Bragging Rights Central: new archive post

Keep ’em coming, folks!

VWXYNot? Comment(s) of the Week:

Mar 04 2011: Mike for “Mrs F. and I shall mostly be caring for a very unhappy, snotty, feverish infant tonight. Beware: this is the sort of trouble that Valentine’s day can get you into. Always include protection with that heart-shaped box of chocolates.”

and then “Taking a course in “listening skills” to aid your dating ability sounds a bit like cheating to me. Sort of like those odd pumps that are advertised in my straight to spam folder. If you have to be taught how to interact with someone so you appear to be human, well, it doesn’t bode too well for the future. A deflating experience lies ahead for someone.”

Alyssa for “I’ve had some doosies – including a guy wanting to introduce me to his 6 year-old child on the second date, one telling me he loved me after a week, and one guy realizing he “forgot” his wallet after we already ate dinner :P”

Mermaid for “Many of these dates sound really familiar. I would say we must have dated the same people (once only) except our ages are too different. I would say that I was too old for creepy old guy but that just sounds wrong to me 🙂 . Perhaps there are just specific first date styles that ‘unusual’ guys have, and many of us have just had the unfortunate experience of meeting unusual guys?”

and Eva for “I’ve dated someone who showed me a powerpoint presentation about his work on the first date. That should have been a sign, but the topic was actually interesting, so it didn’t put me off right there and then. Unfortunately, his job was the only interesting thing about the guy.”

Mar 18 2011:KristiV for “I have an ornery retired surgeon friend who regularly rants about the “organic” label. The funniest of his rants is the one about the “organic sea salt” at Whole Foods.”

Beth Snow for “Yesterday, for the first time EVER, a cashier asked how to pronounce my last name. And she wasn’t even kidding. I was bewildered. “Um, Snow?””

Mike for “My surname in German was pronounced “Vofler” – it’s Fowler. In Finland and Spain it’s pronounced “{quizzically raised eyebrow}””

Frank for “Cath – I thought your last name was Vwxynot?”

Steffi Suhr for ““Science project management: we’re only trying to help…””

Ricardipus for “Cath – that is very impressive.

However – POWERPOINT? EXCEL? Project management and flowcharting should be done in MS Project, an evil piece of software that I never use.”

and Bob O’H for “I’m amazed you’re spending so much time working on REDACTED. I can’t imagine how you’ll get it published, though.”

Mar 25 2011: KristiV for “one of the student evaluations chosen to represent the need for curricular reform, particularly in the neuroscience course, groused on and on about “rope memorization.” I know a thing or two about the neuroscience of learning and memory, but I haven’t heard of rope memorization. ::snark::”

Ricardipus for ““The Week Of The Ricardipus”. Sounds like a long-lost Hemingway novel, from his later-life “drunk and suicidal in Idaho” period.”

Thomas Joseph for “Guess I still suck. Nothing has been the same since Cath made me brag. *glare*”

Ruchi for “Admit it Cath. You were jealous of the baby and totally TRYING to kill her with whooping cough. ;)”

Steve Caplan for ““So where you from?”


There was a pause. A pregnant pause. An pregnant elephant pause. And longer.

“You a Jew?”

“Yes.” (I left my horn in the car–want to see it? That’s what I was about to say)

“You don’t look like a Jew. Ain’t never seen one before.”

“How do you know what a Jew looks like if you haven’t seen one before? You can tell your grandkids about it. Can I have the key now?”

That was my experience in Saskatchewan of the 1990s”

and Mike and Bob for the following exchange:

Mike: “I could show you some ‘washrooms’ in Helsinki bars that would amaze you. Mostly that health and safety in a developed country would allow these places to keep their doors open. The beauty went so far beyond desires that it came almost full circle. Almost, but not quite enough.”

Bob: “Mike has some strange ideas about what constitutes a romantic evening.”

Mike: “With my little monster rapidly approach 1 yr old, I’ll take romance wherever I can damn well get it. Whether that be in Roskapankki’s stinkin’
bogs or not.

I’m already regretting typing this.”

Apr 01 2011: Alyssa for “You can solve your problem by doing what I do: never ever watch the news and be so self-absorbed in your own world that you don’t know what the heck is going on anywhere else.”

