Book Summaries: History, Tools, and Practices of Genetics and Hereditary Science

Here comes another contribution to my summaries for my list with Susan Lindee. Topic of the day: “History, Tools, and Practices of Genetics and Hereditary Science.” My original notes are much longer than what I provide in this essay, but I have a maximum of six pages to deliver. So I had to cut some of my observations. Have fun! Continue reading

More Book Summaries! Today: Sorting People Out and Digital Technologies

Last Wednesday, I had another orals meeting with Susan Lindee. You can find the bibliographical details of the books discussed in the blurb and my analytical essay below that. Guess which book I liked least! Continue reading

Adding One more Critique to the Ingalhalikar et al. 2013 Controversy

Here is a critique of Ingalhalikar et al.’s study I should have linked to almost a year ago: Daphna Joel and Ricardo Tarrasch‘s “On the Mis-Presentation and Misinterpretation of Gender-Related Data: The Case of Ingalhalikar’s Human Connectome Study.” Anelis Kaiser just drew my attention to it. Check out their remarks on presentation of data and statistics in this very short and crisp letter.

Somebody Help Us Explain What Embedded Statistical Technologies Achieve in fMRI Research

I promised to write more about my thoughts on how the question of what software is—and does—relates to fMRI research. Tonight seems the perfect time to do so, as I just received feedback on my paper proposal. Besides that, my calendar tells me that the following days got assigned to other projects of mine, so I’d better use this rainy night to share my ideas with you. (I divided the remaining days between the three final written assignments for this term; and, as a colleague told me yesterday, I did so in a stereotypically German manner of accuracy.) Continue reading

Inspired Part 1: Artistic Science and Technology or Modernized Art

I am still enchanted by the visionary reads of the last few days: John Tresch’s The Romantic Machine and Lee Vinsel’s posts on “What-I-Will-Call-ics Anonymous,” part 1, 2 and 3. Both Vinsel and Tresch present their ideas clearly and vividly, making their works accessible and enjoyable. Because I highly recommend your reading them, I won’t even try to summarize them here.

I will write about them nonetheless. Today, I will start with a few thoughts concerning Tresch’s exposition of the interrelatedness of science and art in the Romantic age. He devotes an entire part of his book to an analysis of common themes, methods and visions in science/technology and art in the early 19th century. By sharing parts of my dealing with technological art or artistic science, I will come out as a “What-I-Will-Call-ic” myself. Unlike Vinsel, however, I am not able to tell you yet what subsequent posts will look like, and when you will be able to read them. Just be patient, and bear with me. Continue reading

Questioning My Brain’s Products

A little bit earlier than the year 2013, my first term at grad school ended. In only a few days from now, I will be showing prospective grad students around, having lunch with them, and telling them that there is no need to be overly nervous on their interview day. Wow. I remember mine like it was a few weeks ago, not 50.5. The time since I arrived at Penn seems to have been flying in particular. It feels like we were swallowed in one piece in August and spit out the end of December. The increasing number of grey hair on my head and marked up books on my shelf seem to be sole solid evidences that I have really existed during these four months.

One more proof seems to be the hard copy of my “Seminar in the History and Sociology of Science” paper (or isn’t it? I don’t remember anybody touching it—apart from myself). It was due some December day at midnight, and I emailed it at 11.47 pm. Obviously, I did not have the time to let it sit for a day or two, and then to revise it thoroughly. In rereading it after handing it in, I discovered that it would most likely not be comprehensible for anyone who doesn’t have my brain in their head. Continue reading

Quick Updates on Sex/Stats and Latour

As I promised before I got almost entirely caught up in working hard on my final assignments, I asked Kevin Gotkin to pass along the Latour analogy sheet he compiled for our class. Download it here, and enjoy!

Besides, I wanted to share the abstract of the Tukey/Kinsey paper I am currently working on. I shared my research proposal with you earlier. I will not post the whole thing, because I intend to make this a publishable article. Thus, this is only meant to stimulate your thoughts, and maybe you would like to share them (comment or email!). Continue reading

Follow up on Techno-Mathematical Tools

This is the moment I have been waiting for so desperately: I am currently formatting my new computer’s hard drive—all by myself! However, it does not really make me feel like the mature nerd I always wanted to be, rather like the exile Swabian lacking her brother’s assistance. The best news is certainly that there is a new computer to work on—finally. I have been waiting for this sustainably produced (or green washed?!) HP device for two months, checking in at the store several times, in order to ask if it has arrived yet. The answer was always negative. They had problems with the delivery, suggested to lend me another computer, or to sell an alternative device for the same price. (Why would I borrow a laptop, format it, encrypt the hard drive, and return it after a few weeks? I did not lay out my reasons. I politely declined the offer.) When I came in today to cancel my order, however, without my wallet, only with $ 10 in my back pocket, having had lunch with two fellow grad students, the guy at the check-out went to the stacks and returned with my “EliteBook.” Everybody seemed seriously embarrassed for forgetting to notify me of the computer’s arrival, and they gave me a $ 100 discount. Nice. I could not take the computer with me, though, since I did not have a card for the refund on me. Less nice. Continue reading

Research Paper: Sex and Stats

One of the courses I am attending this year is a research seminar on Cold War science. I am not sure how to phrase this—”despite” or “even though”—, but as a student in Germany, I had no idea what impact the Cold War had on natural and social sciences, and how deeply intertwined modern genetics and the atomic bomb are, for example. These Tuesday classes are definitely my least enjoyable regarding subject matter, because I simply cannot deal unemotionally with human experiments, hydrogen bombs, and non-heterosexuals driven into suicide. Yet, it is one of my (three) favorite classes; since not only what I learn concerning methodology and content, but also my excitement for my own research project within the course exceed my expectations. Continue reading