Weekend Links: Four Lessons for Starting a Research Lab, Psychology and Poker, Plus More

Welcome to weekend links, a collection of interesting science stories from around the web, curated by your friends at the Mass General Research Institute.

Maria Konnikova Shows Her Cards

(Claudia Dreifus writing on the New York Times website)

Dr. Konnikova is an experimental psychologist trained at Columbia University. But her latest experiment is on herself. For a book she’s researching on luck and decision-making, Dr. Konnikova began studying poker.
Within a year, she had moved from poker novice to poker professional, winning more than $200,000 in tournament jackpots. This summer Poker Stars, an online gaming site, began sponsoring Dr. Konnikova in professional tournaments. Read more


Four Lessons for Starting a Research Lab

(Alona Fyshe writing on the Science website)

Though I made it through and had some successes along the way, I certainly could have used advice about how to set up and run my lab. I’ve learned that my experience is the norm, which inspired me and a group of other early-career principal investigators to interview leaders in our fields about how they built successful research groups. Here are some of the lessons they shared. Read more


BioBits: New Biology Kits for a New Generation of Kids

(Wyss Institute)

As biologists have probed deeper into the molecular and genetic underpinnings of life, K-12 schools have struggled to provide a curriculum that reflects those advances. Hands-on learning is known to be more engaging and effective for teaching science to students, but even the most basic molecular and synthetic biology experiments require equipment far beyond an average classroom’s budget, and often involve the use of bacteria and other substances that can be difficult to manage outside a controlled lab setting. Read more

Now, a collaboration between the Wyss Institute at Harvard University, MIT, and Northwestern University has developed BioBits, new educational biology kits that use freeze-dried cell-free (FD-CF) reactions to enable students to perform a range of simple, hands-on biological experiments.


Why Do Paper Cuts Hurt So Much?

(Gabriel Neal writing on the Conversation website)

Physically, paper cuts hurt as much as they do for a variety of reasons. They typically occur on parts of our bodies that are the most sensitive, such as the fingers, lips or tongue. The exquisite sensing abilities that makes our fingers, lips and tongue so good at what they normally do, also makes injuries all the more painful. Read more

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