Archive for: August, 2006

More advice for submitting a scientific paper

Aug 26 2006 Published by under Academia

On the heels of an earlier paper review comes another journal submission. This one was substantially worse than the other paper; the last was overall pretty good but came with some obvious inadequacies of choice. Not so with this one, and I was forced to reject it outright. Hopefully I can help people with their future submissions by supplying a few more tips.

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4 responses so far

Don't miss the "Politically Incorrect Guide to Darwinism and ID" takedown

Aug 26 2006 Published by under Evolution, Synaptic Misfires

The takedown intro has been posted at The Panda's Thumb. If the server's down, keep checking in. Over the next week or two, various bloggers will pick apart the different chapters and expose this trash for what it is; a coffee table book for the sycophantic zombies among us. While I predict it will have a very limited audience, that audience consists primarily of so-called "family values" politicians who will buy into this vapid PR campaign.
Yours truly will pick a Chapter apart midway through next week, so check back here around Wednesday. In the meantime, Tara has already trashed one of the worst nonsequiturs I've ever seen in my 31 years, and PZ does his usual shellacking of the developmental chapter, which can also be read here. Burt Humberg just put up his takedown of Chapter 1.
Monkeys will bark, much poo will be flung. I swear, this would almost be fun if it weren't so pathetic.

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SchadenFriday: Macaca moron-a

Aug 25 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

Without a doubt, Senator George Allen's gift that keeps on giving. Looking over Mr. Sidarth's numbers in the article, I see further proof that we monkeys are destined to reclaim the planet from you lowly H. sapiens.

2 responses so far

Some advice for submitting a paper for scientific review

Aug 23 2006 Published by under Academia

Peer-reviewing a submitted article can be an interesting process. On one hand, you get a chance to glimpse the latest findings in the field before they even become public (outside of the data appearing in an abstract or on a conference poster). There is also the challenge of putting your mind to the grindstone; a reviewer has to stay sharp and think around corners, pick out where fuzzy language might be masking a methodological problem, or find points of contention in the data that the authors missed. Yet he or she must also remain both tough and fair, so that when and if a paper is finally published it is worthy of high praise.
It can also be an annoying process, especially when a research group gets sloppy just because they have a lot of positive findings. So I thought I'd toss out a few suggestions for the world. Remember, reviewers can be your friends, as long as you're thorough.

  • If you get a decoupling of one pathology from your behavior of interest, but a second pathology remains coupled, just run the damn correlation. It only takes a few hours at most, and I'm gonna send it back and make you do it regardless.
  • Make sure your graphical data doesn't undermine your "representative" figures.
  • Don't just scatter your stats throughout the paper as if tossing parmesan on a plate of spaghetti. Clearly indicate which analyses you chose-- and why-- in the Methods section, even if you only write 2 sentences. Don't put undiscussed post hoc analyses and data in the figure legends, keep 'em grouped with the rest of the stats in the Results section and just report the p values in the legends.
  • If you do get a relevant negative finding amidst your positive ones, don't be afraid to discuss it and what it means in the context of the study... negative data is just as important! Don't gloss over it.
  • If the software program will run a crucial analysis automatically, put it in the damn paper

Sermon ended.

2 responses so far

Evil Needs a New Pair of Shoes

Aug 21 2006 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

As I posted Saturday, I'm on a quest to get myself back into tip-top physical condition for my upcoming Thai boxing test. To do this I need to set goals for myself. I'm going to enlist the help of my readers on this one!
Warning: half-nekkid monkeys ahead

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7 responses so far

The Importance of Biodiversity, or Yet Another Interesting Toxin

Looks like yet another interesting toxin was found, this time in a venomous snail. This discovery comes from the lab of an old player in the field, who apparently discovered the conotoxin that is used in Prialt.

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One Night In Bangkok

Aug 19 2006 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Another interesting twist in my life is at the gym. It turns out that Kru Scott is sufficiently satisfied with my progress and prior exposure that he's going to let me skip the Level I test and go straight to Level II. This means I get to cut at least a full year off my training time! Likely I will be able to test for my Muay Thai Assistant Instructor certification in the next year to year and a half. That is freakin' awesome.
What is not freakin' awesome is the physical condition I'll have to be in for the test, which will likely occur in November. I've got about 3 months to get in the best shape of my life. I'm already coming off bloated slob status from my degree, where I topped out at over 185 lbs and had complete muscular atrophy. May not sound like much of a bloated slob, but those who knew me before grad school know I've always had a high metabolism. To see me carrying that much visceral fat on my frame is quite astonishing.
Since I started training again in February/March, however, I've cut a full 20 lbs and I'm down to 167, which is the same weight I was when I started grad school in 1997. I've probably lost more than that in fat because I've put on a little muscle again, without any intensive weight training. But merely being in decent shape isn't going to cut it. Running 3-4 times a week and sporadic maintenance lifting isn't gonna get me through. Accordingly, I've ramped up to running 3-5 miles every day, plus alternating weight training days with core training days. And I'm sore as hell.
I'm toying with doing a bit of a fitness journal here. Perhaps I'll include sporadic pictures of my progress. Gotta keep it fun.
"Kickboxing, sport of the future!"
--Lloyd Dobler

8 responses so far

One Year Anniversary, and a Funding Vindication

Aug 19 2006 Published by under Academia

Today is the One Year Anniversary of my Ph.D. The last couple weeks I've had what I thought might be Frodo-like anxiety aftereffects, and was briefly concerned that I might also have been pierced by a Morgul blade, bitten by a giant spider, and have Phantom Limb from where my finger was bitten off by an ugly CGI character. But I realized no, that wasn't the case (whew), any anxiety I've experienced (and my concomitant hiatus) is due to 1. my postdoctoral NRSA proposal 2. my hard drive crashing and the big number 3......

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7 responses so far

Thank you, George Allen

Aug 14 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

As every Evil Monkey knows, you've bestowed upon a student from UVA a great honor.

S.R. Sidarth, a senior at the University of Virginia, had been trailing Allen with a video camera to document his travels and speeches for the Webb campaign. During a campaign speech Friday in Breaks, Virginia, near the Kentucky border, Allen singled out Sidarth and called him a word that sounded like "Macaca."
"This fellow here over here with the yellow shirt, Macaca, or whatever his name is. He's with my opponent. He's following us around everywhere. And it's just great. We're going to places all over Virginia, and he's having it on film and its great to have you here and you show it to your opponent because he's never been there and probably will never come."

Senatory, I firmly believe Mr. Sidarth should be grateful that you refer to him as being of the wisest primate genus, Macaca. I'm sure, Mr. Allen, that you were only able to pick him out because, being one of the few non-white people there, he probably looks the most like a monkey to you.
Virginians should be proud of their senator today, for his ability to reach out and strengthen interprimate relations. He's practically Nixonian in that regard! Here's to George Allen; making species-species bigotry a thing of the past. He joins other intellectual giants such as Rick "man-on-dog" Santorum.
(Yes, you can cut the sarcasm with a knife.)

3 responses so far

Compuper skillz

Aug 10 2006 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

I'm taking a bit of a hiatus for a few days. This week has been absolutely bonkers, plus my hard drive died on me. I'll try to post some life updates and then get back to science bloggin'!

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