On Admitting Defeat and Prioritizing

I have a confession to make. I am really, really good at hatching ideas and starting projects, but I am only mediocre at seeing them through to completion. This is most evident in areas of my life that have little to no impact on anyone other than myself (I’m looking at you, all my half-finished knitting projects!), because I have made a conscious effort to learn tools and strategies to overcome this affliction in my professional life.

Sometimes, though….

When do you admit defeat? Photo credit: Richard Stebbing via Flicker

When do you admit defeat? Photo credit: Richard Stebbing via Flickr

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Tuesday Top Ten – April 1st, 2014

I realize that this week’s post falls on April Fool’s Day, but I promise, no trickery here! Just some good reading. Have suggestions for Tuesday Top Ten? Let me know.

Tuesday Top Ten

10. Not cool, SELF Magazine. There’s a lesson in here somewhere about working with the press, but the press should also be upfront about their intentions. Via NBC Chicago. (FYI there is a video news clip that plays as well when you click the link)

9. Investigative journalists, watch out! Some tips on how to navigate the Computer Fraud and Abuse Act, from Neiman Journalism Lab.

8. Another news clip for you (from CNN), along with some great advice: simply by switching the font on official documents, the U.S. Government could save $476 MILLION, annually. Who’s giving out this advice? A 14-year-old aspiring researcher!

7. Did you hear this week that the word “Yooper” was added to the dictionary? The Guardian has a list of 8 other words that infiltrated the lexicon over time, and some of them will surprise you!

6. Speaking of the word “Yooper,” for the uninitiated, this article on MyNorth.com will help explain the what, how, and why behind it’s addition to Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary. For those of you who are familiar with “The UP,” definitely click for the pasty cartoon 😉

5. Ohmygosh adorable! Did you know The Washington Post has an annual “Peeps Show” contest? Entrants create and submit photos of dioramas made with Peeps marshmallow candies.

4. I enjoy hoppy beers, so I was intrigued by this MedCity News article about a new drug to treat type-II diabetes derived from the traditional beer-flavoring agent.

3. I was not aware of this, but apparently you can be detained or imprisoned if you contract tuberculosis and refuse treatment. Yikes. The Last Word on Nothing discusses the details.

2. For every scientist who has tried (fruitlessly) to repeat another group’s published results, this will hit home. ResearchGate is the forum for “live-blogging” (sort-of) your attempts to replicate studies. One scientist has brought a lot of attention to a new way to generate stem cells through ResearchGate. Via Science Insider.

1. People of European descent process and store certain types of fats, and new research shows this ability came from the Neandertals. Via Science NOW.

Tuesday Top Ten – March 11th, 2014

Next week, Tuesday Top Ten will be taking a short break due to some other pressing matters. That means you’ll have to enjoy this week’s links TWICE as MUCH, so I conveniently doubled up on a couple! Don’t forget to leave your comments on these articles at the bottom of the post. Have suggestions for Tuesday Top Ten? Let me know.

Tuesday Top Ten

10. This was sad to read, but not entirely surprising. The number of NIH-funded scientists dropped this year, says Science Insider.

9. Science Shot covered an interesting study that found not all people experience pleasure from listening to music. The research group even made a quiz that you can take to see if you’re a music appreciator (I am, but that was the result I expected).

8. A man with ambitions to be a professional drummer lost his arm, so a researcher kindly made him a new one. This is no ordinary prosthetic – it’s got super drumming powers! Via New Scientist.

7. Nature Jobs Blog had some great tips on how to make your resume and CV stand out.

6. The Science Writers’ Handbook wrote a summary on an incredibly fascinating story – the ghost writer behind the unauthorized autobiography of WikiLeaks mastermind Julian Assange. The full article reads more like a novel, but a gripping one at that. A candid account of how the autobiography became “unauthorized.”

5. “A blood test for Alzheimer’s disease?” The Science NOW headline says it all.

4. I’ve been saying this for years, and now Nature Jobs Blog is agreeing with me: Scientist should be more active on social media.

3. A follow up to the link last week about high-protein diets: The Wall Street Journal digs deeper into the problems associated with high-protein diets.

2. Can you train your brain to like healthy food? Scientists have shown they can train you to prefer certain junk foods over others, so healthy foods are just one more step away! Via Science NOW.

1. With impending drug trials for Down syndrome and Fragile X, doctors are looking into how the intellectually disabled can understand the risks and benefits of enrolling in clinical trials. Via The Wall Street Journal

Tuesday Top Ten – March 4th, 2014

Readers, I apologize. I neglected to publish this post Tuesday! I hope you’ll forgive and forget, and enjoy the links below.

Tuesday Top Ten

10. This 107-year-old woman got fired from a summer job in 1924, learning several years later that this potentially saved her health and her life. Via The Courant.

9. A ranked list of America’s “Top 99 Problems.” This should be good.

8. Ever seen a bicycle-tricycle hybrid? Science NOW investigates this odd contraption.

7. As if you needed another reason to drop cable: your cable box may also be driving up your electricity bill! Read more at The Last Word on Nothing.

