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Lenny Teytelman
Co-founder of ZappyLab.

Blogging is wonderful for science. More scientists should blog and tweet.

Lenny TeytelmanFeb 02, 2016Comments
Last night, I came across an interview in Current Biology with the scientist Jingmai O’Connor. It had a rather controversial paragraph: [Question] What’s your view on social media and science? For example, the role of science blogs in critiquing published papers? [Answer] Those who can, publish. Those who can’t, blog. I understand that blogs can be useful in affording the ~  read more

The pros and cons of speaker ribbons on conference badges.

Lenny TeytelmanJan 26, 2016Comments
As a graduate student and postdoc, I don't remember a single scientific conference where attendees wore ribbons on their badges. However, over the past two years, it seems to have become the norm. I personally feel uncomfortable wearing a "speaker" ribbon. It bothers me because I think it mistakenly suggests importance. Perhaps the many years of attending conferences as a student, with posters ~  read more

Is sexual harassment less common in biology than in astronomy?

Lenny TeytelmanJan 14, 2016Comments
Recent news is full of headlines such as Congresswoman Proposes Bill to Fight Astronomy’s Sexual Harassment Problem, Astronomy’s snowballing sexual harassment scandal picks up even more cases, Astronomy’s sexual harassment problem gets Congressional attention, Astronomers Are Finally Doing Something About Sexual Harassment and countless others. Painful ~  read more

A lesson on misleading graphs from the National Review

Lenny TeytelmanDec 14, 2015Comments
Wikipedia has a long article on "misleading graphs". It's an excellent article on graph distortion, but it's long. So to help those of us with a shortage of time, National Review has produced the following graph to argue that there is no global warming. The only #climatechange chart you need to see. (h/t @powerlineUS) — National Review ~  read more

House Committee AGAINST Science, Space, and Technology?

Lenny TeytelmanNov 30, 2015Comments
I just stumbled into the twitter account of the House of Representatives Committee on Science, Space, and Technology. This is the Committee with jurisdiction over NASA, NSF, EPA, NOAA and many other agencies. I realize that the Chair is Lamar Smith, a famous climate-change denier. I know that he has been abusing the Committee to harass scientists with subpoenas. I know that AAAS and several other ~  read more

Starve, kill, heal cancer with this juice!!!!

Lenny TeytelmanNov 23, 2015Comments
Ah, the homeopathic charlatans on social media. A reliable source of amusement, such as this quack advocating kale-flaxseed-ginkgo-tea enemas, to cure most maladies. According to "Hollywood's #1 Certified Healer" @Dr_Luther_San, tea, taken anally or orally, can heal almost anything — Lenny Teytelman (@lteytelman) November 23, 2015 Except, selling products ~  read more

What academics can do to reach 100% open access

Lenny TeytelmanOct 20, 2015Comments
It is the 2015 open access week, and the progress of the OA movement over the past few decades has been remarkable. However, one important thing hasn’t happened – libraries have seen no savings from all this progress; they are continuing to pay all of the insane subscriptions for the standard journals where most of the research is still published. We need to get to the point where ~  read more

The Decline of Pseudoscience?

Lenny TeytelmanSep 04, 2015Comments
Yesterday, I asked on Twitter whether there are more real scientists or pseudoscience charlatans. To be specific, on Twitter itself, more real or fake scientists? The consensus response was that Oz-like quacks dominate by a lot. Moreover, there was a sense in this thread that pseudoscience power is on the rise. On twitter, do pseudoscientists or real scientists have more reach/following? Who is ~  read more

Plague and anthrax - now you see them, now you don't! (on correcting published errors)

Lenny TeytelmanAug 06, 2015Comments
A study that erroneously suggested presence of bubonic plague and anthrax in NYC subways has been corrected, as reported at Retraction Watch. This is a terrific demonstration of the power of post-publication peer review to catch errors in a way that pre-pub review simply can not (See Ed Yong's excellent There’s No Plague on the NYC Subway. No Platypuses Either). At the same time, the ~  read more

Goodbye #TimHunt discussion

Lenny TeytelmanJul 28, 2015Comments
We have clearly reached the end of any productive conversation around the Tim Hunt remarks. The whole discussion is now in GamerGate land. We have good journalists being accused of a conspiracy. A former politician Louise Mensch is on a campaign against those who were offended by Tim Hunt's remarks, pretending to be an unbiased journalist. My personal rule of thumb - once a topic on Twitter is ~  read more

Yes, postdocs are underpaid

Lenny TeytelmanJul 08, 2015Comments
A few days ago, Justin Kiggins wrote Postdocs will be getting a raise (based on Obama's proposed rule change for overtime exemptions, it's likely postdoc salaries will increase to $50,000). This prompted a vigorous discussion with many faculty complaining that they are already struggling and any such increase is going to harm them and their postdocs. Yesterday, the key question in this ~  read more

Scientist skeptics, please help innovation instead of stifling it.

Lenny TeytelmanJun 17, 2015Comments
An integral part of becoming a scientist is learning to be skeptical. We often do not believe our own results and we hardly ever believe the published papers of others. If I'm not mistaken, there is a verb in Hebrew which means "to journal club" - that is to shred someone's research presentation. Skepticism is healthy, but we often forget that not everything proposed by someone else is stupid and ~  read more

Sacking Tim Hunt - what about tenure and academic freedom?

Lenny TeytelmanJun 13, 2015Comments
Fiona Fox just wrote Call off the hunt, a post questioning whether the firing of Tim Hunt from important positions in any way advances the cause of women in science. And yesterday, Claire Lehman made an interesting argument: @lteytelman No. I think a better way to deal with bad ideas is to publicly debunk them, not fire people for holding them. — Claire Lehmann (@clairlemon) June 12, ~  read more

Want to be ethical in science? Speak up.

Lenny TeytelmanMay 31, 2015Comments
What is the etiquette for disclosing an anonymous review that you wrote? It’s not a trivial question because all of us have the natural sense that an anonymous review is supposed to stay anonymous. Even I, an advocate of non-anonymous open peer review, see the problem of going public with something that was written in private at the request of an editor, with the understanding from the ~  read more

Don't stress over your thesis; no one will read it.

Lenny TeytelmanMay 05, 2015Comments
Writing the dissertation is hard. I particularly found the two months of procrastinating and staring at the blank first page painful. That time when you suddenly feel compelled to cook a lavish meal, put together the Ikea shelf that was lying there for five months and generally do anything that gives you an excuse not to stare at that blank page. The 30-second procrastination clip in Adaptation ~  read more