Every December the journal Environmental Microbiology shows just how harsh the seemingly staid process of peer review can be, offering up a collection of snarky, funny, and otherwise memorable quotes from peer review critiques of the past year. (Remembering, of course, that "funny" is relative and depends largely on how far removed you are from the situation.) Some choice excerpts:
The finding is not novel and the solution induces despair.
The writing style is flowery and has an air of Oscar Wilde about it.
The writing and data presentation are so bad that I had to leave work and go home early and then spend time to wonder what life is about.
Thankfully, it's not all bad news.
I perused this manuscript while in the hotel prior to a friend's wedding. I was suspicious that a state of relaxation had influenced my enjoyment of a paper on soil formation; so I read it again, this time squashed between two large people on the delayed flight home, and still enjoyed reading it.
I really wish this annual article were available free to the public. It's a rare peek at daily life in the backrooms of science, and a valuable reminder that science is just a job, performed by people—rather than a series of stone tablets handed down from on high. It's great to see the push and pull, and very human personalities, that drive the search for truth. Sadly, you can only read this article with a subscription. These quotes come from Cesar Sanchez' Twisted Bacteria blog. I've linked the original article above, but if you want to read more quotes—and you aren't already paying for Environmental Microbiology—Twisted Bacteria will probably be more useful to you.
Image: Some rights reserved by smiteme
The YouTube channel HooplaKidzLab demonstrates some awesome science experiments you can try with your kids this summer. Here’s another video from the channel about how to make a robotic arm out of popsicle sticks:
Scientists discovered this new species of “glass frog” in Ecuador’s Amazon lowlands. Hyalinobatrachium yaku’s belly is so transparent that you can clearly see its kidneys, bladder, and beating heart. From Science News: Yaku means “water” in Kichwa, a language spoken in Ecuador and parts of Peru where H. yaku may also live. Glass frogs, like […]
Jennifer Raff — a bioanthropologist and geneticist who researches and teaches at U Kansas and U Texas — provides some excellent advice and context on how to read a scientific paper, from figuring out which papers and journals are worthy of your attention to understanding the paper in its wider context in the relevant field.
Despite the upfront cost, electric toothbrushes are much better at removing plaque than those freebies from the dentist’s office. For those who struggle to fill the American Dental Association’s recommended two minutes of brushing time, or anyone with limited dexterity, a sonic toothbrush can give your oral care routine a boost.To keep your chops healthy […]
Learning a new language will give your resume an upgrade, sure, but it will also provide a huge cognitive boost for mental tasks outside of translation and conversation. Bilingual brains have been shown to be better at handling multiple concurrent tasks, and gaining fluency in a new tongue is an amazing way to improve memory, […]
If you struggle to get a good night’s rest, consider replacing your pillows before dropping hundreds on a new mattress. You can give your tired neck a break with a 2-pack of memory foam pillows, available now in the Boing Boing Store.Each of these pillows is stuffed with cooling polyurethane foam that molds to your […]