Schwag, take one

August 6, 2010

Once upon a time back in the old days on Scienceblogs, I came up with the brilliant idea (thank you, thank you) that I might like to have a coffee cup and a t-shirt with the DM logo on it. It took a remarkably long time for that to turn from idea to reality but suffice it to say it turned out ok using cafepress. Conveniently, this also permitted me to hand out door prizes to readers. Unfortunately, that little game is on furlough because cafepress seems to have changed their gift certificate process and I can’t figure out how to make it work the way I want. No matter, I”m anticipating the revenue stream that was funding those is about to dry up anyway. Oh well.

At any rate, I’ve been playing around with the DrugMonkey Swag Shop, trying to come up with some new logos to reflect the new blog host. Nothing too fancy yet, just a straight swap of the URL and signature platform icon. Now the real key will be to get my fellow Scientopians to start working on their own swag shops. I like my own stuff and all but I really need a rack of coffee cups with all y’alls logos on them.

The Center for Scientific Review has just released a new critique template for Research Project Grant reviews (i.e., R01s, R03s, and R21s), and it has an interesting change. While the subsections for the five review criteria (Significance, Innovation, Approach, Investigator, and Environment) still incorporate the bulleted list Strenghs and Weaknesses format, the Overall Impact section now has eliminated the bulleted list and requires a paragraph:

Write a paragraph summarizing the factors that informed your Overall Impact score.

I wonder if this was in response to applicant complaints that the bulleted Overall Impact section was too cryptic and uninformative?

You know me, always a fan of discussing contentious issues. Remember this old post which went up at


Therein lies the question of the moment. What ARE the expectations of the Sb readership? That Sb bloggers should be predominantly white, male heteronormative USians? In which case, no problem: Expectations met. Ok, I exaggerate, the above figure and the full post/website that is linked make the case mostly for the “white” charge. Admittedly there are a number of pseuds around here but the numbers for which the approximate relative skin reflectance is unknown (to me and other Sb’ers) is vanishingly small. It is unlikely that the addition of the pictures of all the pseudonymous bloggers to the “AryanBlogs?” site would do much to counter the claim.

Well, a thread over at ScientistMother’s place points out the obvious.

We haven’t done much better here at Scientopia.

My thoughts on this are…
-We recognize this. Not just as individuals but as a collective.
-Not everyone that was invited to Scientopia felt that this was the place for them
-From the perspective of someone who has been on a number of academic institution’s “Enhancing Diversity” committees, this stuff is not by any means easy to accomplish. The numbers in the science blogging community are certainly not substantially better than elsewhere in science.
-On a more generalized aspect of diversity- from topics to people, well, we’re small. Our expansion plan is…not. Our dust is settling.
-As Dorothea pointed out at ScientistMother’s thread, we are really (really, really) flattered that so many bloggers intimate that they’d like to join Scientopia. My fellow Scientopians, let’s not forget this, eh?

Final charge to you, DearReader. While I do ask you to understand we’re just getting launched here, do keep our feet to the fire, eh? I would expect nothing else of you.