jueves, 26 de enero de 2017

Relearning how to write

Creative Commons

Relearning how to write

Anxiety. Stress. Uncertainty. Ugh! These were all things I was feeling when I began trying to write for the public after completing my Ph.D. in conservation biology.
I had thought that writing for the public could be a stimulating career option that would keep me connected to conservation and promote those efforts to the public. It would also provide me the flexibility to stay home with my kids and the transferability to move around the country every few years as a military wife. I’m a good writer, I thought, or fairly good, and my scientific background should have prepared me to cover most biology topics.
But I hadn’t covered writing for the public in school, and I realized that I didn’t know how to start. I could just pick a topic and write, but how would I find an audience? Aiming for established venues would help, but what if they didn’t like the topic I wanted to write about? I felt stuck.
I’ve come a long way since then. I’ve written for blogs, and created one of my own. I write regularly for a conservation nonprofit’s website, and I’ve written a feature article for a magazine. I love doing what I can to encourage a passion for conservation in others and provide them with the knowledge and tools they need to help save the environment. As I’ve returned to teaching and considered moving into university administration, I’ve also found that it’s a nice addition to my CV.
But getting my writing skills up to speed was not an easy road. It has taken years of hard work to modify the technical writing habits that were instilled in me during my scientific training so that I can successfully write for the public. It has been worth it, though. I’ve learned so much from editors, I’ve met great people I hope to work with for a long time to come, and I enjoy sharing information with the public about critical efforts to save species and habitats around the world.  

A rough beginning

My first attempt at writing for the public started with my blog. I gave it a catchy name, Dissecting Science, but I didn’t know what the focus should be. I didn’t know who I should be aiming for as my audience, and I definitely didn’t know how to attract them. After 8 months of hemming and hawing—and moving across the country, and having a baby—I decided to put the audience question aside and just write.
I figured that it would be best to begin with something I knew well, so I chose a topic related to my dissertation that I thought would be interesting to a broader audience: the impact roads have on the environment. Now, 3 years later, I can see the problems with that piece. It was a good topic, but it was poorly executed. I didn’t really know who I was writing for, so I ended up resorting to a stiff, uninviting academic tone. The piece was also full of citations—25, to be precise. At the time, I thought these were necessary to validate my points and avoid plagiarism, but now I see that they are distracting and unnecessary. I had to learn how to write like I was writing for a friend, not for an academic audience, and how to give credit to others without disrupting the flow of the piece with all my citations.  
I kept at it, and I think my posts improved over those early months—but still, no one was reading them. I needed to start looking for an audience. I reached out to potential readers on social media. I also signed up for a free service to track how many times my posts were being viewed and where readers were coming from. This data helped guide my decisions about future topics to hopefully attract more readers. All of these efforts were important for growing my blog, but it also meant that the time this project demanded was increasing considerably, beyond what I wanted to spend on it. I needed a different approach.

