Hey, here’s another one! The University of Cincinnati school paper has a bit entitled “Ecstasy might be linked to mental deficits” by one Gin A. Ando.

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I have been a bit distracted and keep forgetting to remind you that the DonorsChoose Social Media Challenge is coming to a close. If you keep meaning to donate to one of our selected projects or those of another ScienceBlogger (or heck, any project at all), now’s the time. The challenge ends at the end of the month. As always, don’t be too shy to donate even a little bit. Every $5 or even $1 inches those projects that much closer to funding. And I won’t lie, I love the idea of lots of people getting involved, even if they don’t have a huge amount to give.
I’m looking forward to the end of the fundraising drive because I get to distribute some Reader Appreciation Prizes to some of our reader/contributors.
CapTshirt1.jpgTshirtBack1.jpg Don’t forget to forward me your confirmation if you want to enter the drawing. Even if you don’t fancy wearing our nameplate, you’ll be able to shop at a selected number of other Sb’er schwagshops as well. So go donate, help some kids learn a little more science and throw your hat in the ring for a thank you from Your Humble Narrator.

I thought one of the Twitts that I follow was intentionally baiting me by linking a recent editorial in Nature Neuroscience. Turns out I am very pleasantly surprised by the degree of balance. For background, this editorial takes up the hoopla over the practice of the NIH in using out-of-initial-priority-score exceptions (aka “pickups”) to fund investigators who have never held a major NIH research grant before. I had observations here and here. To summarize, I am usually disappointed with the lack of understanding of the NIH grant business displayed by media accounts of this particular nuance of the funding picture.
Nature Neuroscience appears to grasp nuance, bravo.

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Entertain me

October 27, 2009

The person who posts a link to a blog related to substance abuse or publicly funded science careers that 1) I have not seen before* and 2) that most amuses me by the end of the day wins a Reader Appreciation Prize. Reference to your own blog counts.
that is all.
*or at least can’t recall

I ran across an article in a college newspaper, I think via a Google news search for “MDMA”. Cause I do that. The article is “Rocking and Rolling: An Inside Look at SoCal’s Rave Culture” in the University of California, Irvine paper under the byline of one Stephanie Vatz. My original response was via a Twitt:

drugmonkeyblog So completely full of FAIL that I don’t even know where to start. http://tinyurl.com/yz6gmlg #MDMA

I then started wasting my time Twitting one-liner objections but then a comment by @dr_leigh (who you really should be following) started me thinking about the changing nature of college journalism.

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Indirect Cost Snooping

October 26, 2009

I had a query from a reader today which put me onto something new. So I though a few of my readers might like the opportunity for yet more time wasting critical career-related research.
One of the many past times of the NIH-funded research scientist is best described as…whinging…about indirect costs. Otherwise known as “overhead”, the indirect costs of an NIH award are that bit of extra cash above and beyond the amount needed for the actual conduct of the research plan that is awarded to the University.
Scientists are exceptionally fond of one particular complaint which is “Where in the hell is my overhead going since you re-charge me for every dang thing I can think of that might be overhead costs?” Arguing about local mistreatment of your heroic golden goose scientist is all fun and games but there is another complaint which is even more entertaining because of inter-institutional warfare. It goes something like this:

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It is Red Ribbon Week

October 23, 2009

“What is that”, you ask.
I hadn’t heard of it until a couple of years ago either, which is strange.
The Red Ribbon Coalition site claims:

Red Ribbon Week began after the kidnapping, torture and brutal murder of Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Agent Enrique “Kiki” Camarena in 1985.


The following year the California State PTA adopted the Red Ribbon Week campaign. Then, in 1988, Red Ribbon Week was recognized nationally with President Ronald and First Lady Nancy Reagan serving as the first Honorary Chairs.
Today, the Red Ribbon Week brings millions of people together to raise awareness regarding the need for alcohol, tobacco and other drug and violence prevention, early intervention, and treatment services. It is the largest, most visible prevention awareness campaign observed annually in the United States.

So I ask, have you ever heard of this campaign, DearReader? Ever participated in any events at your kids’ school or what not?

There are days. Not ordinary days. But….days. Like the one you just had. In which some individual has caused you much woe. Woe and annoyance. And pain. Let us not forget that.
Graphical artist Jessica Hische [ blog ] has just the solution.
Bill ’em.
[h/t: Kitsune Noir by way of @chrislbs]

Blogrolling: Addiction Inbox

October 22, 2009

I have no idea why it has taken me so long to find the Addiction Inbox blog penned by one Dirk Hanson. Lots of great stuff here for my readers that are interested in the substance-abuse topics.
Kudzu for Alcoholism?
600 comments on a post on Marijuana Withdrawal ?
A take on the infamous Vandrey et al., 2008, study- Marijuana withdrawal rivals nicotine ?
Coverage of the recent news stories such as: Russian Heroin Addiction “Spreads Like Wildfire”
Go read.

