Links: Encouraging Creativity, Getting Started with Twitter, Ergo Mousing, and More.

by Kelle on August 14, 2010

  • Scientific career renewal | Nature Jobs
    “Scientists must force themselves off the research treadmill periodically if they are to remain creatively stimulated. The culture and bureaucracy of science must encourage them to do so.”
  • Taking “The Road Not Taken”: On the Benefits of Diversifying Your Academic Portfolio. (arXiv:1008.1586) | astro-ph
    “…young researchers should always allocate a small fraction of their academic portfolio to innovative projects with risky but potentially highly profitable returns. In parallel, selection and promotion committees must find new strategies for rewarding candidates with creative thinking.”
  • California Postdocs Embrace Union Contract | Science Insider
    Gotta say, Astro postdocs in the US got it pretty good! (Thanks to NASA and the Hubble Fellowship program for setting the standard!) Under the new contract at the Univ. of California, postdoc salaries will gradually align with US Nat. Institute of Health standards which call for paying a first-year postdoc $37,740, rising to $47,940 by the fifth year. The NIH standards are seen as a floor, and one-third of the UC postdocs are already making above $47,000 a year.
  • The Best Advice I Received For Attending Conferences Was to… | Search Engine Journal
    Even though this is from a blog about blogging, the advice was right on: Hang out with collaborators, Smile, Listen, Speak Up, and, something new, Don’t compete with competitors.
  • How to Start Tweeting (and Why You Might Want To) | ProfHacker
    “One of the most common dismissals of Twitter sounds something like this, “I don’t need to know what a bunch of people had for breakfast.” My response to this is always, “if that what you’re seeing on Twitter, you’re following the wrong people.” Twitter can help academics make and maintain connections with people in their fields, find out about interesting projects and research, or crowdsource questions and technical problems…Unlike Facebook, on Twitter you can follow anyone you want.”
  • One Week With the Magic Trackpad — No Pain | TheAppleBlog
    Wrist pain is prevalent in our computer intensive field and it should not be ignored! If you have wrist pain from mousing, consider taking the Magic Trackpad for a whirl! Other ideas are taking more frequent breaks, switching to left handed mousing, getting a more ergonomical mouse. I’m particularly fond of the Humanscale Switch Mouse. Also, be sure to check out Cornell Ergonomics Web’s 10 Tips for Using a Computer Mouse.
  • Lifehacker Pack for iPhone: Our List of the Best iPhone Apps | Lifehacker
    Some new ones here that I’ve never heard of including Atomic Browser (Safari Alternative) and Meebo (IM). Might need to do some updating on the iPhone Apps Wiki page.
  • Keeping Your Life in Sync | ProfHacker
    Very nice article about using Dropbox, MobileMe, and BusySync. My only addition is that while she mentions Xmarks for Chrome for syncing bookmarks, there’s also Firefox Sync for FF users. Check out my versions of this article: Part 1 on using Dropbox for Things, 1Password, and BibDesk and Part 2 on why I use MobileMe.
  • Sharpie liquid pencil | Boing Boing
    WOW! “Sharpie is to sell a ‘liquid pencil,’ a pen with erasable ink made from graphite that only becomes permanent after three days’ exposure to the air. In the meantime, it may be rubbed out with a standard eraser. It’ll hit stores this fall.”

Don't forget the bigger picture

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Bruce Berriman August 25, 2010 at 11:28 am

I am interested in learning more about how astronomers use Twitter. Can someone give me some concrete examples of how people are actually use Twitter in their daily work? Thank you!
E-mail: gbb (at)


2 Sarah August 25, 2010 at 5:10 pm

Hi Bruce. Your comment is a good reminder that I’ve been meaning to write a blog post about twitter for ages now. Briefly, I have found twitter useful to talk to fellow astronomers that I wouldn’t normally meet or communicate with – so in a general “networking” sense. I’ve had useful chats about papers on astro-ph, and found interesting papers by other astronomers tweeting about them. I’ve received answers to questions/problems I’ve had – usually related to coding, computing, software – more quickly than I could have found them myself in the manual or help section.


3 Emma August 26, 2010 at 5:09 am

Hi Bruce. I agree with all of Sarah’s points, and I just wanted to add another one – I’ve found it very useful for following what’s happening at conferences, especially if several people are tweeting the meeting.


4 Bruce Berriman August 27, 2010 at 3:49 pm

Thank you – this is very useful. Sarah – I look forward to your blog post.


Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: