How many staff members (mix of techs, undergrads, graduate students, postdocs, staff sci, PI) constitute a "medium sized laboratory" in your opinion?
Archive for the 'Conduct of Science' category
The progress of science is best served when conferences include a panel of speakers that is representative of the field. Male-dominated conference programs are generally not representing their field, missing out on important scientific findings, and are one important factor contributing to the “brain-drain” of talented female scientists from the scientific workforce. As a group, BiasWatchNeuro has formed to encourage conference organizers to make every effort to have their program reflect the composition of their field.
Send information about conferences, seminar series or other scientific programs to firstname.lastname@example.org
Check it out.
Steven McKnight's recent President's Message at ASBMB Today focuses on the tyranny of the hypothesis-test when it comes to grant evaluation.
I lament that, as presently constructed, the NIH system of funding science is locked into the straight-jacket of hypothesis-driven research. It is understandable that things have evolved in this manner. In times of tight funding, grant reviewers find it easier to evaluate hypothesis-driven research plans than blue-sky proposals. The manner in which the system has evolved has forced scientists to perform contractlike research that grant reviewers judge to be highly likely to succeed. In financially difficult times, more risky scientific endeavors with no safely charted pathway to success often get squeezed out.
.... But how should we describe the riskier blue-sky research that our granting agencies tend not to favor?
I agree. All science starts with observation. And most science, even a lot of that alleged to be hypothesis testing or lending "mechanistic insight" really boils down to observation.
If we do this, then that occurs.
Science never strays very far from poking something with a stick to see what happens.
The weird part is that McKnight doesn't bring this back to his "fund people not projects mantra". Amazing!
No, he actually has a constructive fix to accomplish his goals on this one.
Were it up to me, and it is clearly not, I would demand that NIH grant applications start with the description of a unique phenomenon. When I say unique, I mean unique to the applicant. The phenomenon may have come from the prior research of the applicant. Alternatively, the phenomenon may have come from the applicant’s unique observation of nature, medicine or the expansive literature.
This is great. A fix that applies to the project-focused granting system that we have. Fair for everyone.
Self-interested nepotistic shittebagges constantly assert this parade of horribles that if we don’t fund the right subset of scientists in today’s tight scientific funding environment (coincidentally them, their friends, their trainees, and their family members), then we are going to destroy scientific progress. This is because they are delusional......
When you "storyboard" the way a figure or figures for a scientific manuscript should look, or need to look, to make your point, you are on a very slippery slope.
It sets up a situation where you need the data to come out a particular way to fit the story you want to tell.
This leads to all kinds of bad shenanigans. From outright fakery to re-running experiments until you get it to look the way you want.
Story boarding is for telling fictional stories.
Science is for telling non-fiction stories.
These are created after the fact. After the data are collected. With no need for storyboarding the narrative in advance.
My esteemed colleague says no:
— Rick Bevins (@RBevins) May 27, 2015
My view is that a job talk is more prestigious than a mere invited seminar due to the focal competition and review.
So sure, put those down in the same CV category as non-job-talk seminar invitations.
An article by Dan Vergano at Buzzfeed alerts us:
Electric shocks, brain surgery, amputations — these are just some of the medical experiments widely performed on American slaves in the mid-1800s, according to a new survey of medical journals published before the Civil War.
Previous work by historians had uncovered a handful of rogue physicians conducting medical experiments on slaves. But the new report, published in the latest issue of the journal Endeavour, suggests that a widespread network of medical colleges and doctors across the American South carried out and published slave experiments, for decades.
Savitt first reported in the 1970s that medical schools in Virginia had trafficked in slaves prior to the Civil War. But historians had seen medical experiments on slaves as a practice isolated to a few physicians — until now.
to the following paper.
Kenny, S.C. Power, opportunism, racism: Human experiments under American slavery. Endeavour,
Volume 39, Issue 1, March 2015, Pages 10–20[Publisher Link]
Medical science played a key role in manufacturing and deepening societal myths of racial difference from the earli- est years of North American colonisation. Reflecting the practice of anatomists and natural historians throughout the Atlantic world, North American physicians framed andinscribed the bodies, minds and behaviours of black subjects with scientific and medical notions of fundamental and inherent racial difference. These medical ideas racialised skin, bones, blood, diseases, with some theories specifically designed to justify and defend the institution of racial slavery, but they also manifested materially as differential treatment – seen in medical education, practice and research.
I dunno. Have we changed all that much?
From the Twitts.....
That is, I'm driven more by rage at my own inadequacy than by love of discovery.
— Bill Hooker (@sennoma) April 27, 2015
Me, I think I never got past "I wonder what that does?"
When do I get to that stage where my lab is operated entirely by oppressed trainees who are totally doing the PI job in all ways but name and I get to sit back, eat bonbons and watch my h-index rise?