Mermaid for “Crashed Ice looks like one of those events that would be an absolute blast to watch, but something you may not bring up in casual conversation with people you would like to impress. Kind of a guilty pleasure, like admitting to being a Buffy fan and STILL watching the DVDs.

Not that I would admit to that.”

Cromercrox for “Crashed Ice looks gloriously barmy. For some reason it reminded me of Gloucestershire Cheese-Rolling, in which people throw themselves down a very steep hill after a round of Double Gloucester. Neither the people nor the cheese wear skates, though.”

and Ricardipus for “Call me a conservative, but sports like snowboard-cross (and short-track speed skating) that rely on touchy-feely, car-racing-style positioning really don’t do it for me in the Olympics. Most of the middle-distance running events fall in this category too. Put the athletes on a level field (so to speak), each in their lane, and let them race. Or do it time trial style, like downhill skiing or cross-country.

And then bring back poetry and drama competitions, for the full Classic Olympics experience.”

Apr 15 2011:Anthony Fejes for “Wow… I go out for drinks so that I don’t have to make them for myself. This just seems like the Ikea of drinks, except Ikea has better illustrations in their manuals.”

Massimo for “Yesterday was Thursday! Tomorrow is Saturday!

Ah ! Take this, all of you out there who say that a PhD is useless !”

Ricardipus for “I’ve not a lot of use for Michael Ignatieff, who is sorely lacking in international political experience, and even less for Jack Layton, who I believe would promise us all personal jetpacks, free prescription drugs and resurrected dinosaur amusement parks if he believed we’d vote for him.”

Anthony Fejes again for “Fantastic… now I can torment myself with indecision knowing that there will be people who think I’m evil for correcting the subject line AND people who will think I’m an idiot for not correcting it! (-:”

Chall for “Teemu Selänne might be the only Duck I like…. and the one who almost got me into a fight when the Ducks played the Predators in Nashville a bunch of years ago.

(Let’s just say I was a bit enthusiastic about his skills on the ice and forgot that there was maybe 4 Duck fans in the whole arena…. and apparently you can’t say “that was so beautiful” about someone when they are one the wrong team?)”

and Antipodean for “Would Palpatine have been more of less creepy with Harpers silver combover?”

Apr 22 2011: Bumper “I didn’t update BRC last week because I was skiing” edition:

Grant for “You were saying the cat likes being *on* paper. Mine prefers being *under* it. If I leave a flat sheet on the floor, she’ll slip her nose under one edge, push it up and burrow under, leaving her hiding under a tent of paper. Sometimes the paper tent will shuffle about the room, like a strange turtle.”

Bob O’H for “I’m moving to Bulgaria. By the sound of it, it doesn’t even matter that I don’t know any Bulgarian.”

Schlupp for “One has to admit, though: With those reviews, ignoring them may be the best thing to do….”

Dr. O for “I don’t care how much someone pays me – I’m not reviewing grants I know nothing about. It’s enough of a struggle to read through some of the ones that are near and dear to my own research.”

Nina for “It somehow reminds me of a student of my dad’s who google-translated a term-paper from (random) bits of scientific literature (English to Dutch), and also translated some of the names of people that were cited in the literature. It took my dad a long time to figure out who those researchers were that she kept citing and that he’d never heard of …”

ScientistMother for “the injury issue is why I always wait until the last minute to make my picks, not that helped me the other week with Ovechekin who waited till 3:45pm to say he wasn’t playing – bastard!”

SB for “I like that “drinking” counts as an activity.”

and Chris for “Considering the sky is magenta, I assume these people where on something (maybe this “drink” you keep mentioning) when this was painted. Never have I ever seen the entire sky in a colour even resembling magenta. Maybe a little bit on the horizon. Maybe more baby pink but magenta? Duuude, that is wrong.”

Apr 29 2011:“Bob” for “Shoes are for The only way I can donate my shit, if he isn’t here. I live in hope.”

“Eva” for “The DNA model is a pie? I can put the cheese and the price change? Nice.


“Not at home. Maybe not at once. Must clone self before the table here. More organised update later.””

Steve Caplan for “Some of those sentences sound like the postdoctoral applications I get.

