That’s what it stands for, right?

Readers have been sending me a trickle of in situ figures which I’ve been greatly enjoying. Keep ’em coming!



some reader

BlackT d00d
Some Reader in the Black T

Autographed Shirt: Front
From the ScienceOnline09 conference

Autographed Shirt: Back

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There is a short Perspective piece on clinical MDMA published in the pre-publication queue at Journal of Psychopharmacology today that is of interest to me. The authors of this piece take a shot at answering a question I asked in a comment to one of my prior posts in which I noted one of the many revisions to the clinical protocols to permit more MDMA be administered. One commenter claimed “acute MDMA effects are sometimes too brief to achieve sufficient therapeutic effects and that an additional dose extends the drug’s duration.“. To which I responded:

And therein lies one of my problems. What’s the hypothesized mechanism/mode/psychodynamism/whatever of action?
What do they hypothesize? Why is staying high for another hour so much better than coming back in a month and having another shorter session? What neurochemical properties does MDMA confer at, say, 3 or 5 mg/kg that it does not confer at 1 mg/kg?
If they had hypotheses, then why start with a lower dose? Were they in fact predicting that lower dose would be ineffective all along and were just demonstrating safety and lack of efficacy at the most common entry recreational dose? Was this made clear up front?

Well, Johanson and Krebs1 take a stab at answering the mechanistic question in the Perspective.

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The first edition of the Diversity in Science Carnival was a smashing success. Many bloggers (including Your Humble Narrator) contributed posts highlighting the accomplishments of scientists of the African diaspora in celebration of Black History Month.
Let’s keep the fun rolling with the next edition of the carnival which will be hosted at Thus Spake Zuska. Zuska makes the call:

Now it’s time for our second round, which will be hosted right here at Thus Spake Zuska. Naturally, since it is March, our focus this time around will be a Women’s History Month Celebration! The theme is “Women Achievers in STEM – Past and Present” and we are asking you to profile a woman in some field of science – your own or maybe one you wish you’d chosen! Tell us something about her life, her work, why you find her interesting.

A couple of thoughts to encourage you to contribute something, DearReader. If you don’t think of yourself as particularly knowledgeable of great women scientists in your field, don’t panic. Go read Zuska’s post entitled It’s Difficult To Talk About Diversity When You Feel Ignorant And Are Afraid To Give Offense

Or maybe you thought to yourself, “I am not an expert on diversity. I don’t want to offend anyone. I don’t really know how to go about writing on this topic. I don’t really know any black researchers in my field. I’d better leave this to people who really know what they are talking about.”
Well, if I had had to wait until I was an absolute expert on Black History in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) to write a blog post for the Diversity in Science carnival, it just never would’ve happened.

Read the whole thing. It reminds us that it is okay to be a student! This is an exercise as much for ourselves as it is for informing our audience (or whatever we think we are doing as bloggers). This brings me to a specific suggestion. I had a post a fair while back on women who contributed to our understanding of the effects of 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine:

I write this post to honor and highlight the contributions of those women scientists who have worked on MDMA-related topics. It is by no means an exhaustive list and I will no doubt be expressing my personal biases for what I find to be important scientifically. The listed order is more or less in chronological order for when each investigator published her first (or most salient to me) MDMA-related paper. I’m trying to be a little bit objective by pubmedding ‘MDMA OR Ecstasy’ and working through the titles in chronological order.

I had a fun time writing the post this way. It was not only a way to familiarize myself in one go with the women who contributed to a narrow area of science, but also a way to review the history of this area in a focused (i.e., manageable) way. So if you don’t have a specific person in mind, you might want to take this approach in writing your entry to the Diversity in Science Carnival for March.

Okay, let’s get busy writing those blog posts! Contributions should be submitted by midnight (Eastern Standard Time) on March 25. Leave a link here in the comments or send me an email at bobtownsuz AT yahoo DOT com. Check back for updates; there may be an additional submission method. If so I will let you know here. I look forward to hearing from everyone!

Update: The Carnie submission form is here.