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Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 152 | Comments: 0
I spent some time last night and today fixing up some high resolution images to upload to a Zazzle store. The bloggers have been nagging me for a junk shop pretty much since they started, so I figured it was important to them. I don't know about you all, but I'm definitely getting a mug or two and at least one shirt. Stop by the store and see the rest of the junk!

Zazzle Store

The 3 designs available are shown below. I'll add more later. I'm sure some LabSpaces Memes will show up in there too!

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Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 658 | Comments: 2
Last by Nikkilina on Oct 31, 2010, 9:23pm
I was clued into a discussion earlier this morning by BiochemBelle about some misconceptions about what LabSpaces actually is. I will say that when I first read the comment by Ed Yong that LabSpaces is just another news aggregator (paraphrased) I was pretty upset. For one, the news (or "news") is only a small fraction of what LabSpaces is all about. If this was just a news site, I would have chosen to name the site "EurekAlert Science News Scraper". I thought that the vision of this site was covered pretty well in the "About" section, but Ed Yong is a busy guy and an all-star science writer/blogger, so I'm going to give him the benefit of the doubt here. What follows is a mock interview with Ed, I hope you enjoy.

Ed Yong: What's the deal with the Press Releases, . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 541 | Comments: 13
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Aug 05, 2010, 8:14pm
This really is the story of my life. I meant to write this entry last Saturday when Genomic Repairman suggested we do a blog theme sometime next week. Of course I thought Monday was too early because I had a weekend of coding and lab work to get through, so I picked Tuesday...And here I am on Tuesday morning, writing this entry.

My scientific life really began when I was in junior high and got my first subscription to Discover magazine. At the time I didn't realize that most of the pieces in there were sensationalized glam science, but for a kid in junior high I found the research fascinating. I've wanted to do scientific research for a long time, and finally when I got the opportunity to get my hands dirty in undergrad, it really wasn't what I expected. I got a job at a USDA lab in Peoria, IL while studying biology at Bradley University. I was really excited until I found out that the bullshit job description they wrote up actually translated into "4hr a day indentured servant dishwashers." I did actually get to do some science there, but it wasn't enough for me to tell if I liked it enough to make science my career. So I went to graduate school to get a b . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 2066 | Comments: 0
Over the last year, there has been a question on the minds of thousands of people that continues to be for the most part unanswered: Why do disinfectants and hand sanitizers kill only 99.9% of germs and not the full 100%? Or, more succinctly, why is there always 0.1% survival? Many people have surmised that the 0.1% is due to the presence of those superbugs we keep hearing about. Others have suggested that the 0.1% is just not killable. Then there’s the suggestion that the 0.1% is just a way to keep the fear of germs in the mind of the public. While these may seem like good explanations, none of them are true.

As a microbiologist who has been involved in the testing of antimicrobial products, I’ve been testing disinfectants, hand soaps and hand sanitizers for years and I can tell you that both 99.9% and the resultant 0.1% is nothing more than a statistical anomaly.

When we do testing of these products, together known as antimicrobials, the goal isn’t to determine whether 100% is killed. We want to develop a statistical analysis to show that on a regular basis, the product will kill a certain amount of microbes. We accomplish this by using a certain amount of a particular bacterium, virus or fungi (what we call a challenge) that could never be 100% kil . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 1150 | Comments: 5
Last by Angry Scientist on Jul 27, 2010, 12:10pm

Hedgehog, Forkhead, and Cheap Date are all gene names. Hedgehog is a key developmental regulator, Forkhead describes a family of proteins that all contain a Forkhead box and is important in regulating transcription, and Cheap Date is a fly gene that results in the production of flies that are acutely sensitive to alcohol.

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Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 1049 | Comments: 3
Last by Mod Scientist on Jul 21, 2010, 6:21pm
Read about the fiasco in detail here or here

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Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 800 | Comments: 0
Bicarbonate buffering is very important both in your body and in maintaining tissue culture cells. Tissue culture incubators maintain a strict CO2 concentration, except for when people don't check the tanks and they go dry. Normally, tissue culture media is a bright pink color, whereas when the pH increases due to a loss of CO2, the media turns purple.

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Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 220 | Comments: 0
I've been wanting to institute an awards system on the site for a while. It seems to be the "in" thing to do in social networking, plus it gives users a warm fuzzy feeling on the inside to be ranked and loved/hated by their peers.

The system is pretty simple. You get points for posting comments, submitting links, and getting "likes" from other users. You can lose points by being overly spammy/abusive and through dislikes by other members. It should be fun and interesting and hopefully its an incentive to spur discussions and get people to submit more external links! The top users each month and the top users of all time will have their names and a link to their profiles posted on the front page for everyone to see.

