Archive for the '[Etc]' category

I want to have my pie & eat it too

Mar 14 2011 Published by under [Education&Careers], [Etc]

I have long loved mathematics. Happy Pi Day, dear readers.

1. Being a postdoc sucks when you are given the autonomy to produce scads of gorgeous data, but you cannot get your PI to publish the goddamn manuscript.

2. Being a PI sucks when you would be willing to spend scads of your gorgeous time publishing a manuscript, but you cannot get your trainees to produce the goddamn data.

3. The solution lies in forming and maintaining a research group of precisely 1.


4 responses so far

A Frogge in the Guest Blogge

Feb 15 2011 Published by under [Etc]

Here at the Scientopias, we've got ourselves a shiny new Guest Blogge. This is a space for some of our non-Scientopian friends to come over and share some of their fine writing for 2 week increments.

This week, we have Paolo V. from Zygoma, who specializes in museum science and natural history. Also on tap is FrauTech, a sassy fellow engineer holding it down in industry. Stop by and check them out!

If you are interested in writing as a guest blogger, we welcome inquiries. Please email PhysioProf at gmail with a description of your existing blog (if you have one) and what you would like to blog about at Scientopia.

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Blot blot, Western baby

Jan 24 2011 Published by under [Etc]

Amusing. I give the idea an A and the execution a B-.  If you get bored, go to 3:20- the bridge is awesome.

Blot blot, Western baby, got no bands, this shit is crazy.

Bad Project- Lady Gaga Parody

5 responses so far

Fair Warning

Jan 13 2011 Published by under [Etc]

I am all for calling a spade a spade. I also like to offer fair warning to labmates.

Figure 1: Candid Engineer, circa today.

2 responses so far

Pick Your Superpower: Fuhgeddaboudit

Dec 14 2010 Published by under [Etc]

I often like to ask people (typically at parties, after I've had a few to drink) what kind of superpower they would choose to have if they could have just one. Swirling their swizzle sticks, my conversational partners will tilt their heads to the side, gazing at the ice cubes motoring around in their cocktails.

Superpower?, they'll ask.

Yeah, I know, I'll respond, I live in a fucking fantasy world. Humor me.

And then they'll say dumb shit like breaking stone with your fist or producing infinite quantities of spiced rum. I fucking hate when people don't take my fantasy questions seriously.

I, personally, imagine a life in which I am capable of instant transportation. Oh? Want to travel to Paris for the weekend? Non problem! Need to run into lab at 7am on a Saturday morning to check on your experiment? You're there- and then- oh!- you're back. No more commutes, no more traffic, no more car requirements, no more airfare... and hell, you could take a vacation where every day you went to a different part of the world, and every night you could sleep in your own bed. Sweet.

I've long been convinced that this would be the very best superpower to have.

Today, though, I was talking to a graduate student who had just finished his final exams, flustered about his performance. I always hated, as a graduate student, when people told me that my grades didn't matter, as long as I passed. Of course they mattered, sweet Jesus, how else were people going to judge the goodness within the essence within the academic?

I was such a tortured soul.

Now I'm thinking that maybe a better superpower would be the ability to receive memos from my future self regarding the shit that doesn't matter.


To: Self
From: Self
Date: 8 years later
Re: Your compulsive anxiety over graduate coursework

Your final grade doesn't fucking matter. No one will ever care whether you got an A- or a B- in Genetics as a graduate student. (Except for maybe those L'Oreal Fellowship bullshitters, and who cares about them, anyway). Stop all of the bad dreams, stop waking up the morning of exams, doubled over with nerve-induced diarrhea. Stop the madness!! It doesn't matter!!! It will never matter!!!11!!!


Now, this is probably all more important to me because of my anxiety- but I would just love love love if, in the present moment, when someone tells me to stop freaking out about something because it will not matter, that I could just listen. That I could just accept the wisdom wafting over me, that I could just inhale the good air filling my lungs, and just chill the fuck out.

So why don't you tell me what you would wish for. Grab a cocktail first, classy reader, and swirl away.

27 responses so far

Ring-a-ling! It's your Mother-in-Law

Dec 12 2010 Published by under [Etc]

Starting in mid-October, my husband & I enter that blessed time of year when we are mercilessly hounded by his mother regarding all things Christmas.

What you want for Christmas why haven't you two given me your Christmas lists yet I don't like those suggestions, what else do you want your aunt is being crazy again yesterday, I made eight Christmas stockings by hand what does your cat want for Christmas I sure am hungry for some cabbage casserole.

You know, good times.

And because this chatty lady lives far away, most communication comes in via phone call. We, like most people, have caller ID on our land line. And when the phone ring-a-lings, and I see his parent's phone info appear, like a warning, in bold black on yellow screen... I go ahead and don't answer. No fucking way. I value my time and sanity far too much.

But it has recently been suggested to me that I am being too harsh about this. And that surely, my MIL must realize that I never answer when she calls, and therefore must think that I hate talking to her on the phone. It has been suggested that I need to answer some portion of the time as a gesture of goodwill.

So, that has me wondering what YOU all do when the in-law phone rings. These polls probably only apply if you have a land line. The first poll is for when you look at the Caller ID and your partner is NOT home, and the second is for when you are both home, but you are closer to the phone and see the Caller ID first. And please, for special circumstances or further explanation, leave a comment.

