Archive for the 'Things that go beep!' category

Rescue me! Please?

Mar 10 2016 Published by under Careers, Life, Things that go beep!

DrugMonkey recently kicked off a blog meme asking:

The question is, from the teevee (or movies) you've been watching recently, name the top five characters you'd want coming to rescue you from a bad situation.

I wasn't tagged*, but here are mine.

  1. Rocket Raccoon - seriously, no one thought of being rescued by a genetically engineered raccoon with a fetish for prosthetics?
  2. Rey - no explanation necessary.
  3. Baymax - being rescued by an intelligent balloon would be kind of funny.
  4. SpongeBob - why not?
  5. The Notorious RBG. Or Sotomayer. Or Kagan. (DM didn't say they had to be fictional characters.)


Clearly some of my recent(ish) viewings have been somewhat influenced by my spawn...


* Nobody loves me...

3 responses so far

Breaking news!!!!!!

Sep 30 2015 Published by under Life, Things that go beep!

About half the US population is below average!!!!!!


That explains a lot really.


8 responses so far

Why Fund Basic Research

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

One response so far

Scientific instrumentation

Aug 18 2014 Published by under Things that go beep!

If an instrument doesn't make a cool noise, or at least ping!, it's worthless.

8 responses so far

Predatory publisher spam

Dec 09 2013 Published by under Careers, Things that go beep!

I always seem to get a big spike in the amount of spam I get from predatory publishers shortly after publishing a new paper. Much of it from journals completely unrelated to what I do. Anyone else get this?

7 responses so far

One of Australia's biggest secrets...

Oct 25 2013 Published by under Things that go beep! revealed here.

So now you know.

2 responses so far

Want some NSF inside poop scoop?

Dec 13 2012 Published by under Careers, Life, Things that go beep!

ProfLikeSubstance is hosting an honest to goodness real life NSF Program Officer (rotating) over at his blog. It's going to be a three part series. First two posts are already up. NSF has always seemed to be a bit reluctant to embrace the whole blog/social networking thing, so this is a BIG DEAL!!!!!!!!

Go get the scoop!

Part one.

Part deux.

Many kudos to ProfLike for making this happen and to Michelle Elekonich for revealing the inner workings of the NSF!

Comments are off for this post

Scientopia is expanding!

Oct 08 2012 Published by under Careers, Life, Things that go beep!

We're expanding here at The first wave* of bloggers are up and running. Go on over and welcome:

Dr. Rubidium

We're excited to have them here!

* Yes, first. There are more coming. Stayed tuned!

3 responses so far

Did you know...

Aug 08 2011 Published by under Life, Things that go beep!

... the world-wide web is 20 years old? None of my students can remember a time when there was no web.

It's official.

I'm a dinosaur.

17 responses so far

The electronic lab

Jul 26 2011 Published by under Careers, Things that go beep!

When I was but a wee undergrad all lab work had to be diligently recorded in a lab notebook. Not on a piece of paper, even if for later transcription into the notebook. Directly in the notebook. That was how it was done.

When I was a slightly older graduate student TAing (demonstrating we called it) in the undergrad labs, that was the mantra I preached. Thou shalt record all in the lab notebook. Thou shalt not write on pieces of paper. Writing on a filter paper is right out. And of course I obeyed these commandments in my own lab work.

When I was a postdoc, ditto.

So when I started my own lab, that was how things were to be done.

Times are changing. Many of the instruments we now use are controlled by computers, so the data is on the computer. Other data is entered into tables, plots, spreadsheets on lab computers. The people entering science now are more comfortable typing than writing. The days are numbered for the traditional lab notebook.

Hence the rise of electronic lab notebooks (ELN's). ELN's promise all kinds of wonders. Data from instruments ported directly into the ELN. Notes typed directly in and linked to the data. All data and notes searchable! This last is a BIG DEAL. Ask anyone who has had to search through an old lab notebook (theirs or someone else's) for something. A search function is invaluable.

I'd like to move my lab into the electronic era. Problem is, ELN's are expensive. Or use proprietary formats for saving the data. Or are designed for large organizations, not a small academic lab. Or all three. Yes, there are some free ELN's out there, but such are of uncertain future (not that any system is guaranteed to be around for ever).

So what to do? I've poked around and solicited opinions. Aside from ELN's, some people use database programs such as Filemaker Pro with a template designed for lab note taking and data integration. Bento, a no frills database program made by Filemaker, looks like a potential option for Mac-based labs. Of course these are more file management options than true data integration approaches. Another option is a wiki. Or even a WordPress site optimized for lab data storage and sharing.

Any of these could work, but of course I don't want to adopt an option that turns out to be a pain in the butt or is later found to be too limited. And yes, I am aware of potential intellectual property issues with "improper" lab notebook/data storage.

So I'm asking for input. What have you used or tried? What options have you heard about? Let me, and any interested readers, know by posting a comment.

26 responses so far

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