I'm going to use this month to work the bugs out of the system (I already fixed a few today!), but next month I will start dishing out swag from IDT, Invitrogen, and Eton Bio based on the points values each month. Happy posting :) I'll put up another blog post detailing the contest, rules, and post pictures of the various prize packages. I have a shelf full of pens, t-shirts, and other goodies! . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 4412 | Comments: 2
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Jun 29, 2010, 8:48am
One of the biggest problems facing the eradication of hard to kill viruses such as HIV is that viruses mutate readily. A standard technique for creating lasting immunity against viruses is the creation of vaccines. These have been used for years to eradicate a multitude of viruses. There are three standard types of vaccines that have been used in the past. There are attenuated viral vaccines which use a weakened form of the virus to challenge the immune system, killed virus vaccines which use dead viral particles to trigger the immune system, and finally there are peptide vaccines which use the expression of a specific viral protein to trigger the immune system. Although these approaches work readily for many viruses, in the case of a small subset of human pathogens, such as for HIV, these techniques cannot be used to create lasting immunity. In these cases, the virus mutates so readily that any immunity gained is quickly lost because the immune system can no longer recognize the virus.

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Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 482 | Comments: 0
Hopefully you noticed that I spent the last few days redesigning the website. It was long overdue. I was really tired of the look of the old website and it wasn't organized in a way that let you get at a good look at all of the news that was available on the site. I hope you agree that the new design is much less crappy than the old one. At the very least its cleaner and has more white space :)

I also decided to remove a few of the "features" i had programmed in before. I took out the citation manager because it really served no purpose other than to let you share and recommend citations to your friends and lab mates. I just saw it as a very watered down version of cite-u-like and I don't think it would get much use. Plus it took up a lot of valuable real-estate in the user navigation menu...

Additionally, I removed the blogs link. Previously I had allowed anyone with an account to have a blog, but more recently only spammers have been using it to post about casino deals or post lame press releases about healthcare technology. Sorry, but I'm not giving away free advertising! I have since decided to recruit a number of my scientist friends to write blogs for the website. I'll put up a more detailed post about who they are and what the . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 369 | Comments: 0
The results of the press release have been great. The story will run for a week as the cover story of the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine web page. I was also contacted by a laboratory publication and they will be running an article about my site as a companion to a featured article of there's talking about how scientists can use social tools to better science. It'll be interesting to read about some of their ideas. I also got a few phone calls and e-mails from journal publishers that may be interested in supporting the site. This would be really great for the site and hopefully drive more users here. More details about these talks later if they actually flesh out. I'm pretty excited about it!

I think I'm going to start a new blog series that reviews the other social networks in the scientific community. A new one springs up just about every month and from my experience in perusing them (you always have to keep an eye on the competition ;) ) I have found them to be severely lacking in content and avenues for communication in the sciences. Haha, of course I'm slightly biased, but I think it would be fun to do a blog series comparing their technologies to mine. . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 386 | Comments: 0
Here are the first 2 links:

Iowa City Press Citizen

UIowa Release Site

I was informed today that it will be posted to EurekAlert and Newswise (My two main featured article sources). This could generate a huge amount of buzz about the site. I'm EXTREMELY excited to see what happens over the next week (I hope my web host doesn't crash :P).

I'll Update this post throughout the week with more links.

Newswise link is up:
http://www.newswise.com/articles/view/545446/

EurekAlert denied it because "they don't accept articles about websites." Haha, maybe that came about as a result of the little discussion Patrick McGinness and I had about using them as a source... Oh well, I've seen plenty of articles come out of them that are about websites, so this smells very fishy to me. . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 425 | Comments: 0
About a month ago I contacted the University of Iowa press office about the website. I told them I wasn't sure if it was what they would consider "news," and pitched them a small blurb about the site. To my surprise they were excited enough about it to send over a reporter from their office to interview me for a press release. I got the proof of the press release on Thursday, made a couple of minor edits, and it will be released this Thursday (Oct 16). They're also going to make the article that was written about the site a featured article on the Carver College of Medicine homepage!

I'm really excited to see who I hear from on Thursday and Friday. Hopefully the press release generates a lot of interest and gets more people on here to help me further develop the site into a useful scientific community.

I'll post some links on Thursday. It might be tacky if I run the press release as a featured article on my website ;) . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 574 | Comments: 0
I've been working on a few redesign ideas in my head. I really didn't like the layout of the front page, so I changed it :) I think this look is a little cleaner and less busy. I also like dividing up the featured articles and the main stream news articles. I like parts of this layout, but don't be surprised if I tweak it some over the next couple of days :)

There's a pretty cool announcement coming early next week. I'll post about it then!