When the Caller ID reads "Your Mother-in-Law" AND your partner is not home, what do you do?online surveys

18 responses so far

In Which I am Neither Vicious nor a Sucker

Dec 07 2010 Published by under [Education&Careers], [Etc]

Scene 1:

Candid Engineer is hard at work surfing the internet. An email appears in her inbox:

Dear CE,

I really absolutely must get Experiments X and Y done this week. However, I cannot do them because I am swamped with final exams & other very, very serious obligations. I was wondering if you could take 3-4 days of your time this week and do my experiments for me.

Best regards,
Hard-Working but Clueless Grad Student

Ahahaha!!! Good one, really. Uhh, let me check my schedule... uhh... hmm, no fucking way.

Scene 2:

Supervisor: So, are you sure you want to be a professor?
CE: No, I'm not sure, but I think I'd be good at it & I don't know anything else I'd be as good at.
Supervisor: You would be great in a company- large, medium, or start-up.
CE: Oh no, are you turning this into a patronizing you'd-be-good-at-anything lovefest?
Supervisor: No, I'm not. You'd be a terrible VC. Absolutely terrible. You're not vicious enough.


I'm not too mean, I'm not too nice
Don't give me your mangoes to slice & dice
This princess postdoc has her price.

10 responses so far

A Thanksgiving Message from Bushie

Nov 26 2010 Published by under [Etc]

Click here for a Thanksgiving message from our former Commander-in-Chief.

One response so far

Thankful for

Nov 26 2010 Published by under [Etc]

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm fortunately no longer resembling the beached whale that my husband had to roll through our front door last night. Impaired mobility with unstable glucose levels is no way to begin the holiday season.

Since my body is now capable of directing bloodflow to my brain instead of to my digestive tract, I'd like to coherently tell you about some of the things that make me feel good. Scicurious had the nice idea of writing about an item, a person, and an idea that makes us feel thankful.

An Item: For me, this is a no-brainer. Multi-channel pipets. These puppies have cumulatively saved years of my life, and have enabled me to test thousands and thousands of mango extractions instead of hundreds. These tools make my research possible. Now, I am a connesieur of multi-channel pipets. So let me tell you about my favorite varieties.

  • The Vanilla: 12-channel multi-channel pipet. Twelve dispenses for every stroke! Oh, you are my foundation.
  • The Chocolate: 8-channel adjustable-spacer. This pipet is seriously my hero. Imagine making 200 samples in microcentrifuge tubes. Oh, you want those in 96-well plates, do you? Without this god-send, you will be transferring those into your 96-well plate one-by-fucking-one. Want to test your samples in quadruplicate? Ha! That is 800 strokes. But with this puppy, you're down to 100 strokes- you spread out your tips, suck up from the microcentrifuge tubes, then condense your tips, and dispense into 96-well plates. Lalalala!!!!
  • The Rocky Road: 8-channel electronic adjustable spacer. Turns those 100 strokes into 20. Now this is bad-ass. Increases my pipetting throughput 40-fold, and drastically reduces errors.

A Person: There is another postdoc in my lab- let's call him Jake- who is pretty much the best colleague ever (for me, at least). He is competent, insightful, super-smart, responsible, supportive, and an absolute pleasure to be around. We come from vastly different backgrounds, but we have found ways to collaborate. Through these collaborations, he has helped me to broaden my experimental skillset tremendously.

Jake is the kind of person that I can approach with anything. I am depressed about research and need support? Jake is there for me. I'm having trouble with a colleague? Jake gives advice, with a touch of humor. Something has gone well? Jake always wants to hear about it (or at least pretends to want to hear about it), and he is always happy for me. He helps to make the challenges of work bearable, and he helps to make the successes all the better.

An Idea: Entropy. Specifically, from the second and third laws of thermodynamics, that, when a system does work, entropy increases with time. Or, in other words, when I do work, the disorder in my life will increase with time. This idea great reassures me that, indeed, I am not a fuck-up, and that I am simple conforming to the laws of thermodynamics. Now, if I could only get this point across to my husband...

Happy late Thanksgiving to my readers (US or elsewhere)! I am thankful for all of you, too. It's nice to have a space where I can come to share my life with you, scientific and otherwise, and to have conversations about the related challenges. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday (or a wonderful Thursday), and had the chance to spend time with family, friends, and too much pie.

No responses yet

Oh, It's About Trust

Nov 19 2010 Published by under [Etc]

Postdocs are supposed to be able to carry out their own experiments, no? They're supposed to, say, actually DO things?

A friend of mine was helping a new postdoc in his lab get started, and generously spent a good deal of time showing this postdoc the ropes. Postdoc wanted to start doing Assay X, which takes all day. So, first, my friend showed Postdoc how to do Assay X. Then, when Postdoc was ready, my friend watched Postdoc perform Assay X to make sure he was doing everything correctly. And it all looked fine.

Now, Postdoc is hounding the shit out of my friend to do all of his Assay X experiments for him. The reason?

Postdoc "trusts my friend more than he trusts himself".

LOLzzzzzzzzzzzz!!!!!!!!!!! Ahahahaha!!!!!!!!!!!!

Fucking absurd. And of course it's not a one-time incident with this dude- conman seems to be his profession of choice over postdoc. Where do these fucktards come from? The harder I work, the more these people piss me the fuck off.

3 responses so far

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