Posted tagged ‘Self-aggrandizement’

For a Good Time In Radioland (Short Notice Self Aggrandizement)

October 6, 2016

ETA: So, we lost the connection to Blog Talk radio.  Jay and I continued the conversation to tape; he’s editing it now and will post the audio as a podcast tomorrow.  I’ll let y’all know when it’s up.  Sorry…

dou_astronomer-by-candlelight

Don’t know if anyone reading this has had their fill of The Hunt For Vulcan, but just in case you haven’t, I’ll be talking soon about that book, missing planets, error in science (and life, perhaps) and more with Jay Ackroyd on his internet radio program, Virtually Speaking.

Time: 9 p.m. Eastern, 6 Pacific (one hour from now!)

Here’s the link.

Tune in, if you’re not absorbed in more down-to-earth matters. (I.e….Go Sox!)

Image:  Gerrit Dou, Astronomer by candlelight1665

For A Good Time On The Intertubes: March Mammal Madness Edition

February 18, 2014

That time of the month again:  tomorrow being the third Wednesday of February, I’ll be going on the ‘tubes at my usual gig with Virtually Speaking Science for a conversation with Katie Hinde — biologist at Harvard and major-domo of the world-class awesome blog, Mammals Suck…Milk!

You can listen live or as a podcast later here.  If you’re virtually real, you can join us in the live studio audience at the Exploratorium’s joint in Second Life.  (I’ll get the SLURL up in an update and/or tomorrow’s reminder. We kick off at 6 p.m. ET.

Hinde is just a treat of an interview — fast, funny, and with incredibly rich and interesting science to discuss.  Here’s what she’s about:

Mother’s milk has an organizational effect on infant outcomes, not just by providing the energy that sustains growth, but by also contributing to immunological, neurobiological, and behavioral development.

Guided by evolutionary theory, we investigate how variation in mother’s milk and behavioral care influences infant outcomes from post-natal life into adulthood and subsequent generations.

Her research has centered on primates, but as Ed Yong discusses here, she’s a marvelously agile opportunist, and in one sweet move she managed to turn what has been a field developed on the back of very labor intensive, small sample size studies into something approaching big milk data.  Her trick?   Taking advantage of the detailed record keeping American dairy farmers perform for obvious reasons to acquire 2.4 million lactatation records from 1.4 million cows.  Now that’s some statistical power!

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Technique is one thing — asking good questions of data is another, and that’s what makes Hinde such an interesting scholar.  She’s been looking at differences by gender of the offspring in the composition and delivery of milk.  The answer is (a) the details are all in all; different species with different evolutionary histories and behavioral landscapes exhibit different lactation patterns in the context of different behaviors exhibited by daughters and sons, and (b) seemingly obvious evolutionary stories often fail to fit what actually happens at the udder or the breast — and after, through the life of the nourished children.  You can get a sense of the field and a whiff of Hinde’s own work in her review chapter here. [PDF]

We’ll talk about all that — what the story is for cows, as compared with rhesus macaques, for example, and then we’ll talk about that research as it hits the wider world.    That’s in Hinde’s mind because of a very recent encounter with the inimitable (thankfully) Daily Mail.  We’ll talk about that monument to crap science writing, but with this twist:  a look at the importance of social media for contemporary scientists.  Hinde was able to mobilize correctives to the disastrous reporting on her research only because she has a robust presence across a number of networks — and we’ll use her experience over the last week to think about the shifting power structure in media.  A long way — but not really — from the milking shed.

And last, burying the lede as usual, we’ll get to Hinde’s annual mammalian extravaganza — her own bracket of mammals taking on each other in a nature-red-in-tooth-and-claw competition that makes the NCAAs look like toddlers in sandboxes.  Just to give you a taste, last year she pitted (inter much alia) the honey badgers against the wolverines.  Now, there is simply no mammal around that matches the wolverine for sheer, incomprehensible bad-assery (see, e.g., the tale of M3 Hinde often cites).  But Hinde is an honest bracket-builder, so home field matters.  Wolverine could wreck Honey Badger on any neutral field, but in HB’s home turf — Africa — the heat and  humidity negated the advantages of stamina and ferocity, leaving one of the  pre-tourney favorites a loser as the Madness played out.

Hinde will be running a new Mammal Madness this coming March — and that’s where the conversation tomorrow will come to rest.

As you may have gathered, I’m looking forward to this one.  Join in the conversation tomorrow.

Image:  Winslow Homer, Milking Time1875.

Winslow

For a good time in Edmonton (Crack o’ Dawn edition)

June 16, 2010

Anyone in the greater Edmonton/University of Alberta area tomorrow at 8:30 a.m. can come and hear me talk about “Newton’s coins and Einstein’s letters: living lives in science and society.”

I’ve been very kindly invited by folks running the first university-wide celebration of graduate student research in engineering to talk about some aspects of life beyond grad school, so I’m going to talk on what those giants have to say about life beyond the cocoon of pure research.

Time: 8:30
Place: The student center on the campus of the University of Alberta.

Come one, come all!

I’m Baaaaaack….with some Newton notes…

November 29, 2009

A return to full blogging this week, I promise, but just to get things going (barring that little amuse bouche re Google voice recognition) with a teaser for a renewed assault on the “Diary of a Trade Book” series, I thought I’d post a reactions to a couple of bits of Newton and the Counterfeiter news.  (As always: Amazon,PowellsBarnes and Noble,Indiebound and  across the pond at Amazon.co.uk,WaterstonesBlackwellsBorders,John Smith & Son.)

First, still very happy with the Library Journal’s placement of the book on their year-end, “Best of” list — but I have to say that I was truly chuffed by the implied institutional critique and explicit compliment coming from Henry Bass, book editor for Essence, who compiled his list of those who should have been finalists for the National Book Awards.  Among them, he said, blushing, mine own Newton….

My thanks to Mr. Bass, and my heartfelt admiration for his exquisite and discriminating taste…;)


Next: I’m so far behind in acknowledging (and disseminating) positive reviews and blog mentions that I can’t even begin to dig myself out just yet … but one post that did stand out for me was this one by Paul Levy at the Running A Hospital blog.  Why such special notice from YT (beyond the obvious desire to point up praise wherever I can get it)?

Because, as astute readers of this blog will note, I’ve been having trouble keeping up with even the minimal task of getting something up a few times a week, just because I’ve got a day job and students and a wife and a kid and all that stuff.  I should complain:  Paul Levy’s day job has him runnimg  the Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center here in Boston, which, for all that I find that no spare second survives the crush of the demands on my time, is unquestionably a more demanding job than mine — by a Secretariat-at-Belmont margin, I’d guess.  So if he can find the time to say nice things about my book, I can find the time to wonder how the heck he managed to read it, much less write about it.

More, and more substantive stuff to come…but for now, channelling my inner Ed Murrow:  good night and good luck.

Image:  Hokusai, “Portrait of a man of noble birth with a book,” before 1849

For a Good Time in Second Life….

July 7, 2009

Go to the Nature Publishing Group Island in Second Life where, at 10 Pacific Time, 1 Eastern Time, I’ll be talking about Newton and the Counterfeiter (Amazon,PowellsBarnes and NobleIndiebound) — where it came from, and at least a few of the high spots on what some of the key ideas might be….

For those wise in the ways of Second Life, I’m going to be spouting off at the Elucian Islands (214, 36, 57) and specifically in the Mt. Olympus Amphitheatre, whose appropriateness as a venue for this particular talk I will reveal in a later post. 😉

It’s my first attempt at anything so virtual, so there might be some unintended comedy as well.  Not promising, mind you, just realistically assessing the probabilities.