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Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 383545 | Comments: 12
Last by JaniceF on Jul 11, 2011, 8:34pm
Recently, a fellow graduate student defended his master’s thesis. He set the record for the shortest time to degree in our College with a nice job lined up afterwards. But that also meant he never presented his work at a conference, or a department/college seminar. This was his first- and most important “big talk”. What follows are the top 10 tips I gave him at one point or another as he was preparing that should be a help to anyone getting ready for a “big talk”.

Planning Your Talk

1) Know Your Audience
Everyone will tell you to know your audience, which couldn’t be truer when you’re planning the introduction to your talk. Sure, there is a big difference between talking to high school students and presenting at a conference, but try to think: who is coming to my talk? If they are all cellular biologists like you, then skip the central dogma slide. But if you have a mix of disciplines you need to be able to explain your work to a biologist, as well as an electrical engineer. Imagine you’re giving the talk to one person with each potential background. Would each person be able to follow it? Sometimes you need to sacrifice some specific details in order to explain the important stuff to everybody. (But you should be able to talk extempora . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 182081 | Comments: 137
Last by Neuron on Jan 11, 2014, 12:19am
Earlier this week I was fortunate enough to speak with Chiren Boumaaza, aka Athene, who you may know as the extravagant internet celebrity, and professional gamer.

If you haven't heard of him, he's a record holder in World of Warcraft and online poker, and plays the main character in a series of videos on a popular youtube channel with well over 340,000 subscribers.

'Athene' is known for crashing gaming servers, with the aid of his massive army of followers, who just love to be part of the controversy and trouble Athene is so well known for.

Over the past year, we haven't heard much from him, and it seemed as though he had fallen off the grid. Recently Chiren broke his silence, and announced that his disappearance was due to being very busy, conducting new research in the fields of quantum mechanics, general and special relativity, and neuroscience. He continued to say that this research is culminating in significant new discoveries that will be presented in a documentary named 'Athene's Theory of Everything'. This was definitely an unexpected turn, and caused quite a stir, and some confusion within his fan . . . More
Author: Lady Scientist | Views: 97374 | Comments: 12
Last by americanbiotech on Jan 06, 2011, 9:29am
It’s a new year and a fine new time for me to resume blogging here at LabSpaces. 2010 was a good year for me in more ways than one. I finished my Ph.D. and graduated (I plan on blogging here about my defense). But 2011 promises to be even better.  I started my brand new postdoc yesterday in an entirely different field than my graduate work and that promises to be very cool. 

However, for some reason, it struck me and my PI as a fantastic idea for me to write a fellowship application right as I’m starting the postdoc. As I’m settling in to start writing, I realize how silly of an idea this was.  I’m not kidding when I say that my postdoc is in an entirely different area of research.  The only connection between my graduate work and this is that they both can be defined as in the biochemistry and molecular biology field.

I think switching fields like this is good for me for a couple of reasons.  There’s the not inconsequential reason that I find this area more interesting than my graduate work.  It’s also wide open area to study as there has been very little done to study the molecular biology of this area. So there are a ton of interesting questions that can be asked and investigated.  Also, from what I understand, learning new skills is a . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 17284 | Comments: 136
Last by Isabel on Nov 26, 2010, 3:02pm
With the launch of this year’s “Rock Stars of Science” campaign, there’s been a lot of talk about how to best promote science. I’m no marketing guru, but I am a scientist. This latest campaign is better than last years', only because it’s more diverse, but I think it really misses the boat. Is the public really going to be inspired by a couple of pictures in GQ of scientists looking uncomfortable and over dressed in the presence of Rock Stars? The most appalling aspect of this campaign is that there is no highlight of the researchers or their science. There truly are some science all stars in this group, many of which are well spoken.

However, the Rock Stars of science pages in GQ only list the scientist’s name and title, while the “Rock stars” get a one or two sentence summary of how awesome they are for standing in on these pictures. What’s the real focus of this campaign? To promote Bret Michaels’ latest reality TV dreck? If a reader wants to actually understand why these scientists were chosen and what they’re doing to cure disease, they have to visit the website. I find it hard to believ . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 39840 | Comments: 6
Last by Logan D on Nov 15, 2012, 3:04pm
This week’s guest blogger is Debbie Knight, a research associate at The Ohio State University. She shares her research thoughts and experiences in her blog ( and tweets about all things science (@acousticgravity). In her spare time, she plays mandolin in a local band and takes journalism classes at OSU.