Exploring other options

While I was struggling with my blog, I happened to start chatting with a neighbor who also ran a blog, which published posts from several regular writers—and had an audience that was actually growing. She was interested in expanding into science, and I became a contributor.  
Writing for her was stressful at first. I was worried that my drafts might not be up to her standards, and the idea of having hundreds of readers viewing my posts, while exciting, made me a little nervous, too. What if they didn’t like them, or I got something important wrong? But writing for a more established venue, with the input of a more experienced writer, ended up being a huge help. It was nice to write regularly, have an audience, and receive feedback that improved my writing. I worked more on moving away from the academic tone that was stifling my previous articles. As I began to relax and feel more comfortable, my writing did too.
During this time, I also started coming up with ideas for other venues and reading about how to “pitch” potential stories to editors. The pitch is critical. You need to thoroughly research the publication to get an idea of its style and tone, make sure your pitch is a good match, and check that a piece similar to yours has not been published recently. I learned a lot from The Essential Guide to Freelance Writing and other books about writing for the public, such as Writer’s Market's annual publication.  
My early pitches mostly elicited generic rejections or—more frequently—silence. But, several months in, I got a positive response for a feature article in a magazine! I was thrilled, but also a little nervous to take on this new challenge that was going to push me beyond my newly established comfort zone.
For one thing, I needed to interview a scientist, which I had not done before, and I was nervous about saying something wrong. I decided to send him an introductory email explaining the piece and my scientific background to justify myself as someone who could cover his work with the knowledge and respect it deserved. I was hoping to set up a phone interview with him; I had read up on interviewing, and everything said to avoid email interviews unless there was absolutely no other option, because they don’t allow for a real conversation and the written responses can often be very stiff and formal. But that plan was complicated by the fact that he lived in a distant time zone across the world, and my own availability was limited as well. So, I included the questions I wanted to ask in the email (which can be helpful even for a phone or in-person interview, because some scientists like to know in advance what will be discussed) and suggested that, if we could not coordinate a time to talk, he could respond to my questions in writing. He responded right away with written answers to my questions, which allowed me to write my article—but I could have learned much more if I had simply asked for a phone interview.  
Having performed phone interviews for other projects, I can now say firsthand that they are much more effective. They offer a better feel for the person I’m talking to. I can hear the excitement in their voice. I can ask more detailed questions and explore their answers. Put simply, if I’m really engaged in a conversation with a scientist, I have a better chance of writing a captivating article for my readers.
I still have a lot to learn about writing for the public. But, in my 3 years of exploring this world, I’ve picked up a few pointers.
Know your audience. For any piece of writing, it’s crucial that you know who your audience is so that you can shape the piece to fit their wants and needs. When you’re writing a scientific manuscript, for instance, you know that your audience is other experts, so you use technical language and dive deep into details. However, when you’re writing for the public, your audience—and what they are interested in reading—will depend on the venue. Regardless, remember that your audience is smart, and in many cases not so different from you. Your readers’ specific interests and knowledge may be different, but don’t talk down to them. Think about how you feel when you’re reading about a new topic. What do you want to know?  
Provide details, but don’t overdo it. If you are writing about a topic you know well, it is easy to get sidetracked with extraneous details. You may find these details interesting, but spending too much time on them is an easy way to bog down the article and lose your audience. Aim to give your readers enough detail so that they can assess the information themselves, but not too much detail to distract them from the article’s main focus. Along these lines, get rid of your citations. Scary, right? How do you avoid plagiarism if you can’t use citations? The truth is, you don’t need to cite information that is general knowledge. You can explicitly mention publications and sources if they’re a crucial part of the story, and you can also use links when writing for websites.
Tell a compelling story. Ease off the technical writing you normally use in journals and instead focus on active, engaging language. Make the article into a story interspersed with interesting facts. Use characters. These tactics will grab readers’ attention and help them connect to the topic—which is your ultimate goal. Focus on how you can make the topic personal for others and evoke passion in them. Including quirky personal details and emotions can help.   
As you find your route to writing for the public, consider starting with smaller websites or magazines to increase the chance of getting an editor’s attention. Start writing, learn from your mistakes, and see where it takes you.

