Ideas

An alternative to the Mexico-US wall where the US would gain millions of dollars

tl;dr There is a 600 million to 2 billion USD annual market related to crossing the Mexico-US border. Allow temporary work visas (say 3 years) to take over this market and use the money to boost the US Border Patrol to build a wall of eyes, not a physical wall. President Trump of the United States of America, cc President Peña Nieto of the United Mexican States Today, Wednesday January 25th 2017, you are expected to announce your plans about building a wall between the United States and Mexico.

What are reasonable work hours and salary expectations for biostats/genomics careers?

My advisor recently asked me to fill a career planning document (he’ll blog about it at some point) that has lots of questions and is being very useful. Trying to fill answer all these questions has gotten me thinking about other important things for the future. Two of them being reasonable expectations for work hours and salary in a biostats/genomics academic career. I find these questions hard to answer and even hard to talk about, and if you know me, I’m a person that asks lots of questions.

Keeping in touch (ENAR2014?) and philosophical questions regarding México's future in genomics

The following text is an email I sent to several of my friends from the LCG undergraduate program I studied. There I talk about keeping in touch, I invite them to ENAR 2014, and also talk about some philosophical questions regarding our future. 

I’m posting it here because I don’t mind sharing these thoughts and because I don’t have the current email addresses of many former LCG students.

Enjoy

What does it take to be a good leader?

Leader: scientific or project In my mind before trying to answer this question I have to define leader. Right now I have two —possibly conflicting— leaders in mind. One is a scientific leader in the sense of a leader in a specific scientific discipline. The other is a leader who can organize and lead projects, either scientific ones (across labs for example) or what I want to call revolutionary projects. With such a grandiose name I am trying to cover the type of projects that can help change a country.

Have you been 'relative stupid'?

I enjoyed reading “The importance of stupidity in scientific research” by Martin A. Schwartz which I learned existed through @hmason and @simplystats. I found the point of how it’s normal to feel stupid in academia and specially in Ph.D. programs to be illuminating. But Schwartz clarifies that there are other kinds of stupid: we don’t do a good enough job of teaching our students how to be productively stupid – that is, if we don’t feel stupid it means we’re not really trying.

Commenting scientific papers

I’ve been thinking about commenting papers in blog posts. I did a few some long time ago, but now I’m thinking of doing this activity more systematically. There are several reasons why I’m thinking of doing this, say for 1 paper a week. It has the obvious advantage of forcing me to read a paper in depth per week. At the same time, I want to learn more from others. See what I like in other papers and maybe avoid some mistakes.

Why aren't all of our graphs interactive?

During the last pre-happy hour seminar, Karl Broman talked about Why aren’t all of our graphs interactive? I didn’t know, but a few years ago Karl worked in the department and clearly promoted beer-drinking and is the heart of the department. I’m a fan of our pre-happy hour seminars since you have a get to listen to good/fun talks over a beer or two. But I’m also a fan of reproducible research and useful graphics.

An Online Bioinformatics Curriculum

Last week I talked about online courses in my JHSPH-Biostat through Coursera post. Now I’m back to comment on An Online Bioinformatics Curriculum by David B. Searls. Sur Herrera pointed out this paper to me, and I have to say that if you are considering learning bioinformatics online it will be very useful to you. David Searls first goes through a history recap of online (free) courses. Notably, in the last year Coursera and other startups offered their first courses.

Learning about social networks through an interactive presentation

During this week’s journal club meeting Hilary Parker (homepage, blog) led the session on “Identifying influential and susceptible members of social networks”. Were there some speakers or why did she “lead the session”? By this I mean that Hilary tried a very different (and interesting) format this time. Instead of giving a talk, not a formal one like at seminars, she prepared a short presentation (publicly available here) that begins showing a 20 minute video.

P-values and Statistics phylosophy

I’m in the process of catching up with all the posts from SimplyStatistics that I didn’t read during the break. Doing so I found a very interesting post on p-values (more below) simplystatistics: This post written by Jeff Leek and Rafa Irizarry. The p-value is the most widely-known statistic. P-values are reported in a large majority of scientific publications that measure and report data. R.A. Fisher is widely credited with inventing the p-value.