Posts

April 14, 2015

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11:45 AM | Mistakes happen in science
Meg recently wrote a post acknowledging that crying in science was pretty common place. It really touched a nerve and went viral. Meg’s opening syllogism was masterful: humans cry, scientists are human, therefore scientists will cry. I want to touch … Continue reading →
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11:00 AM | The effects of Twitter on student engagement and learning
There are lots of ‘feel good’ stories about using Twitter in teaching, and I’ve long been a supporting of using social media in undergraduate classes. But does it work…? What effects does Twitter have on learning? This was a question we decided to tackle in my field biology class, and recently, in a collaboration with Lauren […]
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9:36 AM | The Cosmic Microwave Oven Background
Over the past couple of decades the Parkes Radio Telescope in Australia has been picking up two types of mysterious signals, each lasting just a few milliseconds. One kind, the Fast Radio Bursts (FRBs), have come from seemingly random points in the sky at unpredictable times, and are thought to have a (thus far unknown) astronomical origin. The other signal, known as perytons, have been found by this paper to have an origin much close to home.

April 13, 2015

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10:10 PM | "It’s currently legal to use known carcinogens on farms – in fact, it’s standard practice. This is..."
“It’s currently legal to use known carcinogens on farms – in fact, it’s standard practice. This is deeply unjust to farmworkers, rural communities, and of course, to all of us who eat.” - Liz Carlisle on toxic agricultural chemicals. Carlisle is the author of Lentil Underground: Renegade Farmers and the Future of Food in America.
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5:26 PM | Demanding Divestment of Fossil-Fuel Investments, Protesters Block Harvard President's Office
Students camped out Sunday night outside the president's office at Harvard University. (Mallory Noe-Payne/WGBH). Students woke up Monday morning on the ground outside of Harvard University's oldest building. They had spent the night there, protesting the university's choice to invest part of its endowment in fossil-fuel companies. Students and climate change activists will gather in Harvard Yard in Cambridge all this week, demanding that nation's oldest -- and the world's wealthiest -- […]
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5:19 PM | Room and Board Charges Rising Faster Than Inflation
American students, and their parents, have been complaining about the rising price of college since the 1980s, when schools began hiking annual tuition charges well above the rate of inflation. But rarely do we hear politicians or student groups railing against the sticker prices of college food and dorm rooms. They should be. Room and board fees, which average over $9000 a year, generally exceed tuition at public universities.  And they account for more than a quarter of the annual bill […]
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5:18 PM | Discovering the mysterious companions of Cepheids
Cepheids are bright enough that we can use them to measure distances to other galaxies, but their luminosities also makes detecting their companions particularly difficult. So how do astronomers find their uncover their secret partners? Today's paper takes a look...
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4:56 PM | Me and my Soapbox: The importance of proper science in fiction
This post also appears in my other blog:A Girl that Likes Books“I have an issue when they get the science wrong because they didn’t know better, or they presumed that the correct science would have somehow handcuffed them in their storytelling. My biggest issue is when they get the science wrong where, had they told it right, they could have told a better story. I have no patience for that [laughs]. Really no patience for that.” […]
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2:00 PM | The F1000 community meet up in Cambridge, MA – thanks for attending!
After a particularly cold and brutal winter, this past 26th March, F1000 invited local life scientists and clinicians to Cambridge’s (MA) FIRE + ICE for an evening of networking and talking publishing and science We kicked off the event with a short presentation on the new F1000 Workspace, followed by a second presentation on F1000Research’s [...]
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12:00 PM | When K-12 teachers assign students to contact experts
I’m super-enthusiastic about K-12 science education, and working with K-12 teachers and students*. When a student wants to talk science with me, I’m over the moon. That doesn’t mean I’m as drunk as a cat on catnip whenever a K-12 student emails me a question. I don’t get a deluge of email from K-12 students,…
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11:30 AM | FYI: rejected mss often get the same referees when resubmitted to a different journal
Just an FYI: if your ms is rejected after review by one journal, and you resubmit to a different journal, it’s fairly common for it to go to some or all of the same referees that reviewed it for the … Continue reading →
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11:00 AM | Foodborne Illness: Consumer Costs, Consequences, and Choices
Changes to our food system have increased the availability and variety of foods for U.S. consumers, but these changes have also introduced food safety challenges that can have significant impacts on human health and the economy.
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9:50 AM | New on F1000Research – 13 April 2015
A selection of new content on F1000Research from the past week. To receive notification of all new articles, sign up for our table of contents alerts. Featured article The culture of scientific research [v1; ref status: indexed, http://f1000r.es/53j] Catherine Joynson, Ottoline Leyser “In 2014, the UK-based Nuffield Council on Bioethics carried out [...]
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8:32 AM | No time like the pheasant
  Let’s run another photo competition. Starting today and running until Monday 18th May anyone can submit one photograph to this album here. Just log in with username ecoevoblog and password is the same. Don’t make it obvious that it’s your image in case it biases the judge. The theme for this month will be ‘Fowl Play’. Prizes will be determined in due course. Author: Adam Kane, kanead[at]tcd.ie, @P1zPalu Photo […]

