The Best Things I Read In July

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The Best Things I've Read This Month
Welcome to my monthly update. There are two sections: ‘What Have I Been Up To?’ and ‘What Have I Been Reading?
Here’s what I would like to share with you this month…

What Have I Been Up To?
ISB 2021 Congress: Most of last week was taken up by the International Society of Biomechanics virtual congress (while simultaneously supervising two studies in the lab - don’t know why I thought that was a good idea!). I presented on inter-individual variation in coordination and control of countermovement jumps. I’ve really enjoyed working on this project alongside Rob Needham, and it was great to present live again and to receive so many questions afterwards. The presentation will remain available to delegates for 30 days, or you can view the one-page abstract here. Please get in touch if you want to discuss anything further.
Stuart McErlain-Naylor
I'm looking forward to presenting tomorrow at @ISB_2021.

I will present at 12:33 CEST as part of the H8 Motor Control session #ISB2021

Tune in to hear about inter-individual variation in coordination and control of countermovement jumps.

Full abstract in tweet below ⬇️ https://t.co/nt3kohLfMd
Vicon Panel Discussion : As part of the ISB congress, I took part in a panel discussion for congress sponsors Vicon, as one of five researchers discussing my research, technology in biomechanics, and women in biomechanics. You can watch the discussion here.
ISB 2021 Vicon Panel Discussion Workshop
ISB 2021 Vicon Panel Discussion Workshop
Statistical Parametric Mapping: In March, I recorded a series of tutorial videos about Statistical Parametric Mapping, aimed at an audience with little coding experience. The initial example video used a t-test, but I have since received numerous questions about alternative tests. I therefore recorded another video. This one shows how to figure out any of the available tests, using the downloaded examples.
Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM): ANOVA & Others
Statistical Parametric Mapping (SPM): ANOVA & Others
Cricket Video Abstract: Last month, I shared our new Open Access article on male and female cricket power hitting biomechanics. The YouTube video summary has now been adapted for an official video abstract (video and transcript positioned below the text abstract here). I really like this idea and it’s something I’ll look to do for more future papers, especially with Taylor & Francis, who were great throughout the process.
The Ally Meeting: On Monday 2nd August, I will be co-hosting ‘The Ally Meeting’ alongside my friend and colleague Romanda Dillon. This is a joint event between International Women in Biomechanics, Black Biomechanists Association, and Latinx in Biomechanix. These discussions are important for all of us in the biomechanics community so please make the effort to engage if you can.
What Have I Been Reading?
Now for the main part of the newsletter…
Biomechanics and the Olympics: Helen Bayne has been publishing a series of excellent blog posts related to the biomechanics of Olympic sports or events. I don’t think any summary of mine would do these justice, so please check them out if you’re interested in gymnastics, rowing, weightlifting, sprinting, or the Olympics in general. Keep an eye out for more posts to come, too.
Interlimb Asymmetry: How important is symmetry between limbs during various sporting tasks? How should we measure this, and does it depend on the nature of the task? This blog post is an excellent overview of these topics, with reference to supporting evidence throughout.
Reading and Writing: The image in the tweet below really resonated with me. As much as I love reading, I believe I have benefited greatly from learning about adjacent fields and wondering how I can apply that knowledge to my own work or experiences. This is also how I typically go about my writing process or escape writer’s block, by reading for inspiration. On the topic of thought-provoking tweets, I loved this quote about the benefits of exchanging ideas.
Digger or Shovel Seller? Another quote that stayed on my mind for far too long this month was this one by Peter Thiel: “An important subquestion is whether, given a gold rush, you’d rather be a gold digger or the guy selling shovels.” I stumbled upon a long list of Thiel quotes, which started me on a journey towards his ‘Zero to One’ book on startups. There’s a good summary of the book here. I read the summary before listening to the audiobook, a strategy that I’ve found to be really useful lately. Many books could have been a blog post, or the key points could be summarised on a page. We often read the abstract of a scientific article before deciding whether to read the full text, and the time investment is even greater for a book so why not extend that same approach.
The Amazon Way: Another book I used this approach with is ‘Working Backwards’, an inside view of the strategies developed at Amazon over the years. I strongly recommend this book for anyone involved in leadership in any way, or who plans to be in the future. You can read a brief summary or some longer notes on the book first. If you go for the audiobook, then check out this video for the benefits of speed listening.
Storytelling: Blow your own mind”. That is the take-away message from this incredibly detailed Twitter thread of storytelling advice. I found that the tips and linked resources/ideas in this thread were useful for presenting and teaching, or at least making me think about things differently. Feel the surprise and emotions as if it were the first time, and the rest of the delivery will fall into place accordingly. It’s lengthy, but worth it.
The Structure of Academic Papers: Whilst I’m not sure it fully changed my mind, this blog post poses an interesting thought exercise. Why do we structure our Methods sections the way we do in scientific articles, and is it time to change that? Should we present information in the order that we did it, or in the order of information that is necessary to properly evaluate subsequent sections?
Writing and Punctuation: Two great resources by Julian Shapiro, providing detailed guides with examples and explanations throughout. These should be useful for anybody trying to improve their writing, regardless of experience or audience. For more on scientific writing in particular, you can check out a list of related resources on my website. You can also use these tips to save some time typing common units or symbols.
Thank You
That’s all for this month. If you found it useful, please forward this email or share this link with friends, colleagues, or on social media.
What Have You Read Recently?
If you’ve read anything particularly interesting or useful recently, please reply to this email and let me know. I read all of the replies and I’m always looking for good reading suggestions.
Take care, and thank you for reading.
Stuart
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Stuart McErlain-Naylor
Stuart McErlain-Naylor @biomechstu

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