Archive for: September, 2010

The Museum of Fabric Brain Art

Sep 30 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Sci received a Tweet from @culturingsci on this one, and just HAD to share it with the masses (Thanks, @culturingsci!!). It's a site full of Fabric Brain Art, and while @tvjrennie may say that the "museum" = "ceder chest", well, that means it smells very nice. 🙂 The whole thing reminded me of some of the stuff that BioEphemera posts. They are well worth checking out, make sure to look at the Knitted Brain in particular! It's also a testimony to the knitter's skill, I quail at the idea of knitting a single DNA strand, let alone a whole brain!

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Women's Health Writeup Roundup!

Sep 29 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

We here at Scientopia do hope you all enjoyed our Women's Health writeup!  More posts will be continuing as the week goes on, but here's a brief list of some of the coverage of what in Women's Health is good, what's bad, and what's...kind of hilarious.


Chemical BiLOLogy: Survive your Doctor.  Arlenna talks about the importance of being your own medical advocate.

The BAD:

Everyday Biology: What's in your tap water? This soon to be three-part series (parts 1 and 2 are up) goes through what's in your tap water, and what to worry about, and what is just hype.

The White Coat Underground: Women's Health. Pal does an excellent writeup of what diseases among women are focused on, and whether this lines up with what diseases we should really be promoting awareness of.

Candid Engineer: WTF is in my DNA? A post on the reality of DNA tests, what we should expect, and what we shouldn't.


Neurotic Physiology: I'm only cheating cause my body TELLS me to. A writeup on their article "is fidelity obsolete", and their rather...their neuroscience coverage.

Thus Spake Zuska: Cry Babies. A piece on men who cry too much, which was supposed to be...satire. Unfortunately, context is all.

WhizBANG: The wonders of Turmeric! Apparently it's got lots of antioxidants and you should put it in your moisturizer! Pity about the staining...

The Urban Ethnographer: The best cities for women. Because if you move to Seattle you will have decreased risk of heart disease! Because, you know, other people there do. Totally makes sense, right?

Keep an eye out for more coming up this week!

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So I hear I'm at the Guardian...

Sep 28 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

You might want to check it out. Sci displays her opinions on the serotonin theory of depression and why I don't think it's right. There are already lots of good comments (some of which I feel are already misinterpreting what I wrote pretty badly), and I may try to respond to them either there, or over here, where they will get a lot less attention, but oh well!

Go check me out!

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An Open Letter: To the Awesome Speaker

Sep 28 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Dear Awesome Speaker,

Verily, you are indeed awesome. You're a really Big Wig in this field, and that's really something you should be proud of. You seem like a pretty decent guy. And your data is REALLY SWEET. It's really freakin' cool. I'm not gonna lie.


There's showing off your cool data, and then there's being SO in love with your cool data and the sound of your own voice detailing your many experiments of win that you run TWENTY MINUTES over your allotted seminar time. TWENTY MINUTES while Sci was standing uncomfortably in the back both because you are such a hot shot that the talk was standing room only, and because I'm a busy bee of a post-doc with STUFF TO DO. Like the experiment I need to do. Which needed to start TWENTY MINUTES AGO, and which would have started on time were you not so incredibly in love with showing off your work to us more minor beings.

I did indeed enjoy your data. I did not want to walk out. But when we were already 10 minutes over and you said "yeah, I should skip this because we're running out of time, but I'll just go over it quickly", accompanied by "I always end up running out of time, I've got like half my slides left", did you not perceive the audible sigh and shift and shuffle that came in response? Did you not perceive that people started stealing out of the room? Did you maybe think "well, perhaps I should skip this next experiment"? NO. NO YOU DID NOT. Instead, you said "here, let's look at this 5 minute video! NOW, let's look at it AGAIN! NOW, let's look at it re-analyzed!" And then proceeded to prattle on.

You were prattling on a great subject. It's true. You're a great speaker, very captivating. But that does NOT justify going 20 minutes over your allotted time while you throw in funny anecdotes about serendipity and how humble you are about having done all of your wonderful experiments of awesome and win. Ain't nobody that special when Sci's got experiments to run. So do us all a favor. When you KNOW you run on, and you KNOW you always go over, SHORTEN YOUR EFFING TALK. Because my opinion of you and your ego gets worse with every second my experiments aren't getting run.

Much love and kisses, and your data are indeed REALLY pretty,

9 responses so far

Do ALL the Science!!!

