March 31, 2008
As usual, Female Science Professor has an outstanding post up this morning. Unfortunately, however, this one is not about the the trials-and-tribulations or joys-and-pleasures of academic science. Rather it describes a terrible situation that increasingly faces her students, and that is only going to get worse, and worse, and worse:
Several of my graduate and undergraduate students have recently had their lives disrupted because their apartments were in houses or apartment buildings that went into foreclosure. Some have already had to find a new place and move, and some have to move within the next 1-2 months.
* * *
Even without the current mortgage crisis in the U.S., students are too often the victims of irresponsible or even unethical landlords, as I well know from my own experience with an avaricious, grasping, duplicitous, thieving scoundrel of a landlord when I was in graduate school. And now this. In addition to the problems that make the news, the mortgage crisis has generated a cascade of lost time and productivity that affects graduate and undergraduate students, and all those who work with them.
Of course, this kind of thing is just the beginning, and it ain’t just grad students who it is happening to. If you are not comfortable with honest, angry language, don’t read below the fold.
March 28, 2008
Any of y’all blogonauts attending EB 2008 ? If we get quorum we can schedule a little social or something. drop me a line
The past few years in NIH-funded research land have been peppered liberally with cries for “translational” research. The notion is that while the prior decades of research have been excellent at generating basic science observations, progress in using this information to improve health care has been insufficient. The reaction, of course, has been to revamp the NIH funding to try and enhance the degree to which research directly related to improved health care is supported. This has had the dual results of irritating basic scientists and revealing a rather spotty infrastructure of available physicians who also do biomedical research.
Apparently one basic biomedical research institution has decided to enthusiastically back this translational trend by starting a medical school devoted entirely to physician researchers.
March 27, 2008
I’d be interested to know how many readers of this blog have actual formal training in the task of review (here I make a strong distinction from training for the task of editing). I will venture to say the answer is none. We learn to review through experience and the process of trial and error. End result is review tends to be a highly idiosyncratic activity where we can rarely predict with any degreee of certainty the outcomes of the peer review process.
Well I don’t know about “formal” training, but I certainly received some informal training in manuscript review from a postdoctoral mentor. The commenter, Greg Cuppan, has a great point when it comes to grant review.
In a recent post Uncertain Chad opines that a “very good reason” for the “veil of confidentiality surrounding tenure decisions” is so that external referees will be free to derail someone’s career with unsubstantiated accusations of scientific misconduct. This is utter malarkey. In the multiplicity of reasons for confidentiality, good or bad, this is possibly the worst.
March 26, 2008
We have discussed various aspects of what you need to do to secure a tenure-track job offer: CV, job talk, interviewing, etc. You’ve done well with all of this stuff, and you have one or more offers. Now let’s discuss how to negotiate the particulars of the offer, to best maximize your chances of ultimate success.
March 24, 2008
Huffington Post blogger David Sloan Wilson wonders why the Huffington Post has no section for “Science”.
I am reminded of this cover every time I visit the Huffington Post and see the words “Politics,” “Media,” “Business,” “Entertainment,” and “Living” on the top banner. These comprise the Huffington Post’s view of the world. Where, I would like to know, is “Science?”
“It seems to me the priority should be putting an end to this debate over whether these vaccines cause other conditions“
March 21, 2008
Female Science Professor wrote yesterday about the concept that “serious” scientists should be “monomaniacal” about their work, in the sense of elevating science above all other pursuits in life, and spending virtually all of one’s time and effort on science to the exclusion of all else. In response to one of her many asshole male colleagues’ comments that “he wished more women grad students had ‘monomania’ when it came to research/Science”, she rightly points out that this is a pernicious idea, and one that serves to reinforce shitty gender norms:
March 21, 2008
March 20, 2008
PalMD is a practicing internist in the Midwestern United States. He is also a Clinical Assistant Professor of Medicine, which means that some medical school was running short on off-site teaching faculty. Quite often, patients eschew advice based on hard, scientific work, and ask him about the latest miracle cure. This makes him cranky. He aims to change the world, one reader at a time.
I think you will enjoy what PalMD has to say. Go Read.
March 20, 2008
According to this online dictionary, offended is defined, in part, thusly:
(v. tr.) 1. To cause displeasure, anger, resentment, or wounded feelings in.
I’ve been thinking about the concept of giving / taking offense and/or the state of being offended lately because of a bunch of conversations online which I will not enumerate. Recent features of our US Presidential campaigning, ditto. Some additional scenarios in my real world existence, you betcha. Suffice it to say that I’ve been considering the evidence, such as it is, that has apparently been taken as justification for taking offense in a number of scenarios. I have found it wanting. I have also been considering a scenario or two in which it appears that one of my correspondents feels that I am unjustifiably “taking offense” because I am “too sensitive”. This makes me howl. Because I very rarely find myself in the emotional state that is, to all appearances from others, properly considered the “offended” state. Still, this failure to understand what is apparently a basic feature of human nature makes one step back and consider.
I have come to the conclusion that I have a modest deficit in understanding the concept of “offended”.
March 19, 2008
Two outstanding science bloggers, Geeka and Katie, have just returned from job interviews, Geeka for a post-doc and Katie for a faculty position. They have posted their fascinating and valuable impressions of their experiences at their blogs.
They have also each thanked PhysioProf for earlier advice that they considered valuable in their interviewing, and I am understandably pleased to have been helpful to them. Below the fold I highlight some of what they say, and amplify on a few things, but I urge readers to visit their blogs for their full stories.
I’m adding two new ones and an old favorite to the Blogroll today.
Eric’s Idle Musings are new to me. A post on “just finish the thesis already!” drew my eye and the one on Machiavellian paper authoring sealed the deal.
I think I’ve noticed Dr. Jekyll and Mrs. Hyde in comments here and there but don’t recall reading the blog. She ponders why we read retractions outside of our fields, networking and introduces us to the concept of the “pal-reviewed journal“.
post doc ergo propter doc is the old favorite. I imagine my readers are already fans. In reality, I think the only reason this one wasn’t on my blogroll already was because you can find the link on just about every other other science blog! Recent stuff on pseudonymous blogging and the relative importance of choosing a PI versus a scientific project is of interest.
March 13, 2008
This just gets sadder and sadder…
Ashley Youmans, aka Ashley Alexandra Dupre, aka “Kristen”:
… writes that she left home at 17 to begin “my odyssey to New York.”
“It was my decision, and I’ve never looked back,” she writes. “Left my hometown. Left a broken family. Left abuse. Left an older brother who had already split. Left and learned what it was like to have everything, and lose it, again and again.
“Learned what it was like to wake up one day and have the people you care about most gone. I have been alone. I have abused drugs. I have been broke and homeless. But, I survived, on my own. I am here, in NY because of my music.”