Archive for: April, 2013

Let's have a drink at Experimental Biology!

Apr 09 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

Are you going to the Experimental Biology meeting in 2 weeks? Would you like to have a drink with me and some of your internet friends?

If you answered "yes" and "yes" to the previous questions, keep reading.

There's little that warms the cockles of my heart more than bringing together people who would like to meet each other, but lack the motivation and organizational skills required to make it happen. As you know, I've been organizing the BANTER parties at the Society for Neuroscience meetings for the last 3 years, and I thought it might be about time to branch out. To test the Experimental Biology waters, I thought I'd just tell you guys that I'm going to be at a bar at a certain time, and we'll see who shows up and work from there in the future.

Now, I grew up in the northeast, and Boston and I have a long and colorful history. I may talk a lot of trash, but there is one thing I'll give Boston, and that's that it's got a fair amount of really cool old stuff. One of the coolest really old things in Boston is the Liberty Hotel, which is an old prison that was converted into a swanky boutique hotel. The lobby is absolutely stunning, with what's got to be a 60-foot cathedral ceiling, enormous macabre iron chandeliers, and other preserved prison-y details. So let's go hang out there! It's right off the Charles/MGH stop on the Red line of the T (Boston's adorable excuse for a subway)--just 3 stops from South Station, which I believe is the closest one to the Convention Center.

Here are the details, in easy-to-digest form:

What: Drinks with me!
When: 6:30 pm, Monday, April 22
Where: Liberty Hotel, 215 Charles Street
Who: YOU AND ME, BABY!

One thing to note about the Liberty - I am not talking about Alibi, its lower-level bar/club thing, and I am not talking about Clink, its upper-level bistro thing. I am talking about hanging out in the actual lobby, which has its own bar and is up the escalator when you first walk in. OK? Try not to get lost!

Leave a quick note in the comments here or say something to me on twitter just so I can get a sense of how many people might show up. Obviously if you happen to live in the Boston area (I hear there are one or two research institutions there) but are not attending the meeting, you are of course welcome to join us.

I hope to see you there!

23 responses so far

Discussions: Discuss.

Apr 04 2013 Published by under Uncategorized

An interesting point brought up by the ever-insightful becca in one of Drugmonkey's recent posts  made me think. Why do we write discussion sections for our papers? No--I mean, why do we really write them? I'd imagine that a good number of you agree with becca, that if we're prioritizing reading sections of a paper, the discussion is almost always last or never. Nobody cares what you have to say about your own stuff; let ME decide the significance of your work.

But when it comes to writing and reviewing manuscripts, I find that there's quite a bit of emphasis on the discussion. "The authors did not discuss the implications of their findings in light of the work of Fancypants et al 1997, 2000, and 2010a & b," "The authors overstate the clinical relevance of the results from Experiment 2," "The authors' explanation for their findings in experiment 3 are unfounded." I myself have been that reviewer--the one who demands that the authors dedicate at least 150 words to speculation (with citations, of course) on why they failed to replicate Generally Accepted Phenomenon. But what do I care? Am I on the authors' thesis committee or something? Do I reject the data if the authors can't come up with an acceptable reason for why things turned out the way they did?

It seems to me that in general, the discussion section IS like a thesis defense: are you enough of a scholar about your own work to warrant publication of the work itself? Do you know the literature, have you thought about alternate interpretations, can you see where your work is taking the field? If the answer is "no," then the paper must be revised and resubmitted until it's deemed suitably "discussed." But honestly, does anyone besides the people who review your manuscript give a shit about these things?  In other words, if a poor interpretation of one's own work is made, but nobody reads it because it was made in the discussion, does it make a sound?

15 responses so far