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MetaCarnival #1: a conversation across the blogosphere

Welcome to the first edition of MetaCarnival: a Carnival of Carnivals (announced here), the new, sycamore treemonthly, and interdisciplinary gathering of blogs and blog carnivals.

Let’s picture all participants in the shadow of an expansive sycamore tree, conducting a lively Q&A lunch discussion.

General Advice

Q: What would you recommend to live as long as possible, and as healthy as possible?
Hourglass (biology of aging): Try Not To Stab Yourself Repeatedly. Or smoke. Or eat that much fast food…you get the idea.  “The vast majority of people are quite comfortable engaging in habits that cause great harm to the old person they will one day be, cutting off years or even decades of health.”

Q: Can blogging help, too?
I and the Bird (birds): Indeed. Just read about these life-changing moments in the Kenyan highlands, brought together spontaneously as a collaboration between researchers, conservationists, bloggers. And, yes, birds.

Sports (Well… Brain and Sports)

Q: Tell me something interesting about athletes and “The Zone”.
Encephalon (neuroscience and psychology): why don’t we review this recent study on the Momentum Chain in Sports. You can conduct your own mini experiment while watching TV: watch the reactions of the players and the teams right after “precipitating events” to see if they actually lead to game-changing moments.


Q: Should patients be patient?.
SurgeXperiences (surgical experiences): Patience in indeed a virtue, especially during the interval between the biopsy and the report.

Q: How can genome research help treat cancer?.
Gene Genie (human genetics and personalized medicine): Let me give you an example. There are many secrets to be discovered about brain cancer. The Cancer Genome Atlas, an integrated network of clinical sites and research resources that work together to accelerate our understanding of the molecular basis of cancer, has just published very meaningful findings to understand gliobastoma, the most common and aggressive type of brain cancer.

Q: Are there other ways in which medicine can become more effective, apart from developing and applying new research?
Medicine 2.0 (web 2.0 technologies for healthcare): Indeed. We should be doing our best in preventing medical mistakes and, should they occur, learning from medical errors in a transparent manner, to minimize the chance of repeating them.

Q: What is next, now that mental health parity has become law in the US?
Change of Shift (nursing): “I would assert that those who have so valiantly and tirelessly fought for the rights of the mentally ill here in the United States should now challenge themselves to broaden their visual field, take in the big picture of global mental health, and direct some of their energies in supporting the timely efforts of the World Health Organization.”


Q: Can you give me an example of why the peer-review system is to important?.
Carnival of the Blue (oceans): So that we accumulate knowledge over time and don’t spend time in artificial, probably politically-driven, controversies around polar bears and climate change.

Q: Now, there is also talk that the peer-review system itself needs to evolve to  reward true innovation and not just seniority and specialization. What are some options?
Praxis (academic life): Think a Wikipedia of peer-reviewed proposals, papers, results. What about a platform to enable collaborative online peer-review “publishing”. There are obvious challenges, but the idea is worth exploring.


Q: We haven’t talked about the economy yet, an issue that matters much these days. What, if anything, could we do to accelerate the pace of recovery from the upcoming recession?
Four Stone Hearth (anthropology): I may not answer the questions the way that either the readers or you, our host, want to hear, but I’m going to talk straight to the American people and let them know that I am not sure what anthropologists are up to these days. Take a look at this post titled A Very Remote Period Indeed, which goes on and on about  sea creature foraging, Neanderthals and early modern humans. All nonsense. The earth is 6,000 years old, so tell me, who are those Neanderthals, and where do they live now? I don’t see any. (Editor’s Note: I have taken some liberty here not to spoil the twist…Four Hearth Stone did nothing but submit an excellent blog post).


This is the first edition of a new concept, so your feedback is very valuable to refine future editions. Can you suggest a better name? (if people like “MetaCarnival”, I will create an Archives page using that name). And, what image should we use to represent it?

Next hosts (remember, MetaCarnival will be published the last Monday of each month):

– November 24th: Kim @ Change of Shift.

– December 29th: Bertalan @ Medicine 2.0.

– January 26th: Jeffrey @ SurgeXperiences.

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