Friday, April 27, 2012

Lab Update

Several good news in the last few days !
First, I got awarded as "Chercheur-Boursier" (Junior 2), by the "Fonds de la Recherche du Québec - Santé" (FRQ-S). Second, I got the proofs of the paper on the Hutt Space (see previous post). It is looking really good ! Third, the paper on "Challenges in Space Medicine" is accepted for publication in "Public Health Frontier" ! Both in the proposal for the Chercheur-Boursier and in the Challenges in Space Medicine paper, I introduced and proposed new possible utilisations of virtual spaces (different in the two media, however). Things are advancing nicely, let's hope we keep going in this same positive direction !

Monday, April 16, 2012

Research Update

Finally back from the 42nd PCA/ACA Annual Conference in Boston, MA. It was very interesting, excellent place for efficient socializing. I presented the work on the Hutt Space of the Star Wars Role-Play community of Second Life, and I actually got the SFF PCA Best Paper Faculty/Independent Scholar 2012 Award !

And since good news never come alone, last week, the Hutt Space paper got accepted in Computers in Human Behavior !

Wednesday, April 4, 2012


In our modern world, the question of optimization is recurrent. A lot of the problems we are facing are linked to a non-optimization of the available resources. That is of course true if we take the example of health systems. But it is also true in the way we develop research. In both case, adequate design of strategies is a way to reach optimal results. If we consider doing an experimental research, taking some time to think seriously on the experimental design is always good. The more time we spend on it, the more likely the experiment is going to be good. Thinking about all the possible controls, the alternative hypothesis (and the way to rule them out) ... all that is not a waste of time. Rather, it insures that when you do the actual experiments, you need only to do "slight adaptations" in the process, and not fully rethink your whole experiments ! In health system too, good design of strategies can be valuable. In the last review on tinnitus (Guitton, Frontiers in Systems Neuroscience, 2012, see the Publication list for the pdf), I spend some time discussing some points on design of therapeutic strategies. Here too, we do have a lot of tools in modern medicine, but are we using them in the most appropriate and efficient way ? Are we orienting medical research in the optimal direction to insure reliable translational outcomes ? (I am using intentionally this "translational" word, since it is obviously a fashionable word now, if we look at the budget orientation of the funding agencies of Canada for the coming years ... and with some reasons actually, since, indeed, we are at a point where we do need to translate the results gathered in fundamental science into clinical applications). All in all, strategies are important, and thinking about which one we use is central if we want to successfully apply the knowledge we generate with our research.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Lab Update: Our new toy !

Scientists are like small boys : they are very happy when you give them a new toy ! Well, here is the new toy we will be buying in the coming days J

A Brüel & Kjaer Sound Level Meter 2250 ... the top of the top in measurement of acoustical backnoise. This sound level meter will complement our already pretty well equiped lab of bioacoustics. The coming projects are going to be very interesting I think !

On another topic, I am going to be at the PCA/ACA meeting next week in Boston. It is a very "eclectic" conference, but I think it will be highly interesting. I will be specifically presenting results from the virtual role-play communities of Second Life (this time, about the "Hutt Space" of the Second Life Star Wars Role-Play community). We will be discussing as well with some other people about some theoretical aspects of virtual community managements (among other things). Second Life really provides fascinating models to study cyberbehavior. The communities of Second Life are relatively easy to penetrate (open-minded and nice people, willing to share their interests and so on ...), and do represent interesting examples of social dynamics in virtual spaces. So far, we have 3 papers published using Second Life as a model, but I think more will come soon. Doesn't mean we are not looking at other virtual communities or virtual spaces, however J Anyway, something which is interesting with Second Life communities is the management of the so-called "drama" (particularly marked in the "role-play" environments, such as the Gorean community, or the SWRP community). Witnessing it - how people create it, how people deal with it, and how it has long-term effect on a community - is very informative. Still trying to find ways to quantify this phenomenon a bit more seriously ... not sure we will be going there, but well, why not ? Anybody has an idea on that ?