This blog is currently on hiatus owing to work commitments. Whilst I still keep an eye on the goings on at RiAus, and contribute to the work of the good folks at eLife, little will be added to this blog for the foreseeable future. Simon Says remains open for business, albeit at a reduced capacity. Thanks for stopping by, and I hope the archive of content found here will prove to be of interest.
I was invited to give a talk on how academic researchers can use Twitter (and social media generally) as part of the University of Birmingham Graduate School 'Think Graduate School Fridays' talks series. Below is my contribution. The talk seemed to be well received and I had some great questions to answer, from which I learnt that there are now a lot of pictures of kittens stored in the Library of Congress (which is archiving 50 million tweets a day).
"Octopuses make it notoriously difficult to get recordings from
electrodes inserted into the brain, because they can selectively shut
off blood supply to an area of their body or brain. That's if they allow
the researchers to insert electrodes at all. Jennifer Basil, a
cephalopod researcher at the City University of New York tells the story
of one colleague who took on that challenge: "He thought the octopus
was anaesthetised, so they put the electrode in and the octopus reached
up with an arm and pulled it out." That marked the end of his work with
octopuses. "He has worked with lots of animals but he said 'that animal
knows what I'm thinking. He doesn't want me to do this so I'm not going
to'," Basil says."
Eight arms, big brain: What makes cephalopods clever, Caroline Williams, New Scientist2816, 2011
Last weeks' #phdchat was on the subject: "Down in thesis dumps: sharing motivation strategies for the low points as a researcher". It was my first time participating in the weekly Wednesday evening debate, and I found it very interesting, so thought I'd briefly summarize 5 things that stood out to me from it.
Unfortunately, it is inevitable that during a PhD things will go wrong. Sometimes they go wrong quite badly, and time will tick by with little or nothing to show for it. I know, I've been there. It's all well and good saying 'make sure you have a good support network' or to say to seek the counsel of a good friend, but such advice is not hugely practical, and some people don't have those away from work to turn to. So, what can you do that is practical to lift yourself (and your project) out of the PhD blues?