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Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 22421 | Comments: 6
Last by Mike Gruidl on Feb 22, 2013, 1:22pm
It's bound to happen in every lab. Someone is going to get distracted and for whatever reason a box full of tubes or tubes themselves are going to accidentally get dropped in the lab's liquid nitrogen container. A lot of people might say, "Screw it," and leave those samples on the bottom of the tank. This might be a good solution for some samples, but what happens when you drop half a rack of boxes to the bottom of your tank? And what happens when those boxes are full of very important cell lines that keep your lab running?

I don't want to admit it, but this is exactly what happened to me today. I was preparing an order for a collaborator and getting 5 of my cell lines out of liquid nitrogen storage. I was explaining to my summer students how to safely handle liquid nitrogen, always wear cryoprotective gloves, lift the rack slowly and be sure to drain all of the liquid nitrogen before handling the boxes, etc. I got the box I needed, and put the rack back in the tank while I was hunting for my cells. Unfortunately, I forgot to put the wire back in the rack that holds the boxes in place. When I went to put the box back that I was handling, I pulled the rack up and half the boxes were gone. "Oh, shit."

So now the rack doesn't fit in . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 18714 | Comments: 2
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Mar 17, 2011, 3:25pm
The NYTimes has recently implemented a paywall system where users will be charged for access after a certain number of page views. Whatever your opinions of this system are, there is an easy way around it. I heard rumors on twitter that following a link from twitter or facebook to an article would not count against your "free" pageview limit. Someone has started a twitter feed that links to every new NYTimes article. This seemed a little excessive to me so I tried changing the web referrer in firefox instead. Essentially, whenever you visit a website, your web browser tells the webserver where you last visited. It's really easy to lie about where you've been using the FireFox plugin RefControl. All you need to do is:

1. Install the plugin.

2. Go to -> Tools -> Add-ons

3. Scroll down to RefControl and click on it

4. An Options button will appear. Click it.

5. In the new window click Add Site.

Fill out . . . More
Author: | Views: 8840 | Comments: 42
Last by Evie on Sep 21, 2010, 11:12am
Last night, I retweeted Genomic Repairman’s request for the twitterverse to sign up for an account at LabSpaces. He wanted users to join in on the discussions he was having in the group he created. We were greeted moments later by a tweet from DrugMonkey saying that THE Facebook for science is dead. Considering I just wrote a blog post on that exact topic, I found his tweet Ironic. The emphasis in that previous post being that there probably will never be ONE single social hub for scientists, but that doesn’t preclude the formation of multiple niche venues. Please excuse me while I get this out of my system:

(rant)What exactly is a FaceBook for science anyway? Is any site with a science spin, groups, a forum, and/or user profiles a “FaceBook.” If that’s the case, then there are hundreds of FaceBooks for science out there. I’d argue that the term is deprecated. Many sites employ social tool . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 6679 | Comments: 0
If you're using the twitteroauth php library from Abraham Williams and trying to delete old tweets/retweets you need to construst the post() query as such:

$response = $connection->post('statuses/destroy/'.$tweetID, array()); ->Curl url output = statuses/destroy/$tweetID.json

This will NOT work:
$response = $connection->post('statuses/destroy/', array('id' => $tweetID)); -> Curl url output = statuses/destroy/.json

I hope others find this helpful.

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Author: | Views: 6166 | Comments: 2
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Aug 22, 2011, 8:05am
I've spent the last few nights buried in Facebook's API figuring out how to use their system to login new users. I finally figured it all out and you can now Login to the site and register new accounts using Facebook. The coolest thing is that we can import your data in here for editing to make the registration process essentially hassle free. No one likes constantly entering their work and education information at each new network...

Existing users can now login to the site using Facebook AS LONG AS the primary email address on their facebook account is the same as their email address here. Just click the Facebook Login button, give the login app access to your account, and voila!

I've done some testing of the system but please let me know if you run into any errors and I'll be sure to fix them!

Next on the facebook list is to sync comments on the facebook page with the articles/blogs on the website and vice versa.

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Author: | Views: 4885 | Comments: 21
Last by JanedeLartigue on Oct 15, 2010, 12:49pm
I recently got an e-mail from David Bradley asking my opinion of Web 2.0 as it relates to science, where it’s heading, and how we can get scientists more involved in web 2.0 / data sharing / and the semantic web. I thought this would be a great topic for me to write a real post on since I’ve been involved in this field and trying to promote the ideas of web 2.0 in the sciences for the last 5 years.

For starters, I really have no idea what it will take to get scientists to be fully engaged with the on-line world. It's hard enough to get them engaged in the real world (I wish that was a joke…). I think for most scientists to get involved with a network, we're going to have to develop something that significantly increases scientific productivity, and I'm not talking just a free reference management site or being able to post lab retreat pictures to a profile. The last 4-5 years have showed us that scientists really are not interested in FaceBooks for science. The marginal success of ResearchGate, NatureNetwork, and LabSpaces can't be cited as triumphs because very little of wh . . . More
Author: Nick Fahrenkopf | Views: 3882 | Comments: 7
Last by Mathanas on Dec 13, 2011, 5:12am
I’m a student at the College of Nanoscale SCIENCE and ENGINEERING (emphasis mine). While we’re clearly not the only college of any kind of science AND engineering, I can’t help but reflect on what unlikely bedfellows such a joint college creates. What follows is an immense amount of opinion and impressions that I get.

