A recent newsletter from the Endangered Wildlife Trust mentioned a planned burn to help save the habitat of the rough moss frog. What I found interesting about the story, is that it is using fire to help preserve a part of the environment. I think that when many people think about fire, they think it’s negative or destructive, like the recent fire that damaged the Jagger Reading Room at UCT, among other places, or the fire which destroyed the roof and spires of Notre Dame cathedral. Happily, repair work is about to start. However, fire can actually be a good thing and is necessary for the healthy functioning of many environments.Continue reading
This is a very positive post where I can congratulate my friend and co-worker Angelika Czedik-Eysenberg for being one of five female scientists in Austria to receive a L’Oréal-UNESCO For Women in Science fellowship!
I saw this recently on Twitter.
It links back to an article on Inside Higher Ed by Lynn Talton about better structure in one’s work life. Specifically it brought up three main topics that shouldn’t be neglected; “Getting Involved in Something Outside Your Research,” “Exploring Research Beyond Your Specialty” and “Prioritizing and Planning Your Development as a Professional.” These are all things that I agree are really good to do but which I don’t think are given the attention they deserve. Continue reading
I get the contents from a number of journals emailed to me and I then browse through to see if there’s anything interesting or relevant to me. Some might wonder why I do it that way when there are services which will send you only articles that fit specific key words. Simply put, my interests are much broader than just what I am working on and, this way, I can find things that I would otherwise miss.
For example, I would’ve missed seeing this abstract for research showing that people with lower back pain are more likely to have lower back pain later than people who didn’t have previous back pain. It’s about as surprising as a prediction that the sun will rise tomorrow. However, it was nothing compared to the weirdness I found this week.
Now that’s a weird title! Continue reading
It was in November 2014 when I first wrote about Diego Gomez. Tomorrow will see a court, in Colombia, decide his fate. (Article in French) He is facing a fine of up to $327 000 and four to eight years in prison for the sharing a scientific article with a colleague. This is something that many scientists do and which is sometimes necessary for our work. This case highlights the need to move to a world where all scientific articles are open access, i.e. free to read. Continue reading
I’ve collected a few weird stories from the world of science that are interesting. They’re not science stories about discoveries and research but they’re science stories about what goes on behind the scenes.
Spam and mailing lists
Let’s start with an amusing tale. We’ve all got spam before and scientists are no exception. Fed up with the constant spam from one particular journal, Dr. Peter Vamplew submitted a fake article, originally written by David Mazières and Eddie Kohler, that expressed his frustration. The article was 10 pages long and merely consisted of the sentence, “Get me off your fucking mailing list” repeated throughout. Continue reading
I’m going away for a few days but I’ll share this. As I mentioned before, one of my fellow lab members, Shareefa Dalvie, was involved in the sequencing of the first human genome done on African soil. You can watch a short insert on this on the ENCA website. There was another interview that focussed on her specifically but it doesn’t appear to be available online. This is part of her PhD work to understand the genetic causes of bipolar disorder.
My first scientific paper has been published in BMC Medical Genetics and is freely available over here! I did the molecular work as a minor part of my MSc thesis, which concerns connexin deafness in Black Africans. This paper describes two Cameroonian patients with keratitus-icthyosis-deafness (KID), a rare form of syndromic deafness. This is the first time KID has been described in sub-Saharan Africa and we show that it’s caused by the same mutation as in most other described cases. This is very different to non-syndromic deafness but that will be explained in a future paper which will present a much larger portion of my MSc work.