Can someone please explain to me how to put up an RSS feed on this thing… Google fails me…
Author Archives: Alex
Anyone who works with me will tell you…I am a walking mixed tape. On the boat. Singing. In the lab. Singing. Underwater…yes…still singing (not so good for air consumption). With the exception of science, music is my greatest passion. So as you can imagine, when I started mixing the two, I found an outlet that worked for me. At least this way, if marine ecology doesn’t work out, I have a fall back as a science rapper. And like every science rapper….I have my fair share of people who inspire me. Those brilliant lyricists whose rhymes and rhythms span generations, change the status quo, and give us all a reason to pump it up and dance in the car (you know you do it). Dr. Dre, Eminem, Snoop, Busta Rhymes, Wu-Tang Clan, Missy E, Nas, Tupac…honestly there are too many to name, but you get the picture. However, as a science rapper specifically, there is one whose musical medleys I have always found quite epic. Reason one being…he drops the beats on Darwin in a way I have never hear before….
Check it (includes some of my faves):
Baba Brinkman is a Canadian triple threat. Rapper, writer, “former tree-planter”, and probably a whole list of other fun things. Learn more about Baba’s work here: www.bababrinkman.com
Anyways, since hearing his science raps a couple years back, I was like… “This guy is freaking awesome…it would so cool to meet him one day.” Not actually thinking this was possible I put it on my bucket list and went on living the life of an aspiring science rapper (more scientist than actual rapper, but I do try)… that was until last week.
As you all know from my previous postings, I will be one of the lucky souls in attendance at the 2013 ScienceOnline conference. Now I have known for a long while that this conference was going to be off the chain. From networking, to science-ing, to collaborating, you name it, #SciO13 will have it (Shout out to Bora, Karyn, and Anton…for making the magic happen). What I didn’t know however, due to some outrageous oversight on my part, was that indeed B. Brinkman himself is going to be a converge speaker. How…how did I not know this?! ScienceOnline how do you continue to prove your unarguable epicness time and time again!?! So with this knowledge, I must now revise my previous post of goals to meet at #SciO13…
Goal #1: Rap with Baba Brinkman
Currently working on the deets to make this collab happen… A check on the good ole bucket list. Time to channel my inner Eminem and get to the drawing board.
Send some good mojo.
This is an OMG moment. Why you ask? The answer is simple…as I write this only 23 days, 21 hours, 44 minutes and 1 second stand between me and the conference I have been waiting a year for. If you are close to me, I apologize again for having to hear about my nerdy infatuation, but ScienceOnline 2013 is going to be epic.
For the peeps that don’t know what I am talking about, I believe a little 411 is in order. ScienceOnline is what has been described as the “unconference” conference. A gathering of the gurus, newbies, and the all out craziest minds of the online science community to talk about my favorite topic. ScienceOnline seeks to promote conversation, community, and collaboration amongst scientists, journalists, bloggers, tweeters…you name it, they have it. I have never been in attendance, but when I got wind of what this was all about, naturally I had to get in on it.
So as I begin to think about which shoes I am going to pack (I believe Dr. Bik would agree that this is a critical part to every adventure) and all the thought-provoking talks I am going to see, I have been following #SciO13 on the twittersphere for the latest updates. There was one tweet in particular that struck me, from Caren Cooper @CoopSciScoop talking about her goals for ScienceOnline. Reading through this, and being a big goal maker myself, I felt inspired to write about the things I am looking forward to and most interested in taking away from (and contributing to) at #SciO13. This is a topic that has actually been on my mind for a while now, but I am excited to finally put it down and share with you. So here it goes…
The Big Goals
I figured it would be best to align these with the 3 major C’s of ScienceOnline, so that I know I am getting the most out of my experience and covering all of my bases if you will.
1. Conversation: It’s really no secret….I love to talk to everyone. I think I missed the whole “do not talk to strangers” train when I was little or something, but so far, being a social butterfly hasn’t let me down and I have a feeling there are going to be a lot of butterflies just like me at this conference. My goal is to put a face to, give a hand shake, and maybe even have a drink or two with all of my favorite online names (too many to put here, but I will find them all). I am most excited for the stimulating conversations that are going to ensue about the most pressing issues in Science, online communication, and public outreach.
2. Community: Community building is a topic some of my colleagues and I have put extensive thought into over the last couple of months. How do we best set up a line of communication between the public and us as researchers? Or perhaps even more importantly, how do we build a strong community within our department (students, faculty, staff)? Not only am I looking to expand my online community at #SciO13, but I am also on the look out for the best tools, both online and other places, to bring back and build up the community here at SDSU.
3. Collaboration: I am a scientist by trade, but people from all different backgrounds flock to ScienceOnline. I am looking forward to talking with peeps from disciplines across the board and maybe taking away a new outlook from journalists and writers on how to best portray science or think about communication.
The Little Goals
1. Balance: As a graduate student with a plate as full as Mt. Everest, I am definitely interested in talking to others whom of which I know take on even more than I do and seeing how they survive without sleep. What are their secrets? What kind of caffeine drip they prefer?….Just kidding…but I am interested in the balance. How does one balance both an online presence and a budding research career, and still look great doing it?
2. Communication to an older generation: Often I feel like the focus of our educational system lies in bringing science to children in the classroom. However, I am interested in bringing science to the older as opposed to the K-12 generation. However, how does this work for those who might not be so versed in Twitter, WordPress, or even the the internet? How do I bridge this generational/technological gap? A topic I hope to delve more into.
3. Learning how to sell it: Of any group I have come across, I find that the online science community is the best at “getting people to buy what they are selling.” Now what do I mean by this? In order, to have a solid online presence, you have to be able to synthesize information in not only a way that the public will understand, but in a way that they will also buy. They know how to present themselves and their science in ways that people keeping coming back and demanding more. This is a skill that I have been working on and I believe strongly translates into other avenues of the research process (such as grant writing). Thus, I would love to take a page out of the books of the best and learn a thing or two about workin’ it.
The (Um…Random?) Goals
2. Perform a little diddy at Open Mic…7+ hours traveling from San Diego to N.C. I am bound to come up with something….
3. Science of Beer: I don’t know why this has always fascinated me, but I am making it a goal to attend this… because it’s awesome (…and liquid nitrogen beer floats intrigue me)
ULTIMATE GOAL: LEARN AS MUCH AS I POSSIBLY CAN….and then tell all my friends so they too can have the knowledge-y goodness.
So I don’t know if you could tell by now or not…but I am quite excited…. yes this is what I look like….
ScienceOnline 2013 will be an adventure indeed and I hope that you will join me. I will be tweeting my whole experience from @Alex_Warneke using the conference hashtag #scio13. I will also try to post periodic updates here as the weekend progresses about what I have learned and how I am getting along on what I have set out to do. For those of you going to the conference, can’t wait to finally meet you.
I leave you with this…the top 3 talks and their descriptions from the ScienceOnline wiki that I won’t be missing and you will definitely be hearing more about. (Though…looking at the schedule…I don’t know how I am going to pick!) Stay tuned.
Where at #SciO13 is Alex San Diego?:
Why should scientists “do” outreach? Pt. 1
The perennial discussion about scientists ‘doing’ outreach intensified this year, with lots of opinion and some data about who’s doing it, who’s fault it is that so few do it, what the roadblocks are, and how to alleviate them. Rather than host yet another tiresome round of the blame game (e.g. Scientists should do more outreach! Scientists suck at outreach!), the goal of this two-session track is to create a take-home resource for scientists hoping to do more and/or better outreach or trying to drum up enthusiasm for outreach in their departments/institutions and for those hoping to recruit more scientists to do outreach. In this session, we will focus on why scientists should want to do outreach. Drawing on the collective ScienceOnline expertise, we will brainstorm a list of ideas for incentivizing outreach that take into account the limitations (time, etc.) and barriers (stereotypes, etc.) that researchers face.
– If the currency of a scientific career is peer-reviewed papers and grants, how can scientists be encouraged and supported to take time away from these activities for outreach?
– What are the incentives to do outreach, and what are the limitations and barriers?
Science Art as Science Outreach
A discussion of how art can be a powerful tool in communicating complex scientific concepts and can reach an audience that may not normally find an interest in science. The commonly-held belief is that science is dry and art can add passion to it but the reality is that it works both ways. Science can be a huge inspiration. We will include discussions of examples using art as an effective tool for science communication and outreach, and want to get a list of examples going on the wiki page. Creating art can also enhance mastery of scientific concepts and ideas and we will draw from studies and examples to discuss ways of incorporating artistic creativity into science education.
– What artists, authors, creators use their art to communicate science?
– Can being scientifically accurate hurt the creative process? Enhance it? Both?
– What comes first? Science or art? Science can inspire art but it can also be incorporated into a creative piece.
Blogging in Grad School: Pro’s, Con’s, and Potential
Blogging as a graduate student is a great way of keeping abreast of topical research as well as using one’s expertise to communicate science to the public. It might also turn into a great segue out of the lab and into a career in science communication. However, your P.I. might not agree. In the current climate of job shortages, not just in academia, it would be great to discuss the value of blogging and networking (and building an online presence and brand) while working on an advanced degree. But what are the pitfalls of making the decision to do this? How do you navigate the negative vibes coming from your mentors and often peers? And lastly, what are the long term effects of blogging in grad school?