I was going to just add this as a late addendum to the Diversity in Science Blog Carnival #3 in honor of Hispanic Heritage Month. Since this involves the NIH IC that focuses so much energy on enhancing diversity in science, I thought it deserved a little more.
A recent post on the NIGMS blog Feedback Loop tells us that:

The end of this year’s observation coincided with the opening ceremony of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science (SACNAS) National Conference, which is supported by NIGMS.
The SACNAS conference highlights the scientific contributions of Hispanics and Native Americans and fosters the development of new scientists.

The entry goes on to detail the honoring of three of their NIGMS grantees. Go Read.

Breaking news from the DonorsChoose Social Media Challenge for 2009! HP already contributed $50 to every challenge on the board. Now they are offering a matching deal to spur competition. PalMD’s and Isis’ readers may have exhausted their wallets and now it is time to catch up by scoring matching funds from HP. From the DonorsChoose email:

HP has been tracking the competition closely and has already made a $50 contribution to your page, as a result of all of your hard work. The good news? HP wants to make yet another contribution to your Giving Page. The more you raise by this Sunday, October 25, the more HP will contribute!
Next week, we will distribute $200,000, the rest of HP’s contribution, to all Social Media Challenge Giving Pages. But this time, your share will be calculated on a pro-rata basis based on the amount you’ve raised by Sunday. What does that mean? Now is the time to motivate your readers, followers, friends, fam and fans to donate to your page, so you can claim a larger share of the funds!
And there’s yet another bonus: after the Challenge is over, everyone who donated to your Giving Page will get a DonorsChoose.org Giving Card, courtesy of HP. Those donors will get to decide which projects are supported with HP’s $200,000 in funds

So if you’ve been holding back or meaning to get to it, now’s the time to stroll on over to the DM Challenge page and give a few bucks to the kids.

Repost: More on Neurotree

October 20, 2009

I‘m attending the SfN meeting and was reminded of this post because of renewed interactions with my academic family tree members. Also by the usual observation that trainees are often ignorant of the connections within their own trees and how this can help their career goals, i.e., in landing postdoc slots. Since I last talked about Neurotree, the big change seems to be the launch of several new topic-related academic trees. Also, the growth stats seem to imply Neurotree has reached a peak in the growth of inclusion of scientists and there was no fall quarter (SfN annual meeting?) bump in growth of the tree last year. This post originally appeared on Nov 30, 2007.

I had a note before on the Neurotree.org site which is databasing neuroscientists’ training genealogies. The masters of Neurotree have put up a growth chart which shows that additions continue to accelerate each quarter. Some of the discussion under my prior post seemed to find this a mere interesting curiosity. I have been thinking about this as I’ve browsed around on the site and come to a different conclusion.

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The details have been settled for the people that are planning to come meet YHN and a couple or three of your fellow readers and commenters in person. If you did not receive an email from me recently and you want to attend, send me an email drugmnky at the google mail

Backyard Brains

October 18, 2009

backyardbrains.jpgThe $100 Spike guys, Gage and Marzullo, are back at the SfN annual meeting this year with additional developments. If you missed out, a version of their 2008 presentation is available here and it will give you a bit of the flavor. There was also an interview of Marzullo from the Nature podcast.
Their 2009 presentation is entitled: Backyard brains: You too can do neurophysiology in your garage . You can find this at poster board GG30 and it is in the Theme H section so it will be up all day Sunday. Go visit.

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DiSBadge_150.pngWelcome to the 3rd edition of the Diversity in Science Blog Carnival! This Carnival was created by D.N. Lee of the Urban Science Adventures! blog with additional impetus from acmegirl of the Thesis- With Children blog. In early 2009 D.N. Lee issued a call for the new blog carnival and hosted the inaugural edition. The Diversity in Science Carnival #2 was hosted at Thus Spake Zuska under the theme Women Achievers in STEM – Past and Present. This will be the third edition of the Carnival and it was proposed by Your Humble Narrator as a celebration of Hispanic individuals within the STEM disciplines.
The US National Hispanic Heritage Month [Wikipedia] runs from 15 Sep to 15 Oct every year. The purpose is to celebrate:

…the histories, cultures and contributions of American citizens whose ancestors came from Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.
The observation started in 1968 as Hispanic Heritage Week under President Lyndon Johnson and was expanded by President Ronald Reagan in 1988 to cover a 30-day period starting on September 15 and ending on October 15. It was enacted into law on August 17, 1988, on the approval of Public Law 100-402.
The day of September 15 is significant because it is the anniversary of independence for Latin American countries Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua. In addition, Mexico and Chile celebrate their independence days on September 16 and September18, respectively. Also, Columbus Day or Día de la Raza, which is October 12, falls within this 30 day period.

In contemplating the theme for this year’s Hispanic Heritage Month (“Embracing the Fierce Urgency of Now!”), Isis the Scientist reflected:

Most of the previous years’ themes highlight how the Hispanic can integrate into American society and strengthen their community. 2007’s theme especially was targeted at how the Hispanic can offer something to society– is this year’s theme a message that perhaps it is time for the Hispanic people to refuse to continue to be marginalized as a source of cheap labor? That it is time for them to host a revolt of their own and not be concerned about whether they are thought to be “blow[ing] off steam.” Is this theme telling us that the Hispanic people need to follow in the footsteps of their African American brethren and begin a civil rights movement of their own? Dare I say, “orale güey?”

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