Education

In yesterday’s post about the lack of money in academia, I mentioned in passing that lack of funding is part of the reason for the slow pace of progress on improving faculty diversity. That is, we could make more rapid progress if we suddenly found shitloads of money and could go on a massive hiring…

Over in Twitter-land, somebody linked to this piece promoting open-access publishing, excerpting this bit: One suggestion: Ban the CV from the grant review process. Rank the projects based on the ideas and ability to carry out the research rather than whether someone has published in Nature, Cell or Science. This could in turn remove the…

Antarctica: Dry Valleys

On the next leg of our NSF Antarctic Artists & Writers project we flew to the Antarctic Dry Valleys from McMurdo. It is almost an hour helicopter ride across the ice shelf, and we hopped from site to site all day: landing at Lake Hoare for a moment to drop off someone and pick up…

Antarctica: Penguin Chronicles

As part of our project we just flew to Cape Royds on a helicopter to take photographs of Dr. David Ainley among the penguins he’s studied for many years. It is about a 10 minute helicopter ride from McMurdo. We arrived in strong winds (maybe 30 mph? – enough to stop you from walking and…

Beware of freezing hearts

Thirteen-lined ground squirrels (Ictidomys tridecemlineatus) are really cute when they hibernate (above). During torpor bouts, their body temperature decreases to a few degrees Celsius and their metabolism drops by as much as 95% with heart rates ranging from only 3-10 beats per minute. These bouts of torpor are interrupted by periodic arousals every couple of weeks during which their…

Antarctica: Arrival

Hello again, We’ve been on Mars – er, I mean in Antarctica for 1 week now. It’s similar to what one might imagine being on Mars is like, but with breathable air (nice air). The landscape around McMurdo Station is all volcanic rock. Rock and dirt everywhere. Stand in the middle of McMurdo and spin…

Advice to the Past

Over at Scientific American, Amanda Baker has a story about what scientists say they would tell their younger selves. I reached out to eight of my colleagues who are currently in STEM fields and asked them a series of questions about their childhood interests in science, school experiences, and roadblocks that they faced on their…

Oh rats!

As I was perusing YouTube I came across a video from National Geographic that I must admit was fascinating while at the same time disturbing. The video describes how rats are able to travel from the sewer into your toilet. Although this is reportedly an uncommon occurence, I will be sure to look before I…

Learning new songs

New research shows that premotor neurons are activated in the brains of adolescent male zebra finches whenever a young bird hears their father (a tutor) sing. These are the same neurons that are usually activated in anticipation of movement. What is special about this, is that as the birds learned new songs or pieces of new songs,…

Think about all the objects you use every day that are made with pieces of metal. Before that object got to you, a worker in the metal manufacturing industry used a machine to cut, saw, bend and assemble the metal pieces into the countless products that make our lives easier. But sometimes those machines break. And when they do, a simple and inexpensive procedure helps ensure both worker and machine can return safely to the job.