No proper new post this weekend– life happened. Instead, here are some nifty things I’ve read and a teaser for next Saturday: my review of Feynman’s Rainbow, a story about a young physicist trying to learn to do science and be a grown-up, who gets help from–you guessed it– the most famous American physicist of his generation.
Regarding “Coffee Spoons” and everyone’s continued fascination with how our favorite drug works, here’s Scicurious with an story on the brain region caffeine affects (I love how she first presents the article in an accessible way, even if you don’t have a neuroscience background, and then adds a scientific critique about what she would’ve needed to see to be sold on the argument).
And somebody else seems to be thinking the same way as me about databases: “From Index Cards to Information Overload” is an interesting story from ScienceLine (which, by the way, is a really neat way for a journalism program to get its work out there) with some more practical concerns about massive databases, such as properly citing the people who did the work in the first place.
Finally– this quote from Ira Glass, one of my very favorite storytellers, showed up in my Facebook feed, and rang especially true to me this week! Maybe you’ll appreciate it too.
Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.
We return to our regularly scheduled blogging next Saturday! In the meantime, open thread: what cool science articles have you read lately?