SackPuppetry

July 22, 2010

from Legends and Lore

So I was pondering….as is my wont. Pondering, lo, that thing which is the sock puppet. Kids these days, they don’t know wtf a sock puppet is. Nobody wastes a friggin sock on making a muppethugging *puppet*. You know what they do every other week in preschool and school art though? Make puppets out of those little tiny lunch bags. Glue all kinds of crap on them and use the fold to make a funky mouth. That’s right. What kids these days know are SackPuppets.

We intertoobs types need to get with the times. Say it with me people.

SackPuppet.

#IOweBora, do you?

July 22, 2010

crossposting from drugmonkey.wordpress.com.


By now many of you have read Bora Zivkovic’s lengthy Op/Ed on the history and future of scientific blogging. This was written upon the sad occasion of his departure from blogging at ScienceBlogs.com. An impromptu tribute to Bora popped up on blogs and Twitter.
The central themes are the essence of Bora. That he encouraged a nascent blogger (e.g., scicurious). Connected them with the greater blog community. Sent them their first traffic. Etc. And from the more established folks the themes of improving their blogging-through “bloggable” alerts, link fests, carnivals and more. Bora created the Open Laboratory end-of-year print summaries of the best-in-blogging. He and another collaborator put what is now the go-to meeting of the year for online science communication, SciOnline.
These themes are but the tip of the iceberg because of course every person has an individual story, even if only in 140 characters or less.
Together this evidence reveals the central place Bora Zivkovic occupies when it comes to scientific communication online. It also reveals the deep appreciation many have for his efforts.
Abel Pharmboy notes on his new blog that there is still a disconnect between Bora’s labors and his ability to make a living from what he does. Abel suggests that it is time for the community to step up and deliver a more tangible appreciation for Bora.

let’s take “I Owe Bora” to a new and literal level. Lots of you know that he has been in a bit of financial difficulty and I know that he’s too proud to ask for help. In standing for his principles, he’s giving up over $100/month from ScienceBlogs and the network is still two months behind on their payments. Several people have asked me how they might help out The Blogfather. So, I’d like to put up a PayPal donation button for all of us to show our appreciation to Bora and put our money where our mouths are (and tweets and posts are).

I agree completely.Go over to Abel’s post or just click this link.

#IOweBora, do you?

July 22, 2010

By now many of you have read Bora Zivkovic’s lengthy Op/Ed on the history and future of scientific blogging. This was written upon the sad occasion of his departure from blogging at ScienceBlogs.com. An impromptu tribute to Bora popped up on blogs and Twitter.

The central themes are the essence of Bora. That he encouraged a nascent blogger. Connected them with the greater blog community. Sent them their first traffic. Etc. And from the more established folks the themes of improving their blogging-through “bloggable” alerts, link fests, carnivals and more. Bora created the Open Laboratory end-of-year print summaries of the best-in-blogging. He and another collaborator put what is now the go-to meeting of the year for online science communication, SciOnline.

These themes are but the tip of the iceberg because of course every person has an individual story, even if only in 140 characters or less.

Together this evidence reveals the central place Bora Zivkovic occupies when it comes to scientific communication online. It also reveals the deep appreciation many have for his efforts.

Abel Pharmboy notes on his new blog that there is still a disconnect between Bora’s labors and his ability to make a living from what he does. Abel suggests that it is time for the community to step up and deliver a more tangible appreciation for Bora.

let’s take “I Owe Bora” to a new and literal level. Lots of you know that he has been in a bit of financial difficulty and I know that he’s too proud to ask for help. In standing for his principles, he’s giving up over $100/month from ScienceBlogs and the network is still two months behind on their payments. Several people have asked me how they might help out The Blogfather. So, I’d like to put up a PayPal donation button for all of us to show our appreciation to Bora and put our money where our mouths are (and tweets and posts are).

I agree completely.Go over to Abel’s post or just click this link.

After NIGMS Director Berg notified me of his most recent regression analysis of the individual criterion scores, the good Comrade PhysioProf had a conversation. As is our wont. It went something like this.

Comrade PhysioProf: The most interesting thing of all the correlations was that investigator and environment are so highly correlated.

Your Humble Narrator: I’m not really surprised. I find environment to be a throw away consideration on panels I’ve been on. people don’t generally propose to do something for which major infrastructure is absent!

CPP: On my last R01 review and my post-doc’s NRSA, they waxed poetic about the fucking environment. In the applications, we went on and on about the scientific environment and named a number of specific faculty members whose expertise would be drawn upon blah, blah, blah. I think that shit can actually work.

YHN: Christ what a load of shit

CPP: Dude, it’s true! We have an outstanding environment! The food trucks outside the med school are some of the finest in all of biomedical research!

CPP: How funny would it be to actually put that in the facilities sections of an application? “The “Alibertos” food truck is only steps away from our laboratory and provides a level of energy dense food that contributes substantially to the likelihood of success of the proposed specific aims.”