When someone asked me what I wanted to be in high school, I would say a “biomedical researcher.” I put those words in quotes here because at that time I had absolutely no idea what it meant (or even what a researcher did), but I knew it sounded like a really cool thing to be.

I also asked my parents for luggage as a graduation gift.

Little did I know these two things would one day merge.

I would like to note that around my junior year of college, I finally did figure out what a researcher does when I volunteered to work in a lab and that research has been my passion for the past two decades.

What I did not know then was that becoming a researcher would lead to travel and adventure.

. . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 9588 | Comments: 13
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Feb 07, 2011, 10:23am
"This is the one thing you never want to mess around with. You'll wake up in the middle of the night crying like a baby and you'll have no idea why." These were the sage words of my undergraduate advisor, it's too bad they got discarded with everything else that I learned in undergrad.


My scientific career has been filled with plenty of misadventures and screw ups. Most of them are really boring mistakes that didn't involve bodily harm, and only resulted in weeks of repeated work or extended nights in the lab re-preparing samples. Though, every good scientist has an epic fail story locked away in their skeleton closet. I think many of us go into science in the beginning thinking that we're unstoppable know it alls. That is until some event punches us in the gut to tell us, "Open your eyes and pay attention or else next time I'm going to aim a little lower and negatively affect your chances of reproduction."

When I was in undergrad, I worked on a bunch of projects ranging from ecology field studies to molecular biology projects in plants and fish. One of the last projects I worked on was one where we were trying to determine if fish bacterial infections could be transferred from mother to egg. This project involved c . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 6212 | Comments: 3
Last by Mike Bramnik on Mar 26, 2011, 11:09pm

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Author: Lab Mom | Views: 5429 | Comments: 11
Last by plumbing on May 11, 2011, 8:49pm
An interesting spin off of my previous post about Dinosaur Science Camp was a was in regards to kids clothing and how I don't often see things like bugs, dinosaurs, rockets etc. on clothes marketed to girls (at least not frequently).

Becca pointed out in her comment that there are insects like butterflies and ladybugs associated with little girls, but I stood by my belief that the "creepy crawly" ones like spiders, centipedes and scorpions tended to be reserved for the boys section. The same is true for rockets, dinosaurs, trucks and other typically masculine icons. In general, they are hard to find amongst the racks and racks of pink Princess, Dora, and Hanna Montana adorned girls clothing.

Now yes, in all fairness I could shop in the boys section, but honestly my 4 year old wants to wear the princesses, fairies, ponies and unicorns (Hanna Montana is banned in the LabMom household.) She likes the real 'girlie' stuff. I am not going to fight it.

So imagine my surprise when this little number showed up in my twitter feed this morning, courtesy of . . . More
Author: | Views: 4954 | 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
Author: Nick Fahrenkopf | Views: 5550 | Comments: 7
Last by Nick Fahrenkopf on Nov 27, 2012, 9:34am
Standard deviation. Error bars. Significance. Confidence interval. No matter what you call it, or how you calculate it, science is about more than numerical results. It’s about context. What do those numbers MEAN? (Statistics pun intended.)

. . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 5432 | Comments: 0
It's been a long run and we have a strong readership of the press releases but sadly I no longer have the time or the interest to continue posting press releases on the site.  My additional work commitments here at Duke have really limited the amount of time I can devote to this and grabbing the press releases every night/morning for an hour or two just became tedious.  I'd like to spend my free time doing more creative things so hopefully I'll give my neglected blog some attention over the next few months.

To those who have been loyal followers of the press releases: Thanks for your devotion and continued support.  It does pain me to stop posting the press releases knowing they are served to nearly a million visitors a month, but I just do not have the time or desire to continue these activities.  I will, however, continue to post/link to mainstream news stories and blog posts I find interesting, so keep an eye on twitter and the right hand column here on the blogs.  I'll be adding a "from the web section" shortly.

The blogs will still be here for anyone that would like to use them as an outlet.  Just send me an email or contact me on twitter!

. . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 3793 | Comments: 3
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Aug 15, 2012, 4:25pm
Science is facts; just as houses are made of stones, so is science made of facts; but a pile of stones is not a house and a collection of facts is not necessarily science.

~~ Henri Poincare

Science is organized knowledge. Wisdom is organized life.

~~ Immanuel Kant

The sciences are not like Minerva, who sprang fully armed from the brain of Jupiter; they are the daughters of time, and take shape very gradually, at first by the assembling of methods developed through experience, and then later by the discovery of principles which have been deduced from the combining of these methods.

~~ Brillat-Savarin

Julia Child was my babysitter. Ok, not really. But after school, I’d turn on the TV and do homework with GI Joe and Transformers on. And then the news would start, so I’d change the channel - straight to channel 9 where Julia was. Sometimes it was reruns of her classic “The French Chef,” sometimes it was her and some chef I had not heard of until he’d popped up on the television with her. I’ll be honest; I didn’t watch the show for the cooking. Not at first. I thought her voice was just incredibly amusing. I didn’t find it funny. I thought it was just this incredibly warm and refined way of speaking – v . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 3810 | Comments: 7
Last by Martin J Sallberg on Feb 15, 2013, 6:18am
Open science is a wonderful concept, but what happens when reporters start writing stories on data that has not been properly reviewed and vetted by the scientific establishment? Before this week, I had never really considered this question. Open science at its core is a wonderful utopian idea where scientists do their work in the open and publish their notebooks in real time on the web for everyone to see. The idea is that with this kind of transparency, better science will be done and scientists can collaborate more easily. Because all of the data will be on the internet and searchable, more scientists will be able to benefit from the open resource. Of course, there are numerous criticisms of open science. One being that it will be extremely easy for researchers in highly competitive fields to be scooped by competitors who have bigger labs or more resources at their disposal. However, it didn't occur to me until I saw stories popping up that open science could be abused by the media.

Almost a year ago, NASA held a press conference touting that it had found "alien" life. A group of researchers reported that they had found a bacteria (GFAJ-1) in Mono Lake that incorporated arsenic in place of phosphate in its DNA backbone. This press conference and the sub . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 3774 | Comments: 15
Last by Todd Adamson on Jul 21, 2011, 7:31pm
Michele Bachmann is a bigot and a hypocrite. She’s culturally inept and politically unsophisticated: Her thinking on many social issues (abortion and gay marriage, for starters) fall well outside the mainstream of Western Civilization, and she is demonstrably lacking in a fundamental understanding of the legal and historical framework underpinning the nation she was somehow elected to serve. She’s what I like to call a dumbass, or, in other parlance, a Republican. But it may well be that Bachmann, or some Republican like her, holds the key to the survival of our existence as we know it. Or, at least somewhat as we know it, because it’s pretty clear to anyone watching closely that “as we know it” is careening toward its expiration date.

Ask yourself: what are the truly critical issues facing humanity today? Abortion; the Sanctity of Marriage; gun ownership; the War on Drugs? Haha. No. The Debt Ceiling? Terrorism (or, more equitably, religious extremism)? Nope. Global Climate Change? OK, now we’re getting somewhere. But even terminology so broad as Global Climate Change** tends to oversimplify what’s happened, and make it seem like a separate “thing.” But it’s not just an item on a checklist, something to which we may allow ourselves . . . More
Author: Suzy | Views: 3686 | Comments: 16
Last by Suzy on Feb 16, 2011, 2:04pm
My grad schools days are long behind me, and as time goes on, my memories of the pain and suffering become more of a blur. But, there was one day that I will never forget. Not only did I lose an entire days work, but I was lucky to avoid serious injury. It was the day I made the biggest mistake I ever made in the lab.

My graduate school was in a southern area of the country where obnoxious humidity hovered over you, causing you to sweat just from the act of breathing. Homes in this state were built during the confederacy, and as such, did not have air conditioning. In fact, running an air conditioner, if you actually could afford a window unit, would use so much power that you could turn nothing else on in the place without blowing two of the four fuses which powered the apartment from an outside fuse box.

