Archive for: October, 2010

Grad Student Eating in Style! Don't Forget to Submit your Recipes!

Oct 24 2010 Published by under Grad Student Eating in Style!

Sci's been in grad school, not so long ago. She knows how HARD it was to make ends meet, and to eat even close to healthy on a budget. But over time, she learned that it wasn't impossible. There are good foods out there, quick to prepare and tasty to eat! And as grad students, we are all in this together! So let's share some recipes, get together, and show the world that grad students are BETTER than Ramen! (Well, ok, maybe SOME of the time we are better than Ramen).

So submit to Sci your recipes by October 30th!!! I require

1) Recipe: with ingredients and instructions
2) A basic price breakdown, can be VERY basic, but the idea is, if it costs $20 or more, it better feed more than 6.

That's not so hard, is it?! Sci's been posting her recipes for inspiration, and today I post one that is special. It is special because it's the only recipe that I have ever really tweaked on my own to make it something that is all mine.

May I introduce...Sci's very own Scicuriously Lazy Healthy Stuffed Cabbage.


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11 responses so far

Donor's Choose Update 3!

Oct 23 2010 Published by under Activism

I would first like to note that it's REALLY hard to use a laptop when your cat is taking up all the available lap. This post brought to you courtesy of SciCat, who is watching closely over the proceedings.

Sci is so impressed and thrilled to see how many people have really come to the fore for Donor's Choose this year! So many projects have already been funded, and this means that so many kids are going to learn valuable things about science. And who knows? Maybe they'll be inspired, and become scientists themselves! and even if they don't, they will know so much more about the world, and that is ALWAYS something worth funding.

So don't forget to give to Donor's Choose!! It helps kids, and helps science. Today I'd like to particularly highlight Ms. R's classroom, which needs materials to study the skeletal system, Mr. Y's class, which need materials to study forensics, Ms. N's class, which needs a skeleton (and who DOESN'T want a skeleton!?), and Ms. K's class, which needs materials to help support their class RABBIT (but watch out, it has big, pointy TEETH)!

Sci doesn't care if you give through her page specifically, or through anyone else's page, as long as you CAN help out some of these kids.

BUT, if you DO donate through my page...well you could WIN! Sci will be giving away two brand spanking new items from her Scicurious Store of Awesome and Win! And if you donate through my giving page, you could win! You know you want an awesome Scicurious mug! So donate away, and you may get something fun!!!

2 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: SLIME MOLD TAKES TOKYO

Oct 22 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

This week Sci continues her coverage of the IgNobel prizes, those prizes given for the greatest and WEIRDEST (but not at all useless) science on the planet. It's an award after Sci's own little heart.

And today we get to one of my personal favorites from this year:



This is a wonderful paper because it's (a) extremely hilarious and (b) extremely INSPIRED. This experiment is a GREAT idea, and a very interesting way of looking at how we, as humans, interact with our environment. Perhaps we aren't so different from the molds after all.

Not only that, this is ANOTHER experiment that you might be able to do with your high school or college class, and one absolutely guaranteed to get some people interested. Tero, et al. "Rules for Biologically Inspired Adaptive Network Design" Science, 2010.

Seriously though, I cannot understand how they got through this paper, AND the press coverage for this paper, without a Godzilla reference. NO FUN.

Why Godzilla, you ask? I answer: scale model of Tokyo.

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8 responses so far

On Supplemental Data

Oct 21 2010 Published by under Academia, Uncategorized

Sci isn't feeling very well today folks. She hit the wall during one of her training sessions VERY hard yesterday, and is still trying to convince her weary legs to carry her about the lab with her normal alacrity. So I'm gonna go on a brief rant on the subject of supplemental data. You were warned.

Drugmonkey pointed out a bit ago that one of the bigger journals in our field, the Journal of Neuroscience will be getting rid of supplemental data. I have to admit, Sci may have cheered a little at this prospect. In fact, a LOT of scientists are cheering. But I've had some of my non-science friends ask me WHY.

And so, Sci will tell you.

An example of supplemental data. Sci wishes she could make her own flowchart of supplemental data. It might look like this:

Does the journal have ridiculously short page/word limits compared to the ridiculously huge amount of data they require for publication? Yes.
Are your methods way too numerous and complicated due to the ridiculously huge amount of data required for publication? Yes.
Did a reviewer demand extra experiments which in no way help your paper's cause and which no one but that particular reviewer cares about? Yes.
Do you feel the need to publish ALL OF YOUR FIGURES. ALL OF THEM? Yes.

Then you need SUPPLEMENTAL DATA!!!

Now, are any of the above items NECESSARY to the publication of decent science?


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12 responses so far

Critiquing LaPlant et al, in Nature Neuroscience, Part 3: The spines and the depression

Oct 20 2010 Published by under Addiction, Behavioral Neuro, Neuroscience

Welcome to part 3 in the series of my coverage of LaPlant, et al. 2010. It's been a long day, and Sci is TIRED. She just ran a 13 hour experiment, and boy is she wiped. But she is also DEVOTED. And also has her teeth well into this paper, and refuses to let go just yet.


So, two times ago, we discussed DNA methylation (an activity which determined whether your DNA is available for use), and how it was regulated by cocaine. In part TWO, we discussed the further work they did on how DNA methylation affects aspects of cocaine REWARD.

And now...spine density. LaPlant et al, 2010. “Dnmt3a regulates emotional behavior and spine plasticity in the nucleus accumbens”. Nature Neuroscience, 2010.

