22/12/2009 at 01:37 | Posted in graduate studies, science | Leave a comment
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this is probably the umpteenth time that something like this has been proposed… but i’m too young to know about anything before this – and i’m quite impressed at the publication list that is backing this plan up.

Nature just published a piece about a new form of giving credit to academic authors.  one that includes not just the traditional “publication” but also comments on blog posts and contributions to wiki articles.

read the full article here.


lab cleanup day

19/12/2009 at 05:17 | Posted in graduate studies, science | Leave a comment
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today was lab cleanup day.

every 6 months, our tech organizes a lab cleanup day. we all get assigned to various chores, and spend the morning cleaning, purging, and, well… relaxing.  it’s one of those days where the boss man sanctions not doing experiments, and then gives you pizza for it.  it’s wonderful.

anyway, so something came up today that made me finally come clean to my supervisor about a situation that’s really been bugging me.

you see, for the past 8 months i’ve been living in the shadow of the guy before me… a guy who cut corners, lied, and pretty much bullshitted his way through life.  anyway, so along comes me – the proverbial new guy – and i’m stuck with trying to figure out what he actually did vs what he said he did.  eight months i’ve been messing things up in the lab, and confused out of my mind because of this douche.  i kept my mouth shut because well, at first i didn’t want to seem presumptuous… then i thought, oh well, i’ll just ask another person in the lab… then i thought, oh i’ve made it past the hard part, i can do the rest…. finally, i managed to get to the last step of the experiments …and… i got one THIRD the stuff he got.  you can imagine my thoughts/feelings/etc.

F. M. L.

anyway, today, i finally gave in to what my friends have been telling me for ages now… i wrote my supervisor, explained the situation dispassionately, and asked if we could meet so we could go through everything together. this was it… the moment of truth.

i hit send, and told myself “well, you had a good run. you didn’t really want a career in biochem anyway” and went home.

an hour later, the boss man wrote me back.  i opened the email… and was astonished at what i heard.  he was supremely understanding, and basically said “of course, how can you be expected to know the ins and outs when you’re new?”  so we’re meeting on monday.

you have no idea how relieved i am.  finally, i’ll be free of the old guy’s shortcuts and on my way to actually getting some research done!

moral of this story: explaining your issues to your supervisor can be a good idea!

ps. lab clean up day is ALWAYS a good idea – even if it’s only to get stuff off your chest!

riding the high

11/12/2009 at 06:34 | Posted in science | Leave a comment
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so, i have had an epic week of experiments.  murphy’s law could not have been proven more true.

ok, that’s maybe a bit of an exaggeration… but still.  yesterday, especially, was just one of those ridiculous days where you regret making it to school, simply because if you hadn’t,  you probably wouldn’t have screwed up so bad.  i literally mixed up my samples to the point where i was causing the machine i work with to crash… and anyway.  it was sad.  i’ve never messed anything up to that extent before.

so the obvious question is why, right?  but let’s leave that for another post…

so, i went home distraught, frustrated, and generally mad at the world.  life is terrible when a simple calibration curve takes you two weeks to make.  my evening was terrible, and i went to sleep in misery.

this morning, i got up, in the same mood, and went to school despite a strong desire to stay in bed and die.  i went to school… and fortunately or unfortunately, all the samples that i hadn’t effed up turned out to agree with each other.  so, i, carefully, redid everything.  i won’t be able to process the data until tomorrow, but the raw data seems to agree with my work yesterday.

how am i feeling right now?


not totally on top of the world (i, at least, don’t have a totally all-or-nothing emotional response, thank you very much), but substantial enough that i no longer feel like life is terrible and antisocial and so on. literally, the difference is night and day.

sounds a little messed up right?

well, i have a theory.  or… at least a hypothesis.   basically, i ride the highs.  i live off of the things that go well.  the problem is that when your work involves you trying something a billion times in a row hoping that it works that one time… you really won’t survive if you can only keep positive and happy during times of success.  the key really is to stay positive regardless of the results.

so, here’s to trying to roll with the punches and take things in stride.  the facts are facts.. and pouting won’t change anything for the better!  (though it might make it worse ahah….)

Part 2: reality check.

07/12/2009 at 23:57 | Posted in science | 11 Comments
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I came into the lab yesterday (yes, on a Sunday), and was pleasantly surprised.  One of my labmates was also in, and she had brought her friend – let’s call him Daniel – along.  He’s a grad student in another department, studying New Age thought and science.  We ended up having a nice chat about the very topic I had brought up here earlier – why religion and science are fighting a duel, and what is the root of this battle?

From what I understood, this fight is simply one of egos.  It was refreshing to hear someone say something that was so clear, so simple.  It’s not because science or religion is fundamentally at odds with the other, but that scientists and religionists have massive egos that apparently need feeding.  Good for them.  I proudly consider myself a scientist, but I respect that I am merely studying one source of knowledge… something that seeks to describe half of our universe.  Anyway.

As for the root of the battle, apparently that starts when the Moor libraries are captured and St Thomas Aquinas begins to integrate Aristotelian physics with dogma.  And of course, after that, if anyone sought to build/modify Aristotle’s work, I guess it was considered to be against the Church… hence the whole situation with Galileo.

So, that was quite an exciting experience for me!  Of course, if I have misunderstood, I am very open to learning more.  Thoughts?

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