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The Black Hole

Quarterly summary: Expanding our reach


This quarter, both Beth and Dave have made efforts to bring the Black Hole out of e-space and into the new territory.  Firstly, a panel organised by science blogger Maryse de la Giroday at will feature Beth at Northern Voice 2011 on May 13 and 14.  Secondly, though it was recorded (and probably aired) earlier this year, we were able to get a nice plug in for the Black Hole site on CFUR radio in Prince George during a piece that Dave contributed to on Stem Cells for their show Health on the Hill.  We are still trying to keep the twitter account active (@scienceadvocacy) with quick hit type items as well as posts from this site and have had a lot of traffic this month in particular, largely due to the arrival of tax time.

A recap of what was done this quarter:

Articles Written
Guest blogger Marianne Stanford:

  • Academia vs. Industry: A former Postdoc’s perspective


  • Retraction Watch
  • Dissertation Haiku
  • Open Source U?
  • Women and the MBA Session
  • “Questionable” Projects: Does the public have the answer?


  • Reducing medical (science) waste: Thinking before doing…
  • 2011 Taxes for Post Docs: At least we know the rules this year
  • New Metrics for Assessing Scientists: Let’s Accessorize
  • Science and Media Collide… in a good way

Discussion Highlights

  • Marianne’s guest post generated quite a buzz including one remark that commended her for choosing industry over academia and another that asked to reprint her post for a panel discussion at McMaster – she really touched on key issues affecting science trainees.
  • Beth has publically launched her application journey for the CIHR Science to Business program and received many a nod of support – fingers crossed!
  • Dave’s post on new metrics for scientists generated some chatter – Sonja B very wisely reminded us that many less established fields have a tendency to have smaller publication lists and a big paper is often indicative of a big impact piece of work and then Erika chimed in regarding other fields that have a huge gap between top tier specialised journals and the “big journals” like Science… we shared a good laugh while re-reading these comments as Erika is UBC’s new big superstar researcher with her comparative animal physiology paper in Science(!) – congrats Erika!
  • In response to Dave’s update on 2011 taxes, SubC returned to the commentary box with some opinions on post docs in Canada:  SubC highlighted the big move forward for having a uniform ruling across Canada (we agree!), noted the benefit of being able to contribute to RRSPs (extremely important now that the CRA firmly considers postdocs employees) and urged postdocs to also consider themselves as trainees, not employees (an issue that has cropped up on this site multiple times now)

Our Other Activities
Dave has continued to write for the Stem Cell Network blog publishing three articles this quarter:

Popular Posts this Quarter

  1. 2010 Canadian Taxes: Did you get your T2202 and T4a? (1,794)
  2. 2011 Taxes for Post Docs: At least we know the rules this year (665)
  3. Budget 2010: Post Docs, be careful what you wish for… (378)
  4. Nice Gals Finish Last: Sexist Reference Letters or Skewed Value Systems? (336)
  5. Academia vs. Industry: A former Postdoc’s perspective (324)

Links Added

  • The University of Melbourne’s Sustainable Laboratory program
  • Faculty of 1000 – recommendations of papers from eminent scientists
David Kent
Dr. David Kent is a principal investigator at the York Biomedical Research Institute at the University of York, York, UK. He trained at Western University and the University of British Columbia before spending 10 years at the University of Cambridge, UK where he ran his research group until 2019. His laboratory's research focuses on the fundamental biology of blood stem cells and how changes in their regulation lead to cancers. David has a long history of public engagement and outreach including the creation of The Black Hole in 2009.
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