Looking back at another semester of Mind The Science Gap

by Andrew Maynard on December 14, 2012

Shamelessly nicked from Michael Grisafe’s last post (but at least I credited him)! Photo credit: Leah Ozeroff

Well, we’ve reached the end of another MTSG course.  Once again, ten great students have published 100 fantastic blog posts, and learned something on the way about communicating and interacting with others.

Mind The Science Gap will be back in January with another group of students – 12 this time, as I let two extras in in a moment of weakness.  This time round, I will be mixing up the mentors concept a bit – rather than having people sign up as mentors, I’m encouraging as many people as possible to subscribe to the blog or the RSS feed (see links to the right), and to comment on what they read – whether it’s feedback on content or style, or simply to connect with the writer.  So please do sign up, get your friends to sign up, plus your colleagues, your waitress, your bus driver – anyone you can in fact!

In the meantime, some highlights from this semester’s crowd:

Pickup:  It was exciting to see some of this semester’s posts picked up by other web sites.  The one that caused the most excitement was BoingBoing picking up Gillian Mayman’s post on sugar and hyperactivity (the traffic that resulted crashed the site!).  Another of Gillian’s posts was cited by MinnPost.  And the Washingtonian! It was also great to see SciAm blogs covering MTSG. Hillary Craddock was picked up by Aetiology. Ashley Cummings was mentioned on the ASPH Tumbler. Shara Evans had a post that was mentioned on Rachel Maddow’s blog. A brilliant post from Michael Grisafe on Hikikomori was cited by the British Psychological Society, amongst other places. A number of posts were listed at RealClearScience.com, including Ali Schumacher’s Double Dippin’ piece.  And of course, there was Sheela Doraiswamy’s mention in Jezebel.  I’m sure I’ve missed some, but not bad for a student blog!

Follow-on:  It was great to see a profile of Michael Grisafe on the Scientific American Incubator – expect to see more MTSG alums appear here. [Update Dec 22 – Alison Schumacher’s SA Incubator piece has also been published] And Hillary Craddock has already launched her own blog, The Confounding Variable – READ IT!

Thanks to Gillian Mayman, we will never think of Kirk and Bones in the same way again!

Under-appreciated posts:  As ever, some of the best posts IMHO slid under the radar of our readers.  In my personal favorite list I would include Shara Evans’s On exploding Turkeys, Gillian Mayman’s How to Stop Hiccoughs (the images!) and Michael Grisafe’s This Post Will Not Cause Seizures.

Facebook moments:  The back-end of this class is our Facebook group, where all the blog-related chatter and feedback goes on.  There were some great moments this semester, including

“Can I just say pressing Publish is one of the most nerve-wracking things I’ve done lately? ”

“Is it bad that I want to respond to my first comment with 1) ma’am, did you read the first paragraph?”

“Gillian – you broke us!” (that was me!)

“Will this ever become less stressful??” (not me – but it could have been!)

“Signs MTSG is taking over your life: When you have violent reactions to your friends who innocently ask, “Are you still working on that blog?””

“While working on my blog a puppy just crawled into my lap and fell asleep. Does this count as a valid excuse for being late to post? :p”

“So. tired. must. blog.”

“Just spent an hour perfecting my sperm drawings on my computer.”

“First post = first tandem skydive jump. First post on one current research paper = first solo jump. Gulp.”

“That awkward moment when you are about to publish your piece, and suddenly realize it might be complete garbage….”

“…someone from China just viewed your post! (Yes, I’m addicted to analytics.)”

“I got Re-blogged! Wooo!”

“Does anyone else hear “BLOG BLOG BLOG” in their head in the same manner that submariners go “DIVE DIVE DIVE” in the movies? Just me?”

“emailed Francis Collins your post. Got a smiley face back!”

“Illustrating a blog post on ear wax is surprisingly difficult.”

See you all in January!



Paula Johnson, PhD, MPH December 14, 2012 at 3:26 pm

Great course! I wish I had the chance to take it when I was there.

Michael Grisafe December 15, 2012 at 10:53 am

lol Two of the most disturbing pictures for this final post! I hope they don’t give readers nightmares! It was great being in your class!

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