Radio silence…please stand by…

I know I have many promised posts, and I’ll get to them one day. Alas, the family and day job come before blogging, and I’ve been swamped with ongoing projects, grant applications, and manuscripts. I’ve been so busy, in fact, that revere over at Effect Measure beat me to the punch on my own upcoming paper, looking at antibodies to Streptococcus suis in Iowa swine workers. The paper is scheduled for the December issue of Emerging Infectious Diseases, but the unedited draft is already up in their ahead of print section. As revere already has a good overview of the paper, I’ll just point you there rather than re-hash everything. (For a bit of a review of Strep suis, I have an overview post here.)

I’ll likely have little time to do any updates here until January, but you can always find out what’s going on with emerging diseases here in Iowa by checking out our redesigned center homepage, or signing up for our Facebook group. We take new interns 3 times a year, so if you know students who’d want to gain some experience, drop us a line…

For the jump haters…

Thomas asks in the comments:

“More after the jump…” WTF? Why must people insist on using this trite, meaningless phrase? Don’t they know it immediately makes people hate them for using it? I’m pretty sure people know how to scroll down to see if the article continues. And when all that “jump” is is a double-spaced line… WFT!?

I’m not a big fan of this phrase either, but I started using it after talking with readers who 1) came in from the home page and it wasn’t always clear from the portion of the post appearing there if there was additional text at the link; and 2) read via RSS feed and would only click through if it was also obvious there was more to read that way. I realize, though, that it makes it a bit awkward for readers coming in via a link from the Sb home page or elsewhere, though–so I’m certainly open to any suggestions.

ASM anyone?

Back from Mongolia (photos here for anyone interested), but heading off across the country this weekend for this year’s American Society for Microbiology general meeting in Boston, then down to Connecticut for some reunion-ating. I just wanted to draw your attention (especially those of you planning to head to ASM, or already in the Boston area) to these events:

The Science Social Media Breakfast
Tuesday, June 3, 2008 8:00 a.m. ET – 10:00 a.m. ET
Channel Café, 300 Summer Street, Boston, MA

Join Elio Schaechter of Small Things Considered and Chris Condayan from the MicrobeWorld Radio and Video podcasts for a lively breakfast discussion about using new media for science communication. All attendees are encouraged to share their experiences in using new media, such as blogs, social networks, video and audio podcasts, and wikis, to promote the life sciences or for use in educational settings.

This event coincides with the American Society for Microbiology’s 108th General Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts from Sunday, June 1 to Thursday, June 5, 2008.

Please note that The Science Social Media Breakfast is not directly associated with ASM’s General Meeting and is therefore open to anyone in the Boston Metro Area to attend.

Attendance is free, but space is limited. Please register online at Eventbrite.

There also will be a session on new media:

Symposium Session
097/W. Microbiology in the Media: When It Works, When It Doesn’t and How to Do It Right
Monday, June 02, 2008, 2:30 pm – 5:00 pm
258 A, 415 Summer Street, Boston, Massachusetts

For the majority of the general public, their only exposure to the world of microbes and microbiology is through the media. Often, journalists or documentary groups will interview microbiologist and then interpret their research for a mass audience. This relationship is often tricky, with competing interests between the scientist, concerned with scientific accuracy, and members of the communications industry who are concerned with clarity and interest. If balanced, this can lead to extremely successful interactions that have a positive impact on public understanding. If not, the result can severely damage public perceptions. Such interactions can also have an impact on individual investigators, who must find a way to balance public outreach without risking their own scientific credibility. This symposium will discuss some of the successes and how they worked, some of the failures and why they didn’t, and how to work with journalists and documentary makers to ensure a successful collaboration.

I’ll be there all week and have a grad student presenting a poster there; who else will be there?

On Hiatus

May and the first week of June bring an R01 deadline and 2 weeks of travel, and I’m trying to get 2 more manuscripts out the door by the first of June. To minimize distractions, I’m closing up shop here for about 5 weeks. I’m also mulling about a new comment moderation policy; I’m tired of the resident trolls shitting all over every discussion thread, but I’ve not decided what to do about that just yet. Anyway, check back after June 8th for new material.

Student posts, assignment #2

My students are back with their second writing assignment, which I’ll be posting for the next few days. As I mentioned previously, constructive comments on their posts are appreciated, but keep in mind that they’re students doing this as an assignment and still learning–and comments that I feel are over the top (or attacking me via them) will be removed. Finally, these posts are the students’ own; I’m formatting them for publication here, but beyond that their words (and opinions) are their own.

Off to Atlanta

Technically, I was supposed to be in Atlanta a good 3 hours ago, but our plane’s broken down here in Moline (where I’ve been for 7 hours and counting now). For the next few days, I’ll be at the International Conference on Emerging Infectious Diseases (ICEID). Just scanning the schedule, there’s a ton of interesting topics to write about, so I’ll try to carve out a bit of time this week to write a few additions to the emerging diseases series. I’ll also be giving a talk of my own here on Tuesday; any readers attending?

A note of thanks

Just wanted to say how appreciative I am to those of you who took the time to read and/or comment on this week’s guest posts from my students. Though a few of them did take part in the comments section (something I didn’t require), I know that they were all following along and appreciated the input and questions from y’all. I hope you’ll come back for the next installment in April!


…my grad students.

My spring semester course is on infectious causes of chronic disease, looking at the role various infections play in cancer, autoimmune disease, mental illness, and other chronic conditions. Since I’ve often discussed the importance of having scientists communicate with the public, I decided to assign each of them to write 2 blog posts for the course, discussing anything of relevance to the course. Their first round of assignments was due last week, and I’ll be posting them beginning on Monday. Constructive comments on their posts are appreciated, but keep in mind that they’re students doing this as an assignment and still learning. Finally, these posts are the students’ own; I’m formatting them for publication here, but beyond that their words (and opinions!) are their own.

Medblog awards open for voting

Every year, the folks over at host the Medical Weblog Awards. I’ve been nominated a few times, and even did OK in the best new blog category a few years back. This year, I’m apparently nominated in the Best Clinical Weblog category–which, honestly, I don’t think I fit into. So I won’t ask for your votes here, but I’ll suggest you check out some of the other fine blogs that are nominated, and the others that are nominated for all the other awards (including fellow Scienceblogger Orac). If you see something you like, pass along a vote or two.

Aetiology–live from LA

No, I’ve not dropped off the face of the earth. I’m currently here in rainy Los Angeles for a meeting with the WIRED SCIENCE/Correlations people, where I met up with fellow Correlations bloggers Clifford Johnson, Michael Tobis, and Sheril Kirshenbaum, as well as WIRED SCIENCE producer Damon Gambuto and a number of other folks who work behind the scenes there. I arrived here on Thursday (thus missing all the caucus hoopla back home), but unfortunately I spent all day sick as a dog in my hotel room, finally hit by the norovirus that swept through my family earlier in the week (and that I’d thought had spared me; at least symptoms didn’t hit until after I was off the plane).

The past week and a half has also been crazy work-wise: I took a few days off for the holidays, then got back to work submitting yet another grant proposal, and have been working overtime in the lab on a brand-spankin’-new project since the first of the year, hoping to have enough data for an abstract deadline on Monday.

On top of all this, I’ll be facilitating discussion in two weeks at the 2008 Science blogging conference in North Carolina, on the topic of blogging public health and medicine. Becky has added some topics to the list already, but I’m interested in reader input as well; anything we should discuss that’s not on there?

I hope everyone’s holiday season went well; back with more regular blogging soon…