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2 responses so far

Critiquing LaPlant et al, in Nature Neuroscience, Part 2: The sensitization

Oct 19 2010 Published by under Uncategorized

Last week I began a breakdown of this paper. It's a much more complicated paper than I usually cover round here, and I will also be covering it in more depth than usual, because I think there are a lot of things about it that are worth discussion, and I think that even this kind of complicated paper, requiring a ton of background knowledge, is perfectly understandable if I can give you that background knowledge (amusingly, the abstract of all scientific papers is supposed to be "understandable by the lay public", as well as being often under 200 words. Yeah, like THAT'S gonna happen). So, let's get in to part 2!!

(I love this little dog. She may have to become my new avatar. BEHOLD! Sci faced with a large, complicated paper!) LaPlant et al (et al, indeed). “Dnmt3a regulates emotional behavior and spine plasticity in the nucleus accumbens”. Nature Neuroscience, 2010.

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6 responses so far

"I am bit with a Rattle-fnake, and therein lies my Murderer!" - 1747

The charming (and handsome!) GG of Skulls in the Stars sent me this fantastic gem of an old paper, and I can't resist. Sadly, I just missed this month's edition of the Giant's Shoulders, but perhaps this will make next month!!

Beholde! An affair with a Rattle-fnake! And an excuse for Sci to talk lieke thif!! Because everything is better when you talk lieke thif (don't we all read those old fashioned s's like f's and end up with an old-fashioned lisp?).

"A Letter from Mr J. Breintal to Peter Collinfoxl, F. RXS. contairnng an Account of what he felt after being bit by a Rattle-fnake" Philosophical Transactions, 1747.


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10 responses so far

Donors Choose Update 2!

Oct 16 2010 Published by under Activism

Is it Donor's Choose?

Donors' Choose?

Donors Choose?

None of them look quite RIGHT to me...

Anyway, Sci is down with a cold.

And so while she's under the covers with the sniffles, slurping Ramen with chicken flavor (work with what you've got, you know?), and wearing SciCat on her head, she would like to remind you about DONORS CHOOSE!!! Science bloggers all over the blogsphere have banded together in competition to get projects funded! Sure, Scientopia would LIKE to beat other people, but really what we'd like is to fund some projects, and get some kids learning about science in new and interesting ways. So check out my donor page, and please consider giving to some of these projects!!! $5 is all you need to make a difference.

And NOW, for all those who donate, Sci will pick TWO of those lucky people, and they will get....SCICURIOUS STUFF!!! Oh yes, two lucky winners shall receive an "Are you Scicurious?" mug from the store!!! To carry around and flaunt to all of your friends. Also, you will look cool. I promise.

SO DONATE! And WIN STUFF! Fun stuff. Scicurious stuff!

2 responses so far

Friday Weird Science: That MotherF**king HURTS!!!

Oct 15 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

This Friday we are continuing coverage of the most recent IgNobel prizes, those awesome prizes given to celebrate the truly odd, yet wonderful findings in scientific research. Sci LOVES these prizes. In fact, someday I want to be invited, so I can LIVE BLOG these prizes. Interview the winners! Have hilarious conversations! YES! You should ALL tell the IgNobel people that SCI IS YOUR WEIRD BLOGGER OF CHOICE!!! IgNobel people! OVER HERE!!! *waves arms*

Anyway, this paper was one of my personal favorites to win the IgNobel, partly because it's hilarious, and partly because...well, it's kind of useful! And it's actually an experiment that you could probably conduct in a college (I guess high schools might have issues with this) laboratory and look at the results. Wouldn't that be COOL?! Stephens, Atkins, Kingston. "Swearing as a response to pain" NeuroReport, 2009.

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13 responses so far

Special Scicurious ANNOUCEMENT!

Oct 14 2010 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

So Sci was racking her brains as to what she could POSSIBLY to for all the lovely people who have been donating to Donor's Choose and completing projects and being totally awesome. I also thought it'd be a lovely thing to start giving people stuff for contests, etc.

And...then I had an idea.


Doesn't it look CUTE, you guys?!?!!?!

I love it.

Especially the thong.

In case you cannot tell, the logo, designed by the awesome Glendon Mellow of the Flying Trilobite, is Sci's TATTOO (the caffeine molecule, the secret of my powers), with the phrase "Are you scicurious?" below it.

So. Are YOU Scicurious? Because if you are, show it! And if you want to be, you CAN!

We've got mugs (which I am totally buying for myself, btw), shirts (ok, I'm also buying one of those for myself), messenger bags, underwears, and even kidswear and onesies (which I am NOT buying for myself, but only because it would be awkward). You KIDS can be Scicurious!!! Perfect gift for a future mad scientist.

So check it out! Buy your friends holiday tshirts with LOTS of caffeine. 🙂 Be Scicurious for Halloween (very scary)! Be Scicurious ALL THE TIME!

Each item, when also combined with caffeine (the mugs are especially effective) will provide a +2 to intelligence, +2 to sexterity (child items excepted), and +3 to SCI-CURIOUSITY. Also +2 rabid squirrel-like energy and enthusiasm.*

And who knows? It's possible we may add more designs. There's lot of ideas brewing in this Scicurious brain.

So check it out! And if possible, I'll plunk a link in the sidebar, so you can buy Sci-merch ALL THE TIME!!!

Isn't it so exciting?!?!

*Increases to attributes not applicable in real time game play. Just while you're feeling awesome.

3 responses so far

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