Archive for: December, 2008

Whatever happened to that New Year's Resolution?

Dec 31 2008 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

So last year, about this time, I made a resolution. I resolved to read 100 books in a year. 100 books in 365 days, just a little under 1 book every three days. It was a hard challenge, but I felt (and still feel) that I need to be well-read person, and so I plugged away. I was all on schedule and doing great when...I started a blog. Round about May. And since then, that hour or so a night when I was reading away went *poof*. I do not regret the blog for a minute, and I hope it will be stealing my time for some time to come (well, ok, maybe dissertation time is a little too precious). But I did keep plugging away. As of right now, I managed to get 63% of my goal complete. That's not very impressive, I know, but it IS over 20,000 pages. And I did get through some of the things I'd always told myself I was going to read.
I even had RULES. The rules:
I could not have read it before (this means if I was in the middle of a series, only the ones I read since I started are included).
It could not be work-related.
And so a few weeks ago, as I closed in on #60, I though perhaps you guys might be interested in all the books I've been reading over the last year. Ok, maybe not ALL of them...

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5 responses so far


Dec 31 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

To all the people who read Neurotopia, and too all the people who don't, too. This year's been crazy for the two of us (it makes Evil there go a little insane, then he starts talking to himself, and we all know what that's like...), but it's been good for a lot of things. After all, we started bloggin' together! But it's the readers that make it all worthwhile. You guys are great, even when you're pointing out our shortcomings. Perhaps especially then. 🙂
So here's wishing you all a great 2009, that all your resolutions come true. As for us, we're running into this year full speed ahead.

Happy New Year!
~Scicurious and the Evil Monkey

One response so far

I should start my own blog carnival...

Dec 30 2008 Published by under Blog Carnivals

...and it shall be called "stuff that Sci thinks is cool". We can call it STSTIC (like 'statistic', only with misplaced letters, or maybe more like "Stastic...") for short.
Welcome to the first issue of "Stastic", wherein Sci gets all Spastic and Ecstatic (SEE the combination now?!) about the things she missed on the blogsphere. And she missed a LOT. When I finally got up the gumption to look at my rss feed, I found I had missed well over 500 posts. I almost went into seclusion at that point. It took me several hours to get through them all (admittedly my internet was being horrid). But there were a lot of gems. Clearly, when people are relaxed in between semesters (though 'relaxed' is a relative term), they can churn out some amazing stuff.

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3 responses so far

The Evidence Gap: Do Treatments Even Work?

Dec 30 2008 Published by under Addiction

When I saw this article in the NY Times, I literally ignored everything else around me for about ten minutes straight. Working in drug abuse research (as I do), I get a lot of questions from people asking a) what they can do to get off drugs, b) how different drugs work, and c) why don't drug abuse treatment programs ever seem to work, or work only for the stars who get to go to Cirque Lodge. And every year or so (it seems, maybe it's six months), the NY Times puts out an article on drug treatment programs and how they're doing, and mostly about how they're not doing well, and should be doing better.
This article however, had a bit of an edge of hope. I always appreciate that, it'd be nice to know that my entire career is not in vain, wouldn't you agree?

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6 responses so far


Dec 29 2008 Published by under Physiology/Pharmacology

I'm BACK! Finally, a return to wireless. Granted, I'm sitting in an airport, but that's long enough to bang out a post, right? The real work can wait, my brain is still on vacation.
I hope you all got what you wanted for the holidays, and that Santa left PhDs in your stockings, or tenure, or the latest in lab equipment. Or whatever.
Did I mention how much I LOVE getting free books in the mail? Seriously, it makes Sci so happy. This one looked promising right from the start. Freaks of Nature: What Anomalies Tell Us About Development and Evolution, by Mark Blumberg.
And for good measure, here's the cover:

WARNING: spoilers ahead. Though considering it's a book review, there SHOULD be spoilers ahead. Otherwise one would have to question whether or not I had read the book at all.

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One response so far

Friday Weird Science: Got nipple pain? Blame it on your vacuum baby.

Dec 26 2008 Published by under Friday Weird Science

So this isn't necessarily weird science, in that it's not something so odd and out there you'd never see it. It's more that the reason behind the phenomenon is a little funny.
I'm at a time of life where all my friends are getting married. And once they get married, they start spawning. I'm a fan of friend-spawn, and I certainly hope that they all grow up to be adorable awesome little geeks. I will take any kind of geek, science, history, literature, music, theater, I love them all, and I know my amazingly brilliant and talented friends and fellow bloggers will produce some amazingly talented spawn.
Being as I am around such spawning, I've had the opportunity to learn a good bit about babies. And all the charming, cute, sweet, adorable, disgusting, smelling, and gross things that go with them. One of the things I became very quickly interested in was lactation. You know. Boobs and milk. Breast is best. I never realized before that there are lactation consultants. I always thought lactation was one of those things, like sex and giving birth, that people kind of figure out eventually on their own. Survival of the species and all that, you'd figure lactation would be pretty high on the list of things that come naturally.
But in fact, for many women, it doesn't come naturally, and there are certain interventions that you can do to prevent pain and soreness during breastfeeding. But for some women, it seems that all the counseling and intervention in the world isn't working. They have consistent pain while nursing. And now, we know why. The reason? VACUUM BABIES! McClellan et al. "Infants of mothers with persistant nipple pain exert strong sucking vacuums." Acta Paediatrica, 2008.

