Science Online day 2 Hip Hop and day 3 Health apps

“New York, New York, Big city of dreams,

everything in New York ain’t always what it seems”

– Melle Mel ..circa 1980’s


rewind…that should be

“Raleigh. Raleigh, Big city of science,

Everthing at scio13, aint always what it seems”


Who needs to go to the big Apple or some other metropolis for a great conference, Raleigh does it better, it happens here once a year and its at Science Online, let me hear you scream YEHHHH!

Now back to business..

Day 2 began with an amateur astronomer and 14 yr bloggerFraser Kane and his use of Google plus to connect others around the globe to see some live deep sky objects, such as nebulae images, from their telescopes . But the CONVERGE presentation that really got my attention and prompted the little rap upfront was the science rapper Baba Brinkman, who presented a Rap guide to evolution and had the whole audience involved in singing I’m A African (the Dead Prez rap). A golden simple tip he mentioned to how he develops his raps is:




A genetic algorithm of sorts.

I took the opportunity to meet with some of the connections I made before the meeting. One was @AfternoonNapper the founder of  FMDchat for patients and carers with the rare disease Fibromuscular dysplasia. Also I met up with Lisa Jarvis from C&E News and had a great discussion that was wide ranging, covering drug discoverers and rare diseases. This was followed by a chat with Ethan Perlstein and we talked science, crowdfunding and crowdsourcing with Walter Jessen (who I met at this meeting last year).

I also attended a blitz session on tools for citizen science and a mobile app from Promega – my recommendation is these could blitzs be extended in time or combined. They just seemed, well, too short..

The final talk I attended on day 2 was on explanatory journalism and got me thinking about simplifying my language in my scientific papers so that the lay person can understand them more. Something I heard for the first time was “Gold coins scattered in articles..” Really a very informative session for someone like me who writes science papers and not science related articles or books.

Day 3 started off with a brief talk by David Quammen who does not blog but is a very good descriptive speaker. I was imagining myself in a dusty lab in Cameroon looking at paraffin tissue blocks ..behind a blue curtain..A very cool way to start the day..

Dr Amy Abernethy from Duke then gave a summary of several situations that really called out for openess in clinical trials and data sharing – at least that is how I interepreted it. She also spoke of personal data as a treasure. She called for a time when patients could control own health information, and more pooling of data could occur. Here, here!

The day also included attending a “Mobile healthcare app session” moderated by Pascale Lane and Judy Stone, which generated a great deal of discussion and could eaily be expanded next year. We covered everthing in our heads or at leas in the phones, tablets in our hands (see more on twitter with #247Health). A big question was How can mobile technology improve health and disease management ?

The final session I attended was “how do you actually get a book written” moderated by Maria Konnikova and Katherine Sharpe. Very useful insights from authors, agents and editors and comments can be found at #bookwrite.

I am sure I missed lots of interactions. Day 2 was definitely more foccused on networking for me personally, and day 3 was cut slightly short so I could get to my flight to London..(giving me time to write this).

As many of the attendees probably do, I feel energized and excited to see what will spark an idea that turns into a concrete result of the meeting from my own participation. Like last year, I met people outside my domain. I also achieved my goal of chatting more and felt a bit more outgoing. Now how do we spread the word and enthusiasm for science which we all share, outside the 450 attendees and engage the public who knows little of science.

Bravo to all involved in the organization of this meeting. I leave you with those 3 words which we can apply to everything we create:





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