Over the holiday break, I learned how to use the Internet correctly (spell check wants me to capitalize, so as not to confuse the Internet with the slightly less holy internet). This means I now RSS things, maintain handy online calendaring system, keep things in places where I will be able to find them again, and began reading blogs on topics of interest. It has made my online time more effective, and I hope it will make my time here more useful too. So, on with the usefulness.
I work with chick embryos, so the illustration above, found here , entertains on a few different levels. Recognizing unanticipated bonus data, or just distinguishing between important and unimportant details seems to be one of the most useful skills in this field. I’d rank it right below the ability to recognize when data are saying something completely unexpected, or telling you that your experiment is flawed. At this point, I have difficulty knowing the difference between a thing I’ve seen a couple of times and could quantify, and a thing I have seen a couple of times but have no real way to keeping track of or comparing with the other things I am keeping track of.
Besides things related directly to my research, I also try to keep track of other things. Re-training for a new career involves a lot of boyscout style orienteering. Being six to eight years behind the people my own age in the field, I have just beginning to understand how the world that I now inhabit works. What’s good, what’s bad, what’s just middling. So, I find myself in the dark woods of neuroscience often, sometimes with and sometimes without a compass. Last weekend, I attended a local SfN meeting with some interesting speakers from worlds outside of neuroscience (in the strict sense, anyway). Robots that learn from and respond to their environment pattern after neuronal development to a certain extent. This week, I found a visualization of patterning in citations. It is fascinating to see how isolated (or connected) different scientific disciplines are. In short – because I am out of time – robotics and computer science plus neuroscience equals some really interesting stuff.
My time on the computer is over now, and in keeping with certain new-year initiatives, I’ll publish this without making it perfect. (But reserve the right to fix it later. )