...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.
First off, I should go into that definition of "relaxed". As Sciencewoman points out, the time between semesters isn't so much a break, so much as it's time to do all the stuff you weren't doing during semesters. In my case, there's a pile of data to be analyzed, two paper drafts to revise (and SEND IN, so help me, FSM), and of course blogging to be done (if you're thinking of starting a blog, say goodbye to your free time. It's totally worth it, but consider yourself warned). And then, there's the MEETINGS.
It's very rare that something from "Inside Higher Ed" makes me laugh and groan with sad recognition like PhD comics do (seriously, I've almost cried over a few of those), but this is one. I am but a grad student, a GRAD STUDENT, I tell you, and yet I spend at least 3-5 hours a week in meetings. There are the weekly seminars (I'm not counting those, but there are at least two per week), the weekly meeting of the journal club, the lab meeting which usually runs close to 2 hours with no end in sight, the meetings with the professor in charge of the lectures I'm teaching, the meeting with my advisor (when I can get one), and of course the meetings for "professional development". The most amusing of these meetings are meetings about time management and how to get more research done and prepare for life in academia, which is of course stuff you're supposed to be doing when you're not in meetings. And I can only think how these will multiply when I have to add committee meetings for various things. How do young profs get any research done?!
And in terms of getting things done, there's a couple of really useful posts over at DrugMonkey on authorship. I'm only beginning now to realize how fraught publication authorship can be. People feel they've put a certain amount into a publication and want credit, and then of course there's the people who need to be on the publication because they were the source of the money. And then of course there are the people who need to be on the publication because they were the source of the knockout strain, and the people who initially ran the tests on the knockout strain, and...does anyone wonder why so many papers now have more than 20 authors? DrugMonkey and PhysioProf both have the insights of old and venerable publishers, and they always give good advice on these matters.
Speaking of old an venerable people, Coturnix made reference to me in one of his blog posts on the shock value of science blogs. He referred to my "sexual innuendo". Why, Coturnix, whatever do you mean? I'm concerned that you would think my work so below the belt. I feel...penetrated. In fact, the very idea makes me positively turgid with offense, and I might be forced to ejaculate some thoughts on the matter...ok, that may have gone to far, huh? Watch out guys, I may have just ruined ScienceBlogs right there!!! Anyway. He's right, part of what makes science blogs interesting, and in some ways, reader-friendly, is that it's not just about speaking science in the correct and dry way we're all used to hearing up in the front of the seminar every week. It's about conveying science, our feelings about it and about the work of others, in a way that engages people. And sometimes that way involves making it funny, and sometimes it involves profanity. But I would never dismiss something someone says as trolling or crankery until you have read it through, read past the conceits of the writer, and gotten down to what they are really saying. Those conceits are often just to draw you in, to get you amused or get you riled up, and to make you keep reading.
Coturnix also posted an interesting link on "how to blog", which I found, well, not too informative. This is partially because a lot of it is stuff you pick up just hanging around the blogs, which is probably something that you do a bit before you start (unless you're me, and I certainly could have used a little background reading). Chad also weighs in with seemingly similar opinions. Interestingly, it also suggests cappng off your posts at 800 words, max. You all still reading? Probably not.
But now we're on to more serious business:
There's been a lot of issues on feminism floating around in the blogsphere. There is the usual you-dress-hot-so-you-must-be-sleeping-with-the-chair vs you-dress-in-baggy-pants-you-must-be-a-lesbian stuff, on what it really means to be a woman in science, are you a scientist who happens to have two X chromosomes, or are you a lady scientist? I think both are true regardless of how you dress. But there are also some interesting musings going on about being a woman, and a minority in science. I recommend them all.
And now we're back to things that entertain me. Srsly.
I found this GREAT post on Gaiman's Sandman series, and how well it has aged. I LOVE Sandman (well, what I've read of it, I love), and this really backup a lot of what I've been thinking about it.
And finally, I refer you to Cocktail Party Physics, who faces down why it is that you shoudn't trust what you hear on TV. She's so right, and I am glad someone had the temerity to do this one. I have the WORST time explaining to people why they can't get their DNA samples back in a week...
Still reading? Yeah, didn't think so. I'm not, either, it's ok. 🙂