“The Art of Being Still”


I am my character, pedaling down to the beach after a long day of working as a hotel housekeeper. I see the world through his eyes. I imagine what he is thinking. I use that brief time to become him.

I transform the mundane task of grocery shopping into a writing exercise by studying my fellow shoppers through the eyes of my character, a man who is on the run from the law.

I eye each one with suspicion and dodge any cop who might be trotting along with a grocery basket in hand. I sometimes steal a quirk from a woman nearby to apply to one of my female characters in the book. I am multitasking, but there is stillness at work here.

Silas House on the quietness of writing.

This is why we fight


Had I the heavens’ embroidered cloths,
Enwrought with the golden and silver light,
The blue and the dim and the dark cloths
Of night and light and half-light,
I would spread the cloths under your feet
But I, being poor, have only my dreams;
I have spread my dreams beneath your feet;
Tread softly because you tread on my dreams…

“He Wishes for the Cloths of Heaven”, William Butler Yeats


[Special bookmark] Open Access and Open Data only


There were lot of very interesting things on the Web these last days on Open Access and Open Data. I would like to remind you that the very first Science 3.0 Blogging Contest starting on October 18 is dedicated to Open Access and will run parallel to the Open Access Week! I greatly invite you to take part, as a blogger, as a reader, as both! You will find below several links to make you feel even more eager than now October 18 comes.

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Bookmark: Links to read, from here and there


I am currently spending my time reading papers. And user guides. The cliché of the lab rat is not applicable anymore. The cliché of the computer geek neither: I am hardly launching sudo aptitude update && sudo aptitude safe-upgrade on my Debian and this is it. The number of tabs in my browser is dangerously approaching 200 and this makes me nervous 🙂 So, here is a nice bunch of links:

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Bookmark: Science writing howto


I could not resist: this posting is just great, so a bookmark here to keep it close 😉 To not let you in a total terra incognita, here is what it is about:

In the standfirst I will make a fairly obvious pun about the subject matter before posing an inane question I have no intention of really answering: is this an important scientific finding?

Bookmark: 42, or why statistics are magic


Pie chartMatt Parker discusses the power of statistics to say what one would like to hear:

By their very nature, statistics can only be misused when the audience doesn’t bother checking them. Statistics are just a numerical summary of evidence that has been collected. They give people the starting point to delve directly into that evidence and see if the arguments hold together.

A nice summary of why none should believe numbers without checking them.

Image (CC-by)

Bookmark: BMJ Open, accessible medical research


This is an open access journal launched very recently and focused on medical research. It aims at publishing not only full-text reports, but also pilot studies and pre-protocols. Moreover, all data will be published online and reviewers’ comments will figure alongside the main text. This initiative emphasizes the importance of transparency and data sharing in science. Support BMJ Open, submit your results there!

Bookmark: Bioinformatics education should start in High school


Xconomy|Seattle publishes opinion from Jodie Spitze where the question about the crossroad between biology and computer science is addressed:

In this digital age, one of the areas that should be most exciting to students is the intersection between technology and biology. Public databases store an abundance of biological data and a variety of programs enable this data to be searched, compared, and visualized. Termed bioinformatics, researchers use these capabilities to understand and treat genetic conditions, discern evolutionary relationships, and learn about how cancer cells differ from normal cells. What is especially exciting is that this technology is available to all, including high school students.

So why is bioinformatics rarely included in biology courses?

Nice analysis, recommended reading!

Bookmark: BioMed Central launches a new initiative to promote data sharing


Open AccessBMC Researcher Notes’ latest editorial titles A call for BMC Research Notes contributions promoting best practice in data standardization, sharing and publication. It announces a new initiative aiming at promoting best practice in sharing and publishing data, with a focus on standardized, re-useable formats. Thus, data from original research project described by precised Data Notes will be made publicly accessible and, along with, an example dataset will be included.

This great initiative is a new step towards open data and research reproducibility!

Read the original announcement from BMC.

Bookmark: “We come in peace” – the Chaos Communication Congress announced


We come in peace, said the conquerers of the New World.
We come in peace, says the government, when it comes to colonise, regulate, and militarise the new digital world.
We come in peace, say the nation-state sized companies that have set out to monetise the net and chain the users to their shiny new devices.
We come in peace, we say as hackers, geeks and nerds, when we set out towards the real world and try to change it, because it has intruded into our natural habitat, the cyberspace. Let us explore each other’s truly peaceful intentions at this year’s Chaos Communication Congress 27C3 to be held from Monday December 27 to Thursday December 30, 2010 in Berlin, Germany.

27C3 calls for participation! The following areas are of particular interest this year:

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Bookmark: Scientopia


Scientopia is presented as “a collective of people who write about science because they love to do so”. Sounds nice. Participation seems a bit restrictive, though. Haven’t had a closer look yet, but I read this on Pharyngula’s blog (and it is not that far from my first impression):

Although, I do have to say that I’m not a fan of their published code. It throws around the word “respect” way too much, which happens to be one of those words that annoys me, because it is too easily assumed when it should be earned. I don’t respect everyone who blogs on science, and not everyone respects me (nor should they)…but it does put me on edge when a group announces a demand for mutual respect and also lays out a protocol for eviction, when I know that several of the people in the collective had little respect for some others on the Sb network. I have no respect for the pretense of respect.

Read and see.

Bookmark: Women’s Caucus internship opportunity


The Women’s Caucus at the FSF (Free Software Foundation) is seeking an intern to assist with its work to increase the number of women involved in free software. Please check the offer online.

Le Caucus est une initiative de la FSF (Fondation pour le Logiciel Libre) visant à augmenter la participation féminine dans les communautés libristes. Vous pouvez lire la traduction des recommandations en français (faite par votre humble serviteure qui est intéressée par toute suggestion d’amélioration). Ils proposent donc un poste de stage pour une personne intéressée par la thématique. L’offre (en anglais) est sur le site de la FSF.

Bookmark: The third reviewer


Il s’agit d’un forum pour scientifiques où ils peuvent commenter des papiers récemment publiés. Un peu comme un Journal club. Pour l’instant, le thème ayant le plus d’articles est Neurosciences, mais la Microbiologie commence à arriver aussi.
Le (très) mauvais point : les articles non open access ne présentent que les abstracts (résumés). Donc, si on n’a pas accès au journal, c’est loupé pour lire le tout.

À voir ici.