Friday, September 22, 2006

Golden Touch

  1. My raise officially kicked in today - I am no longer barely able to pay rent and bills with nothing left over for food! HELLS YEAH
  2. I told bitchy post-doc to jump up her own ass and die
  3. I rocked out in the microinjections and got 5 beautifully imaged cells without her help
  4. It's the weekend and my hetero-lifemate's champagne birthday - 23 on the 23rd!!
Have a good one you guys, I know I sure will!

Listening to: Love Generation - Bob Sinclair

Monday, September 18, 2006

I Hate You So Bad

The post-doc in the lab is making me absolutely psychotically angry. I'm starting to lose control over my anger, and a none too pretty public freak-out is looming on the horizon.

She's been pissing me off for a few months now, and I've generally been good about not flipping out at her - it's important that the lab members get along and things run smoothly. Me throwing a shit-fit isn't going to solve anything, and would most definitely make things worse. I am trying my best to be as patient and understanding as possible, but my supplies are running dangerously low. She has no freaking idea that she's playing with fire.

The post-doc is incredibly annoying, selfish, oblivious, rude, and condescending. She is supposed to be training me in microinjections, a difficult technique that takes most people 4-5 months to get. I'm learning surprisingly fast, actually managing to successfully inject some cells - it took her around a month or two to do that and it's only taken me a few weeks. I can't really do most of it on my own, so I'm relying on her to get some results in - this is at the request of my supervisor.

Essentially every time she's supposed to be helping me she flakes out and uses lame ass excuses for why she can't help me with the work. She openly told me that her research is the priority and whines her way out of doing what she agreed to do in the first place. She won't show up when we made arrangements to do an experiment together. She cancels sessions on whims and doesn't tell me till the very same day, telling me I'll need to work around it.

Today I asked her a fairly simple question - I was confused and needed the easy answer. Instead of just telling me, she gets out a pad and sits me down, explaining that I need to "understand what's going on and not just blindly doing experiments". She starts drawing a diagram to explain to me the point of the research.

The whole thing was so fucking condescending that I just gaped at her in completely disbelief: that bitch had the nerve to sit me down like a 4 year old child and talk to me as one. I stood there clenching and unclenching my fists, fake smiling and nodding at her. After she was done being a condescending cow, I calmly explained that I fully understood the research and even filled in a few points she had missed.

I am done being nice to her - I am still going to try not to flip out, but I am SO DONE doing her any favours and working around her schedule. She can work around me, dammit, because I am through bending over for her.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

The Beauty of Science

I'm currently reading a really fascinating book. It's called "What We Believe but Cannot Prove: Today's leading thinkers on Science in the age of certainty".

The World Question Center is an annual feature of a website called Edge ( it involves contributors in the academic community providing their own personal answers to an annually posed question. The 2005 question sparked particularly interesting responses and ensuing buzz:

"Great minds can sometimes guess the truth before they have either the evidence or arguments for it. What do you believe is true even though you cannot prove it?"

The book brings together the best answers from some of the most prominent minds of our time. It is thoroughly interesting and quite thought provoking. Some of the selected responses are from specialists in the fields of physics, psychology, neuroscience, cosmology, theology, computing, biology, etc.

Richard Dawkins, an evolutionary biologist, provides one of my favourite responses:
"I believe that all intelligence, all creativity, and all design, anywhere in the universe, is the direct or indirect product of a cumulative process equivalent to what we here call Darwinian natural selection.
It follows that design comes late in the universe, after a period of Darwinian evolution. Design cannot precede evolution and therefore cannot underlie the universe".

Another really fascinating response is from Terrence Sejnowski, a computational neuroscientist. He states that:
"I believe that we are all looking in the wrong place for where long-term memories are stored. My hunch is that the substrate of old memories is located not inside the cell but outside, in the extracellular space."

That makes sense to me, as I personally study synaptic plasticity - i.e what is going on in the space between neurons to allow for learning and memory processes.

I'd strongly recommend this book to anyone with at least the slightest interest in science, and a curiosity about what today's most brilliant minds are scratching their heads about - what they have faith in (despite many of them being self-proclaimed atheists).

What also makes this collection unique is that it has opposing view points presented consecutively. Someone will talk about, for example, belief that consciousness is not possible without the presence of language, and the following contributor will state that consciousness is in fact possible without the necessity of human language.

It's very well rounded and doesn't leave you with a sense of bias, since it is essentially just people (scarily smart people) voicing their personal beliefs.