Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Power to the people alright...

This is bloody scary.
It is hard enough to get a well funded government grant.
Now the US congress (who are completely scientific experts I'm sure) want their fingers in how the grants will be decided and handed out?



There is enough bending over and pandering to the "hot topics" of the current science world to try and get funding for valuable research. There is already extreme peer review for national granting and this would place even more government restrictions on what science is allowed to study and research in theis country. Yes it's US, but the way our Canadian government has muzzled scientists and fired many environmental researchers and cut environmental controls and protections we may follow suit very shortly without even batting an eye.

OH yes, on the surface one could argue that this sort of thing would ensure science meets public and society needs without "wasting" money on rare and minute topics, but the fact is that those oddball topics rarely get funding anyways unless they're so fucking exciting that they can prove their validity and future quality. The fact that this even comes up shows a general disconnect between scientists and government as they genuinely do not understand, for the most part, just what we scientists *do*.

The conference I was at 2 weeks ago in London had a few sessions on what I so dearly hope will be the future of research funding in both medicine and science - Crowd funding. Seriously. Promote your lab and work and put out a topic there. Contact interest groups. If they want you to do your work they will donate, possibly even online, to fund your work. You will report back to them what you have discovered. Groups with particular diseases could put their money where their mouth is. I hear my hippy friends rant all the time about big pharma and governments corrupting research and medicine and to a small degree they are right. And you know what I tell them - if you want good research into areas you feel strongly about - lobby the government! Raise money for the agencies that fund their research...(or better yet) and together and crowd fund them.

Monday, April 08, 2013

we will be among you soon

I leave for my conference in 5 days.
Holy crap.
I have so much to do before then.....

Thursday, April 04, 2013


Being a manager is weird.
Suddenly I am the go to person. Me? When did that happen? Don't they know I still snicker when someone says the word duty?
It would be hilarious if it weren't so busy!
Plus I just had a few duties (he heh) added to my roster (which should be OK) but the main panic I'm having at the moment is that we are (finally!) starting to move in to our new labs and I am realizing just how much my job entails. Not just in the running the lab, but in getting everyone packed up, all the paperwork and permits and training done and helping the students and PIs keep working while they move. Add to that semi loads of new equipment arriving to unpack, set up and calibrate daily as well as culling old stuff and moving it without breaking it...and you've got a very tired and frazzled me. Add to that the strangeness of academia and it's pretty odd indeed.
We've gone form mellow underworked and waiting to "oh dear god what now?" in the span of a week. And in a week I leave for a week so I have to try and keep on top of everything.
Once we're in it'll be cool...ish...
I'm trying to learn to be a good manager. I vow to not be like one of the dicks I have worked for in the past...we shall see.  I've already had moments where I've been damn proud, so I'll take those and keep them with me for when I crash and burn and hope it all levels out int he end. It's a learning thing I guess...

Monday, April 01, 2013

Ring Ring

I have to ask since I'm wondering if I'm being unreasonable about something- would you call anyone at 9 am on a saturday (holiday saturday no less) to ask a mundane question? My brother and his wife have a frustrating habit of calling me early on the weekends, usually on the only day I have to sleep in to ask me something that could wait for later. They just assume that since they've been up for hours I am too, and if not I'll just ignore the phone ringing.

Thing is (as I keep reminding them), because of my new job, I have to be on call all the time and if the phone rings at an odd hour, I assume it's important and answer it. Getting out of my warm cozy bed to answer a phone and find my brother on the line asking me a question that he could have emailed or texted (like "can you bring an extra set of cutlery for supper?" or "what was the name of that book again?") or even just waited until later to call me about is annoying and I end up PO'd and can't go back to sleep after. Them worrying they'll forget to call is not a good enough reason to me. FB me. Text me. email me. I'm too polite to tear a strip off them but next time it happens I will. I don't call people before noon or after 9PM out of common courtesy unless it's very important. I ask them to do the same...but they don't respect that.
 I've explained it to them and asked them not to call early. I'm up at 530 all week and if I want to sleep in I want to sleep in dangnabbit. I'm trying to figure out how to tell them without telling them off...any ideas?

Cunning Plans

 Life is wierd ya know. It seems a lot of things have been hitting me hard lately. Been distant from people, including my partner who is dea...