Grant writing and the day that my ship comes in (or goes down)

Still working on the grant and today was our Mock Study Section. It was an experiment that in the view of all participants (there were about 35 reviewers in the room) was a highly successful one. But after hearing the litany of strengths and weaknesses I'm worn out. I naturally focussed on the weaknesses. We have over a month to fix things but the image of the ship going down swam before my eyes, even when surfing for blog fodder:

In October 2009 the government of Italy announced that a wreck discovered off the southwestern tip of the country is the Catania, a passenger vessel sunk during World War I—and not the Cunski, a cargo ship loaded with radioactive waste, as alleged by district authorities from nearby Calabria. Few locals are reassured, says Michael Leonardi of the University of Calabria. He and others maintain that the putative Cunski is still out there and is just one of numerous ships full of poisonous garbage that a crime syndicate has scuttled in the Mediterranean Sea. Such a startling allegation, if true, would not only damage the tourism and fishing industries along this idyllic coast but also compromise the health of Mediterranean residents. (Madhusree Mukerjee, Scientific American)

That's just the first paragraph of a long, interesting, and unsettling article in Scientific American, Poisoned Shipments: Are Strange, Illicit Sinkings Making the Mediterranean Toxic? by Madhusree Mukerjee. I got to it from a post over at Infosthetics about a website,, which is assembling scattered and often obscure data about mysterious ship sinkings in the Mediterranean. The folks present a graphic of these sinking together with a chronology and individual records. Here's an example of what you can see over there:


If you click on one of those numbered tags (on their site, not in this screenshot) it brings up all sorts of specific info on the ship: when it sank, who owned it, etc.

So far I don't see my grant proposal listed as one of the sinkings. But I keep looking and worrying.

More like this

A bit OT, but looking at the map of sunken ships I couldn't stop thinking of those boats that will never appear on these maps, and of all the unnamed men and women died trying to get to the mirage of the "bel paese", whose bodies every now and then reappear in the nets of the italian fishermen, as a sort of obscure omen (

Yes, I read that about a week ago in SA. I basically get the magazine as soon as I can.