We're a little crazy, about science!

365 Days of Academia

Day 324: Rewriting

edits

Today is a bunch of meetings and a bunch of editing. As I mentioned (or at least think I mentioned here), I had to meet with the senior author for the paper I’m working on and I got a lot of feedback, some of it was good, most of it meant more work for me. That’s the process though, write, rewrite, re-re-re-re…rewrite.

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Day 323: Skype a Scientist!

wiring

Today is going to be fun, I’ve got a ton of meetings, but I also get to do outreach. If you’re a scientist, you can do it too, no matter where you are in the field, sign up at Skype a Scientist. While I wanted to write this post before my sessions I ended up having to write it afterwards so let’s get into what I talk about and how it went.

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Day 322: Stuck

hamster wheel

Ever feel like you’re just going around in circles like a hamster in a wheel? I’ve been working on about a million different things and I just can’t seem to get them off my plate. The work just keeps going and it’s got me somewhat down. Maybe I just need a day off or something.

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Day 321:Wear the damn mask

Daily Life In Belgium Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Today is just a simple plea to my readers. Wear the damn mask. It’s not that hard. When you go out you put on your clothes, you can put on a mask too. Since people seem to be making this a political statement now, I guess I can explain why it’s not one.

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Day 320: Solid Modeling – Week 4

Finished Rocket

We’re making something a little more exciting than a cube today. Yay!

Welcome to week four! For those of us just tuning in, this is a class for solid modeling using FREE software, so if you have internet access, you can do this too! You can find the whole course in the handy Solid Modeling for Beginners category. Last week we introduced a whole lot of navigation tools and helped you get situated into the world that you’ll be able to model in. So let’s get started by doing a quick recap of the past weeks and hopefully you’ve done your homework because we’re using that part today to make something more impressive than a cube.

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Day 319: The (dis)information age

misinformation

Look around, we’re drowning in information. It’s an overload, we literally were not made to absorb this much information all at once. News stories bombard us with new bits of it. Social media is full of it. Ads promise you forbidden knowledge with this one weird trick. It’s no surprise it’s hard to tell what’s real.

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Day 318: The why.

parts

With everything going on it’s been tough to write about just one topic. When I started 365 days, I started it with the intention of highlighting my struggles and trials through one full year of my PhD with the idea that I may (or may not) keep going for the duration of my PhD process. Then COVID hit, Black lives matter protests took off (finally), and I had the realization that I, like most people, am more than just my studies.

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Day 317: Mental health and you

neural symphony

I scream it loudly from the mountain tops, I suffer all the fucking time from mental health issues. I do it because staying silent doesn’t keep me from feeling them and it does nothing for others who are suffering. Yes, it’s embarrassing to talk about it because it feels like a taboo, or something you’re making up, but that’s why we need to talk about it and why you need to keep track of your own mental health.

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Day 316: Internships in the pandemic

Distance learning

For those of you not in academia, summertime means we get interns in the lab to learn about how research works in a real-life setting. We typically have them help with things that require basic skills, but lets them see how research really happens. This year, we are doing everything virtually thanks to COVID-19. This is a great thing because it really means we’re doing what we can to stop the spread while still giving students a chance to experience research.

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Day 315: Neural Engineering in a pandemic

pandemic PPE

For the past week or so my PI has been away, so I’ve had the chance to work on other projects from home. Unfortunately he returns this week so I’ve got to switch gears from protests, working from home, and undergrad mentoring back to experiments and experimental setup. As the senior student in the lab, I’ve got a lot of responsibilities.

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Day 314: It’s all part of the act…

Ringleader

Step right up boys and girls! Hurry, hurry to the greatest performance you’ll ever see… Who doesn’t love a good show, right? I mean you get to escape reality for a moment, forget your troubles, and see a whole different world. Unfortunately, once the show is over, it’s business as usual and that can’t happen, not this time. So why are the people in charge doing the same song and dance?

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Day 313: Solid Modeling – Week 3

 

Sketchup planes

This course will all be taught using free software so have no fear, you can do it too! For those just joining us you can find all the posts in this series in the handy Solid modeling for beginners category. For the past two weeks I’ve been going over best practices. The reason is the tools are straightforward to learn, but how we use them is what separates someone who is learning from someone who is a pro. I have had some thoughts about what I wanted to cover this week for that reason, but this week we’re making something and by me we, I mean you! First, let’s do a quick recap of what we’ve learned and we can get started.

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Day 312: Yes, the protests are still going…

George floyd

It still appears there is a media blackout on the protests (first mentioned in my other post). That doesn’t mean we’ve stopped though! It also unfortunately doesn’t mean the police have stopped. In fact we’re seeing some really… umm scary tactics being used by the police to * checks notes * beat us until we stop protesting police violence.

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Day 311: When voting isn’t enough

Gerrymander

Rawr! Beware, the Gerry-mander!

