30 January 2007

What are in da box?

Biological Bulletin reprints
Just checked my mail, and saw a box. But what could be it be? Another textbook being sent by a publisher trying to sway me into adopting a new book for general biology? Ah! No, it's the reprints of my latest paper from Biological Bulletin!

PDFs are convenient, but for a sense of accomplishment, nothing beats the printed page.

The circle nears completion. I will have to send out copies to the people who have requested them. But this particular project can now go to bed, and it's time to push through on my manuscript and get something into an editor's hands again.

29 January 2007

Closing the door and making progress

I've had a good few days. I finally managed to shut my office door over the weekend and this afternoon and make very nice progress on a review article I'm pulling together. I like how it's turning out.

25 January 2007

Too quick to believe

I tool around a lot of science websites. Last month, I saw multiple blogs and websites reporting about how the Parks Service was waffling over how old the Grand Canyon is, in response to political pressures from fundamentalists Christians in government. For instance, the highly visible Panda's Thumb blog ran with it here. Also spotted on Richard Dawkins’s website.

The problem is that it isn't true. Skeptic also ran with the story at first, but in this article, they report that the press release that started to story appears not to have any substantive basis. Good on them for fact checking what looked to be an all too plausible story.

As usual, the initial hoopla gets more attention than the correction. On the Dawkins website, the article come up with the full headline and article, with the link to the Skeptic piece as a much smaller update.

24 January 2007

Administration ate my brain

Or at least, administration is eating my time. Since Monday... let's see...

I've been dealing with documentation concerning our university's reaccreditation (Hi SACS!). We need to have "student learning outcomes" for our students, measures of how well those outcomes are achieved, two year's worth of the measurements we took, a list of changes we made in response to those measurements, and what changes we plan to make in the future based on those measurements. It's a bit difficult to do when -- in the case of our graduate program, which I oversee -- you're talking about 0 to 2 students graduating in any single semester.

Then the page proofs for the new graduate catalogue appeared on my desk, with a very short turnaround time and many, many errors and missing classes and things in need of updating.

I managed to get those two things squashed this morning, thankfully. But the fun continued. I just got out of a Faculty Senate meeting. Lots of review of our university's Handbook of Operating Procedures.

And looking at my desk, I can see at least two more forms and paperwork asking me for information.

I really want to get back to my manuscript, which was coming along so nicely before classes started up again.

Oh yes.... first post with new version of Blogger.

19 January 2007

Safe returns

We had a bad few days in the department when one of our instructors went missing. She had gone overseas for the holidays, and when classes started... nowhere to be seen. This continued for a couple of days.

Fortunately, she is safe and sound and has returned to work this morning. Whew.

I got asked to step into her class temporarily and give a lecture rather than canceling class, which I was glad to do. But I am also glad I will not be having to do it for any more days, since it took a big bite out of my time.

In other news... um... well... there isn't much. Classes have started again, I'm working on a manuscript and trying to make arrangements to go to meetings (South East Nerve Net is a possibility), that sort of thing.

And the prospect of some very good news remains just tantalizingly out of reach, so I still can't talk about it yet.

04 January 2007

Oh yeah, way behind

Book progress 2007 01 04Some time last year, I wrote that I had started work on a book manuscript, on the "200 words a day equals a book in a year" theory. I worked on it a little today, for the first time in a long time. Unfortunately, the graph has reached the point that you can't see the little, teeny, tiny nudge upward at the very end of the "actual" line. So hopefully I'll start seeing the red "work done" line lifting up some more in coming months, though it'll be a tough slog to get back on target.

Now we're looking official

UTPA Bio Grad Program stampIn my role as Graduate Program Coordinator for the department, I found I was starting to lose track of when I'd received certain bits of paper (applications, letters of inquiry and such). I shouldn't have that problem any more now that I have -- the stamp! Bwa-hah-ha-haaaa! Good up until the end of 2013. And I can still use it when we get a Ph.D. program, since it says, "Graduate Program" rather than "Master's program."

Mathematician again?

First, I'm Isaac Newton, now this...

Your Intellectual Type is Visual Mathematician. This means you are gifted at spotting patterns — both in pictures and in numbers. These talents combined with your overall high intelligence make you good at understanding the big picture, which is why people trust your instincts and turn to you for direction — especially in the workplace. And that's just some of what we know about you from your test results.
(From Tickle)