Damn! But it’s not like I didn’t have my suspicions.

March 9, 2008

Regina Spektor Begin to HopeI get emails:

Just want to warn you that Spektor might be a witch who messes with your experiments.
I did a pilot study, got a very clear trend, and then did the full on study and got nothing, except very weird variance.

It could be because I listened to her album 3 x in a row while setting up the experiment.

2 days ago I repeated the experiment and just as I began to set it up, my finger was hovering over the play button on my fancy new Christmas ipod, to hear Regina again…and then I switched the artist to someone else. I was feeling superstitious.
Lo and behold, the experiment seems to now be confirming the pilot study.

She is a witch! Albeit loveable.

iPods (and the Walkmans, and boomboxes before them) have made some parts of field/lab biology more bearable. But it never occurred to me that some artists might insert random numbers into your results.

This is serious.

Any other artists to avoid while doing science?


5 books on design for every graduate student

March 9, 2008

pillar1.jpgI’ve added five great books to the Reading List page on the importance of thinking like a designer. Too often when scientists communicate–in seminars, lectures or in journals–they assume content will carry the day.

But quality, as we all know, equals good content * good design.

One big plus: these books practice what they preach. They are a joy to read, browse, flip through, or pore through. They belong to that rare class of books that you will always keep at hand, a perfect companion to revisit when you have 30 minutes and a steaming cup of coffee.