Also, ““Should P-cadherin come dressed as the future?” That’s precisely what what of my grant reviewers wrote in his/her critique.”

“Ricardipus” for “Two hours? When is a mention of science funding cuts revisited – how I can borrow?”

Anthony Fejes for “I think silliness in right wing material is impossible because it is essentially already a parody of a rational perspective. In fact, even making a parody of a right wing video becomes a poe, indistinguishable from the non-parody version.”

and then “I’ve yet to see someone on the right approach their material with a sense of humour, or even clear data to back up their points. That’s not to say that the left is always correct either – just that the right seems to jump straight to the quote-mining, skewed statistics and bald assertions.

It’s like religion… Have you ever seen someone threaten you with eternal damnation and hellfire while being silly? It just doesn’t make sense, and both the religious and the right are trying to do the same thing: Use fear as a motivator to encourage some behaviour.

Fear + Silly just don’t work well together.”

May 06 2011: stephenemoss for “In 1964 the British Conservative politician William Whitelaw (right wing) accused the then Labour prime minister Harold Wilson (left wing) of ‘going round the country stirring up apathy’. So, there is at least one instance in the history of politics of wit from a right winger. However, two years later as a small child I happened to meet Mr Wilson at a wedding, an encounter that I can recall quite clearly, and which with hindsight makes me wonder whether Mr Whitelaw may not actually have been joking.”

Mike for “Does Cromercrox’s long-standing perception of Boris Johnson as the finest blah blah blah, not count as right wing humour? Cromercrox is believably conservative (with a large C – n.b. that’s not the one that rhymes with punt), but I don’t believe he can type that statement over and over again with a straight face…”

Antipodean for “McGillicuddy. Sigh- I miss them. A political party whose leading mantra was facilitating “the Great Leap Backwards” by, amongst other policies turning the motorway into a 6 lane goat track.”

Nina for “Politics? Politics? You mean there is a commonwealth country out there NOT completely engaged in THE WEDDING?! Please tell me your pm is going to show up in a maple leaf patterned bear skin suit stone-washed with BC jade.
I can’t believe no one else brought this up so far.”

CromerCrox for “I do have a theory, though. Oh all right, an hypothesis. Left-wing tendencies tend to be seen in younger people, and right-wing tendencies in older people who’ve had their idealism tempered by Real Life. This is why young conservatives are weird, and ageing lefties can seem rather pitiable. ”

Anthony Fejes for “Is it possible that you’re referring to the UK’s conservatives? In Canada, our NDP would roughly map to the liberals elsewhere in the world, while our liberals are pretty central and possibly the closest to the old-time conservatives of the 1970′s – though with a strong helping of socialism, and our conservatives are mostly of the gun-totting, anti-abortion, evangelical christian type. (That may help explain why Canadian conservatives have less of a sense of humour, and have a hard time winning seats in urban areas.)

It’s hard to imagine most Canadians “mellowing” to become evangelical christians, though that would be pretty funny.”

Nina again for “Fieldwork tends to get more fun when you’re not responsible for the Nature papers that should come forward based on the crappy samples.

and Grant for “My main gripes are that while students do have to make their own way in the end—as your article encourages—I would like to see universities be more pro-active about getting students to see the wider range of careers as pretty much all they see while they are students is the campus and the lecturers, and there should be a better appreciation of jobs outside academia – countering the thing that only academic jobs are seen as truly worthwhile use of a higher degree.


“Not just PIs/lecturers with old-fashioned views, but those with more open view, but who don’t actively show there is more than PIs/lecturers to look up to or aspire to be. Just not doing anything leaves the students mainly only seeing PIs/lecturers as the people that are using the qualifications they are training to get. That was fine when the majority of Ph.D.s did end up within academia, but that hasn’t been true for some time. Hmm. This is a hobby horse :-)”

June 10 2011: Anthony Fejes for “I don’t mind keeping the governor general, given that their current job description could be limited to ceremonial roles, rather than enabling the conservatives to prorogue parliament ever time they have to face a difficult question.

The senate, on the other hand, should be disbanded at the first sitting of parliament, or perhaps, dismantled slowly like the UK’s house of lords. Have them each write an essay on why they think they should keep their jobs, perhaps?”


