There is this awesome technology site called The Verge. How awesome, we can barely tell you although we can reveal a recent The Verge top story: "'Captain America 3' to hit theaters on May 6th, 2016." Save the date. What makes The Verge so additionally awesome, according to the New York Times, is that The Verge belongs to Vox Media, the General Motors conglomerate of the New Digital Media Age. "Vox Takes the Melding of Journalism and Technology to a New Level," says the Times. (Our "snark" meter is broken. Is that headline ironic or puff?)

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It was an all-or-nothing moment. Titia de Lange, a newly hired assistant professor at the Rockefeller University, had months of prep work and her entire grant's supply budget in hand as she waited to cross York Avenue, the busy north-south street on Manhattan's Upper East Side that separates Rockefeller from Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, where a collaborator was waiting to sequence de Lange's protein distillate. "We walked with all the protein we had from 1,500 liters of HeLa cells," de Lange recalled. "If we had tripped it would have been a problem. "It was a potentially self-destructive experiment, but it worked."

Published in ASCB Post
Wednesday, 26 March 2014 12:55

The Good Words—Bench Bloggers

Supposedly, 200 million people are out there blogging. Unsurprisingly, many of them are working scientists, some are even cell biologists. It's one of the encouraging features of the evolving science writing ecosystem that scientists can write directly about their lives and their work. Some scientists use their blogs as podiums, some as pulpits, and some as stand-up mikes for riffs on the day-to-day research world of dirty glassware, shaky funding, and bad behavior.

Published in ASCB Post
Thursday, 20 March 2014 10:45

Far Afield—An ORCID By Any Other Name

It's not a corsage but ORCID is a way of pinning your scientific identity firmly to your scientific chest. ORCID is, of course, an acronym. It stands for Open Researcher and Contributor ID but ORCID is also the tiny organization with global reach that issues unique alphanumeric identifiers for contributors to the world's scholarly and scientific literature. ORCID, the organization, refers to the identifier as the ORCID ID, which both makes sense and sounds redundant. As children, we all believe that we are what the British call a "one off" because it's self-evident that there is only one you, even if "you" are half a set of twins or have a common surname like Wang, Kim, Smith, Garcia, Müller, Murphy, or Rossi. But in research, convincing the wider world that you are THE one who published THIS paper is not trivial. Thus comes ORCID: one researcher, one 16-digit number (that is also a unique URL).

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The University of Chicago (UChicago) and the Marine Biological Laboratory (MBL) have made their first joint research award since MBL became a UChicago affiliate last year to a group headed by ASCB member Clare Waterman with three other ASCB members as co-investigators. The Frank R. Lillie Research Innovation Award will support cross-disciplinary research at MBL in Woods Hole, MA, into integrin activation and actin dynamics during cell migration. The $125,000 award honors both MBL's 125th anniversary and Frank Lillie, who was chair of Zoology at UChicago and the second director of MBL in the early 20th century.

Published in ASCB Post

The whole point of Twitter (assuming that it has a point) is that it's personal. You follow whomever you want to follow. The Twitter algorithm keeps suggesting people similar to the people you're already following but what's the point of that? In our book, the two best reasons to follow a Twitter handle ("@" twitter handle) are that the tweeter says interesting things or even better the tweeter takes you to strange places where you would not have gone on your own. If the places you'd like to go have to do with science, here are some suggestions.

Published in ASCB Post

It's Thanksgiving. You're home from grad school and lab where you're fired up about cytoplasmic accumulation and nuclear clearance of TDP-43, a protein implicated in amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, when Aunt Carol passes you the candied sweet potatoes and sweetly asks, "Now, dear, what is it that you are doing in your research?" You take a deep breath and begin, "So..." About a minute later, you're explaining how to knock out the TDP-43 analog in fruit flies when a look of horror crosses Aunt Carol's face. "Flies? Your laboratory is full of flies?"

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March is Women's History Month and both the Royal Society in the United Kingdom and the Smithsonian Institution Archives (SI Archives) in the United States scheduled Wikipedia "edit-a-thon" sessions to strengthen the online encyclopedia's inadequate coverage of women in science history. The Royal Society's event was last week but for the Smithsonian's there's still time to sign up and learn how to become a Wiki editor or go along in person to the Women In Science session on Tuesday, March 18, at the SI Archives offices in Washington.

Published in ASCB Post

Ninety-five American newspapers had weekly science news sections in 1989. In 2005, there were 34 and in 2012, 19. Traditional newspaper science reporting—it isn't coming back. Gone too are TV science reporters as Americans are for the first time as likely to get science and technology news from the Internet as from television. Good riddance, says a new species of online science writers, "content curators," and scientists themselves who are populating a brave new ecosystem of web sites, blogs, e-pubs, and even "bijou" print issues to chronicle mid2d21ST (*mid-second decade of the twenty-first century) science.

Published in ASCB Post

An estimated 1,000 scientists lost their National Institutes of Health R-series grants because of the automatic sequester of federal funding last year, according to a new analysis by Jeremy Berg, Director of the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center's Institute for Personalized Medicine and the ASBMB President. Berg used data from the NIH RePORTER for R-series grants, which are the foundation of most labs, to determine the effects of the sequester between FY12 and FY13. His data show that the R-series of grants was disproportionately affected by the sequester, with roughly 1,000 researchers losing funding. Berg is the former Director of NIH's National Institute for General Medical Sciences (NIGMS).

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