I’ve been debating about writing this post and it’s just been rattling around in my head for the past month or so. Voting can change the course of history, frankly we saw that in the 2016 elections, but we also saw something else. Your vote doesn’t matter and that isn’t by accident. But wait, I just said voting can change the course of history, so how does it not matter? Well for that we need to go back, way back.

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Day 310: Review – Interfacing with alpha motor neurons in spinal cord injury patients

Figure 1 from the paper showing EMG recordings and the transformation using deconvolution to motor neuron spike trains
Figure 1 from the paper showing EMG recordings and the transformation using deconvolution to motor neuron spike trains

Spatiotemporal spinal maps of ipsilateral a-MNs. (A) Experimental set-up for ankle plantar flexion. (B) HD-EMG is decomposed into a-MN spike trains using a convolutive blind-source separation technique. (C) The spinal output to generate the neural drive to muscles is estimated from the a-MN spike trains.

The world is on fire, we’re protesting for a future, but today I have my review paper due so instead of writing about my frustrations I’m going to share my review. Today we’re looking at the effects of trans-spinal direct current stimulation (tsDCS) on alpha motor neurons and how we can determine that effect using electromyography. It’s actually a very cool paper, the work is well done, and it’s open source so you can read it if you’re interested.

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Day 309: No tests, no worries

head in sand

If I ignore my bills, I would have very few, if any. If that logic seems, well wrong, then I’m not surprised. Ignoring something doesn’t make it magically go away. Yet, Trump has touted, yet again, that if we slowed or stopped testing, we would have very few, if any cases of COVID19. I mean, with that kind of logic, you could have no more bills with this one weird trick!

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Day 308: Don’t be ableist

trump water

Believe it or not, there are some people who can’t even lift a hand, much less hold a glass of water.

For those of you just tuning into my corner of the internet, I’m a disabled vet. If you looked at me most days you wouldn’t know it, but not all disabilities are visible and my TBI, back issues, shoulder issues, knee issues, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, memory problems, PTSD, aphasia … I could keep going, but you get the idea. My disabilities are (mostly) not visible. So today I have a very simple request, don’t be ableist.

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Day 307: COVID19 and BLM or why you should wear a mask

statue

Despite the media blackout the Black lives matter protests are still going strong. To say I’m proud would be an understatement. Unfortunately with all the protests going on people are claiming that COVID19 isn’t as bad as people said it was, or that the protesters should stop because of the pandemic. The critiques all miss the point, this one simple trick will slow the transmission and it really works.

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Day 306: Solid Modeling – Week 2

part 18

We’re back again with week 2 of solid modeling for beginners! For those of you just joining in, you can read the introduction (pre-week 1) in this post. You can also find all the posts in this series (including week 1) in the Solid modeling for beginners category. Solid modeling isn’t too difficult, but it does take time and it does mean you need to learn to think about objects in different ways. Week 1 did a great job of introducing this type of thought process and today we’re going to continue from where that left off. Let’s just dive right in!

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Day 305: Trump, Godwin’s law, and history

Screenshot of Mike Godwin's tweet saying, "By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you."
Screenshot of Mike Godwin's tweet saying, "By all means, compare these shitheads to Nazis. Again and again. I'm with you."

Straight from the man himself, this is a very real tweet by Mike Godwin (Here).

Godwin’s law states simply “as an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.” Coined by Mike Godwin, Godwin’s law is often invoked when talking about Trump or the horrid state the so-called US democracy is in. Here’s the catch, the law was suspended by Godwin himself when talking about Trump and company, for very good reasons.

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Day 304: It’s still just the first wave

COVID-19

♫ One of these things is not like the other… ♫

COVID-19 is making headlines again and news reports are claiming the second wave is here. Well, that’s not quite right, we never actually stopped the first. We literally cannot have a second wave of outbreaks if the first wave is still going strong, it’s just a continuation.

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Day 303: Police food fight

steakshack

Well here’s something I never thought I would have to write about, the food is all right. Contrary to reports by police, no one is poisoning their food. In fact, every time a new story comes up regarding tapered food and the police it turns out the officers involved were (surprise!) lying outright. There are strangely so many of these incidents that it’s hard to keep up with, what is it about police that makes them think it’s okay to keep lying?

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Day 302: The supreme court weighs in and LGBTQ+ lives matter!

trans lives matter

Well as if we didn’t already have an overabundance of apocalyptic events occurring all at the same time, now we have trump rolling back protections for the LGBTQ+ community while the supreme court ruled in favor of protections for LGBTQ+ people. It’s all very confusing, but while we’re trying to burn down the system, need to build in protections for the LGBTQ+ community too.

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Day 301: We mourn the loss of a beloved… wendy’s

Wendy’s burns

Rayshard Brooks was murdered by police. Murdered isn’t quite a strong enough word for what the police did, but we’ll go with it. He was murdered. I don’t know the man, but I can tell you he had three daughters and a step son. I can also tell you he was murdered for being responsible. He was murdered for celebrating his daughters 8th birthday. He was murdered for doing the right thing. But today we mourn the wendy’s that was burned down.

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