It's a Micro World after all is a blog dedicated to discussing pretty much whatever I feel like. When I delve into scientific matters it will primarily be discussing microbiology (agricultural, bioenergy, and environmental focus). Otherwise, I'll probably ramble on about sports and life.
My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.
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1. An article, IMO, worth reading. Sometimes we can be like moths to a flame, pulled towards the bright lights, completely oblivious to the fact that we're leaving even the basic necessities behind. Politics is that bright light, and until we start letting common sense dictate what we do -- and more importantly we convey this desire to our politicians -- we'll be stuck in this endless spiral which will lead to has resulted in a massive crisis.
2. J-E-T-S! JETS! JETS! JETS!
3. You know, I'm getting sick and tired of Facebook "slipping in features" that divulge personal information. I'm pretty wary about what I reveal on the site, and keep sensitive information off the site, but really ... these practices are simply shady. I know Facebook needs to make money, and this is how they do it, but they really should be upfront about it. The adage "It's easier to ask for forgiveness than permission" is being abused.
4. Dear sequencing service provider, I appreciate the quick turn-around over the holidays to sequence the clones I sent you. However, when you upload the sequence three days after Christmas and then tell me I have three additional days to download it before you remove it from your servers ... chances are, I'm going to have to ask you to re-upload it again because I'm nowhere near a computer (as was the case).
5. PETA kills animals. In 2009, they adopted out 8 animals out of 2,366 taken in. The rest were killed. Disgusting.
6. So Favre is gone again? Whatever.
7. It's nice to see that Scio11 appears to have gone extremely well. Saw a lot of twitter feeds that seemed to indicate that the meetings were pretty engaging, and that fun was had by all. However, something seemed pretty fishy to me. Now I'll readily admit that my perception is based entirely on what I viewed on twitter, and perhaps the organizers of Scio11 have data they can provide which will prove to me otherwise*. However, when registration began, we were told that it was going to essentially be a "first come, first served" system and that space was extremely limited. Yet, when I look at the twitter feeds, it looks like the registrants were a veritable "Who's Who" of the science blogosphere. So, you mean to tell me that people from the most popular science blogging networks were able to secure reservations for the supposedly extremely limited available seats to this conference, while a lot of others (who were not a part of these collectives) were left in the cold? Come on. While I'm not usually a conspiracy theorist, I find this coincidence rather hard to believe. What gives Scio11 organizers?
And why do I think this is such an issue? I'm relatively new to the whole science blogging collective experience, but even back when ScienceBlogs (SB) was the only game in town, the interactions gave me the impression that science blogging was very cliquey. The apparent attendance list (and twitter convo's) from Scio11 did nothing to dissuade me from that belief, and as a matter of fact, only more firmly entrenched that in my mind. If anything, perhaps the situation has gotten worse. Now, when I registered, I didn't list where I blogged. Would it have mattered? Would I have gotten an invite (or rejection) based on where I blogged (or that I blogged)? Was Scio11 supposed to be a "preaching to the choir" (with a few token non-bloggers sprinkled in), or was it supposed to broaden the audience? Outside of blogging, there were networking applications/issues discussed which would have benefitted any interested scientist (myself included). On the outside looking in, that opportunity appears to have been wasted.
Perhaps next year Scio12 will have a bigger venue, and as such can open their doors further. If it remains more of the same though, it just seems to me that it's just a slightly largeified version of the "meet and greets" SB used to do.
*I need to pour over the stats blog entry that was provided by ScienceOnline 2011 a bit more, but item #2 is a "more than one" pie chart which makes interpretation difficult. I would like to know how people were chosen off the wait list.
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Yeah, Scio11 seems to have some secret Enron/Arthur Anderson-esque formula for inclusion. Maybe next year they can do it bigger and get more people in, it seems they are reaching critical mass. That's a damn good article by the way. How's the paper-free experiment still going?
When did you register? Did you receive any follow up about the wait list or what number in line you were?
Jade, I put myself on the waitlist the same day registration opened/closed. I never heard back.
Oh! I figured you registered late.
I wonder if all the bloggers that got in had to reveal their identity so they could tell the decision makers their blog name. When you registered, did it ask you for the name of your blog?
IIRC, it asked me if I blogged (and where) but I did not divulge that information. Firstly, because I didn't think it should make a difference as to whether I received admittance to the conference or not. Secondly, because I figured if the conference was about promoting online science they'd want scientists who may not necessarily use the medium present to learn and provide input. Third, they made no mention that being a blogger would enhance ones chances of getting picked off the waitlist to attend the conference.
Also, I should note ... while I was interested in attending ScienceOnline 2011, this post wasn't intended as a rant because I didn't get in. At least, it certainly didn't leave my fingertips with that in the front of my mind. I assume plenty of people didn't receive admittance, and I realize that they were pressed for space (which they mentioned often and early). My concern (as I stated, by reading the twitter feeds) is that, from my vantage point (outside looking in) this conference was preahcing the choir, and when the discussion is "How can we reach more people?" ... if it was really choir preaching, IMO it missed a golden opportunity.
*I don't even blog, and I got in. I was fairly quick off the mark (at ~40 minutes post-registration opening, if I recall correctly). So it's not only *not* just about being a blogger in a certain place, I don't think it's about being a blogger at all. Although there were very few of us there who didn't blog.
*It's moving and will be bigger next year, so at least there is that.
That said, it's possible that some things weren't strictly first come first serve, I can't prove otherwise. In which case, as soon as there is a wiki available for #scio12, get yourself paired up with some successful session organizers and propose some sessions and get people excited! Then, if they do make any exceptions, they will make them for you.