Let me know what you think of the new layout. . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 1303 | Comments: 0
This past week I found a couple of Social networks for the sciences that have launched in the last few months. One was advertising itself as the "First" social network for the sciences, although its only been live for a month. I went live in the summer of 2006, Nature's goofy little network went live in December of 2006, followed by Biomed Experts and Researchcrossroads in January. So it seems that I have a little bit of competition out there (Although I'm ahead of all but 2 in Alexa rankings...) That just means I have to be more creative than them. I think I'm capable :)

This next ad campaign is going to focus on the things that have worked for me in the past, I'm just going to multiply the monetary input by a factor of...haha, I guess I won't let too many secrets out.

I also have some other more inventive plans floating around in my head. More about those in a few weeks! Enjoy the news and tell your friends! . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 1390 | Comments: 0
I decided to do a little more advertising this week. I'm still running this site on a shoestring budget but I decided $60/month in advertising is doable.

I'm currently running a $40 Fark ad for the week. You can see it Here.

In addition I decided to test out StumbleUpon's ad service. Now if you don't know what StumbleUpon is, I encourage you to check them out because it really is a genius concept. The site is typical social bookmarking site with the small exception that it relies on a Fire Fox browser plug-in. This plug-in basically gives you a direct connection to stumbleupon and adds a set of buttons to your tool bar for looking up new websites. The cool part is that there's a randomizer button that you click and it takes you to a random site (with in a bunch of preferred categories that you set). Now, you can also pay for stumbles, which is what I have done. Feedback has been pretty positive so far, so hopefully this helps spread the word.

I also made a Facebook group and a . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 1384 | Comments: 0
Well, its been a little less than 2 weeks since I spent $200 on a PRweb news release. I thought the release was well written and on an interesting topic, but I guess it didn't grab the attention of the PRweb subscribers. I should have been tipped off that this might be a problem since a large number of the releases on that site are for tech items. Haha, or maybe people just don't care about a science social network. I won't give up just yet though, but here are the stats.

-177 visits from PRweb clicks
-That's $1.30 per click (ouch, my google average is $0.20)
-4 new 'users' ($25 per new user, bigger ouch)
-PRweb says the article was read on their site 1034 times(which means only 17% of those viewers clicked over to my site)
-The news article was displayed 75,000 times over news feeds and 30,000 times on the PRweb main page

For a comparison...

My $160 Yahoo! Campaign ($100 of that was free introductory advertising)
-142,000 impressions (the ads have been show that many times)
-1,100 clicks and an average of $0.12 per click
-The 'new' users from above may actually be a result of this campaign, well, we know at least one of them wasn't

So sadly, I didn't get even a hundredth of the exposure I was hoping for out of t . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 1710 | Comments: 2
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Apr 22, 2008, 2:00pm
I initially got 300 extra clicks from my $200 investment. That's about $1 a click or a really bad day with google Adwords. I guess I shouldn't have expected a whole lot out of the release, but I was hoping it'd be picked up by at least a few science blogs or something.

The next phase of my advertising campaign is going to be a little more local I think. I e-mailed my press release to all of the area newspapers. I remember a few weeks back the Des Moines Register ran a story about some guy's car washing business. Hopefully they'll be interested in some graduate student's internet business :) I'm also looking to do some table spamming on Monday all over the medical campus. Look for my signs. My latest plan is to get a local following from Iowa on the site and then maybe that will attract other users to stop by and comment or sign up for an account.

Looks like it's back to Yahoo!, Google, and Fark ads :(

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Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 1410 | Comments: 0
I spent the last month or so researching some good ways to promote the site. I had been using google adwords, but I got very mixed results and had few users stick around for more than one or two clicks (that was also back when the site was the "green monster" so who knows if I'd have better luck now).

More recently, I have read a bunch of blog articles about how using a PRweb news release drove new users to their site during their initial launch. I figured I'd give it a try. And wrote a news release: See it here. It got a 5 out of 5 editorial score which I'm not completely sure what that means, but I assume its good (or just a result of me spending $200 on the release...). The release went live this morning at 12am and I've seen a marginal increase in the amount of traffic to the site, and unfortunately most of them are one clickers :(

Hopefully things pick up a bit over the next few weeks as a result of the news release being posted to multiple news feeds. I'd hate to think I blew $200 :( I'll save my final verdict for next Monday. So stay tuned and I'll post the stats! Cross your fingers for me though, I think I� . . . More
Author: LabSpaces.net | Views: 5012 | Comments: 0
I have finally added blogs to the website. Now you can write your own blogs that relate to the news stories on this site.

In the future (like later this week):

add RSS feeds for all bloggers blogs
Add blogger links to link to outside sources

When I get more time (and more server space):
Allow picture uploads and image hosting

Test out the blogs for me and let me know if you find any bugs. I'm always looking for good suggestions for improving the site!

-Brian . . . More
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