So, just like all good graduate students, I spent most of my weekends in the lab where the air conditioning liberally blasted away with no concern for the electric bill. Because of the unbearable humidity, and because I rode a bicycle four miles to the lab in this sweltering heat, typical clothing was always shorts, t-shirts, and plain white keds with no socks. I was dripping sweat on arrival but achieved immediate relief once inside the arctic air of the med . . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 4003 | Comments: 4
Last by JaySeeDub on Mar 12, 2011, 9:40pm
So, I was reminded earlier by Jason Goldman that Monday* is Pi Day. And I mentioned that my favorite kind of pie is shepherd's pie. Added to the fact that Dr. G gave me his copies of Modernist Cuisine, I'm going to be distracted. The next part of Blurring The Lines will be delayed. So yeah. It's recipe time. By the way, these books are nearly 21kg total. People on BART were not happy with me when I brought them back.

Braised Short Ribs

6-8 trimmed short ribsSalt (kosher)Cracked pepper60mL olive oil2 medium onions chopped coarse1 whole celery (about 6 stalks), diced large2 carrots, get the biggest you can, diced large (same size as the celery)1 fennel bulb (remove the fronds and stalks), diced large (same as above)1 large leek (white only), diced large (same as above)5 cloves of garlic, finely minced1 bottle of Burgundy (or Pinot Noir)Fresh rosemary, thyme and 1 bay leaf6 cups beef stock, preferably homemade (can also use water)


Set your oven to 300F . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 3361 | Comments: 13
Last by Thomas Joseph on Oct 11, 2010, 10:01am
Welcome to my first Research Blogging post here at LabSpaces! I'm not sure if this is a first for LabsSpaces, or simply a first for It's a Micro World after all, but regardless ... you're here now and you may as well stay for the fun! I grabbed a paper which caught my eye, and certainly generated a fair amount of buzz in the news, probably because it highlights the wasteful nature we've overlooked for far too long. As of the time of me writing this entry, the manuscript is available for download free from Environmental Science & Technology (link at bottom of page), but I have no idea how long this will last. So accordingly, here is the abstract for the manuscript:

This work estimates the energy embedded in wasted food annually in the United States. We calculated the energy intensity of food production from agriculture, transportation, processing, food sales, storage, and preparation for 2007 as 8080 ± 160 trillion BTU. In 1995 approximately 27% of edible food was wasted. Synthesizing these food loss figures with our estimate of energy consumption for different food categories and food production steps, while normalizing for different production volumes, shows that 2030 ± 160 trillion BTU of energy were . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 3217 | Comments: 5
Last by becca on Oct 08, 2010, 9:56am
I blogged yesterday about a story I read in Biotechniques about the prevalence of plagiarism in Chinese journals. Here is the body of that entry reproduced here.

Begin blog entry ...

There have been several discussions on plagiarism lately on the intertubez (note to self: compile list), so when the following article was sent to my email this afternoon (via Biotechniques) I took note.

Over 31% of submissions to the National Natural Science Foundation of China English-language publications show signs of copying, self-plagiarism, or copyright infringement, according to Helen Zhang, journal director at the Zhejiang University Press in China.

Almost a third?!?

In an article published earlier this year in Learned Publishing, Zhang and her colleagues analyzed manuscripts submitted to the three journals between October 2008 and May 2009. They discovered evidence of plagiarism in 151 out of 622 . . . More
Author: Angry Scientist | Views: 2569 | Comments: 3
Last by Suzy on Jan 29, 2011, 10:52am

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Author: genegeek | Views: 2289 | Comments: 4
Last by David Manly on Dec 16, 2010, 1:09pm

All I want for Christmas... grants funded and papers published. But if you can't influence that decision, I've compiled a list of fun things you could give me or other geeks in your life.

Cute toys - could try to consider them educational

I love the Giant Microbes - plush dolls in the shape of various microbes. It allows me to say that I gave my husband syphilis for his birthday. I like the idea of the heart warming box featured at ThinkGeek but I don't think I'll give them to the young daughters of the Patience Family

Falling Water Lego and the organic architecture of Frank Lloyd Wright FTW. Now, how to get the waterfall...

Wear your geek with pride!

Beautiful scarves. I love the Matrix version but there are lots of cool patterns with inspiration from cells. The nerve cell version is fun too.

Necklaces and other charms by . . . More