Sep 27 2010 Published by under Academia

So every Monday morning, Sci sits her little butt down in her shiny new office, and starts making lists. I'm a list making kind of person, mostly because I'm crazy organized, but also because my brain is so over-stuffed with stupid stuff like Lady Gaga lyrics ("Eh, eh, there's nothing else I can say...") and trying to remember each aspect of the protocol I'm about to dive into that I just CAN'T remember anything unless I write it down (the worst part is when the Lady Gaga lyrics keep drowning out the protocol. DANGIT YOU LADY WITH YOUR DRESS MADE OF MEAT). Like now. If I wait five minutes I'll forget.

The net result of this is that all the stuff I have to do in a week at work (just work) is written down in a list (home can still organize in my head, but I bet that has a near expiration date written all over it). This list, for the past several months, has nearly always been composed of more than 50 items per week, each requiring, on average, between 20 minutes and 4 hours, depending. You might imagine that means that there's more on this list than can possibly get done in a week. You would be right.

I'll admit that I often just get about 20-30 of the things in my list done per week (usually closer to 20 than 30). Those are usually the ones with the nearest deadlines and/or the ones that are easiest/most fun (like data analysis or running an experiment). I remember a REALLY good week when I got 33 things on my list done, and I was SO proud of myself.

Anyway, this means that making my lists almost always results in a sense of tiredness, lack of motivation, and impending doom. I need the list. I'll forget everything otherwise. But seeing all the stuff on there every week is really intimidating. Where do I even START! Times like that I start to feel like this. I feel like I'll never be a successful post-doc, never get all my stuff done, and be kicked out of science for being forever behind.

So I emailed Mr. S citing my lack of motivation and impending descent into piles of Indian take-out and despair. In response, he sent me this:

If you don't recognize that, it's a take off on this:

Which is from one of my favorite comics in the world, written by a girl who is really awesome and who I'm pretty sure would be HILARIOUS FUN to do just about anything with. You should read her. Especially the one about the fish.

Mr. S is indeed awesome, isn't he?! I am so motivated! DO ALL THE SCIENCE!!!

9 responses so far

Women's Health Writeup: I'm only cheating cause my body TELLS me to

Sep 27 2010 Published by under Blog Carnivals, Neuroscience, Uncategorized

Welcome to my post on the Women's Health Writeup! I at first didn't see much I could do in this article on cheating (is fidelity obsolete?), but the more I read, the more I saw to write. Sci isn't an ethicist or sociologist and thus cannot really comment on the question of cheating in those terms, but she sure as heck is a NEUROSCIENTIST. And this article is all about neuroscience. Well, sort of.

Cheating Spouses: Why Both Men and Women are Straying Away from Marriage (titled in the print version "Is Fidelity Obsolete?")

Continue Reading »

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Welcome to Women's Health Writeup Roundup!

Say THAT five times fast.

So the other day, Sci was on the elliptical, doing some cross training. Nothing major. I usually get bored on ellipticals, and thus I go to magazines. I wish I could read heavy novels and improve my mind with something like the History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire while working out, but all the bouncing and the fine print and the brain just isn't up to more than a magazine.

So on this particular day, feeling more virtuous than Cosmo, Sci picked up Women's Health (which is still getting sent with obstinate regularity to my house, never mind that I have never HAD a subscription, have always REFUSED a subscription, and have in fact attempted to CANCEL the subscription twice. I've given up).

Why virtuous, you say? Well, I don't know about you, but I can't help but feel that some women's magazines are better for you than others. Like, Cosmo or Seventeen, bottom of the pile. Self or Shape, a bit higher up, at least they have recipes and seem to be somewhat dedicated to a healthy lifestyle (even if "healthy" in their definition never fails to be a size 2 that only eats celery sticks and is so proud of losing half her weight in twelve months or less, and SO CAN YOU!). Women's Health always seemed to me like the most virtuous choice. I mean, it's WOMEN'S HEALTH. The covers usually feature things like "summer power foods!" and "get fit fast!", and when they have huge multi-page things on how to have better times in bed, at least it's not mentioned on the cover, so you can pick it up without feeling too shamefaced that you're reading something with "THE TOP TEN SEXIEST MOVES" on the cover.

So anyway, I've got my relatively virtuous magazine and I'm on the machine...and I start laughing. Then I start snorting. And then I nod a little. I do this successively for about half an hour, until I realize something. This magazine is not exactly full of the total unvarnished truth. I mean, I know that we all KNOW this, but how do we tell what is truth and what is fiction? I've got a lot of science background, so I'm pretty well capable of saying "haha, turmeric isn't really the answer to life, the universe, and everything, and garlic's not going to cure my cancer". But what about other people? While some of the writing is good advice, some of it may not be, and a lot of the science is the point of really not being right.