6. A new insight into the growth of pancreatic cancer, gleaned from studying tumor cells’ metabolism, just might be its undoing. The New Scientist reports.

5. An interesting app for recording phone conversations! Tape A Call – reviewed by The Science Writers’ Handbook Blog.

4. Send your kids to summer “Disease Detective” camp with the CDC! Sounds more fun than the engineering camp I went to as a young girl…

3. Two new controversial nutrition studies suggest that cutting protein intake may be the key to living a long and healthy life. Via Science NOW.

2. I had an article published this week! I looked into the scientific side of Seasonal Affective Disorder for ASBMB Today.

1. An interesting piece in the New York Times on Tilapia, the “perfect farmed fish.”

Tuesday Top Ten – February 24th, 2014

This week, I found some great links! As always, I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of these articles, so be sure to leave your comments below. Have suggestions for Tuesday Top Ten? Let me know.

Tuesday Top Ten

10. As you may know from my “editing services” page, I am a contract editor with Edanz Group China. The COO of Edanz, Benjamin Shaw, was interviewed  by Against the Grain about Edanz and the role of editing services in peer-reviewed publishing – a must read for any academic scientist!

9. Making use of old railway tracks in Cambodia using bamboo trains = ingenious. Via The Wall Street Journal.

8. Should bloggers be offered the same legal rights as journalists? In the age of online news, who should be considered “media?” The Columbia Journalism Review discusses this important issue.

7. An illustrated explanation of the recent deal between Netflix and Comcast, and what it means for us, the consumers of their products. Via The Washington Post.

6. A secret operation to smuggle Mali’s treasured historical artifacts to safety, as reported by Smithsonian.com.

5. “Why Nutrition is So Confusing,” by The New York Times. A look at the science of nutrition, and what it all means for us, the consumers of fad diets and trendy superfoods.

4. Attention, men and women of the armed forces! Scientists are getting closer to developing PIZZA for MREs! Hooray! The Washington Post investigates.

3. Olympic athletes are scooping up the stray dogs in Sochi, bringing them home as newly-adopted pets. While this is great, remember that there’s a lot of amazing pets to adopt right here in the U.S., too (I have two – they’re great office-mates while I’ve been working at home). Via The Wall Street Journal.

2. Another example of a female scientist who may have deserved more credit for a discovery made by her male counterparts, this time: Down syndrome (via Science NOW).

1. Custom medical jewelry? Pretty cool! A former teacher of mine wore this kind of bling to help with her arthritis, but it seems as though patients can use them to manage a variety of conditions. Via Boing Boing.

Introducing: Tuesday Top Ten

Tuesday Top Ten will be a new weekly feature on this website’s blog! Read on to learn more about how and why I’m starting this series.

Tuesday Top Ten

It probably does not come as a surprise that I enjoy learning. Humans are naturally curious, and scientists are exceptionally curious. In graduate school, there would be times when I sat in a particularly engaging lecture or discussion with my lab group and paused to think how awesome it was that it was literally my job to be there, soaking up information and feeding my quest for new knowledge.

This love of learning can sometimes be a double-edged sword when it comes to surfing the internet. Brief visits to my blogroll or to Facebook can sometimes result in getting side-tracked by a cool article, and a quick Google search can spiral out of control into several hours spent reading about a topic. That being said, I often find really awesome, unique news stories that I wish to share. Not wanting to bombard my Facebook friends and Twitter followers with an insane amount of links, I have decided to summarize the ten best articles I find each week into a list, published on this blog, and let you, my readers, discover new and interesting articles on your own time.

I know many bloggers provide such features, and I always enjoy seeing the links that others stumble across on the web. I hope this feature becomes a part of your weekly routine. Let me know if you have any suggestions or articles you think I should share. Here’s my inaugural Tuesday Top Ten list – enjoy!

10. Last week, AAAS hosted their annual meeting in Chicago. This little blurb about the link between fungi and daguerreotypes caught my eye – wish I could have been there for the researcher’s talk!

9. What do Leonardo DaVinci, evolution, and hernias have in common? This article from Slate has the answer.

8. Some theories on why writers are the worst procrastinators (via The Atlantic). I can identify.

7. Is is better to have more science coverage, or better quality reporting of science? I side with The Washington Post editor interviewed in this article, but what do you think?

6. A double! Two articles, posted on NASW, discussing the use of the Oxford comma. I’m a proponent, FYI.

5. Think that being a freelance writer will give you more freedom (or free time)? That may not be the case, as explained by Noah Berlatsky in Salon.

4. Can making a contract with a friend up your productivity? Oh, and the utility of owl-shaped timers. Published on the blog at The Science Writers’ Handbook.

3. The Smithsonian Magazine talks about the science behind “the munchies.”

2. The legalization of marijuana in several states has led to an uptick in news articles about use of the drug. This article from The New York Times provides a comparison of drunk driving vs. driving while stoned, and discusses which causes more of a danger to those on the road.

1. Finally, how a medical device engineer ended up creating the most unusual, nerdy, awesome tool for drinking wine. Hint: you can drink from a bottle without removing the cork! Unusually good reporting from Buzzfeed.