“we should decide if we want the position to be ceremonial or with some actual power, then modify the job description appropriately. You can’t tell a person their job is ceremonial, then have them making decisions upon which governments rise and fall.”

Nina for “do I see less Canadians abroad, or have they all taken the maple leaf off their backpacks??! Even I didn’t mind it too much when MY maple leaf fell off my pack. And I am seriously reconsidering ever moving to Vancouver because it will perish in an earthquake and it won’t be half as good prepared as any unprepared NZ city.

And that is all Harper’s fault of course.”

Ricardipus for “That was nuts, wasn’t it? And as usual the geographic boundaries of the ridings fooled me: “OMG THE NDP’s TAKEN OVER THE COUNTRY oh wait no they haven’t, they just have all the enormous ridings in the north of the provinces.””

and then for “If Ignatieff returns to Harvard, you can put him down as the first example of Harper-Tory-Majority induced brain drain, I guess.”

Mermaid for “Now we just have to somehow prevent the drivers that ignore the ‘right turn only’ signs and unexpectedly go straight or turn left. One thing at a time….”

Hermitage for “Well, if the lights are ever out of commission again, you cyclists can start taping cardboard pictures of Hummers to the front of your bikes. Insta street cred!”

and Austin Elliott for “Isn’t “Traininf” Information about trains? Do they still have those in Canada?

And talking of a “Chair position” reminds me that it’s time I shifted my posterior by a few millimetres to the left, before my rear gets gangrene.”

June 10 2011: Massimo for “Blogger meet-ups are always fun. It was a pleasure to meet finally the famous Mr. E-Man.. oh, and, yeah, you too, of course… kidding ! You guys enjoy the Stanley Cup now, and I shall be routing for the … cough, cough…. Canucks, but…. I suggest that you make plans to come to oil country soon, so that we can all go watch some serious hockey… OK, I better run for cover now.”

Kausik Datta for “I’d never have imagined Bob O’Hara to look like that.”

and Prof-like Substance for “The problem might be the fucking emails. If you leave for a while and all your emails are fucking, of course there is going to be a population explosion by the time you get back. Please remember to spay and neuter those fucking emails!”

June 24 2011:Lavaland for “That’s falcon awesome.”

Alyssa for “You’re a weirdo, but it sure makes for fun reading!”

Cromercrox for “Golden eagles? Phooey. Golden retrievers can knock you over if you wave bits of meat at them. :)”

KristiV for ““Marmite” gets you to Philosophy more quickly than does “John Hagee”. Bwahahaha!

I thought for sure the latter would go through “evangelical” and “windbag” ….”

and Massimo for “It has been brought to my attention that reason leads to an infinite loop.”

June 30 2011:Ricardipus for “The key is to file the inbox emails into sub-folders. No need to read them all before doing this.”

Cromercrox for “Don’t tempt me. Crox Minor and I are already thinking of doing a video of ourselves dancing around on the beach with dead fish to accompany ‘Iphigeneia in Brooklyn’, the secular cantata by P. D. Q. Bach.”

and Steve Caplan for “Thanks, Cath. Those images are a real TREET…”

July 08 2011: Cromercrox for “You are a grownup if and ONLY if you have a bradawl and know how to use it AND/OR you buy T-shirts with nothing printed on them.”

and then “You know you’re a grown-up when the band you’re playing in starts attracting groupies but you’d really rather have a nice cup of tea and a lie down.”

Silver Fox for “Do you feel the heavy weight of responsibility on your shoulders all the time? If not, then – no. Not a grownup.”

Eva for “Gah! My longest job was my PhD, which was about a *million* years. (Six years and three months, to be precise). A MILLION!

Oh, and longest time in same place by myself was seven years. Most of aforementioned PhD, plus a year after that. Fun fact: I got Penny within two weeks after moving into that apartment, so she also lived in the same house for seven years. My cat totally beat your house record!”

and Ricardipus for “1. Does your institution have any kind of formal pre-submission peer review of grant applications?

Yes indeed. Now ask me if it’s useful. Go on, I dares ya.

2. If so, at what stage of the submission process is it applied?

Ideally, you’re supposed to submit the form (similar to your now-dead “Form 100″) SIX WEEKS before the grant deadline. Just imagine how often this actually happens.

