Purely a figment of your imagination

What amuses, annoys, concerns or otherwise interests me – Noodlemaz


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On being a “digital academic”

It's me

It’s me

A colleague asked me why I “left science” last year. I don’t really feel like I have; my dayjob involves writing about the amazing research and related goings-on at the place where I completed my PhD. I still feel connected to science; I’m just not at the bench.

Perhaps I’m lying to myself, but I’ll run with it.

While I may not be a practicing academic, many friends and colleagues are. As I now (and, for the last 15-odd years, always have) spend a lot of time online and with social networking, I watched a Google Hangout that was run by jobs.ac.uk today: Being a successful Digital Academic.

People often fear social networks, but I’ve defended them before and will continue to do so. I wouldn’t be in the position I am now without this blog, Twitter and the time I’ve spent on them, as well as the people I’ve met through them.

The hangout contained lots of useful tips for academics who are or might want to venture into the world of online chat, promotion and networking. You can find my notes here on Google Docs and the Piirus blog, too. Continue reading

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For A Safer Internet

Today I would like to share a guest post with you, by my friend Colin, who is one of those I.T. people.

Last Tuesday was Safer Internet Day and I asked for a post explaining the importance of the projects that Colin is involved in – hopefully stirring up some interest in terms of staying safe online.

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Invisible Lives

It’s a skeptics in the pub write-up!

In case you missed it, I luckily made it to Westminster Skeptics to see Juliet Jacques give her talk,

Thinking critically about transgender issues

and you can listen to it on the Pod Delusion but I shall write up my notes for those who prefer to read!

Firstly Belinda Brooks-Gordon introduced the talk by saying that trans rights have not really moved forward along with women’s rights. To try to highlight this and educate people, Juliet has a Guardian blog where she posts regularly about trans issues.

Now we can hear what Juliet has to say – it’s a lot of stuff, hugely informative, and it was a great talk!

I’ve put in a few thoughts of my own with [Comment: …] along the way.

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Interacting on the Interweb

The latest furore surrounding the ‘potentially damaging’ nature of things like Facebook and Twitter is in swing, with the Daily Mail (safe to click! Minus images) interpreting a scientist’s views as social networking turning your kids’ brains to mush. Note that Martin does of course disagree – as do I.

Sciencepunk has taken the time to speak to Susan Greenfield herself to try to get a clearer idea of exactly what her concerns and suggested solutions might be, under all the media distortion and so on. He’s written up the interview for New Scientist. I take up her invitation to join the debate.

Unfortunately, listening to her speak I still find myself vehemently disagreeing with most of what she says for various reasons, including the fact that she clearly has very little or no personal experience of what she talks about, is missing some key issues and appears to wilfully ignore positive outcomes in favour of potentially negative ones.

That’s not very scientific!

So, let’s get ranty.

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Cogito ergo sum

These are (finally) my recollections of Westminster Skeptics, 7/6/10.

Biometrics and Identification

Belle de Jour (Dr. Brooke Magnanti) came to speak to us and was welcomed warmly.

Brooke is a scientist and supported herself during her doctoral research by becoming a sex worker in London. She documented her experiences anonymously then revealed her true identity in 2009. Obviously people tend to be surprised to hear this, but challenging such attitudes was (I assume) one of her aims.

She came to WSitP to talk not about those adventures but about the science, psychology and challenges of personal identification.

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