With the advent of smartphones and tablets, bringing movies to poster sessions is becoming more common than ever before. Even so, a low-tech flip book is still a lot more fun for visitors to use, and it's easier to pass around a large group. When the session's over, a flip book can live at your bench indefinitely, ready for visitors with no boot time.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 22 November 2013 00:00

What If You Want to be a Postdoc Forever?

Jim started his postdoc 15 years ago and never left. He loves working at the bench, publishes regularly, and has a great relationship with his principal investigator (PI). But Jim hates writing grants, and didn't want to leave behind his technical expertise. A few years ago, Jim's PI secured him a promotion as a research associate so he can continue the work that he loves. Plus, Jim's PI can keep him as a valuable member of the research team. Jim's family also benefits from the arrangement, as he lives close to his aging parents, who can continue to spend time with their grandkids.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 15 November 2013 00:00

How to Print a Fabric Poster

As the Annual Meeting approaches, it's time to start thinking about printing your poster. If you're not looking forward to the prospect of traveling with a giant cardboard tube, yet you're reluctant to return to the days of the multiple-panel poster, consider printing on fabric.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 08 November 2013 00:00

Writing Science for Non-scientists

When I started reading it, my head felt foggy and my eyes glazed over. My PhD in biology did nothing to help me understand. I realized how my mom felt when I told her about my latest western blot results. Without a particle physics expert to come up with a metaphor, there was no way I was going to understand the original Higgs boson paper1.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 01 November 2013 00:00

How to Put Your Poster in the Cloud

Imagine walking up to a poster, snapping a QR code with your smartphone, and being connected to a permanent and citable version of that poster on the web. From there, you're a click away from connecting to the authors, reading an associated manuscript, embedding the poster in a website, or sharing it with your contacts. With the data repository figshare, this is easy to arrange.

Published in COMPASS Points

1) Retractions in the scientific literature seem to be more common now than 10 years ago. How often are articles being retracted? How many retractions are due to outright fraud, compared with possible "sloppiness," as in use of a bad cell line, technical problems, or other unintentional mistakes? Should scientists worry about what they read in the literature now or do you think scientists should always be skeptical of what they read?

Published in COMPASS Points

It is truly alarming to see the sharp increase in retractions in the scientific literature due to misconduct such as outright fraud and data falsification. To put the rising trend in perspective, the number of articles retracted due to misconduct, rather than errors, has increased ~10-fold since 1975 [1]. Multiple studies have tried to explain this distressing trend by providing information on the numbers of scientists who knowingly committed misconduct (for examples, see [2-5]), studying the patterns in retractions from different journals [6], or even analyzing details about the scientists committing misconduct [3]. However, I believe a look at the causes is necessary in order to battle this epidemic.

Published in COMPASS Points

"I study tiny things that are man and woman parts of an animal. The woman part talks and the man part listens. The tiny things have a conversation so that they can find each other and make babies. Some man things are better at listening than others. I want to know if the man things that are better at listening are also better at making babies."

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 04 October 2013 00:00

3D printing: Cell Biology and Beyond!

What is 3D printing?
3D printing is the process of printing a three-dimensional object from a computer-generated model. It utilizes an additive process whereby successive layers of materials are laid upon each other in a sequential manner and a solid 3D object is "printed" to life. One can print simple objects such as toys, coffee cups, etc. or extremely complex ones such as electronic devices, bicycles, guns and human organs like kidneys, heart and bladder.

Published in COMPASS Points
Friday, 27 September 2013 00:00

An Invisible-Becoming-Visible Minority?

We recently celebrated the 50th anniversary of the march on Washington and Martin Luther King Jr's I Have a Dream speech. A critical step towards civil rights was established at the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Fifty years later, we are seeing in real time the fastest civil rights movement in history. In 1996, only 27% of Americans agreed that those in same-sex marriages should have the same rights as traditional marriages. In 2013, this number is 53% [1].

Published in COMPASS Points
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