MySciCareer

For the past year and a half, Lou Woodley and I have been running MySciCareer, a website with first person science career stories. It’s not just jobs in research and it’s not just jobs outside of research – it’s both. MSCQuote_JenniferGardy

If you just watch the images on the front page for a while (or look at the ones in this post), you’ll see a lot of very different jobs and people come by. Researchers, writers, teachers, politicians, startup founders. The only thing they have in common is that they have been trained as a scientist at some point in their lives.

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Demographics

In his interview with Ian McKellen on the WTF Podcast, Marc Maron said one the smartest things I’ve heard about modern niche marketing:

I don’t have a demographic. I have a disposition.

You should listen to the rest of the interview too.

Science Caturday: Home, Heavy Home

kepler cat

The exciting news from space keeps coming – this week researchers announced the discovery of an “Earth-like planet” called Kepler-452b. The new planet, discovered by researchers using NASA’s Kepler space telescope, orbits a sun-like star at about the same distance that Earth orbits the sun. NASA’s Jon Jenkins says that it’s the nearest thing to another Earth-sun twin system that scientists have found.

The Kepler team’s observations indicate that Kepler-452b may be rocky like Earth, and that it is about 6 billion years old, 1.5 billion years older than Earth, and 60 percent larger in diameter. Its star, Kepler 452, is also older, bigger and brighter than our sun.

One especially interesting finding: geologists believe that, if the planet is rocky, its gravity would be about twice that of Earth’s. This might make it difficult for humans to explore, but be perfect for cats, for whom, as we know, gravity is optional.

Science for the People: Human Research Ethics

sftpThis week Science for the People is learning about the regulatory frameworks that try to balance scientific progress with the safety of research subjects. We’ll speak to Holly Fernandez Lynch and I. Glenn Cohen of the Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School about their book Human Subjects Research Regulation: Perspectives on the Future. We also speak to health journalist and editor Hilda Bastian about research, journalism, ethics and “The Chocolate Hoax“.

*Josh provides research & social media help to Science for the People and is, therefore, completely biased.

The Proto-Trolling of Charles Babbage

No one, not even his closest friends, would deny that Charles Babbage was a first rate pedant. In 1842, Alfred, Lord Tennyson wrote a poem entitled “The Vision of Sin”, which included the following verse:

Fill the cup, and fill the can:
Have a rouse before the morn:
Every moment dies a man,
Every moment one is born.

Good stuff that. I feel all inspired to fill life up with joy, because it is fleeting and meaningless. The “carpe-est” of “diems”, if you will*. I am so moved that the editor in me is not even bothered in the slightest** about the unorthodox punctuation choices.

Charles Babbage is a better pedant than I. He wrote a letter to the poet:

In your otherwise beautiful poem, one verse reads, “Every minute dies a man, Every minute one is born”; I need hardly point out to you that this calculation would tend ot keep the sum total of the world’s population in a state of perpetual equipoise, whereas it is a well-known fact that the said sum totatl is constantly on the increase. I would therefore take the liberty of suggesting that in the next edition of your excellent poem the erroneous calculation to which I refer should be corrected as follows: “Every moment*** dies a man, And one and a sixteenth is born.”

Babbage trolled Tennyson. Babbage trolled Tennyson hard.

*Please don’t.

**Botheration is stastically indistinguishable from “not bothered in the slightest”, primarily due to large sample variance.

***Apparently, the original version used “minute” which Tennyson later changed to “moment”.

SOURCE: The Thrilling Adventures of Lovelace & Babbage by Sydney Padua , which you go and buy now. In fact, I ‘ve already judged you more than a little if you have already bought the book, read it, and been completely familiar with this story, because you read the end notes like a true scholar.