As you are aware, Dear Reader, one of my favorite times of year as a blogger is October. Because we get the chance to put on the full court press for DonorsChoose, an organization that helps teachers fund small projects in their classrooms. Projects that range from the inspirational, to the disturbingly mundane- a rug for the children to sit on?

You will note that I have selected numerous projects which feature dissection kits. This is no coincidence. Those biology labs tend to be some of the most memorable ones from our schooling, are they not? It also so happens that one of my kids had the opportunity to dissect a bazillion things in a summer camp. A camp that my spouse and I are able to afford, obviously, but I have little doubt many of the parents in the High Poverty schools I’ve selected cannot do the same. How can we not do a little bit to help out these children?

Now, on to the seerious beesnees. We do this drive as part of the ScienceBloggers for Students Challenge, in which we here at Scientopia compete against those other lame collectives like the FreeThoughters, Pirates, SciAmSellouts, LabLamers and whomever still remains at ScienceBlogs brought to you by National Geographic. Other glossy mag collectives like WIRED, Discover and CENmag have skin in the game too.

DearReader, we want to beat them. On the measure that matters most which is not the cash, not the projects funded. Oh, no. The most important bragging right is the number of donors! That’s right. What really matters here is that we get as many people as possible participating. Only have $5? Make a donation. Every little bit counts. Make a statement that you stand up for science (and health, and humanities, and…) education. You can skip a couple of lattes to make up for it….

For those of you new to this blog’s participation in Donor’s Choose, a word to the wise. Starving graduate students in the audience have been, proportionally speaking, very generous in past years. So if you are a postdoc or a prof…..yeah. Let’s get ‘er done.

Final note, even if you cannot afford to donate this year, we would appreciate your participation by bringing Donor’s Choose to the attention of some folks that may never have heard of it. Post a link on the Twitts or the Facebooks or even, meh, GoogPlus.

Do it for the children.


October 4, 2011

and another thing. Going to PubMed to find some cite to support my logic chain because I don’t have it in my reference manager database already doesn’t break the flow either.

It enhances and reinforces the thrust of the point you are contemplating, and working on making concretely in academese, because you refresh yourself on all the relevant and irrelevant titles/abstract, perhaps find a new paper or two and remember an old one. That allows you to wrap up that paragraph or page in a trice so that you can move on.

Instead of spinning your wheels writing up a bunch of sheist that you later have to “revise” because your memory of the paper(s) that you thought supported a particular point was erroneous.

Do you re-read the NIH grant proposal that you submitted in the summer a re-read as we approach the Fall rounds of study section meetings?

One would think that after getting a little distance from the writing of it, that the PI could be a little more objective. Step back and read it like a reviewer would. And therefore predict the eventual outcome with some accuracy. In theory this would make one’s anticipation of the score showing up in Commons a little more..muted.

Yeah, I don’t know anyone who can do this.

How about you, Dear Reader? Do you know anyone who looks at their proposal in the month before the study section meets and can be objective about the chances?

Final thought: Would it be useful to get the trainees to write critiques and see how they match up with the real ones?