Archive for: August, 2009

Seeing almost 1000 posts...

Aug 16 2009 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

...makes you want to run and hide. Which is why Sci put off checking her Google Reader for so long...she is also CURSING those people who don't believe in putting things below the fold. I'm looking at YOU, Built on Facts and Starts with a Bang. But I'm looking at you with LOVE.
But there are things I missed. It is possible you missed them, too. (Is the comma in that previous sentence obligatory? Or is it like the Oxford comma?)

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5 responses so far

Poem of the Day: #8

Aug 13 2009 Published by under Terrible Poetry

After Lunch
I. After lunch, it creeps
Death of my motivation
the dread Food Coma
II. The coma slips in
Data wavers on the screen
Just to close my eyes...
III. No, foul sleepiness!
I shall not submit! Hook up
My caffeine i.v.!

One response so far

No Crybabies in Science

Aug 12 2009 Published by under Academia

Every so often, Sci hangs out with other grad students, or sometimes recent post-grads. If we are relatively good friends, there will almost always be some rendition of the conversation Sci likes to call "no crybabies in science".

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17 responses so far

Poem of the Day: #7

Aug 11 2009 Published by under Terrible Poetry

I. the lab's dismal air
mourning your unborn paper
alas, you've been scooped
II. lab mates crowd around
printed copies fly like birds
try to find a flaw
III. your data can't die
publish you must, or perish
find a new angle

One response so far

Journal Editor Speaks about His Experiences

Aug 10 2009 Published by under Academia

(I had this whole post ready talking about flexible representations, but now my computer is borked -- stupid monitor! -- so this is going to have to do.)
Tyler Cowen over at Marginal Revolution links to a piece by a former editor at American Economic Review</em telling all about how papers are accepted for publication. In economics this process may be slightly different, but I found the piece addressed several questions I had about the process.

I reject 10-15% of papers without refereeing, a so-called "desk rejection." This prompts some complaints - "I paid for those reviews with my submission fee" - but in fact when appropriate a desk rejection is the kind thing to do. If, on reading a paper, I find that there is no chance I am going to publish a paper, why should I waste the referees' time and make the author wait? Not all authors agree, of course, but in my view, we are in the business of evaluating papers, not improving papers. If you want to improve your paper, ask your colleagues for advice. When you know what you want to say and how to say it, submit it to a journal.
As noted above, some authors are irate about desk rejections on the principle that their submission fee pays for refereeing, or that they deserve refereeing. But in fact the editor, not referees, make decisions and I generally spend a significant amount of time making a desk rejection. I think of a desk rejection as a circumstance where the editor doesn't feel refereeing advice is warranted.

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5 responses so far

Poem of the Day: #6

Aug 08 2009 Published by under Terrible Poetry

The following poem is dedicated to my labmate, post-doc, and colleague. You know who you are.
How cruel my labmate yesterday
Upon my computer screen
played dance music, bad 80's style
"YOU BEEN RICKROLL'D!" he screamed.
At first I laughed, 'twas no big thing
And the dancing was funny and wry
but now I find, dangit, Rick's on my mind
My labmate was too sly.
So if to you rickroll appears,
Beware, it's untimely curse
All crazy now, it haunts my dreams
My own horror universe.

You been Rickroll'd!
Sings..."never gonna give you up, never gonna let you doooown..."

5 responses so far

An Open Letter

Aug 07 2009 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

To the Lab Person who Stole my favorite fine-tip Sharpie,
You horrible, cruel person! How could you!?! I mean, really. Everyone in science knows the power of a really good Sharpie. We have them in all shapes, sizes, and colors. I love them all.

Really, scientists live by the sharpie. When you need to mark those really teeny vials with your initials, the date, the drug, and the concentration, Sharpies are there for you. When you have to write on something you KNOW it going to get wet, nothing works better (well, unless you get it wet with Methanol, in which case you're just screwed anyhow).
And SOMEONE, a sneaky, mean little someone, stole my favorite ultra fine point black sharpie! It was classic. It was sleek. It was LABELED. With a big note on it saying "[Sci's] Sharpie of Wonder and Might". And you STOLE IT. You went into my DESK and STOLE IT.
Well, I don't know who you are yet, but I will, Sharpie-stealer, I WILL. And when I do, I will find you. I will hunt you down. And I will write ALL over you in Sharpie. And if you're really unlucky and I'm really mad, I'll use the nasty one from the hood. So there.
All my love,
Ooooh, and for those who don't know the love: some Sharpie porn.

6 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: Heeeere, lizard lizard lizard...

Aug 07 2009 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci is unfortunately coming down to the wire on several projects (including approaching Super Awesome Conference at which Sci is going to BLIND PEOPLE WITH SCIENCE), and so there was no time to cover a paper this week, even though I had several in mind. Instead, Sci will show you...this:

The image is courtesy of You Suck at Craigslist (which is a GREAT site), and if I knew from whence this lizard came, I would truly like to barter...something...for it, and then I would give it as a gift to Laelaps, because he is awesome and clearly would know how to take care of a lovely mummified lizard that has "Numerous other detailed parts that you would find on any of today's Lizards" (because this species apparently died circa 1997...). In fact, I bet Laelaps and Mrs. Laelaps would find this gift pretty awesome for their anniversary. And I owe Laelaps. He's the one who introduced me to You Suck at Craigslist. I mean, it's got all these FEATURES:
Toes = 10
Fingers = 10
Tail = one complete
Eye sockets = two GOOD'URNS
No cracks, scratches or broken parts. 100% Complete!!!
Additionally, the seller asserts that he harmed no lizards in the obtaining of this mummy, he found a car. An old, broken car.
Seriously, I think this thing is awesome. Sci would totally put it on her mantle. But she would be nice and give it to Laelaps. Happy (belated) anniversary, Laelaps!!!
So today, Sci has a weird science question for YOU: how would such a lizard come to be mummified by being in a car? And what kind of lizard IS it? Anybody? And who wants to send the awesome mummified version to SCI?!?!

4 responses so far

Poem of the Day: #5

Aug 06 2009 Published by under Terrible Poetry

To dopamine

I. O fair dopamine
wondrous molecule, so cool
even gets you high.
II. Reward, punishment
in dopamine highs and lows
a complete package
III. Tasty dopamine
the umami of my brain
why can't you hate carbs?
IV. Feel the pleasure and
the pain, wrong motivation
dopamine, habit
V. "Neurotransmission"
sad how these long science words
will ruin haikus

One response so far

Poem of the Day: #4

Aug 05 2009 Published by under Terrible Poetry

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, who is spinning in his grave.
'Twas grad school, and the slithy gels
did gyre and gimble on the bench
All mimsy was the PCR
In front of this lab wench.
"Beware the Dissertation!" they cried
"The data that sucks, the committees that catch
Beware the late night hours
and woe, your weekends it will snatch!"
I took vorpal pipette in hand
long time the maximum hypothesis sought
'til rested I in papers with a sigh
and sat a while in thought.
And as in uffish thought I stood
The Dissertation, with aims unnamed
came wiffling through my fevered brain
and burbled as it came.
one-A, one-B, two-A, two-C!
And through and through
My specific aims soon to be complete
I left it dead, and took its head
to my committee to compete.
And hast thou slain the thesis aims!?
Back to the bench, young candidate!
Your standard error is glory, but a complete story
Is needed to graduate...
'Twas grad school, and the thesis aims
did gyre and gimble, the model bent,
all mimsy mocked my data points
to this poor, sad student.

9 responses so far

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