Archive for the 'Life' category

Decimate them!

Jun 29 2015 Published by under Careers, Life, NIH

Lots of people recognize that the NIH/NSF grant making systems just aren't working under the current conditions of low funding and a glut of PI's. There will be a cull of PI's whether it's deliberate or not. Let's face it, it's already happening and has been for a while. That's led some people to suggests changes to the way we do business. Reform of the NIH if you will. All the suggestions I've seen essentially promote the elite at the expense of the riffraff.* And are poorly thought through at best. Frankly, I've yet to hear a suggested reform that would truly improve upon what we currently have.

So. We're being culled. How can we manage this in a way that benefits science? There are arguments - often good ones - against targeting specific groups.** And most suggestions center on "them, not me".

How about a truly democratic approach? One that's impervious to the old boys clubs?

Anyone up for decimation? Roman army style?

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* I am proudly riffraff, so obviously opposed to those.

** Except maybe KILL THE OLDZ!!!!!!!!!*** Although maybe even then. How best to define the old? Are all the oldz deserving of being culled?

*** A CPP favorite.

 

 

18 responses so far

Maybe, just maybe...

Jun 26 2015 Published by under Careers, Life

Maybe, just maybe, the NIH/NSF systems we have - aside from the underfunding/glut of PI's - are as good as it gets? No one seems capable of coming up with something better.

 

21 responses so far

To OA or not

Jun 15 2015 Published by under Careers, Life

Today on the twits it was twitted:

This is an important issue facing those currently on or about start on the tenure track (TT). The problem with asking this question is that the resulting discussion tends to devolve into arguments between open access (OA) evangelists and the rest of us* as to the necessity etc. of OA. Phrases like "moral imperative" and "OA wackaloon" get bandied about. I don't really want to get into all that again. Bottom line is:

Moral imperatives won't get you tenure.

So, do T&P committees care? Yes. No.

Depends.

It's going to depend on the institution. The make up of the committee. The culture of the department you're in (letters from your chair and senior faculty carry weight). The field you're in (outside letters also carry weight).

What the T&P committee should care about is the science, not where you've published it.

[Brief pause for tenured readers to catch their breath after laughing.]

We don't live in that world yet. GlamHumping is still a thing remember. As is IF-lust.

My advice? Look to see what recently tenured folks have done. Maybe push that limit a little if you're very pro-OA. But mostly, publish in a variety of places.

But first do good science.

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* For the record, I like OA. I've published in OA journals and will continue to. I don't see it as a moral imperative though and don't do OA exclusively.

11 responses so far

What's in your back pocket?

Apr 20 2015 Published by under Careers, Life

In academic circles it's common to hear junior folks on the TT to be advised to have a back up plan in their back pocket. You know, just in case. Not that they'll need it of course. But it's good to have one. Right?

What about the tenured/not-so-junior?

 

21 responses so far

Why Fund Basic Research

Dec 09 2014 Published by under Careers, Life, Things that go beep!

One response so far

Turkey Day Beers

Nov 24 2014 Published by under Beer, Life

Thanksgiving is almost upon us here in the US. I'll bet by now you've got most things arranged. Turkey. Sides. Pies. Guests. Seating. All that good stuff. But what about beer? Have you really thought about what beers you'll have on hand beyond "I'll pick up a six-pack or two before Thursday"? Really?

Now you may be thinking wine would be better. If that's what you like, go with wine. But it's a fair bet the pilgrims had beer, not wine, at that first feast that eventually evolved into Thanksgiving.

I have a few suggestions for you that might take your Turkey day brews from "hmmmm, beer" to "HMMMMM, BEER!!!!!" And I'll try to stick to beers you should be able to find fairly easily.

What you want to do is think about what you'll be doing T-day and what your menu will be and go from there. Here's what I'm planning:

1) I'll be grilling the turkey. Beer and grilling go together like Fred and Ginger, Waldorf and Statler, Starsky and Hutch, beer and pizza. But grilling a turkey is a long process - in my case it will take about three hours. So I'm going to start slow and light. No, not lite, light. Something refreshing and easy on the palate. I happen to have some Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale in my fridge. Perfect. Citrusy with a hint of hops and easy on the malt. Sierra Nevada Kellerweis would also work. Also citrusy with a hint of banana. Are there better wheat ales? Sure. And if you have easy access to one go for it.

2) Appetizers. These are often fat laden affairs, so you want something heavy on the carbonation to lift the fats off the tongue. Something champagne-like if you can. But beer of course. A biere brut would be ideal. But not always so easy to find. And often a little high on the alcohol. Remember, T-day is a marathon event and you want to make it to the end. So you could stick with something like the Goose Island 312 Urban Wheat Ale - the citrus and hops will help wash that fat off the tongue. Or maybe go with a domestic saison/farmhouse ale like Prairie 'Merica. That's what I'll be doing. Prairie Hops is also a good choice. There are plenty of decent farmhouse ales out there. You should be able to find one.

3) Salad. On T-day? Seriously? Okay, if you must do the green stuff, stick with the farmhouse ale. But really, salad on T-day?

4) The main event. Okay, think this one through. Turkey, stuffing, maybe ham, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, etc. Heavy stuff. You want something with flavor so it's not overwhelmed, but not the kind of flavor that will compete. I'll be having Sierra Nevada Celebration Fresh-Hopped IPA. Hoppy, citrusy, piney, a little grassy, and yet malty. Another good choice would be a good brown ale. Something like Bell's Best Brown. Or split the difference - Dogfish Head Indian Brown Ale.

5) Dessert. Still hanging in there? Coffee goes with dessert, right? Go with a beer with coffee flavor. A really good stout or porter can bring out coffee flavors without actually having any coffee in them. I'm a big fan of Great Lakes Edmund Fitzgerald Porter. But I happen to have some Sierra Nevada Coffee Stout in the fridge (yes, it has coffee added). That's what will work for me. By the way, those big heavy stouts/porters? Often fewer calories than their paler cousins. Although, at this point in T-day who's really thinking about calories?

One final note. That's potentially a lot of beer. Be smart about that. Maybe split a bottle with one or two other people rather than drinking it all yourself. You might not want a full 12-16oz with appetizers, entree and dessert. And you might need to drive.

Enjoy!

 

20 responses so far

The NSF Review Process in 6 min 12 sec

Nov 03 2014 Published by under Careers, Life

No responses yet

Amplify this.

Oct 27 2014 Published by under Careers, Life

Read this post by Jonathan Eisen.

 

Now go tweet, blog, amplify it.

No responses yet

Monopolizing a field?

Oct 09 2014 Published by under Careers, Life

This just came out:

The scientists who get credit for peer review.

 

Anyone else find the number of reviews per year done by the one scientist just a bit worrying?

 

6 responses so far

Ponderable

Oct 09 2014 Published by under Careers, Life

Why are we okay with hiring someone who has essentially no teaching experience into a TT (research track) position at a major research university? We'd never hire someone into such a position with teaching experience but no research experience.

 

Discuss.

 

14 responses so far

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