Tag Archives: Science Writing

I’m Back, Back in a Blogging Groove

So, if you are reading this, you’re in a new place! Science Decoded officially now lives here on my main website, and I’d love to know what you think of the design/functionality. The fact that you are reading this also means that I’ve broken my blogging hiatus. I never actually meant to take a break from blogging, but for something that is strictly a labor of love I completely lost heart somewhere in the late spring, and it just cascaded from there.

When I talked to friends and colleagues about why I let the blog trail off into nothingness I most often was met with the assessment that I was having a “quarter life crisis” or and “existential crisis” but crisis feels like a strong term for simply not wanting to do something that I didn’t think mattered. Though I suppose it is somewhat existential and conveniently timed to turning 25 that I took to questioning not only what role I play in this whole science communication ecosystem, but also what the point is of having a blog when so many others exist that seem to have far more purpose and clear direction.

I very much want what I do to have value, and yet it has increasingly felt like I just need to back away slowly from the Internet and stop contributing to the noise. In my most grouchy “get off my lawn” moments, that is what a lot of my engagement with science and other science communicators started to feel like, noise. People with opinions about stuff. You are never going to run out of people with opinions about stuff. Sure, I have opinions about stuff, but who gives a damn? Thinking this way forced me to turn inward and stop sharing things altogether.

So I attended this workshop at MIT

With this situation brewing for months, I found myself invited to a two day workshop hosted by MIT on the “Evolving Culture of Science Engagement.” Fancy, right? Kind of I guess,  it was mildly intimidating and imposter syndrome inducing to find myself grouped together with a fascinating and accomplished collection of science communicators.  Our task was to talk about the myriad ways that people run up against science on the daily – in a closed door meeting. Continue reading

Science Writing Highlights

For the last year (2009-2010) I’ve been writing for the journal BioTechniques. In that time I’ve written way to many articles to post here, but here are a few favorites from Spring/Summer 2010:

“Ending cell line contamination by cutting off researchers” is my most recent piece, about how the biological research community can end the widespread use of contaminated cell lines for published (and peer reviewed) research. New York Times bestselling author Rebecca Skloot (who literally wrote the book on HeLa cell contamination) posted a link to the article on her Twitter.

“Fastest case of adaptation documented in Tibetans” reported on (what I think is) a really interesting development in the study of human genetic adaptation to environmental conditions. Basically, Tibetans adapted rapidly from Han Chinese to thrive in low-oxygen environments.

“The sequencing race: the home stretch” was a follow up to an article that I wrote that appeared in the February 2010 print edition of BioTechniques. The whole suite of articles reports of the progress that has been made (and is anticipated) in the field of genome sequencing technologies.

“Plant biology blasts off: shuttle missions explore biofuels” reported on experiments featured on the last few NASA shuttle missions exploring the affects of zero-gravity on possible new biofuels.

“Facial expressions quantify pain in lab mice” is about a method to quantify whether or not laboratory mice are experiencing pain due to their role in an experiment based on the way the features of their face change, indicating pain. It raised some important issues about animal rights, specifically what constitutes suffering and whether the animals are aware of what is happening to them.