@Becca, It's moving? The Scio12 site says it's staying in RTP. I think it definitely needs to be bigger. It's past the stage where limited entry is a benefit to its popularity.
Maybe, but it'd be nice if it was in a warm and sunny location :)
The SigmaXi conference center we were at seems to be the biggest venue in town, but I don't think it can handle much more than 300 people.
I think it was a venue change; it will not be SigmaXi, but maybe one of the university settings. I did check with Bora at the end of the meeting, and he said it would be bigger next year.
Brian, 55 degrees F in January IS warm and sunny, by any rational non-spoiled rotten floridian/californian standard :-P
@becca, Damn universities...I think Tampa would be a nice venue, or San Diego :P I'm only spoiled by the weather in the winter. The summers here are pretty disgusting!
Becca- when you registered, did you give your twitter name also or mention on the application what your affliation with the blogging community was? Were you accepted pretty quickly after applying or did you have to wait to get a response?
Brian- I will concede your summers are disgusting. I wouldn't like Tampa or San Diego for the lack of drive-ability, but I can't deny the weather would be better in January.
Jade- yes, I gave my twitter handle (I have an affiliation with the blogging community?). My memory is that it went through pretty instantly- I was 142 on the list, not sure if that corresponds exactly to the order recieved or not. If there was a person reviewing it, it probably had to be Bora. No other human processes data that fast. :-P (note: I am pretty doubtful that it was anything other than pure first-come first-serve)
I just checked- I got the email saying registration went through at 12:07pm.
Yes, I think so. In Brian's summation on SCIO11, you are described as " everyone's favorite blog commenter". I think you are well known in the blogging community for sure.
*pst* Jade, I think you need your sarcasm detector checked.
There are places (like your blog) where I am inspired to comment positively, and I do fine. Although that rarely draws attention. Then there are more places where I am inspired to comment because Someone is Wrong on The Internet! There are one or two places that goes over well, and a lot where it the reception is more... mixed.
LOL- No I don't think so. You are everyone's favorite blog commenter.
Why did you give your twitter handle then? You knew the organizers would recognize you if you did, right? Was it because you wanted them to know that you aren't just a random applicant but someone with interest in science online and someone who gives a lot of input on a daily basis to a lot of writers?
Maybe it was first-come first-serve, but maybe it was also a little bit who you are and what you bring to science online. And if you didn't have a reputation in the community, you received a lower ranking on the wait list. I don't know. Probably not, but, the fact that TJ did not list his blog, and so appeared to be a random applicant, and didn't get in when he applied on the same day as you... seems like there may have been bias.
I know, I am always such a totally sweet and supportive commenter too, right? Totes sugar and spice and everything nice!!! And chemical X, of course.
The twitter handle was partially included to feel like I 'belong'. I did feel like there was a bit of 'justify your presence'... but then, I think that I would feel that way if it were assigned by lottery or something too... I think it was more just a reflection of my own insecurities. That said, it was also nice to add it so that people could see me on the list of attendees on twitter that Bora made.
One of the hilarious things I noticed when I was making small talk with new people was that almost nobody seemed 100% sure of their reason to be there. There was a lot of imposter syndrome going around. Maybe that's true in a lot of settings, but I think in this case it's at least partially a reflection that scienceonline is interdisciplinary and so special in part because there's such an interesting group of different people.
Also, while grad students like myself tend to get this weird uncertainty about their cred as scientists, a whole cross section of writers seem to doubt their own writer cred (even people who are franky brillant at it). It was beautiful to recognize that.
The thing is, there was only the one day. They say they filled up in less than an hour. So unless we know what time TJ registered, it's not enough data to say anything.
Becca, thanks for responding. So you applied 7 minutes into registering (registration IIRC started at noon EST) and was number 142 on the list. Extrapolating, means that gave people roughly 15 minutes to fill the roughly 300 slots available. I guess everyone from Scientopia was using autocomplete and waiting at their desks. ;)
As for me, my waitlist confirmation was received a couple hours after that (I was in a meeting).
I doubt I'll ever get an answer one way or another as to how the waitlist attendees were chosen. It is nice to see that perhaps a bigger venue will be chosen next year. Actually, if they had asked ... I know people who book events at the RBC center in Raleigh, NC.
@Becca, and the place we were at had marvelous transportation opportunities :P Terrible excuse ;)
TJ, here are the stats on Scio11 participants.
Apparently almost half of them participated in some form in a session. That seems a little too insular. Hopefully next year they can bring in more outsiders or else Scio runs the risk of just being a glorified circle-jerk.
It felt like this at times. Some of the discussion groups were not very balanced at all. Lots of praise, little criticism. Well, unless you were a science cheerleader :P
GR: Saw the stats and it doesn't tell me much. Figure 2 is "multiple choice" so it adds up to way past 300. Can't tell diddly from it. I agree with you about the circle-jerk. Either the conference expands, or it truly is a clique.
BTW: Still going strong on the Electronic Office. I had to print out life insurance forms (figured I'm going to die someday, so someone should profit off of it), but that's because a hard copy needs to be mailed out. Otherwise, I have yet to print out anything longer than 3 pages in length, and no trees have been harmed yet this year for my manuscript reading.
Bora says next year Scio12 will seat around 450 and then go to a waitlist and then see if they can add more folks.
Which makes me wonder ... what criteria do they use to pull people off that waitlist? I doubt it's solely "first on, first invited".