Posts about blogs

HHMI on Science 2.0: Information Revolution

The Howard Hughes Medical Institute does great things for science and for open science. They have an excellent article in their HHMI Bulletin – Science 2.0: You Say You Want a Revolution?

Cross-pollination among research disciplines is in fact at the core of many other popular science blogs. Michael Eisen, an HHMI investigator at the University of California, Berkeley, is an avid blog reader who particularly enjoys John Hawks’ site on paleoanthropology, genetics, and evolution. A recent post there discussed a new sequencing of Neanderthal mitochondrial DNA. “It’s like a conduit into another whole world,” says Eisen.

The current extreme of collaboration via Science 2.0 is OpenWetWare.org. Begun in 2003 by Austin Che, who was then a computer science and biology graduate student at MIT, this biological-engineering Website uses the wiki model to showcase protocols and lab books: everything is open and can be edited by any of its 4,000 members.

“Most publishers wish open access would go away,” says Brown. It won’t. Major research-funding organizations, including NIH, HHMI, and the Wellcome Trust, now require their grantees to post their findings on openaccess Websites such as PLoS or PubMed Central within 12 months of publication in traditional journals. Publishers are pushing back, however, and in September, the House Judiciary Committee began holding hearings on whether the federal government should be allowed to require grantees to submit accepted papers to a free archive.

Related: $600 Million for Basic Biomedical Research from HHMITracking the Ecosystem Within UsPublishers Continue to Fight Open Access to Science$1 Million Each for 20 Science Educators

Where are the Senior Female Scientists

Why Are Senior Female Scientists So Heavily Outnumbered by Men? by Anna Kushnir

There is some funny math in the world of academic science. Take my graduate school for example: My class was made up of eight people — seven women and one man, or 7 to 1. He was Snow White and we were the seven dwarves — each with a remarkably appropriate nickname. I was Grumpy, should you be curious to know.

Snow White and at least four of the dwarves have continued on to postdoctoral research jobs. That is a 4 to 3 ratio of women who went on to do a post-doc to those that chose alternate career paths.

Everything is adding up so far, right? Lots of women are around. Lots of science is being done. All is well. The next set of numbers is slightly puzzling, however. That is the ratio of female to male professors in our department, at a well-respected academic institution, is 48 to 7 men to women.

The proportion of female faculty in her department, 14 percent, is exactly equal to the overall average from the top fifty US chemistry departments.

From her blog: Lab Life: I thought I wanted to be “normal”

The majority of researchers, in my experience, think that stress level, pressure, and time commitments all drop by a factor of ten the moment you step outside of the chemical-smeared walls of a lab. I have come to realize that’s a misconception. It’s just not true. I think that whenever one wants a career instead of a job, time, stress, pressure, and worry are the price to pay.

If all I wanted was a job with a steady income, I am pretty sure I could get it. I would be well-rested and calm, but would I be happy? Would I be alright staying put where I am, with nothing pushing me to reach the next step or rise to the next level? I don’t think so.

I have heard the words ‘ambition’ and ‘drive’ described as derogatory, when applied to people. Unfortunately, I think those are apt words to describe me (in addition to ‘tired’ and ‘often occasionally cranky’). It was an important thing for me to understand about myself and come to terms with. It’s just who I am.

Related: A Decade of Progress for Women in ScienceWomen Working in Scienceposts on scientists at workWomen Choosing Other Fields Over Engineering and Mathscience internships

Scientists With Lots of Monitors Onboard Ship

photo of computer monitors onboard ship

Fun blog by Linds, a geophysicist, with fun name and tagline: PhD = Pretty huge Dork There’s no crying in grad school! I enjoy including some posts on scientists at work (and plan on trying to intentionally do more of that). The photo shows her office onboard ship – pretty impressive. I thought this monitor was cool.