April 12, 2015

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10:07 PM | The Emperor and His Wizards
I recently posted a cute puzzle about the emperor and his wizards from 2015 Moscow Math Olympiad. It is time for the solution and two new variations. But first let me repeat the puzzle. The emperor invited 2015 of his wizards to a carnival. Some of the wizards are good and others are evil. The […]
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6:28 PM | Leadership (Churchillian style) and Policy
Churchill is often seen as the supreme leader, a man whose very voice inspired a nation and who held the country’s nerve during the Battle of Britain. Less often discussed is his leadership and behaviour at other times, although increasingly … Continue reading →
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6:27 PM | The campaign rumbles on
This election campaign already seems to be dragging. With the election itself more than 3 weeks away, the party manifestos are only just appearing, and all that seems to have happened so far is that the rival parties are making claims about what they would do if elected, claims are often completely unsubstantiated. For example, … Continue reading The campaign rumbles on →
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10:30 AM | Publication requirements for graduation are a terrible idea
I’ve come across two cases in my relatively brief foray into post-PhD science where students at either the MSc or PhD level were faced with a requirement from their academic department to have n papers accepted/published, and n papers submitted for publication … Continue reading →

April 11, 2015

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3:31 PM | Brain Sarcasm Centre "Totally Found"
A new study published in the journal Neurocase made headlines this week. Headlines like: "Sarcasm Center Found In Brain's White Matter". The paper reports that damage to a particular white matter pathway in the brain, the right sagittal stratum, is associated with difficulty in perceiving a sarcastic tone of voice. The authors,  studied 24 patients who had suffered white matter damage after a stroke. In some cases, the lesions included the sagittal stratum in the right hemisphere, and

April 10, 2015

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9:57 PM | FAQ, and answers thereto #3
The latest in a light-hearted look at the search terms folks use to find The Lab and Field.   kroodsma (2000, auk 117:1081–1083) Probably one of the most under-appreciated papers. You should really read it.   gay canadian scientists *waves*   how … Continue reading →
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8:35 PM | ESEA Compromise Includes a Few Steps Forward for Early Learning
Earlier this week, Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Patty Murray (D-WA) released their compromise to reauthorize the Elementary and Secondary Education Act (ESEA). You can find a good summary of the bill at Education Week’s Politics K-12. There are provisions to like and plenty to not like, but generally, it rolls back federal oversight of PreK-12 education. While the bill does not include a separate title for early education or a dedicated funding stream for high-quality pre-K, there […]
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6:32 PM | California is facing one of the most severe droughts on...
California is facing one of the most severe droughts on record….but it is also the country’s leading dairy supplier. With that in mind, Grist recently took a look at how much water goes into dairy products like yogurt, butter and ice cream.The California dairy industry is profitable — earning about $7 billion in 2012 (far and away the most valuable sector in a state that is a powerhouse when it comes to agriculture). The bad news is that dairy uses a whole lot of […]
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5:00 PM | Online Education Works Great, if Only Totally Different People Signed Up
I’m a skeptic of many technology initiatives in education. In particular, I find the idea of college transmitted over the Internet to be a fad at best, and a scam at worse. But as far as the learning goes, it turns out people online do pretty well. In fact, almost just as well as in real college. That’s according to a report out by Derek Wu. a research analyst at Ithaka S+R. In a literature review of research of online education he concludes something interesting: The three […]
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3:41 PM | Open Science News – 10 April 2015
Are you in New York City? There’s an Open Science meetup next week. Last week’s webinar about getting tenure with open science, with Titus Brown, is now viewable on YouTube. The US Government has released datasets to help study the health impacts of climate change. Erin McKiernan has collected examples of [...]
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12:00 PM | Recommended Reads #50
If the names Gould, Lewontin, EO Wilson, DS Wilson, Dobzhansky, or Tinbergen mean something to you, then oh my gosh you’ll find this interview very illuminating. It’s amazing, with a few decades of perspective, how frank people will be about their own experiences. Seriously, if you haven’t read this, I really really recommend you read…
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11:46 AM | Friday links: other people hate you (and that’s ok), R should be optional, RABBITS, and more
Also this week: sleep vs. you, Tony Ives vs. statistical machismo, tips for gender-balancing your seminar series, the origin of deanlets, a rare retraction in ecology, why ecologists and evolutionary biologists give good talks, and more. Lots of good stuff … Continue reading →
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7:49 AM | Tern the Tide
In a previous blog post we wrote about the Little Tern conservation project at Kilcoole, Co. Wicklow, which we worked on last summer. While working on this project we recorded a unique behavioural response from Little Terns in a response to inundation by high tides, which we have published in the latest issue of Irish Birds and write about below. Little Terns nest in a scrape on shingle beaches and rely entirely on their camouflage for protection. Therefore they are acutely vulnerable to […]
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3:30 AM | Syn Bio and twitter
Well I've so far avoided getting on twitter (or facebook) as I have enough time sinks already. This probably makes me a fossil. I recently hosted a planning meeting to start organizing a bid for a Synthetic Biology Centre. My colleague Louise Brown is very active on twitter, and commemorated the occasion with this tweet.  In case you don't want to follow the link, here's the photo of us
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3:05 AM | JAMS turns 4, Blog turns 3
Well, I'm a month or so late, but JAMS (Joint Academic Microbial Seminars) had its 4th birthday, and celebrated in its usual fashion by holding an afternoon symposium, followed by dinner at the Australian Museum.Excellent speakers as usual, the highlight for me was Kat Holt's talk on using genomics to understand the epidemiology and evolution of bacterial pathogens causing diseases such as typhoid and dysentery.A talk on typhoid and dysentery is of course a perfect lead in to dinner, which was […]
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3:00 AM | Online Courses Might Offer a Path to More Degrees - and to Reducing the Carbon Footprint
Students walk to and from classes on the campus of Arizona State University. AP Photo/Ross D. Franklin SCOTTSDALE, Arizona - Older students who don’t want the full on-campus experience - and the costs associated with it - might be served effectively through high-quality online college degree programs, according to a new report. And that might reduce the carbon footprint, too, saving money for both college and student. The typical student pursuing an online degree through Arizona State […]
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