restoring great tomato flavor

Team discovers key to restoring great tomato flavor

January 26, 2017 by Brad Buck
Team discovers key to restoring great tomato flavor
Numerous genes responsible for the flavor of tomatoes have been lost, as food producers selected the fruit for other qualities, such as size and firmness. Now, Denise Tieman et al. reveal the lost genes associated with the original flavor. Credit: Harry Klee, University of Florida
What's wrong with the supermarket tomato? Consumers say they lack flavor, so a University of Florida researcher led a global team on a mission to identify the important factors that have been lost and put them back into modern tomatoes.
In a study published today in the journal Science, Harry Klee, a professor of horticultural sciences with UF's Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, identifies the chemical combinations for better tomato flavor.
"We're just fixing what has been damaged over the last half century to push them back to where they were a century ago, taste-wise," said Klee, stressing that this technique involves classical genetics, not genetic modification. "We can make the supermarket tomato taste noticeably better."
Step one was to find out which of the hundreds of chemicals in a tomato contribute the most to taste.
Modern tomatoes lack sufficient sugars and volatile chemicals critical to better flavor, Klee said. Those traits have been lost during the past 50 years because breeders have not had the tools to routinely screen for , he said.
Dr. Klee explains how tomatoes' richest flavors be recovered through molecular breeding. Credit: University of Florida/IFAS
To help, researchers studied what they call "alleles," the versions of DNA in a tomato gene that give it its specific traits. Klee likened the concept to DNA in humans. Everyone has the same number of genes in their DNA, but a particular version of each gene determines traits such as height, weight and hair color.
"We wanted to identify why modern  are deficient in those chemicals," Klee said. "It's because they have lost the more desirable alleles of a number of genes."
Scientists then identified the locations of the good alleles in the , he said. That required what's called a genome-wide assessment study. There, scientists mapped genes that control synthesis of all the important chemicals. Once they found them, they used genetic analysis to replace bad  in modern  with the good , Klee said.
The U.S. is second only to China in worldwide tomato production, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture. Florida and California account for two-thirds to three-fourths of all commercially produced fresh-market tomatoes in the U.S. Florida growers produce 33,000 acres of tomatoes worth $437 million annually as of 2014, according to UF/IFAS economic research.
Because breeding takes time, and the scientists are studying five or more genes, Klee said the genetic traits from his latest study may take three to four years to produce in new tomato varieties.

Read more at: https://phys.org/news/2017-01-team-key-great-tomato-flavor.html#jCp

