget, those of you getting rejections are in great company. We're slogging through a historically lean time and this shit is just hard right now. We hear about people's […]
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12:37 PM | Are Poetry and Psychosis Linked?
Is there a relationship between poetry and psychosis? The idea that 'genius' is just one step removed from 'madness' is a venerable one, and psychiatrists and psychologists have spent a great (perhaps an inordinate) amount of time looking for correlations between mental illness and creativity. Now a new British study has examined whether poets exhibit more traits of psychosis than other people. One of the authors is a published poet, Helen Mort. The researchers recruited 294 poets i
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12:00 PM | The epigenetics of The X-Files | Cath Ennis
Epigenetics is helping us to solve DNA mysteries that cannot be explained by genetics alone. It might even help explain some of the spooky phenomena described in the 1990s science documentary series The X-Files …The X-Files was my absolute favourite television show in the 1990s. My flatmates and I would tune in every week to watch intrepid FBI agents Fox Mulder and Dana Scully track down assorted aliens, psychics, vampires, ghosts, and government conspiracies. We bought the soundtrack […]
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11:35 AM | Postdoc parental leave policies, part 1 (guest post)
Note from Jeremy: This is a guest post by Margaret Kosmala, a postdoc in Organismal and Evolutionary Biology at Harvard. Note from Margaret: This is the second post in a mini-series examining the enormous variation in U.S. postdoc leave benefits. … Continue reading →
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2:19 AM | Leaving the lab
The other day, I was going through old correspondence and found a few goodbye cards from labs I left behind. This was bitter sweet. Many of the remarks were the routine "Good luck with your future endeavours" kind of thing. Others were sincere expressions of good will and recollections of happy memories from people I knew as real friends. Some are still friends. Many I thought would be friends for life, but somehow they evaporated.A truly odd card in the collection is one found in a parking lot […]

December 10, 2014

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11:52 PM | Supporting Students
It’s finals week at MSU, and like any other university, that is a time of high-stakes and high stress. Students (and faculty) are often eagerly awaiting a small break, but challenged to give one last strong push before “freedom”.  Given that I’m in that weird stage of graduate student, where we often wear the hat […]
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11:08 PM | yearinreview: New and Notable Blogs of 2014 - Part 2 In no...
yearinreview: New and Notable Blogs of 2014 - Part 2 In no particular order. Remix The Museum Major League Soccer Beyonce Voters Compound Interest Print All Over Me Arrested Development Fan Art Slittens Drake’s Emoji Tattoos Office Snack Hacks The Space Rotten Tomatoes Comic Cartography Elections Night 2014 Griddle Me This University of California Science Today Drag Queens Trying To Use Straws Cats On Synthesizers In Space Reasons My Kid Is Smiling Lady Scientists on Tumblr Without […]
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8:12 PM | The Photos That Made Mountain Biking Cool Wende Cragg was one of...
The Photos That Made Mountain Biking Cool Wende Cragg was one of the first mountain bikers in the 1970s and she photographed much of her life around the bike races that she participated in. While at UC Davis, Sarah McCullough pieced together this photographic history as part of her PhD in Cultural Studies. You can view this historic archive here →
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8:03 PM | Stress, Continued: Jobs
Continuing from last post, I aim to focus on some of the issues related to stress in academia.  Today's post will be related to stress and the nature of academic employment.The most stressful issues I can think of in academia relate to finding or keeping your job.  Graduating and finding the first job, especially when the job market is tight, cannot help but lead to stress for most people.  (Indeed, these days, the process seems to be getting worse -- as postdocs become […]
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8:00 PM | Trying to Fix California's Education Funding
Californians, after decades of strange tax polices and increasing expenses, had realized that the state’s funding formula for public schools was too difficult and too low. Many states across the country have made similar determinations. Since public schools are funded by local property taxes, and the value of property is higher where rich people live than where the poor live, the essential discrepancy shows up everywhere. But California had an interesting idea about how to address this. […]
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7:39 PM | Beat the Press: The Perils of Reporting Campus Rape
Rolling Stone acknowledged Friday serious discrepancies in a story published last month about a brutal gang rape of a woman named Jackie at the University of Virginia. Editors had said they decided to honor Jackie's request not to contact the man she claimed coordinated her attack for fear of retaliation. In a letter to their readers on Friday, they admitted that was a mistake. "In the face of new information, there now appear to be discrepancies in Jackie’s account, and we have […]
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5:15 PM | Chemists fabricate novel rewritable paper According to some...
Chemists fabricate novel rewritable paper According to some surveys, 90 percent of all information in businesses today is retained on paper, even though the bulk of this printed paper is discarded after just one use. First developed in China in about the year A.D. 150, paper has many uses, the most common being for writing and printing upon. Indeed, the development and spread of civilization owe much to paper’s use as writing material. Such waste of paper (and ink cartridges) — not […]
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2:43 PM | Review of "American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know"
I recently had the pleasure of reading American Higher Education in Crisis? What Everyone Needs to Know (Oxford University Press) by Goldie Blumenstyk, senior writer at The Chronicle of Higher Education. Goldie has a well-deserved reputation as perhaps the best higher education journalist out there, and this book reflects her ability to summarize complex topics in higher education for a broad audience. Veteran researchers in higher ed finance and policy probably won’t come across too many […]
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2:17 PM | Of Hammers and Nails.
One of my friends (with whom I often clash a bit) over on twitter is Sciliz. A while ago, she commented that as an alcoholic in recovery I had finally found my hammer and now everything was looking rather nailish to me. That was about seven months ago, and I’ve been thinking about it periodically […]
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1:00 PM | What I said about my blog in my promotion file
I’m periodically asked about the role of social media and blogs in my career and campus interactions. Here’s some information. I make a point of (almost) never bringing it up. If I were to mention that I have a blog, to someone who hasn’t seen it, I’d just get a roll of the eyes. I’ll…
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11:45 AM | Musings on the the reward structure of science
The reward structure of science varies a lot across different fields and countries. It’s worth thinking about how different reward structures affect the behavior of scientists and thus the direction of science as a whole. For instance, in the past … Continue reading →
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6:55 AM | OYM57: ERKquake!
This week, it business as usual for the On Your Mind team, except for one small exception.  While Liam keeps plugging away at his Westerns and Kat moves ahead with her experiments, Adel has officially finished and submitted his Master’s thesis!  Ok, so maybe that’s a huge exception.  With the end in sight, he’s finally ...read more The post OYM57: ERKquake! appeared first on On Your Mind Podcast.
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2:30 AM | 10 Questions with Nobel winner Randy Schekman The UC Berkeley...
10 Questions with Nobel winner Randy Schekman The UC Berkeley Nobel laureate who identified how cells transport and secrete proteins answers a few questions. What is the most exciting field of science at the moment?Neuroscience. There is so much that we don’t know about the brain. Do you believe in God?No, I don’t. But I respect others who do, in particular if they don’t impose their views. I believe strongly in the separation of church and state. What book about science […]

