Of Schemes and Memes Blog

Best of Nature Network, nature.com blogs and Scitable: 3 – 9 March

Which type of CV is best for you?

Nature Job’s blogger, Rachel Bowden explains in her latest post that there’s more than one approach to structuring your CV, enabling you to tailor the marketing of your skills and experiences to the requirements of different employers. Rachel summarises the different types of CVs, including their advantages and disadvantages:

Chronological CVs

“This is the type most people will write if they just sit down and have a go,” says Jones. “It’s all quite obvious and straightforward.” The bulk of a chronological CV comprises ordered lists of qualifications and work history, along with other standard elements such as personal details, membership of professional associations, training and references.

Advantages: Good if your career path has been linear, such as the traditional academia pipeline, and if it’s easy for the recruiter to understand what your previous roles were. “[Chronological CVs are] good for more traditional employers,” says Jones.

Disadvantages: Highlights career gaps, and can be problematic if you are looking to make a career change. If you’re applying for jobs in a new field or sector, “it’s very hard for a recruiter to work out if you have the relevant skills and experience just by looking at job titles,” says Jones. “There isn’t much space for you to help explain how your skills are transferable.”

Which type of CV should you consider for the next step in your science career?

Wish you were here?

This week, Nature Network blogger GrrlScientist links out to a spectacular time-lapse video, providing us with a rare glimpse of what it’s like to fly over Earth:

This video is even more spectacular than that because it features time-lapse NASA footage captured from the International Space Station (ISS) as it orbits earth. In this film, we see lightning storms and Aurora Australis sequences and, as if that isn’t enough, it also includes a gorgeous soundtrack. Sit back and enjoy: 


Drug-free kidney transplants could one day be an option even for people without immune-matched donors, reveals Elie Dolgin in the Spoonful of Medicine Blog:

In January, I wrote a news feature about an experimental protocol to help recipients of kidney transplants avoid having to take immunosuppressive drug therapy for life. The approach, investigated for more than a decade by doctors in Massachusetts and California, involves giving bone marrow or just a subset of marrow-derived stem cells from the same people who donate the kidneys in an effort to induce tolerance to the foreign organ.

In one of the two papers published today, the same California team reports in the American Journal of Transplantation that 11 of 16 people who underwent the procedure since 2005 with tissue-matched siblings as donors achieved long-term normal kidney function and successfully weaned off their immunosupressants, and a twelfth study subject is now in the process of tapering the drug regimen.

You can find out more in the post.

Plutonium spotted far from Fukushima

Geoffrey Brumfiel reports in the News blog that a paper out this week in the journal Scientific Reports, shows evidence that radioactive plutonium spread tens of kilometres from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant. This new work could lead people to believe that there is a health risk, but that is not the case:

The new paper shows that minute quantities of plutonium from Fukushima have spread far from the plant. In samples taken to the northwest and in the J-Village, where workers live, the authors found trace amounts of plutonium in the surface soil (see map). Looking at the ratio of plutonium-241 to plutonium-239, they were able to conclude that the plutonium came from Fukushima rather than other sources, such as old nuclear-weapon tests. The additional exposure from inhaling this loose plutonium at the S2 site is around 0.5 millisieverts (mSv) over 50 years. This dose — 0.5 mSv over half a century — is five times higher than the government’s current estimate for plutonium exposure from the accident, but it doesn’t mean there’s a health risk. Over the same period, the average person on Earth would receive 120 mSv from natural sources of radiation. Even for those who worry about low-dose radiation, it’s safe to say that this additional plutonium exposure won’t have an impact.

You can find out more about this research in the post.




Sometimes bad breath is good!

According to Scitable’s Ada Ao, sometimes bad breath is good for you:

This paper appeared in Journal of Breath Research last week and reported that stem cells isolated from tooth pulp can be persuaded to become liver cells in their serum-free culture by adding a low amount of hydrogen sulfide (HsS), the main chemical responsible for bad breath, to the incubator atmosphere. I’m not all that blown away by the data. For starters, they should have shown the lack of hepatic cell markers at Day 0 and the gradual disappearance of stem cell markers at the later time points. I’m guessing they found the morphological changes significant enough to show a difference, but in general the molecular characterization was lacking.

Continue to the post to find out more.



This week’s Soapbox Science post is by Vlatko Vedral, Professor of Quantum Information Science at Oxford University. In his post, A post-quantum world, he considers the likelihood that quantum physics will one day be surpassed and if this is the case,  asks what will this post-quantum reality be made up of?

Now, people are studying all sorts of post-quantum scenarios theoretically (it’s good to do this kind of stuff since one never knows where a breakthrough will come from – these are the “unknown unknowns”). And it so happens that they all have to maintain the same degree of genuine randomness as quantum physics. It is not easy to see this — not because the arguments are intrinsically difficult, but because they are lengthy..

Do you have any confidence in Vlatko Vedral’s thesis?

Allergic to balloons? 

Scitable’s blogger, Sabrina DeRiso reveals in her post that it is not rare for children and adults to develop allergic reactions to certain proteins found in rubber. She asks,  Did you ever think that big colorful balloon you see children playing with, is making them sick?

The milky fluid like substance comes from a rubber tree. This sensitive allergy can be harmful just about anywhere, shopping for groceries, on your schools’ campus, or on a childrens toy. Many people suffering from a Latex Allergy are usually prone to suffering from latex-fruit syndrome. When suffering from a latex allergy, your immune system recognizes latex as a harmful substance. Your immune system then, elicits certain cells to produce immunoglobulin antibodies. 

A notice issued at Glenbard East High, in Lombard Illinois. Schools are becoming more aware of how life threatening a latex allergy can be and banding all products affiliated with latex from their environment.

Neutrino News

Eugenie Samuel Reich reveals in the News Blog that an elusive parameter quantifying the rate of oscillation of ghostly subatomic neutrinos from one type to another has been measured with precision for the very first time:

In a paper released online on 8 March, the Daya Bay Reactor Neutrino Experiment in southern China reports a measurement of the disappearance of antineutrinos produced in the world’s fifth-largest nuclear power plant as they travelled about a kilometre between two sets of three 20-tonne, water-filled detectors. It finds that a parameter known as sin2(2θ13) is 0.092. Physicists had speculated that the quantity, the last of three ‘mixing angles’ that quantify rates of neutrino oscillation to be measured precisely, might be as low as zero. That would have made several future neutrino experiments that plan to compare the oscillation rates of neutrinos to those of antineutrinos virtually impossible to carry out; the positive result suggests that those are on firm territory to proceed.

Find out more in the post.


Finally, this week’s comic, Ontogeny, by Viktor Poór was inspired by two things; find out what in his post:



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