. . . More
Author: | Views: 3553 | Comments: 82
Last by Nikkilina on Oct 21, 2010, 9:04am
With the completion of the September contest, I would like to up the ante a bit. Over the last few weeks I've been talking with the bloggers about ways we can increase readership and inspire greater interaction on the blog posts. We decided that it might be fun to try a high stakes contest. This month's contest will be for a basic Apple iPad! The bloggers have very generously donated over $300 to fund this contest and BioData the creators of BioKM are sponsoring us for the rest!. This is also my birthday month, so I thought it might be nice to do something extra special!

This contest will work similarly to the last one in which the user with the most points at the end of the month will win the grand prize. The two runners up will get the standard novelty junk package! So it's a win-win for everyone.

How Do I Earn Points

Earning points on the site is easy. First of all, you must be a . . . More
Author: Evie | Views: 2535 | Comments: 8
Last by Evie on Aug 17, 2010, 1:58pm

Net Neutrality is a very important issue.

If you’re not familiar with the term, here’s how Wikipedia describes it:

“Internet neutrality is a principle proposed for user access networks participating in the Internet that advocates NO restrictions by Internet Service Providers and governments on content, sites, platforms, on the kinds of equipment that may be attached, and no restrictions on the modes of communication allowed.

The principle states that if a given user pays for a certain level of Internet access, and another user pays for the same level of access, then the two users should be able to connect to each other at the subscribed level of access.”

Net Neutrality is all about safeguarding your freedom to choose what sites you visit, without being restricted or hindered. You should have the ability to check out both CNN and MSN, you should be able to watch videos on YouTube, and Vimeo. That sounds fair.

But what if for instance, and this is JUST an example, CNN were to strike a deal with an internet service provider and say hey, if we pay you some extra money, would you provide higher bandwidth to CNN sites and lower bandwidth to our competitors . . . More
Author: Dangerous Experiments | Views: 2476 | Comments: 5
Last by Bronnie Thompson on Oct 10, 2011, 1:44am
This is not about Steve Jobs, although I do find a certain irony in the prolific repetition of so many of his quotes about free thinking, creativity and not living someone else’s life. But it’s not a new irony. We see it all the time. Another oft-requoted personality that comes to mind in recent years is Seth Godin; but there’s no shortage of people whose quotes today would have graced the actual hardcopy framed motivatonal posters of twenty years ago. Facebook and Twitter make that obvious. Sometimes painfully so…it’s flabbergasting how mindlessly some of this stuff can spread. There’s a Jobs quote about the value of individuals vs. the value of groups….but I bet you’ve read it three or four times today already, so I won’t bother. ;)

It isn’t that some of these people don’t have something valuable to say. The problem is that we get so caught up in the cleverness of the revelation that we don’t bother to pause long enough to internalize it. It’s so much easier to appreciate the execution than it is the actual thought behind it. It’s the ‘package vs. content’ problem all over again.

There is a deeper problem, of course, one that no one wants to consciously face: true wisdom doesn’t come in neat, 140 character packages. It comes w . . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 2367 | Comments: 9
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Jan 20, 2011, 12:17pm
I'm finally coming out of my Scio11 coma. It was a super exciting weekend filled with talks about technology, blogging, and new media. On Saturday, Kristy Meyer, Dr. Isis and I led a panel discussion on the use of new communication tools in academic and industry science.

The discussion covered a wide range of topics. One of the first that was brought up was how new media tools might be used to increase collaboration between science and industry. One participant stated that she was surprised by the lack of collaboration between academic and industry scientists in the Research Triangle Park area. She said there really was no resource for expert discovery and thought that the creation of a local database would be helpful in finding connections.

Expanding on this researcher database idea, I asked the audience to talk about their use of currently available social networking tools like LabMeeting, MyNetResearch, BioKM, Mendeley, ResearchGate, etc. One biotech researcher said that his company was open to using these tools privately, and that's really what I have seen and heard of over the years. Companies and institutions want to find bette . . . More
Author: Nick Fahrenkopf | Views: 2622 | Comments: 4
Last by Nick Fahrenkopf on Aug 02, 2011, 3:00pm
I’m a molecular biologist trapped in the body of someone with a physics degree. I’m a member of a bacteriology lab trapped in a college of “Nanoscale Science and Engineering”. As such, while I try to do cool nanoscale things with biological materials, I’m surrounded by physicists and electrical engineers along with their research projects and problems.

Don’t get me wrong, it is often very interesting and downright “cool stuff”. For now I’ll skip hot electrons and ballistic transport, or density functional theory calculations and focus on some buzz words you might have heard:

  • Carbon nanotubes (CNTs)
  • Graphene
  • Buckyballs
In a word, they’re called fullerenes. These materials are made of one thing: carbon. Just carbon, and nothing but carbon. Why are different formulations of carbon so exciting and worth spending millions if not billions of dollars on? As with just about anything in nanotechnology, matter behaves differently at the nanoscale. Graphite (in pencils) is pretty boring. Diamonds, while pretty (and apparently friendly to women) are pretty inert and solid. The carbon allotropes have little to do with their nanoscale cousins, although that’s not to say we can’t turn on into the other.

. . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 1855 | Comments: 4
Last by Alchemystress on May 16, 2011, 9:19am
NOTE: To avoid TL;DR responses, I'm going to break this story into two parts.

I think the experience I am about to relate is far enough passed that I can speak with a little more objectivity than I could have even a couple of weeks ago. I should note that, in the end, things did work out for the better ... for the most part.

The story starts about a year ago when a manuscript of mine was accepted for publication. It appears that the reviewers recommended the manuscript for "Featured Paper of the Issue" which meant that in addition to getting the manuscript published (the major goal), I'd get some press out of it as well. Totally win-win!

I was told that as the article approached the publication date I would be contacted by a member of the journal staff about what I would need to do in regards to the press release. I figured that eventually I would receive a call from a staff science writer who, having read the paper, would ask me some questions to flesh out the final details and proof what they had written.

So I waited. And waited. And waited. And waited some more. Ten days before the issue was to be released I was sent an email that contained a long list of items to consider for writing a press release. I was asked to get back to the . . . More
Author: | Views: 1952 | Comments: 3
Last by h2so4hurts on Feb 02, 2011, 10:45am

This update was a long time coming but I finally sat down and coded in the ability to authenticate blog and news article comments using Facebook Connect. It was actually really easy once I started coding. It only took two hours!

For all of you anony bloggers and people who fly under a different "name" I've also given you the option to OPT OUT of displaying your real name and facebook page. Just enter a new handle and webpage URL and those will be used instead. Entering a different name will also prevent the posting of your facebook page link so you can stay anonymous yet skip the hassle of dealing with the CAPTCHAs.

And for all of you CAPTCHA lovers out there, you can still login that way. I just figure Facebook is much easier for everyone. I probably won't be adding google, openID, or twitter support any time soon.

Please test it out and let me know if you have any issues.

. . . More
Author: Brian Krueger, PhD | Views: 1845 | Comments: 0
I know, know, paper is so 1990 but I just wanted to pull a paper over at Nature to read during seminar later. Unfortunately I used the big fat "Print" button on the manuscript page. This is what I got:

Notice anything funny about the figures?
I guess next time I'll just download the PDF and print it that way. However, even I know that if you stick blocks of text and figures in DIV or P code blocks, they won't get hacked off by the browser print renderer. I think some web developer was sleeping at the keyboard. A good example of this on LabSpaces can be seen if your try printing this page. You'll notice that in the browser rendered view, all 3 images butt up on one another, however in the print preview, the third image is moved to the bottom of the second page. This is because the image is in a DIV and the browser knows to not cut images in DIVs in half.

I can't be the only person that's ever tried using that button, right?

. . . More
Author: JaniceF | Views: 1480 | Comments: 0

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Author: JaniceF | Views: 1464 | Comments: 8
Last by JaniceF on Sep 25, 2011, 4:27pm
So yesterday, I went and bought extra space in my DropBox because I was running low on space on my laptop hard drive.  I'm storing data that requires 40GB of memory.  Because of the way DropBox works, ie it syncs your computer, it turns out that in order to use that extra space, I have to have extra space on my laptop.  But the reason I bought the extra space was because of a LACK of space on my computer.

Any suggestions?

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Author: Evie | Views: 986 | Comments: 5
Last by robert on May 06, 2011, 2:00am

It's a bird! It's a plane!! No wait... It's a car!

No, I’m not kidding, it really is a car that flies. I don’t know how I missed this, but apparently this concept has been around for a few years now.

A group of MIT engineers got together and started a company called Terrafugia who manufactures this car-plane hybrid.

Cool name. As you probably guessed, it’s derived from the Latin words ‘Terra’ meaning Earth or ground, and ‘Fugia’ meaning escape.

What you’re looking at is the Terrafugia Transition. As the name suggests, it actually does transition between plane mode and car mode. In under 30 seconds no less! The transition itself is just the flip of a switch, which commands the wings to unfold and lock into place, or fold back up allowing you to drive away.

The car plane runs on regular gas, available at any gas station. How convenient! It even gets really good gas mileage in car mode, about 35 mpg. (Just like my pretty little civic did..)

This is a neat promo vid they made, kinda cheesy at times, but provides some good info.
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Author: | Views: 853 | Comments: 18
Last by Brian Krueger, PhD on Oct 26, 2010, 8:54am
There has been a lot of criticism again about why I post press releases on this website and what purpose they serve. PalMD of WhiteCoatUnderground and ComradePhysio Prof have been very vocal about their contempt for this practice on my website.

Let me first start off by saying that I entirely see where PalMD and CPP are coming from, although I think it’s disingenuous to comment about my intentions without first reading my post about why I post press releases. I’m trying to develop a site where the public and experts can come to discuss science. I would love to have experts rate the releases so that visitors can be better informed on their veracity. The fact is that thes . . . More