December 09, 2014

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9:01 PM | Creativity – mixing it up
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had cause to celebrate dramatic creativity in various forms, mixed and mingled. I’ve seen one film and two musicals; two with a biographical bent and one with a (fictional) scientific bent. Two weeks … Continue reading →
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6:56 PM | Our Richest College Presidents
Annually the Chronicle of Higher Education releases its list of college presidents who earn a lot of money. The top gold-plated academic administrators this year are: 1. Shirley Ann Jackson of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: $7.1 million 2. John L. Lahey of Quinnipiac University: $3.8 million 3. Lee C. Bollinger of Columbia University: $3.4 million 4. Amy Gutmann of the University of Pennsylvania: $2.4 million 5. Charles R. Middleton of Roosevelt University: $1.7 million 6. Susan […]
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5:52 PM | The early days of mountain biking Wende Cragg was one of the...
The early days of mountain biking Wende Cragg was one of the first mountain bikers in the 1970s and she photographed much of her life around the bike races that she participated in. She would go out riding almost every day. From waiting for the cattle to pass to documenting wipeouts on the track, she created a very impressive archive of the sport. Looking back, her photography has been referenced to understand or correct historical accounts. Since mountain bikes evolved over time from […]
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3:32 PM | Schools Should Excuse Absences Due to Participation in Civil Disobedience
NEW ORLEANS - It’s finals week at my daughter’s university, but in spite of her school’s calendar, I expect her to join the acts of civil disobedience blooming across the country. All students, especially those in high school and college, currently face the appearing choice of testing the curriculum of injustice (AKA institutional oppression) or being tested by it. Many will advise that the best thing black and brown youth can do to exact justice is to literally stay the […]
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2:38 PM | My thoughts on Generation Open
I’ve just given an email interview for Abby Clobridge, for a forthcoming short column in Online Searcher. I give many of these interviews and often very little material from it gets used, so I asked Abby if it was okay if I reposted what I wrote. Her response: “go for it” – thanks Abby! So … Read more →
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1:47 PM | Stress
I've seen lots of news and posts recently on the general theme of stress in academia. Daniel Lemire blogs about Stefan Grimm, a professor who recently committed suicide, and talks about academia as an anxiety machine.  More close to home, we recall that Seth Teller committed suicide earlier this year.  Previous Harvard faculty member and loud blogger Matt Welsh frequently portrays academia as a stressful place (most recently discussing the Fame Trap), and recently Harvard's Radhika […]
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1:06 PM | Moving Toward A Cheaper, Better Catalyst For Hydrogen Production
Hydrogen could be an important source of clean energy, and the cleanest way to produce hydrogen gas is to split water into hydrogen and oxygen. But the catalyst currently used to facilitate this water-splitting reaction is platinum. And that’s a problem.
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11:24 AM | Open access and the direction of travel in scholarly publishing
Recent moves by established journals to make research papers freely available signpost the direction of travel in academic publishingWhat strange times we live in. As the world wide web has wrapped the globe in an ever-tighter network of connections, it has slowly transformed the look and feel of the place, unleashing torrents of data and changing our information culture in ways that we are still figuring out. In the world of research it is interesting to see how established publishers, who […]
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