This blog is as much about succeeding in the world as we find it as it is about complaining about the bad things.
Archive for the 'BlogBlather' category
Blog networks appear to have a life cycle. Today it is Scientific American that is blowing up its blog network.
Dave Winer, one of the medium’s pioneers, once defined a blog as, “the unedited voice of a person.”
It’s an honorable notion of what a blog should be, which suits independent bloggers just fine. News outlets, however, have unique responsibilities to their readers and to the public and as such their standards must differ.
So... maybe don't pretend to have blogs? Just call them columns like you used to?
First, we are publishing a new set of Blog Network Guidelines so that everyone, bloggers and readers alike, is fully aware of our basic operational ground rules and protocols.
To make the most of these new guidelines, we are also reshaping the network to work more closely with our blogggers, create an improved balance of topic areas and bring in some new voices.
One of those statements is believable, anyway.
On down to a comment from what I guess is a staffer?
The reduction in the size of the network is not a statement about the quality of bloggers’ work—any more than any periodic update in any magazine’s content offerings is such a statement. Our decisions involved a variety of factors, including frequency of posts and traffic.
and adherence to the new Guidelines?
ah well. Like I said at the top, networks appear to have a natural life-cycle. The ones that are tied up to a traditional publishing entity perhaps are on a short burn from the start. They are just waiting for enough little kerfuffles to build up into a profound nervousness on the part of the suits upstairs. Then down comes the hammer.
People selected to pontificate at an audience on the basis of prior accomplishments in a related context are invariably less interesting than people selected because they have interesting things to say.
We've finally found out, thanks to Nature News, that the paltry academic salary on which poor Jim Watson has been forced to rely is $375,000 per year as "chancellor emeritus" at Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. The current NIH salary limitation is $181,500, this is the maximum amount that can be charged to Federal grants. I'm here to tell you, most of us funded by NIH grants do not make anything like this as an annual salary.
The Office of Extramural Research blog, RockTalking, has 73 comments posted to the discussion of the new NIH biosketch format. I found one that expressed no concern and apparently the rest range from opposed to outraged. One of the things that people seem particularly enraged by is the report of the supposed pilot study they ran. The blog entry reports on how many people found the new format helpful and, as the many commenters point out, the real question is whether this new format is better or worse than the old format. This you will recognize, OER watchers, as a common ploy for the NIH- carefully construct the "study" or the data mining inquiry so as to almost guarantee an outcome that puts the NIH's activities and initiatives in a favorable light. We are not fooled.
Ruth Coker Burks' Story Corp is a must-listen. Jesus effing Christ we failed the fuck out of everything in the early days of the HIV/AIDS crisis. Thank goodness there were a few people like Ms. Burks around.
Phoenix AZ police can't stand being overshadowed in this critical measure of awesome policiness.
Apparently Cerebral Cortex is the latest academic journal to play shenanigans with the pre-print queue. Looks like there is an article by Studer and colleagues that was first published online Aug 7, 2013. I can find no information on the submission and acceptance dates. Perhaps I am just overlooking it but I have noticed a couple of times that journals with terrible timeline issues don't seem to publish this information like most journals do these days. Go figure.
At what point does a journal with a 20 month publication lag become an "online only" journal #CerebralCortex
— My Cousin Amygdala (@CousinAmygdala) December 5, 2014
According to some guy on the internet Jim Watson also has an awesome house that he doesn't have to pay for.
— Noah Gray (@noahWG) December 1, 2014
(in case you were worried about substantial amounts of his paltry $375K per year salary being eaten up in housing costs just like most other academics' salaries.
What is even more worrying about the NIH Office of Extramural Research is that even when they set out a pretty clear goal they are so bad at reaching it.
Consider a rather outrageous proposal. Perhaps there has been too much emphasis on bibliometric measures that either distort the process or minimally distinguish between qualified candidates. What if, instead, we assess young scientists according to their willingness to take risks, ability to work as part of a diverse team, creativity in complex problem-solving, and work ethic? There may be other attributes like these that separate the superstars from the merely successful. It could be quite insightful to commission a retrospective analysis of former awardees with some career track record since their awards, to improve our understanding of what constitutes good selection criteria. One could then ascertain whether those qualities were apparent in their backgrounds when they were candidates for their awards.
Today in the USA we think of all the things we are thankful for.
I am thankful for another year of awesome from you, Dear Readers. Thanks for reading, for commenting, for writing your Congress Critters, for challenging the bad in academic careers, for donating to school classrooms and for generally giving a care about this world we live in.
And for the hilarity. Thanks for that.
What do you think? Do you ever click on the blogroll anymore? Is this useful to any of you?
One of the more awesome and fun parts of running this blog for so long is watching you all progress in your lives and careers.
Many of you started commenting in stages far removed from your current places.
I've seen struggling grad students achieve the PhD, (dis)gruntled postdocs win a tenure track job...or go do something else that makes them very happy. I've seen some panicky junior faculty transition to tenure with major grant funding.
I also see you progressing in life, finding new relationships, spawning miniwaccaloons and involving yourselves in your communities for the betterment of all.
Really- you go on with your bad selves. You amaze me.
Thanks for continuing to play.
I wrote this awhile ago. Seems worth reposting for new readers:
I really should apologize to my readers who get their feelings hurt when 1) I bash GlamourMag science and 2) CPP bashes society journal level science. I just couldn't figure out how to make it something other than a nonpology. So the nonpology version is, sorry dudes, sorry that your feelings are hurt if there is some implication that you are a trivial fame-chasing, probably data faking GlamourHound. also, if the ranting that I trigger from certain commenters has the effect of making you feel as though you are a trivial, meaningless speedbump who is wasting NIH dollars better spent on RealScientists who do RealGrandeWorkEleven. The fact is, CPP and I are in relatively comfortable situations compared with many of our readers. It is no secret that we have jobs and grant funding. Although it is true that both of us are not above making an exaggerated point for dramatic discussion-encouraging purposes, it is probably no surprise that we come from distinctly different points of view ForRealz on this particular issue. Speaking only for myself in this case, I've been around long enough and enjoyed enough of what I consider to be success in what I want to do as a scientist that it tends to insulate me against criticism. I get that this is not true for all of you. If my intent in raising these issues (i.e., to show that the dominant meme is not reflective of the only way to have a career) backfires for some of you, I do regret that.
Do you ever click on the category links at the top of a post to read other items that I have placed in that category?
If so is it helpful?
The original version of the blog remains up at
I have recently attempted an import of the Scientopia content and it appears to have gone well.