So what to do about this? I know some of this stuff, but a lot of people don't. How do spread the word? And I thought, YES! THIS is a job for SCIENTOPIA!

So I sent out the call, and today we bring to you Women's Health, The Writeup Roundup. We will show you the good, the bad, and the plainly ridiculous. Of course, Women's Health was just the pick this time, there are of course dozens of other magazines out there selling more silly than just egregious airbrushing. This was just the one that happened to catch my eye. And Scientopians were there to help!

Today we bring you some of the best AND some of the worst that Women's Health has to offer, dissecting the main stories to get at what is good, what is crap, and what is kind of silly. We are basing most of our work on the July/August edition (the one with Ashley Greene from Twilight on the cover), with others as well. So make sure to check these blogs:

Adventures in Ethics and Science
Neurotic Physiology
Thus Space Zuska
Everyday Biology
The Brain Counfounds Everything (aka Dr. Isis)
Candid Engineer
Chemical BiLOLogy
The Urban Ethnographer

For Women's Health posts all day! Our Illustrious Admin, Mark, will be putting up a special Stream for this, so make sure you have a look round! I'll be posting a full link round up at the end of the day. Should be exciting!

12 responses so far

Coffee of the Week: Coffee by Joe, Honduras

Sep 25 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

I'll admit that I haven't been blogging a lot of coffees, but that's partially because not to many people seem interested (I mostly like to keep track of what I tried and what I thought of it), and partially because it DOES take me a while to get through a whole pound. I have been cutting back on intake, and what with the return of the Pumpkin Spice Latte (otherwise known as the BEST DRINK IN THE UNIVERSE and the NECTAR OF THE GODS), my coffee consumption has gone down a bit.

Sci obtained this coffee on a trip through the City of Brotherly Love, which does indeed appear to be very Brotherly, at least as long as you like the Phillies. Everywhere Sci goes, she picks up coffee. At one point I lugged a suitcase home with an extra FIVE POUNDS worth of coffee (I would have bought more, but that's all I could fit. My dirty laundry did end up smelling DELICIOUS, though).

Anyway, today's coffee comes from Joe, Etc, Philadelphia Coffees and Teas.

The blend I picked was Honduras, which advertised it's clean, fresh aroma and flavor, with a nutty taste. I will agree with the nutty, and also with the clean, though it had a little acidity at the back. Mostly, I did find the coffee a bit...light. I had to brew it darker than usually to really get a feel for it, so you may want to go with more on this one. It was a good morning coffee, but I have to say...nothing really STRUCK me about it. It was nice, light, a bit nutty, but overall just kind of inoffensive and not particularly memorable. As in, you'd drink it and you'd say "ah, the coffee is fine", but you wouldn't say "YOWSA, that coffee just grabbed me by the proverbial beans!" I think perhaps I'll have to order another pound of a different roast or blend and see how I feel. Their Peruvian Select looks like a good bet.

2 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: There are HOW many types of Female Orgasm?

Sep 24 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci has covered a bunch of stuff in the past on the subject of female orgasm. That mysterious thing which so few appear to understand, and which always seems to be the one subject about sex that women's magazines avoid like the plague (seriously, tons of articles on how to please HIM, but nothing on how to please HER?).

Anyway. hypotheses abound on the female orgasm. What it is and why we have them. And what KINDS women can have. First there was just the one orgasm. Then there was the clitoral vs the vaginal orgasm.

And then. Then there were FOUR.

(From here) King et al. "Are there different types of female orgasm?" Archives of Sexual Behavior, 2010.

Continue Reading »

12 responses so far

Don't Forget! SfN Neuroblogging!

Sep 23 2010 Published by under Academia, Uncategorized

SfN is currently recruiting new bloggers for this year's conference in San Diego!! Sci can't go this year, about which I am horrifically sad. Much as a lot of people malign the conference for being too big, it's such a wonderful place when you're getting in to a new field! So many new ideas to take in! And of course, if you've been around for a while, so many fun colleagues to hang out with! year, peeps, next year.

In the meantime, if you are going to SfN, you know you want to blog the conference! There's already a Twitter hashtag (#sfn10), and if you're a small name blogger, it's a great time to get your name out there and show the world what you can do! Deadline is Oct. 1.

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