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Sunday, April 22, 2012

power of ideas

This morning I was woken up by ideas instead of cats. I've heard of others saying ideas just came to them about what to talk about, and it hasn't happened to me yet until now.
My brain is a bit overworked (ok rather fried) with all I'm asking it do lately, so I was a bit surprised to wake up from a dream with a whole bunch of great thesis discussion points. Before they floated away again I grabbed a notebook and wrote them down. Then I realised since I was awake I should go type them up. So now I have 3 solid pages of discussion points for my thesis - this calms me greatly.
There is something daunting about not just presenting what I did but discussing it critically and comparing it to what is currently out there. My project is on a new area of a test that isn't optimized yet and it's damn tricky talking and comparing things because there isn't a lot of things out there to compare it too. Thankfully in the last week I've found a few good scientific papers on different aspects of my project I can compare and contrast to and discuss. I am pushing down the "I just want to be done" voices and really trying to make this a quality thing. It's hard, because honestly there are days where I sit down and stare and end up wasting time looking up mead recipes and facebook things, but in the end, slowly but surely I am whittling down my data and project. As much as I would like to be able to definitively prove things, all I can do is talk about what I did and hope it is enough. There is SO MUCH more that needs to be done in this area - my work is just the tip of the iceberg and that is part of my discussion in my thesis. Future directions are key. And since this impacts people's lives and diagnoses I can't f*ck about. I'm not saying that the world will change because of what I've done, but there certainly will be changes. I get to be a part of them.
I have a real respect for researchers. I could seriously pour my life into this if I let myself...but I feel guilty that I do not want to. That I am willing to write up what i have and hand it off to someone else to work on isn't laziness, but honestly, I struggle with that. With great knowledge and power come responsibility. It is my duty to clearly delineate what I've learned so other people can apply it.
I got to thinking last night, that if an apocalypse came and the world ended we would pare down our priorities and really look at what was important. Cancer diagnosis is so tricky. We need to diagnose...but to do so we need better tests? But what to test for? What is clinically relevant? And where does all the $$ come from to develop these tests? People whine about the big pharma companies working for profit, but seriously - with the Harper government cutting research funding, health care is rather fubared in a lot of ways. You cannot develop new tech in a hospital-who has the $$ and time? It takes grad studies and people like me to do this stuff...and in the end $$ to fund it. I mean I essentially worked for free on this - someone just had to cover the cost of the actual testing...and still getting $$ to do that was a struggle. You can no longer learn for learning's sake. There has to be a defined end goal or a rich philanthropist in you pocket or you won't go anywhere on your own. It's too expensive and precise.

The bureaucrats in charge of the money are easily swayed by buzzwords and ideas and have no real knowledge of what needs to be done. Scientific panels and experts are ignored when profit and business are hindered...and in the end the the general public suffer. Case in point: Even here locally there is an awesome new research facility due to open this fall (which I work in SQUEEEEE!) and our provincial government just reneged on the operating funding they said they would give the university to run it. Yes we have the people and the places...just need money for little trifles like water and electricity. Never mind bringing in good researchers and grant funding. I could go on for hours.
Where am I going with this? I dunno...research excites and infuriates me at the same time. I am glad my future job will allow me to assist and train researchers here for the future. I will still get to carry my thesis work forward and be involved with it.
I just have to finish off this damn thesis first. I'm gonna go make some breakfast and get back to that then...

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