YHN: “The “Alibertos” truck returns in evening hours at 6 and 10 pm so that trainees need not leave the lab until 12pm, thus maximizing throughput for these studies”

CPP: I just looked at the instructions for the new application format, and that would actually go in the “Resources” section.

YHN: HAHHAHHAHAAAHAH, you are such a grant geek!!!!!

____

Additional Reading: http://scienceblogs.com/drugmonkey/2009/12/how_critical_is_the_environmen.php

Yay!

He has a new post up in response to a request for the full regression analysis. This analysis is tasty and here was the bit that drew my attention:

A principal component analysis reveals that a single principal component accounts for 71% of the variance in the overall impact scores. This principal component includes substantial contributions from all five criterion scores, with weights of 0.57 for approach, 0.48 for innovation, 0.44 for significance, 0.36 for investigator and 0.35 for environment.

Notes for the day

July 21, 2010

More or less still on strike over at Scienceblogs even though PZ says things are moving along nicely.

Abel Pharmboy packed up Terra Sigillata and moved to a new wordpress blog abelpharmboy.wordpress.com

Johns Wilkins and Lynch are still grinding their axes of disgruntlement. A year later? Dudes, get a grip.

Yesterday’s illumination about Innovium as the VC firm behind Scienceblogs.com was certainly instructive. I doubt that it has any real impact on my decision making with respect to the home of the DrugMonkey blog but it does put some things into perspective.

PhysioProf did a book review? whut?

Ed Yong had his genes screened by 23andme and dishes up an excellent report on the process and interpretive issues.

Ran across a link to this press release dated 7/24/2010.

About Innovium Media Properties Corp.

Innovium’s venture investment portfolio is devoted to Seed Media Group LLC, a private media and technology company focused on the professional and consumer science markets. Seed’s award winning brands include Seed® (www.seedmagazine.com) and ScienceBlogs® (www.scienceblogs.com). Innovium trades under the symbol IN on the TSX Venture Exchange (“TSX-V”) and IH7 on the Frankfurt Stock Exchange (“FWB”).

Huh that’s funny. It has been going on since, well, at least since June 2008.

Oh, there’s a website for http://www.innovium.ca/.

Press releases..press releases. Hmm, here is one from 2005:

September 08, 2005
INNOVIUM CAPITAL CORP. REPORTS
NOBEL PRIZE WINNER DR. JAMES WATSON JOINS SEED MEDIA GROUP
Toronto … Innovium Capital Corp. reports that one of its investments, Seed Media Group, announced
yesterday the appointment of Dr. James Watson as Special Advisor to the Board. Dr. Watson received
the Nobel Prize for his co-discovery of the structure of DNA.
James Watson holds honorary degrees from 33 universities including Harvard..

So pretty much from the beginning then. Egg on my face. Guess I should have known a little something about the place I was blogging for, eh? My bad.

Okay, this puts me right out of my depth but I think this is the chart for the stock valuation of the Innovium Media Properties Corp

NIGMS Director Jeremy Berg posted a tantalizing graph on the relationship between the eventual voted Overall Impact score for R01s assigned to his Institute and the Significance criterion on the Feedback Loop blog. This drew some interest from YHN and writedit as well as the commentariat. Nothing like a bunch of comments to stimulate the blogger to give up some more, eh?

NIGMS-innovation.jpg
Plot of innovation and overall impact scores in a sample of 360 NIGMS R01 applications reviewed during the October 2009 Council round. [source]

Director Berg has a new post up in which he posts additional correlation graphs. He ends with this comment.

The availability of individual criterion scores provides useful data for analyzing study section behavior. In addition, these criterion scores are important parameters that can assist program staff in making funding recommendations.

So let us connect the dots just a little bit. Remember this older post in which Director Berg came by to link us to the NIGMS data on grant awards by percentile rank? And on question indicated that as far as he knows his Institute is the only one to publish grant review data?
So I think Director Berg is probably pursuing a bit of an agenda to try to speak to other ICs of the NIH about the value of evaluating (and publishing) grant review outcomes.
Here’s where you come in. Nothing like traffic and comments on the NIGMS Feedback Loop blog entries that are of interest to this readership to help support Director Berg’s case. We scientists actually care about what they are doing and we pay attention. We seek to talk to others about their grant outcomes to refine our understanding of the process. And the most junior of us are the most needing of info…and yet the most to sea because they don’t have as many connections.
I submit that it will actually make the POs jobs easier if we have data instead of half-baked rumors and above-the-waterline partial view. Go comment!

PZ Myers is on strike. And when the Big Dog strikes, eeeeaaaverybody strikes. Even Greg Laden.

Actually, PZ lays out the case that this is about the complaints that affect all of the Scienceblogs.com bloggers pretty well:

The key problem is one of communication. The bloggers here are almost entirely in the dark about what’s going on behind the scenes, and we get news indirectly and by rumor. We’ve had almost no technical support for over a year; when we do hear what changes are being made, it’s almost always trivial tweaks to support advertising. We report bugs, we get back silence. We see the ads that appear on site getting cheesier and cheesier. We don’t know what’s happening, and there is no mechanism and no effort made to enlighten us.

