Category Archives: Round Up

Round Up #6

Unlike its predecessors, this round up doesn’t feature on a Friday. It features on a day when I’ve struggled to concentrate ever since I got in to work. I don’t want to launch into a full length blog when I’m not achieving anything else (what can I say, my Mum never let me go to Brownies if I hadn’t been at school either…) but equally having all of these tabs open is probably preventing me from achieving anything else.

So, without further ado and in no particular order:

  • Tamsin Edwards writes a thoughtful piece in the Guardian about whether scientists should air their political viewpoints
  • Scientists at Bristol University discover that the four kinds of virus causing Dengue Fever may be quite different to one another
  • Six Turkish academics have been charged with terrorism after what appears to amount to nothing more than secularism
  • Scientists from the United Arab Emirates have identified a mutation that gives plants reduced susceptibility to two fungal pathogens, Botrytis cinerea and Alternaria brassicicola.
  • In case you missed it, scientists produced the world’s first synthetically grown beef burger this week. New Scientist unpacks the story.
  • Groups in Australia and New Zealand have identified a potential new insectide, produced by bacteria. Along the way they showed that the bacteria keep this toxin in a special vesicle, allowing it to build up to high levels without damaging the micro-organism.

Round Up #5

Today has been a very bitty lab day. At lunchtime I was carolling, and I spent the afternoon lying in an MRI scanner in the name of science. I haven’t achieved much since I got back, though whether I’m actually reacting to magnetic waves, or just being stuck in a box with my head pinned down for 90 minutes remains to be seen.

Nevertheless I’m determined to get one more qPCR run on before the week is out… except I foolishly put everything back in the freezer. While I wait for it to defrost, here are a few things that have caught my eye this week, but that I haven’t yet had a chance to write about:

PhD 2 Published have released a snazzy little app to keep track of how writing is going.

Prof Serious has some tough love advice for people about quitting their PhD (*gulp*)

PubMed have announced a new science writing competition (primarily aimed at biomedical researchers, but I can’t see anything to stop me entering provided I can write about biomedicine…)

The new edition of DSM-5 has been published, and along the way a whole bunch of non-neurotypical conditions have been reclassified (including autism). Long post on that probably coming over the weekend or early next week.

Round Up #4

Back when I was blogging regularly, and when I was writing more about science news and less about the woes of being a PhD student I did a few round ups of interesting things I had read that week which I didn’t have the time to write an entire blog post of. Given how much stuff I’ve managed to stray across this week (mainly because I seem to be back on Twitter, after a long hiatus) I thought it was time for another one.   Continue reading

Got that Monday Feeling

Usually, I’m pretty good on Mondays. I’ve gone to bed in a good mood, having spent Sunday training and singing: both things likely to fill me with endorphins. I’ve probably been for a pretty good run, having forced myself to start the week the way I mean to go on. And I’ve had a chance to take a step back over the weekend and think about the problems I’m facing in my PhD.

Today, I am tired, starting with a cold, unable to run due to injury and in a spectacularly bad mood about various things that people have done in the lab to make my life more difficult. (I’m sure I will write about this another time, but for now let’s just say that I think labmate rules should be similar to housemate rules: things like ‘you don’t open or finish someone else’s milk/reagents, and you don’t use anything that’s monstrously expensive (read: alcohol / enzymes / Qiagen kits) without asking unless you’re utterly desperate.)

So instead of an actual blog post, here are some things I have read or seen while sat at my desk ‘doing admin’ that I have found interesting enough to share.

Fetal microchimerism on DoubleXScience: about how cells swap between mother and baby across the placenta, remaining in one another’s bodies long after the pregnancy ends. (Cool, even if it sounds like something out of Alien).

This shirt containing the ingredients of a human, which I really want. (I have too many science t-shirts!)

An article about the need for proper science out-reach over at The Chronicle of Higher Education.

The Society of Biology are asking for people to make videos of their Life in the Lab. (I am really keen on this. One of my slides for my generic ‘going into schools’ presentation has pictures of lots of my friends doing fieldwork, or even things other than science to get across this idea that ‘Not all scientists wear white coats’.

And finally, the podcast from the second Sense About Science Q & A session with scientists from Rothamsted is now live. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet, but it should be pretty good.