What I Do Here

    Hey you, welcome to my blog. And if you're familiar with it from back in good ol' 2010, welcome back.

    In 2010, I took a hiatus from this blog for student politics. Since then, I've graduated with my BSc (General) in Biological Sciences, have moved to Germany, and have been in an International Masters program - an MSc in Ecology at Universität Bremen. As of now, I'm finishing up my thesis work on the effects of artificial lighting on the hunting behaviour of bats in The Netherlands. I can go over that later if anyone would like, but suffice it to say, I haven't blogged for two years. I also made my Twitter account private, so my social media presence has been fairly restrained. Until now!

    For the last several days I've been working on this relaunch and recognizing my previous mistakes, such as lack of regular updates, or by treating the blog like the journal I keep meaning to write in instead of a platform for communicating with an audience. No more - I've got a solid plan of action to make sure that I'm providing consistent and quality content that people (a person? robots?) will find useful, enjoyable, and at the very least, intriguing.

    I'm going to stick to ecology and conservation news and paper reviews, as well as discuss or investigate issues currently at play within academia or the culture of scientific research. I'm going to throw some topics at you: light pollution, conflict ecology, race/sexual orientation/gender identity within the scientific community, interdisciplinary approaches to problems the world faces, urban ecology, how racism and sexism (or privilege in general) is being incorporated into conservation strategies, tips for those entering or traversing through graduate studies, maintaining a life outside of science, my own misadventure in finding a career post-degree... I think that covers a lot, right?

    I want to make sure that I'm keeping up-to-date with issues I care about and want to share, but also that I'm able to produce content reliably. To help me with this, I've come up with some features:
  1. Content Mondays and Thursdays - Here's where the meat (or meat-alternative) and potatoes of the blog will come in. Whether it's a short essay on a topic I'm passionate about, a throwback to something I've worked on previously, or breaking down a hot issue that's currently unfolding, my main goal is to share what I know and hopefully help you make sense of it if it's unclear. Requests are welcome. Weekly, though I may have to alternate (we'll see), format will be either short- or long-form.

  2. Interactive Journal Club Tuesday - For those unfamiliar with a journal club, it's what research departments (in all aspects of academia) do to make sure they're flexing their critical thinking muscles and keep on top of recent developments in varied research interests. It is informative and can even be fun. Every Friday (along with the weekly round-up I will detail below), I'll assign a journal article from an open-access journal. If you want to participate, just read the article and come up with some criticism and comments. Any level of scientific education is welcome - becoming scientifically literate is a life-long learning process and I want to show you why it's totally worth it! On Tuesday, I'll publish my own thoughts on the journal and ask some general questions that you can answer in the comments. Twice monthly, articles are posted on the second and fourth Fridays so the discussion will be on the first and third Tuesdays. The first will be posted this Friday.

  3. Mandatory Non-Science Wednesdays - Whether you are in school or working, it's difficult to maintain a balance of science and non-science - the issues that inspire you can be the same ones that weigh you down when all you want to do is relax. And I'm not talking about a social life - if you don't have or want a social life, if you are introverted and would rather stay in your home and kick it alone, own that! But make sure that you are able to disconnect from your work or work-like things every once in a while. I'll go over the different activities I take part in, whether it's geocaching, reading, baking, or board games, or something new and novel that I've never done before. Twice monthly, second and fourth Wednesdays. The first will be posted October 8th).

  4. Friday Round-Up - a peek into the science news of the past week with links alongside the journal club pick. Weekly.

  5. Finally, I want to get guest content going as well - if you're interested in contributing in any way, please let me know!
    Edit: I failed to indicate how frequent these features were - this has been rectified.
    Nope, no posts on the weekends. This may change in the future, but for now.... nope. Days without a theme will just be content or links or notices. The times of posting are likely to be in the evening (Central European Time), and I reserve the right to not post if something comes up, but I'm going to do my best to have some drafts prepared that I can rely on if things get squiffy. I'm going to be moving in a week, so I have that long to generate some content.

    Whelp, with that, I'll see you all tomorrow! If you have any questions you can leave a comment, tweet me @theawkscientist, or email me at [kfergy at gmail.com].


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