Do you worry about how your P.I. views your blogging (or do you keep it a secret)?
Do you use Twitter to publicize your blog?
Has blogging in grad school helped or hindered you on the job market?
As many of you know, I am a big fan of this scientist’s work and global mission. I was sent this article today and had to re-post it here. Read it and Think.
The Sweet Spot in Time by: Sylvia Earle
An eye the size of my fist peered through the window near the bunk where I lay, half awake, just past midnight on July 20, 2012. A goliath grouper, a fish larger than my desk, swerved past me into the dark sea, its mouth brimming with small fish attracted to the lights of the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory, my home for a week on Conch Reef near Key Largo, Florida. For the tenth time, I was living under the sea, experiencing what I had dreamed of doing as a child, living out a fantasy that had begun with Captain Nemo, Jules Verne, and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea.
One of my five fellow aquanauts, marine biologist Mark Patterson, astutely observed that we were about 20,000 millimeters below the surface—some sixty feet—in a warm, dry suite of rooms, with access to the best swimming pool in the world: the ocean. A rectangular hole in the floor was the entrance to the lab and our exit to the sea beyond, with the pressure inside Aquarius keeping the water from rushing in. For as much as twelve hours a day (or night), scientists who work in Aquarius can explore that richly endowed Florida reef, observe and document the behavior of marine life, conduct experiments, enjoy the perspective of a resident, and make the most of the chance to occupy what is presently the world’s only “space station in the sea.”
Now that all the fun of finals and the end of the semester is at a close, it is time to do the damn thing. Before I get into some bigger (more expensive) experiments I have scheduled for next semester, there are a couple of things I will be working to figure out over winter break.
Alex’s To Do List:
1. Pick study species (both algae and herbivores)
2. Lock in heavy metals and their environmental concentrations
3. Figure out chemical analysis and how to use a Mass Spectrometer
4. Shopping Spree for lab equipment (almost as good as shopping for clothes…almost)
5. Set up preliminary experiments
6. Get Data
Let’s get crackin’.
I hope this is finding everyone enjoying their holiday cookies and bowl games. What a crazy couple of months it has been! Sorry for the MIA-ness. I have been quite the busy bee this past summer/semester, finishing up my undergraduate degree in May (Yay!) and hitting the ground running to start my Masters this Fall. All in all it has been an adventure and I am finally sitting down to do a long awaited re-vamp on DJ’s Locker. As you may have noticed…some things have changed. I figured every New Year needs a new look (at least that’s what I learned on Fashion Police last night). Thus, I have given the site a much needed facelift and am ready to start the year off fresh. I am not one for resolutions, but I will give it a good faith effort. This next season I will also be doing things a little bit differently. As some of you may or may not know, I had the privilege of participating in the #SciFund Challenge in Nov/Dec. (What is the #SciFund Challenge? ->Click Here) Through this platform I was able to raise $1,765 for my research (See “The Science”) from the generosity of people just like you! (Mad shout out to my #SciFund Crew). Overall, Round 3 SciFunders were able to crowdfund over a quarter of a million dollars! An amazing feat and a testament to what happens when scientists and the public join forces. With our powers combined and all that.
Anyways, after everything was said and done, I decided I wanted to take my blog down a bit of a different route. Do not be alarmed, I will still have the occasional rad post about what I feel is funky fresh in today’s science world. However, I want to transform this site into more of an online lab notebook. This will allow a couple of things to happen:
1. As is ALWAYS the main goal >>Bring science to a broader public audience in a way that is easily understood, accessible, and (hopefully) interesting.
2. Allow those who have supported me in the #SciFund Challenge and anyone else who is interested to keep tabs on what I am up to in the lab/field.
3. Give me a chance to keep a running dialogue of my research with pictures and interesting tidbits…when I go to write this all up for my thesis/manuscript, I know I will be thanking myself later.
4. Make it easier for me to update this site semi-regularly (I am hoping that with this new format, I will at least be able to maintain monthly/bi-monthly postings)
So that is the skinny. Have a look around as I have added some pages that I thought would be a fun edition. As always, I am open to suggestions on content and format (M. Goldstein…I promise I will left justify from now on ;)). Just hit me up in the comments section or on which ever social media outlet you frequent (Facebook, Twitter, Email, Smoke Signals, etc.) the lines are always open. Hope you enjoy the new look and thank-you for tuning in.
Happy Holidays from The Locker!