That’ll do for starters.

What I’m wondering is who is going to break the picket line? Will they bring in scabs???

Bora

July 19, 2010

fallingdominoes.png
source
A post up on A Blog Around the Clock today indicates that Bora Zivkovic, aka coturnix, will be leaving ScienceBlogs.com.
As one might expect, his departure post is an epic blog-tome which offers a great deal of perspective and history of the science blog as media form.
All I can say is Holy Schmoly. If there is one personality that has shaped this place as a network of science blogging it is Bora. Yes, PZ pulls in the traffic. True.
But in terms of connecting and sharing and having actual cross-blog discussions, inside and outside of Scienceblogs.com, Bora is the root, the DNA and the glue. Pick your metaphor, pick your analogy.
Wow.

It is a young blog but there are extenuating circumstances. I think you will enjoy Take it to the Bridge authored by commenter namnezia.
The station at the end of tenure track

In practice though, even if you are tenured, you still need to fund your research, and a two-year wild goose chase with no positive outcome will result in no publications and make it harder and harder to renew your funding. So any advantages tenure gives you are counteracted by the need to stay funded.

Shop-vac

so then you go down there and have to maneuver this large shop vac through the clutter of old baby paraphernalia which is all over the basement, and as you are vacuuming up the water you realize you are only wearing your socks and they are wet and the extension cord for the vacuum is sitting in a puddle, and you realize you have not thought this through before starting because you are exhausted after putting the kids to bed who were acting like they had eight espressos

Takin it to the bridge:

Being a big fan of James Brown, in the middle of the song “Like a Sex Machine”, as it is reaching one of its many crescendos, the rhythm steadies and he banters with the band – “Are you ready to take it to the bridge?”, meaning the bridge of the song, “Can we take it to the bridge? Take it to the bridge…ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR…”, and the the band bursts into this funky guitar riff which just makes you want to pee in your pants with joy.

Word, word and word.
welcome to the author side of the blogosphere namnezia.

It is a young blog but there are extenuating circumstances. I think you will enjoy Take it to the Bridge authored by commenter namnezia.

The station at the end of tenure track

In practice though, even if you are tenured, you still need to fund your research, and a two-year wild goose chase with no positive outcome will result in no publications and make it harder and harder to renew your funding. So any advantages tenure gives you are counteracted by the need to stay funded.

Shop-vac

so then you go down there and have to maneuver this large shop vac through the clutter of old baby paraphernalia which is all over the basement, and as you are vacuuming up the water you realize you are only wearing your socks and they are wet and the extension cord for the vacuum is sitting in a puddle, and you realize you have not thought this through before starting because you are exhausted after putting the kids to bed who were acting like they had eight espressos

Takin it to the bridge:

Being a big fan of James Brown, in the middle of the song “Like a Sex Machine”, as it is reaching one of its many crescendos, the rhythm steadies and he banters with the band – “Are you ready to take it to the bridge?”, meaning the bridge of the song, “Can we take it to the bridge? Take it to the bridge…ONE, TWO, THREE, FOUR…”, and the the band bursts into this funky guitar riff which just makes you want to pee in your pants with joy.

Word, word and word.

welcome to the author side of the blogosphere namnezia.

NIGMS blogger (oh, and yeah, the Director) Jeremy Berg has posted a very interesting set of data on the review of grants.
Director Berg examined the scoring for the 360 R01 applications assigned to his Institute for the October 2009 Council round. This, you will recall, was the first one to use the current scoring scheme . So in some senses this should be regarded as the baseline value.
The analysis Director Berg shows in the graph is the correlation between the “Significance” score and the Overall Impact Score. If you will recall, there has been a bit of grumbling on the part of reviewers and applicants alike about the weird disconnect of the new system.

Read the rest of this entry »

Princeton what?

July 15, 2010

A post from Mike the Mad Biologist takes a shot at a recent post on the Chronicle of Higher Education’s site. Hackner and Dreifus pursue a thesis that Universities need to return to their roots, or “roots” I should say, and refocus on the education of undergraduate students. The part that got Mike the Mad….well, Mad, was this:

Spin off medical schools, research centers, and institutes. Postgraduate training has a place, as long as it doesn’t divert faculties from working with undergraduates or preoccupy presidents, who should be focusing on education–not angling for another center on antiterrorist technologies. For people who want to do research, plenty of other places exist–the Brookings Institution, the Rand Corporation, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute–all of which do excellent work without university ties. Princeton University has succeeded quite nicely without a medical school–which often becomes the most costly complex on a campus, commandeering resources, attention, and even mission. In fact, the “school” often becomes a minute part of a medical complex: Johns Hopkins has fewer than 500 medical students, but atop them sits an empire with more than 30,000 employees.

Read the rest of this entry »

I write like who?

July 14, 2010

I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Who….killed himself. Nice.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 40 other followers