April 29, 2011
in the event, unlikely as it is, that you have not seen this, you need to.
A follow up Q&A with Baratunde
And Trump inserts himself and says he’s proud of the role he played, and says, “We have to verify this birth certificate. I have to take a look at this.” Historically, it’s quite dastardly, but not uncommon. For most of our history, any white person could grab any black person off the street and demand they dance. Or produce documents. Or kill that person, who wasn’t considered a person.
And Trump says he wants to just walk into the White House and touch this document? That he has the right to do so? You don’t have the right to do shit! You don’t have the right to roll up to the White House and say, “Show me your papers,” like it’s apartheid South Africa! In that, I could hear the voice of random white people in history, demanding money for my vote — wanting to know what’s my business in this part of town.
April 28, 2011
In case you missed it, there is a great column up at Nature News by Professor Hidde Ploegh. It laments the ever increasing demands by reviewers of scientific manuscripts, particularly for GlamourMag level journals, for additional experiments.
Submit a biomedical-research paper to Nature or other high-profile journals, and a common recommendation often comes back from referees: perform additional experiments. Although such extra work can provide important support for the results being presented, all too frequently it represents instead an entirely new phase of the project, or does not extend the reach of what is reported.
The comments are shaping up quite nicely (also see my post at Scientopia) over there and I was struck by one particular contrast.
Maxine Clarke, Publishing Executive Editor (and listed fourth on the masthead) of Nature, issues a denial of culpability when she says:
April 27, 2011
The Internets are so awesomely entertaining that you cannot even wonder why there exists a PhD program in poultry science
A strong indicator of the fact that African Americans as a group continue to avoid most of the natural sciences appears in the statistics for specific disciplines. In 2004, 2,100 doctorates were awarded by universities in the United States in the fields of mathematical statistics, botany, optics physics, human and animal pathology, zoology, astrophysics, geometry, geophysics and seismology, general mathematics, nuclear physics, astronomy, marine sciences, nuclear engineering, polymer and plastics engineering, veterinary medicine, topology, hydrology and water resources, animal nutrition, wildlife/range management, number theory, fisheries science and management, atmospheric dynamics, engineering physics, paleontology, plant physiology, general atmospheric science, mathematical operations research, endocrinology, metallurgical engineering, meteorology, ocean engineering, poultry science, stratigraphy and sedimentation, wood science, polymer physics, acoustics, mineralogy and petrology, bacteriology, logic, ceramics science engineering, animal breeding and genetics, computing theory and practice, and mining and mineral engineering. Not one of these 2,100 doctoral degrees went to an African American.
or more specifically in chicken “products technology“
The UGA Poultry Science Department offers specialized training in physiology, genetics, nutrition, products technology, parasitology, toxicology, microbiology and molecular biology leading to the M.S. or Ph.D. degrees in Poultry Science.
April 25, 2011
April 20, 2011
A little reading for marijuana fans from the blog’s Cannabis Archive
Yes, it does cause dependence, including symptoms of Withdrawal
A take on the conditional probability of cannabis dependence…wait, as many US folks are dependent on cannabis as have ever so much as tried…?
Oh, and that K2/Spice, synthetic marijuana stuff containing JWH-018 and other cannabimimetic full agonist drugs? Yeah that causes dependence too.
A peculiar phenomenon in some chronic marijuana users: Hyperemesis
The Pot Potency data
Parents want to know, “Did the pot make my kid lazy?“
April 20, 2011
The notion that 30 minutes of sustained writing is “madwriting” as if it is some sort of miracle of concentration and productivity is fascinating.
If you had asked me before a day or two ago what I considered highly focused and concentrated writing, I would have said something around about 3-4 hour blocks. If I can get those in, I see some serious progress made on manuscripts or grant applications. Or animal use protocols, or biohazards protocols, or chemical hazards protocols.
And when I’m trying to hit a grant deadline, I’m going to need to put in several of these, anywhere from 5 to 10….and that’s when the writing is going well. Plus, I’ve been doing this for awhile so it isn’t exactly novel behavior…
Writing my dissertation? I was putting in 3-4 hour blocks of time one to two times per day for weeks. That was #madwriting*.
30 minute writing sprints?
Well, I suppose it is very good practice for 4pm on a grant deadline day when the admin says “Where’s the Abstract, Statement of Public Health Relevance and did you update the personal statement on your Biosketch?”
*there were circumstances. there usually are…
The Twitter Phenomenon of #madwriting
April 15, 2011
A recent Notice from the NIH (NOT-OD-11-064) indicates that there is a need to standardize and refine the appeal process.
Here’s what struck me on seeing this Notice pop up: I bet there has been a massive uptick in the rate of appeals since the sunsetting of the A2 and the threats to rigorously weed out thinly concealed revisions as “new” submissions.
One viewpoint on the wisdom of appealing the scoring of your grant proposal that is very common is captured in this comment over at the NIGMS blog:
Based on everything I have read about the appeals process on various Web pages of the NIH and Institute Web sites, it seems like you’d have to be extremely foolish and poorly informed to bother appealing.
NIGMS Director Berg responded:
April 14, 2011
I’ve had a few interactions lately that have led to some pondering on the attribution of academic credit for papers. It all starts with the hilarious gyrations that promotions and tenure committees occasionally, maddeningly, go through.
As most of my readers are aware, in biomedical sciences we have a system in which there are four key elements to placing credit for a given academic paper.
1.) The first author. This person is generally a trainee and generally assumed to be the person who did “most” of the real work on the paper. This can be defined in many ways, from conducting the bulk of the experiments to the most important experiments to the drafting of the manuscript. Defined, that is, by the research team itself when determining who is deserving of the first authorship. Once the paper has been published, the assumption about the role of the first author is more nebulous but no less firm in attributing the academic credit.
2.) The senior author. Often the last author, often the primary mentor of the first author and often the PI of the grants identified as supporting the project.
3.) The “communicating author”. Most often the senior author, less frequently the first author and very infrequently someone else*. If the senior author, this is just a reinforcing stamp on his/her seniority, particularly if there are several relatively senior people with their own laboratories contributing. If the communicating author is the first author, this can be an indication from the research team that the project is really all under the intellectual domain of the postdoc or graduate student in question. The senior author is saying “no, really, it was all my brilliant postdoc and she should get all the credit. ps, email her for reagents or mouse lines, not me”.
4.) The grants identified as supporting the project and, by extension, the PIs of those grants.
P&T committees frequently find themselves parsing academic credit schemes not just from the biomedical perspective, but also from alternate academic traditions in which the number of other authors matters more than it does in biomedical disciplines, where the senior author is the first author, where single-authorship is important….or there is variance in other minutia. This can in itself be infuriating, after all, how hard is it to recognize that the tradition you trained in is only one of many equally arbitrary crediting schemes?
April 10, 2011
The question is posed by a new post from funkdoctorx:
The issue here is that the public does not understand what professors really do and how research works at the University level. Now, if you are a professor or postdoc reading this, think way back to the time when you were a first year graduate student. Remember how much there was to learn about the way the academic world, and academic research worked? Did you have much, if any, idea of this from your time as an undergraduate? I know I certainly didn’t grasp this at all. Even as a young post-doc I’m still working to understand how the system works despite being at it for 5+ years.
I was no different.