****** 12 Laws of Karma ----very important Laws

What is Karma? Karma is the Sanskrit word for action. It is equivalent to Newton’s law of ‘every action must have a reaction’. When we think, speak or act we initiate a force that will react accordingly. This returning force maybe modified, changed or suspended, but most people will not be able eradicate it. This law of cause and effect is not punishment, but is wholly for the sake of education or learning. A person may not escape the consequences of his actions, but he will suffer only if he himself has made the conditions ripe for his suffering. If he were to continue acting in such a way that the retribution cannot come about, because the conditions are not appropriate, then he may postpone the fruition of his karma. If he can suspend it until he is in the spirit world, then he may work at this particular karma in this intermission between death and next life. Or he may wait until another life in which he is more developed so that he can gleaned the educational value of this retribution. Conversely, his life could be so derelict that the blessings due to him cannot fructify until a later date or a subsequent life. All these fall into the category of suspension of karma to a more propitious period or life.
image credits: conspiracybuzz.info
Ignorance of the law is no excuse” whether the laws are man-made or universal. To stop being afraid and to start being empowered in the worlds of karma and reincarnation, here is what you need to know about karmic laws.
The Law of Karma is the Buddhist and Hindu version of the Golden Rule, basically, that what you do to others will return and be done to you. It’s stated in similar terms in almost every religion in the world.
In the East, the law reads (in translation):
For every event that occurs, another event will follow that was caused by the first, and the second event will be pleasant or unpleasant due to and indirect relation to its cause”
The belief teaches that the person who takes action is responsible for that action, if not in this lifetime, then in future lives. In effect, what you did in your past lives comes forward to your present life and determines the events you experience now.
Buddhism takes these beliefs much deeper, delving into intention andthought as well as spoken words and action. With everything we feel, say, or do, we make choices. Whatever you choose to do produce  ripples that travel through time. Those choices are our karma, good or bad.
Instead of seeing bad karma as punishment for actions in your past lives, you can better understand it as a lesson toward living in Oneness with all people and things. The Law of Karma – as simple as: You reap what you sow – extends from your past lives into your future lives. How you apply it in your present life determines your results.
1: LAW OF NEUTRALITY – Just as the “Law of Gravity” always works to pull things toward the Earth, these “Laws of Karma” apply to all equally, no exceptions. The universe is neutral: there are no favorite ones, there are no cursed ones, there are only divine beings created the Creator and all these divine beings are loved by Creator equally, deeply, and completely.
2: LAW OF AGREEMENT – The most terrible truth that anyone will ever learn while they are on Earth is… that they agreed to come here and to experience all that has, is, and will happen to them. The universe operates under this simple rule: all that happens is by prior agreement based on karmic justice between all the parties involved to balance past karma.
3: LAW OF LESSONS – We reincarnate to learn what is and is not like love. In the worlds of duality, we learn from experiencing polar opposites: “good-bad”, “problem-solution”, etc until we evolve into divine love, joy, and awareness. We walk the divine circle – where there is no saint without a past and no sinner without a future – until we learn our lessons.
4: LAW OF CAUSE & EFFECT – What you have done unto others in past lives or in this one (cause), weaves the karmic agreement of your present and future (effect). Consciously acting from loving kindness to yourself and others instantly reweaves the present and future karmic agreements into greater pathways of empowerment and unfoldment.
5: LAW OF BALANCE – The point of learning lessons is to achieve balance. Imbalances drive your personal cycle of reincarnation. “What you bring hate to, you reincarnate to” is how balance is achieved. For you can only truly understand a thing when you become that thing and cease to judge it, cherish unloving opinions, or harbor unrealistic expectations about it.
 6: LAW OF ATTRACTION – Your consistently repeated thoughts packed with your consistently felt emotions become magnetized and attract similar thoughts packed with emotions to manifest your desires into reality. Whatever thoughts and emotions you focus on the most – with the most intensity and the most time – whether intentionally or unintentionally, becomes your belief-karma. The more you invest in them with your focus, the stronger they become. Your belief-karma generates your thoughts, forms your attitudes, guides your actions, and creates your results.
7: LAW OF CONNECTION – You connect with the people, opportunities, and events necessary to manifest your desires if you allow, believe, and expect it will happen for you. Allowing means you open yourself to let manifestation flow to you by believing what you need to manifest your desires will come to you and by expecting if-when you take consistent and appropriate actions your desires will manifest into reality as you have asked.
8: LAW OF EXPANSION – Since everything in the universe is energy, the universe is always expanding from lower to higher vibrational states. Change and growth are inevitable because energy is always expanding. The universe expands through chaos, reorganization, and order in an endless cycle of change and growth to create continuous improvement.
Your internal map of reality is always changing to reflect your personal state of learning and growth. Your map of reality is always being refined into greater levels of truth as your consciousness unfolds. Unfoldment is a gradual process so that you can learn life lessons at your own pace as you reincarnate through time.
10: LAW OF EMPOWERMENT – If you “let whatever happens be ok”, you are accepting the “default” pattern of karma. Empowerment comes from a conscious decision to take control of karma by accepting absolute and total responsibility for your life and by always consciously acting with loving kindness.
11: LAW OF ALL POSSIBILITIES – There is no end to the joy you can experience or to what you can create. For all the power to get what you want comes from within you. Every moment brings with it new possibilities and opportunities for action. Whatever you can dream, you can do, be, or have in the universe of all possibilities… this is your birthright as a divine being.
12: LAW OF LOVE – Karma begins and ends with love. Karma was created to propel you as Soul on a personal journey of reincarnation through the universe. Karma ends when you have perfected yourself in your ability to love unconditionally. The sole purpose of karma and reincarnation is to bring us all to a state of divine love, joy, and awareness.

Representation images of LSD (in blue) fitting into a serotonin receptor

Structure of LSD and its receptor explains its potency

Structure of LSD and its receptor explains its potency

human-pig hybrid created in lab......

Human-Pig Hybrid Created in the Lab—Here Are the Facts

Scientists hope the chimera embryos represent key steps toward life-saving lab-grown organs.

Picture of a human, pig embryo