Role for Science Blogging

September 26, 2007

A bit early in the game for me to get reflective but motivations come as they will. A note from Dr. Free-Ride of Adventures in Ethics and Science indicates that members of her department (presumably the advocates!) felt strongly that her blogging efforts should be a component of her tenure dossier. The good Professor Orzel of Uncertain Principles indicates that he’s fully out of the closet with respect to blogging, particularly since signing a book deal resulting from a blog posting. Read the rest of this entry »


September 25, 2007

It is a StockCritique of grant review and promotion/tenure review alike.

The concern is related to the tendency we have to assume that the most senior person involved in a research collaboration is the one “really” calling the shots. The one providing the most sophisticated intellectual ideas and creativity.  The one in charge. The assumption in the “independence”critique is that the person criticized may not have what it takes to succeed or excel scientifically “on their own” and is thus not worthy of promotion or the stewardship of a major grant award. Is this a valid criterion? Read the rest of this entry »

SfN07: The Caffeinery

September 24, 2007

The whole point of going to coffee is, going to coffee. You know, getting up off your behind and walking away from your usual environment to think, proof a paper or really focus on discussions with colleagues. [Okay, that and getting your loading dose on. You can get your pharmacological hit from the stands inside the convention center but how much fun is that?] If you really need to “go to coffee”, there are options. Read the rest of this entry »

The CSR indicates an upcoming move to any-time submission of grants for investigators appointed to study sections in the latest Peer Review Notes. This extends the prior (and continuing) policy whereby all (ad hoc or empaneled) reviewers can take advantage of a ~two week grace period past the regular deadlines if, say, your reviews are due the week of the regular deadline. The new version: Read the rest of this entry »

Blogrolling: DrugLawBlog

September 21, 2007

I try to stay away from the public policy implications of drug abuse science because it gets into stupid repetitive arguments and generally the science is beside the point anyway. Especially when we’re talking about marijuana, MDMA and alcohol.

The DrugLawBlog has some interesting viewpoints, one recent one on the increase in prescription drug recreational use is of note.  A teaser:

the annual Monitoring the Future study, with high-school age kids reporting using drugs like Vicodin and OxyContin in significant numbers.

Is this a cause for panic?

Not necessarily. It may actually be a good thing.

Because if people — even young people whom we care about deeply — are going to use recreational drugs, it’s a hell of a lot better for them to be using pharmaceuticals or over-the-counter drugs than to buy heroin or cocaine on the street.

I’m adding this site to the blogroll…

SfN07: Our weather sucks here

September 21, 2007

Apropos of starting to bear down on some social obligations for the Society for Neuroscience Annual meeting I’m reminded of something. Might be useful for those of you who think SD is an unrelenting paradise. Our weather is terrible. Read the rest of this entry »

They got me at last

September 21, 2007

LOL is teh stupidz.

Yeh bttu fnee smtimez.

Neh it fracgink aint! Read the rest of this entry »

People argue back and forth over whether Impact Factor of journals, the h-index, Total Cites, specific paper cites, etc should be used as the primary assessment of scientific quality. Many folks talk out of both sides of their mouths, bemoaning the irrelevance of journal Impact Factor while beavering away to get their papers into those journals and using the criterion to judge others. In this you will note people arguing the case that makes their CV look the best. I have a proposal: Read the rest of this entry »

Unseemly competition

September 21, 2007

Once again I’m watching a publication-ethics situation develop in a very large lab with which I am familiar. Ultimately this is going to result in a series of papers from multiple labs on closely related topics appearing in C/N/S journals (and maybe another one or two). Papers for which a close examination of the submitted, revised, accepted dates will tell a fascinating (to some) or drearily familiar (to others) story. Read the rest of this entry »

Geneviève Jeanson has confessed to EPO use (scroll down). I’m flabbergasted. Remember when she was the cat’s meow of women’s bike racing? A teenaged wunderkind kicking the pants of all of those women with lengthy performance records? Practically lapping the field in Montreal? Please. Everybody knew at the time. Couldn’t prove it. Then she was busted for hematocrit or something a couple of times. Denied, denied, denied. Now, confession.

Just like Bjarne Riis. All the hoopla this summer over his confession seemed to completely overlook that back in ’96 everybody “knew” he was juiced. Look on Usenet if you don’t recall the conventional wisdom and available public evidence. He “vehemently denied” drug use for a decade.

Screw it. I’m off the Pollyanna bandwagon. If your effort was “superhuman” on one goo day, you changed from domestique to superstud in one season or you  dominated the competition (which has confessed to doping) for years, well I think you were a doper. The whole bunch of ya. Indurain, Ulrich, Armstrong, Basso, Vinokourov… the list goes on. Dopers. We’ll get confessions eventually.

Now the bandwagon I share with DM and am most certainly not off is the stupid ticky-tack, not ready for an Acta journal analysis that passes for doping science. What a freaking joke. Landis’ appeal was turned back. It shouldn’t have been. He probably doped with something sure. Maybe the reason he’s so pissed is that it wasn’t with exogenous testosterone! Who the fuck could know what with the dumb ass procedures that were in place to analyze the samples, blind the analysis and replicate with the “B” sample.

Nature has an editorial on an upcoming surge in cheap EPO due to a European Commission approval of “generic” EPO to compete with Amgen’s product (Epogen) and the one J&J licenses from Amgen (Aranesp). Read the rest of this entry »

Stuey has a little thought for you.

and Vande Velde has me ROFL with this one:

if I was French I would’ve been the top Frenchman in the Tour de France this year and my salary would probably be doubled, all this while working for the captains of my team. I am clean, so can I apply for a French passport? I only live 63k away from the French border.

The DM has been talking, I think, about career progression in research focused tracks. This got started by some discussions around the usual blogs and even Science/Nature on the age old theme of “We’re producing too many Ph.D.s (or MD/PhDs) for the available jobs…it’s a crisis!” This is an issue that overlaps with traditional professor type job seeking. [UPDATE: 9/21/07, Chad Orzel has two thoughts on suckitude in the physics job market.] I’m trying to reconcile the usual thought that every academic job posting results in 200+ applications with a story I’ve heard twice in recent months. Read the rest of this entry »

Neurogeekery: The Genealogy

September 18, 2007

Just ran across the Neurotree site. They are trying to build training-relationship trees for neuroscience and depend on user input.
I’ve been sort of interested in training genealogy ever since I ran across an acquaintance’s tree which got back to Newton in rapid order.

Go contribute if you are a neuroscientist and have nothing better to do…

UPDATE: After browsing around a little bit on this thing it looks to have potential as a networking and mentor seeking tool. Although obviously it will not be comprehensive you can get an idea whether someone has launched a  lot of independent careers or not.

The pyramid scheme

September 17, 2007

A recent comment on the post that generated some heat bemoans the pyramid scheme that is modern bioscience. The more general critique boils down to the fact that the PI or lab head is generally given the lion’s share, if not all, of the credit for scientific papers, findings and the like. The assignment of credit takes a number of forms including the habit most of us have of referring to findings and /or bodies of work as the product of “Dr. Greybeard’s laboratory” or “Prof. Bluehair and her colleagues”. Yes, even the grad students and postdocs who are resentful of the lack of crediting of their efforts are guilty of using this shorthand with respect to other research groups! This is also despite the fact that many (most?) PIs end their scientific presentations with a recitation of all of the people who did the actual work including technicians, graduate students and postdoctoral trainees suggesting that they understand quite well who is really responsible. Remember your Marx/Engels Reader from the general distribution class you took in college? Read the rest of this entry »