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Showing posts from November, 2012

Helpful Websites - My Parting Gift to You

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As I sit here struggling to write my very last blog post, I wonder "What can I leave people that they'll find useful in any way?"  I could provide meaningful insight on what it was like being a graduate student in my lab, but my thesis sucked all the meaning out of my brain and suddenly I can't even manage to put two sentences together that make sense.  So instead, the most useful thing(s) I can leave you all, is (are) my bookmarks!  Those that know me know how incredibly organized (read: obsessive compulsive) I am, so over the last 2.5 years I've collected quite a bit of useful internet knowledge and organized it into various categories on my computer.   So, as my parting gift to you, I leave you these helpful links on everything from job sites, to SAS codes, to data portals, and most importantly, sites for procrastination.  I can't promise these links will stay active forever, but last I checked they worked.  So enjoy!

Fear of Failure

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Do you see the tiny green film at the bottom of the beaker in the picture above?  This extremely small clump of green stuff is a diatom sample weighing less than 20 milligrams that I need to carefully process and guard with my life for carbon isotope analysis. If I lose any of this sample or ruin a procedure, I will likely have to spend several weeks waiting for a new culture to grow and start over again.

Writing for Science Blogs Versus Journal Articles

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This guest post was written by Deanna Conners, an environmental scientist and freelance science writer who holds a MS in Environmental Studies and a PhD in Environmental Toxicology. Deanna is a frequent contributor to EarthSky. You can follow Deanna on Twitter  and Google+.


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I’ve heard many people say that they enjoy science blogging. I agree, it’s fun. I’ve been blogging now for almost two years, mostly about topics in Earth science, and the science I write about never ceases to amaze me.
I’ve never heard any scientist say that they enjoy writing journal articles. For myself, and I imagine for a few others, the joy associated with writing journal articles comes not from the act of writing per se but from seeing good research get published in good journals. The act of writing for journal articles involves a heavy dose of delayed gratification.

What's next?

I'm just going to go ahead and say it: graduate school is great (though The Simpsons disagree). We're given 2-9 years (depending on whether you're a masters or doctoral student and the scope of your research) to live in a cozy academic bubble surrounded by like-minded peers doing research on things we think are interesting and important. We teach, we write, we think, we analyze, and we get to explore new places and meet really smart people. We don't have tons of extra responsibilities like kids (usually) and onerous administrative crap, and we're given some room to fail every once in a while (the most important part of the scientific process). Sure graduate school can be frustrating, annoying, and just plain idiotic at times, but that's pretty much a definition for life. Let's not get bogged down in the mundane. But the question I've been asking myself recently is, what's next?