The Fall 2014 issue of the Berkeley Science Review is out!

Photo courtesy of the Berkeley Science Review. Original by me, image processing magic by Natalia Bilenko.

Photo courtesy of the Berkeley Science Review. Original by me, image processing magic by Natalia Bilenko.

You can peruse the issue online here. Or I can save you a click and you can skip right to MY piece here. I had a lot of help from my muses, the people I was writing about, in helping this feature get done on time, because as it turns out, features are hard! I thought it would be like that Mark Twain line, “I would have written a shorter letter, but I didn’t have time.” I thought longer would somehow be easier. Well, not if you want it to be good. So, thanks to them for keeping me close to the truth when time pressures almost ruined everything, round after round of edits. They are amazing people and friends and I’m proud to have publicized their admirable hustle.

Ned gets distracted from the poster sessions at SfN 2014.

Ned gets distracted from the poster sessions at SfN 2014.

In other news, obviously my post-a-day habit for SfN petered out after only a few days. To be fair, what really killed it was taking Ned the Neuron around to make new “connections” all day, including at the delightful Twitter party #sfnbanter. I’ll tell you, if you want a date to a Twitter party, you can’t beat Ned. He is so universally beloved, I actually lost track of him at the bar once or twice (don’t tell his mom!). But, we managed to leave together, both of us in one piece, AND still make it to an 8:30 am talk as well as my afternoon poster the next day. Which, by the way, thanks to everyone who stopped by!

Done with my poster! Woo hoo!

Done with my poster! Woo hoo!

I will post on the remainder of the amazing things from SfN soon. But as long as I’m yammering about SfN-related things that aren’t actual scientific content, I will close with three pieces of advice I received while at SfN, in descending order of utility:

1. “If you’re leaving academia to be a science writer, your dissertation is the least important thing you will write for the rest of your career, because only a few people will read it.” — A future science writing role model I was lucky to chat with

2. “I think I finally figured out why we have death. We need turnover of ideas. Can you imagine if all these old people never died and we were stuck with their shitty ideas forever?” — Not so much advice as perspective from a past advisor/role model

3. “Just keep saying to yourself, ‘It’s only a movie. It’s only a movie.'” — My present advisor, upon hearing that Berkeley’s fMRI scanner will be down for the month in which I’d scheduled 18 fMRI subjects, my dissertation’s Chapter 3. Sometimes there just isn’t any good advice, I guess.

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