The boat is a steel monster about 400 feet long. There’s three decks, with cabins, the galley and mess hall, a few different labs, a movie room, reading room and a weight room with white padded walls. It’s all very “Life Aquatic“, if you get the reference. [those that don’t follow the link its a crazy movie – John]

We have been in transit for the past three days, getting our computers and systems up and running. We arrive at our first deployment spot tomorrow morning at 5:30 am. That is when we’ll put our first ocean bottom seismometer (OBS) down. The OBS itself is a sphere about 16 inches in diameter made of inch thick glass–these suckers are heavy! It’s vacuum sealed with the instrumentation inside and attached to an anchor. When we are done with the survey, the sphere is timed to detach from the anchor and it’ll float to the surface of the water. Our boat will pull up alongside it and we’ll scoop it out with a net and crane.

woke up today at 3am to get ready for my first watch. We definitely have the worst seas that we have had so far. We are definitely pitching and rolling out here! We deployed our first OBS at 5am and are doing about 1 instrument/hr for the next 24 hours.

Those snippets are from various posts on the blog. Another from earlier:

But there is recent good news: that lone female professor (who is an amazing researcher and is highly respected in the field, chairs many committees both nationally and within the department and was president of the Geological Society of America in the 90’s) has been named the new department chair. I think this move is important in encouraging talented women scientists to apply for positions within the department and shows dedication on the part of the higher-ups to highlighting ‘diversity’ as a priority.

Related: Giant Star Fish and More in AntarcticaBeloit College: Girls and Women in ScienceA Career in Computer ProgrammingDiversity in Science and EngineeringSo, You Want to be an Astrophysicist?Dr. Tara Smith

#2 Engineering Blog

A few months ago I posted on our #1 Engineering Blog status. Now we are ranked second in 3 different measures. In the same Google and Yahoo rankings we talked about in the original post we now show up 2nd.

And Rich Hoeg at eContent posted on the Engineering Jobs top 100 where we are tied for 2nd with the Women in Science blog: Engineered to Perfection … Almost!.

See our directory of science and engineering blogs.

In a desperate search to find some way we are still first I found that Ask has us 1st.

Related: Viewing Unpersonalized Google Search ResultsCurious Cat Science and Engineering web searchYour Online Presence

#1 Engineering Blog

Right now we are the number one rated engineering blog on blogged (with a 9.1 excellent rating). We are also the first Google result for engineering blog – #1 on Yahoo too, but not on MSN. Well, it seems to me, MSN needs to improve their search results :-).

See our directory of science and engineering blogs.

Related: Best Web Site Name of the WeekThe First BloggerViewing Unpersonalized Google Search Results

Dr. Tara Smith

Interview of Dr.Tara C. Smith:

I’ve started to think more seriously about science communication in general over the past few years, so hanging out with so many other people who have a passion for this was a great motivator to simply get more done, especially at the local level. I already run our state’s Citizens for Science group but would like to do more with it; perhaps move more toward the SCONC group model. As far as sessions, I really enjoyed Hemai Parthasarathy’s session on open science; I thought I knew a decent amount about open-access publishing, but I learned a lot more. I also was equal parts enjoying myself and seething with frustration at the session on gender and race in science. It’s so hard to know if you’re doing the right thing as a junior scientist, and especially a junior scientist who’s female or a racial minority. It was interesting listening to ScienceWoman and others talk about the difficulties they had with blogging anonymously; they feel confined in what they write about because they don’t want to blow their cover, while as a junior female scientist blogging under my own name, I feel constrained because I feel I’m under a bit of a microscope.

Related: Ebola Outbreak in UgandaYoung Geneticists Making a Difference

Programmers at Work

Programmers at Work: Interviews With 19 Programmers Who Shaped the Computer Industry. Peter Norvig, Director of Research at Google had written a very positive review of it on Amazon

If you want to know what programmers do, the best thing is to read their code, but failing that (or in addition to that) you need to read interviews like this. I wish someone would do another book like this covering programmers of the last 15 years, but this one has a very good selection of programmers from the early PC era, and the interviews are very well-done: they let the programmer speak, yet the interviewer keeps them on track.

The author of the book, Susan Lammers, is now publishing the interviews and new discussions online. For example: Butler Lampson 1986/2008 Reflections

Lampson: Everything should be made as simple as possible. But to do that you have to master complexity.

Lampson: A beautiful program is like a beautiful theorem: It does the job elegantly. It has a simple and perspicuous structure; people say, “Oh, yes. I see that’s the way to do it.”

via: Confessions of a Science Librarian

Related: Founders at Work (Wozniak and more)Donald Knuth, Computer ScientistProgramming Grads Meet a Skills Gap in the Real WorldLean Software DevelopmentA Career in Computer Programming