December 2010

TUAW List of Best Mac Apps

by Kelle December 30, 2010

The best Mac applications I used in 2010 | TUAW. We’ve told you about DropBox and Mailplane ($25). I’ve been trying out BusyCal (aka iCal pro, $50) and will most likely be purchasing that. I also just started using Divvy, which is similar to Cinch ($7) and SizeUp ($13), for automatically arranging my windows. I […]


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One Way to the Battle the Gender Gap in the Science Classroom

by Kelle December 29, 2010

Reducing the Gender Achievement Gap in College Science: A Classroom Study of Values Affirmation | Science In this randomized double-blind study, 399 students either wrote about their most important values or not, twice at the beginning of the 15-week course. Values affirmation reduced the male-female performance and learning difference substantially and elevated women’s modal grades […]


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PiCloud: Advantages of running python in the cloud

by Eli December 28, 2010

When we go to conferences, observing runs, collaborations and other travels the first thing that comes to mind for packing is our laptop (or iPad). The laptop is steadfast, resolute and is always there when we need to work or relax. But there’s one slight problem; when we need to do work on the run, […]


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Recent AstroStatistics Papers

by Jessica Lu December 27, 2010

For many astronomers, statistics is an integral part of our analysis procedure; yet, we typically get very little formal training in this area. Recently, several astro-statistics papers have been posted on astro-ph that specifically address some of the unique attributes of astronomical data (small numbers of data points, frequent systematic errors or outliers, non-linear models, […]


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DropBox Keeps Getting Better and Better

by Kelle December 22, 2010

The big news is that DropBox has released version 1.0. The major new feature is Selective Sync. I also noticed Pause Syncing, but maybe that’s not new? To get the upgrade, download the new version and install by hand. (As Sarah pointed out in the comments, if DropBox is already running, be sure to quit […]


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Recommendation Letter Writing Round Up

by Kelle December 21, 2010

‘Tis the season for writing letters so I thought I would highlight some resources: How Do You Write Effective Letters of Recommendation for Grad School Applicants? and 5 Principles for Writing Effective Letters of Recommendation for Grad School Applicants Post with useful comments and the roundup. Tips on Writing Letters of Recommendation Video from Oberlin […]


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Version Control Demystified, Part 3: Git and Mercurial

by Tom December 20, 2010

This post is the third in a series devoted to version control. In Part 1, I talked about version control features that are already integrated into everyday tools, such as Dropbox or Google Docs. In Part 2, I gave an introduction to Subversion, which is a ‘traditional’ command-line version control system. In this post, I […]


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Unintentional Biases, Band-Wagon Effects, and the Weaknesses of the Scientific Method

by Kelle December 17, 2010

Rethinking the scientific method | The New Yorker (subscription required, unfortunately) Extremely disturbing article about well-intentioned scientists’ experiments and conclusions gone awry. Most upsetting is the lack of reproducibility in many important studies and the likelihood that those works don’t get published. The disturbing implication of his study is that a lot of extraordinary scientific […]


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Are the Obvious Non-Academic Career Options for Astronomers Not As Attractive as in Other Fields?

by Kelle December 15, 2010

Volatile and Decentralized: Why I’m leaving Harvard Tenured Harvard Computer Science professor describes why he chose to leave academia for a gig at Google. (via Evegenya Scholnick) I get to hack all day, working on problems that are orders of magnitude larger and more interesting than I can work on at any university…At Google, I […]


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Bad Proposals Writing Techniques

by Kelle December 14, 2010

How to Fail in Grant Writing | Do Your Job Better—The Chronicle of Higher Ed A list of proven techniques for writing bad proposals. (via Mordecai Mac Low). Some of my favorites: Focus your grant entirely on your own study species and/or area of focus. Knowledge for knowledge’s sake, right? Dealing with problems of general […]


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