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10 responses so far

'Twas a night of experiments...

Dec 24 2008 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

'Twas the night of experiments, and all through the lab
All attention focused on the shape on the slab.
All electrodes were strung outside to the air
In hopes that some lightning soon would be there.
The lab techs in their lab coats, and myself in mine
Settled down with some coffee to wait for a sign.
Despite all the caffeine, I got a mite sleepy,
'Til the feel of the air made my skin go all creepy.
"It's coming" I shouted, my lab techs agape
As I raced to the slab and its tiny round shape.
Electricity crackled, I threw all the switches
As I dreamed of lab gear and more untold riches;
Faraday cages, HPLCs, computers galore
My heart full of hope for what was in store.
The tech gathered round, heard some wires snap
Our hair all "mad scientist" we heard a loud "ZAP!"
A moment of silence, then upon the slab
A solitary hand moved to grope and to grab,
Then the form chuckled, and bounced up right quick!
"Eureka!" I screamed, "I revived old St. Nick!"
The old elf looked confused as I plopped on his lap
Imploring him for every lab gizmo on the map.
Then he smiled, but solemn, and shook his head
As the techs gathered round to hear what he said:
"My thanks" said the elf "for your hard work and honor
When I hit that skyscraper I thought I was a goner.
You've been too kind, and gifts you'll get, don't worry
I might even bring you a publication if I hurry
But right now I've got lists to make and toys to pack
I must run for the moment, but I swear I'll be back."
So saying, up from the table he rose,
Carefully detaching various electrodes.
Soon he sat in his sleigh, our new modifications were charmin'
With jet booster, power steering, and even a Garmin.
"You owe me" I stated, more than a bit demanding
He put a finger to his nose to show his understanding.
Then he clucked to the reindeer, the new sleigh took flight
But I heard one last thing as he flew into the night:
"Happy holidays to all, good luck and good cheer!
If you're good, I'll bring you a PhD this year!"

2 responses so far

Welcome to your Brain! My name is Scicurious, and I'll be your Guide for today...

Dec 23 2008 Published by under Neuroscience

I was very pleased when I received my first ever book from a reader! Granted, it was Mr. SiT, but still, I was pleased. It was a copy of "Welcome to your Brain: Why You Lose Your Car Keys but Never Forget How to Drive and Other Puzzles of Everyday Life" by by Sandra Aamodt and Sam Wang. It's a super basic and fun look at neuroscience, which pauses to answer the crazy questions of every day life, like whether or not we REALLY use just 10% of our brains (a myth, obviously).
So I settled in with it on a recent chilly night.

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6 responses so far

Happy Holly-daze to all!

Dec 22 2008 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

I was GOING to write a really awesome sciency-post today. I was. But then I went to the lab, and then I had to prepare to go out of town, and then...ok, I'll admit I spent about an hour of the time I should have been blogging reading Rowling's "The Tales of Beadle the Bard".
Anyway, as of tomorrow I will be out of town, and I will be in a BARBARIC LAND. A land with...dial-up internet. Really. I think I might start getting the shakes. It might be bad. I'll probably have to go and get an infusion of high-speed wireless. I'll start dreaming of my Google Reader and craving my email. But I think quitting cold turkey for a week will be good for me. Besides, I'm not addicted, I could quit anytime I wanted, and...I"M NOT THE ONE WITH THE PROBLEM! YOU ARE!
I'll be looking forward to a huge binge when I'm back in wireless range.
*ahem*. So I'll be gone. I'll miss you all. And there will still be some of my posts going up because Sci really IS that talented. And since Sci will be unable to scan comments, Evil Monkey will be in charge. Don't mess around. He's very evil. Have you seen those teeth?

Have a wonderful holiday/vacation/time off/it's-really-cold-and-there's-food. And I'll be back. In the meantime, remember the monkey fangs.

One response so far

Happy Birthday, PLoS ONE!

Dec 20 2008 Published by under Uncategorized

Although all entries were required to be submitted on Dec. 18th, the REAL birthday of PLoS ONE is today, Dec. 20. Bloggers were asked to submit entries based on articles from PLoS ONE, and the entries would be judged.
And guess what?! SCICURIOUS FOR THE WIN!!! Seriously, I'm so pleased that the judges thought my entry ("Einstein was smart, but could he play the violin?") was good enough. Sci is still but a young scienceblogger, and it really makes me feel very awesome when something like this happens. Today, Sci is HOT. And she deserves drinks. Many drinks.
The post will be appearing on the PLoS ONE blog and also on A Blog Around the Clock. And I get PRIZES! Sci loves prizes.
And for those who are curious, you should check out the other entries! I particularly like the one representing Cognitive Daily, as well as the one from Podblack (who doesn't love Podblack, really?).

8 responses so far

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