3. Do all grants go through this process, or only those submitted by new investigators?

Allegedly, all of them, except if you claim they are exempt. “Exempt” sometimes can have the alternate meaning “I am a busy and important researcher who has better things to do than submit this form, just see if you can make me, nyaa nyaa nyaa”.

4. If the process is selective, what are the criteria for a grant requiring review?

No real clue, but see answer to question 3, above.

5. Do you find the practices in place at your institution to be helpful?

*COUGH SPLUTTER* sorry, something stuck in my craw there.”

July 15 2011: KJHAxton for “Just before I left, my postdoc lab was doing some work with bladder tissue. They determined that rat bladders were too small to be inverted and used for tests so they contacted a local slaughterhouse for a supply of fresh pig bladders. Two of the research team had to go early in the morning to collect the supply, armed with jars of buffer solutions and boxes of ice to keep the tissue viable. Once they got back to the lab, work had to start immediately, and almost as immediately there was the loudest shrieking screaming laughter I’d ever heard. I don’t know if it was similar logic to your monkey bum, or because they were both females, but the good folks at the slaughter house had very kindly left the very well endowed pig penis still attached to the bladder.

I made sure I was working else where on subsequent bladder days.”

and then “we do forensic science and the final year students doing dissertations (literature based, no experimental work). There are always a couple on forensic etomology – the order bugs go to corpses, the life cycles of maggots etc. I once made the mistake of reading a draft for a student first thing in the morning, straight after breakfast, straight before a staff meeting. I spent most of the meeting trying not to throw up.”

Professor in Training for “Too many to list, but the one that keeps coming to haunt me is the urine specimen I had to process when working in a hospital lab during my pre-grad school years … the specimen was dark green and had things crawling in it … if it hadn’t been labeled as a urine sample, I would have thought it was pond scum.”

Kyrsten for “Sadly, I managed to almost outdo myself a year and half later, when sitting on the patio of an expensive restaurant, I got bit by a spider. What little biology I’ve taken allowed me to confirm the identity of a wolf spider, and thus making me feel ok…until that night when I started to swell around the site. Being a microbiologist, I was able to see the hallmarks of a lovely S. aureus infection and swiftly got myself to the hospital, with a swelling about 5 inches in diameter – and was immediately put on some massive doses of antibiotics. The weird thing? it was the other leg, SAME SPOT. A good friend told me shortly thereafter that “I shouldn’t let insects try and get fresh with me”.”

Beth Snow for “I’m the same with parallel parking – I can totally do it if no one else is with me, but as soon as I have a passenger it’s like I’ve never been behind the wheel of a car before. And need I remind you that I drive a Smart Car, which is ridiculously easy to parallel park, given that it is only half a car? Talk about looking like an eejit!”

and Mermaid for “I also hate when you are having a meeting in another office and you have to ‘drive’ their computer to find files you require. I always end up looking like I can’t read and have a bad case of the DTs…shaking hands and a complete inability to find files.”

July 22 2011: Steve Caplan for “Mostly for my neck I am doing hourly stretches–people ask me “Can I help?” when they see me seemingly trying to hold up the door frame.

When on vacation a few weeks ago in Washington, I took the thick rubber strip that I have been using for physical therapy to stay in shape. The therapists showed me that you can close a door on the band and use it for resistance training for the shoulder neck. It was pretty embarrassing to have to call the bell-boy up to our room when I found I couldn’t get the closet door open afterwards…”

Nina for “You never came home from a 14 hour lab experiment feeling worn-out, aching, trembling and hallucinating??? What am I doing wrong???”

Bob O’H for “Now, if only we were all mice, all our health problems would be solved. The only thing to worry about would be being sacrificed at the Altar of Science.”

and Steve Caplan again for ““Kindly lie down and die”–that’s what it sounds like!”

July 29 2011:

Cromercrox for “I can spell difficult words like ‘Paracyclotosaurus’ and ‘buttered toast’, but I still have to think – hard – when asked to tell my left from my right.”

Ricardipus for “I believe this is related to the “turning the map around so it’s pointed the same way you are” approach to navigation. An approach espoused (geddit?) by certain members of my family, but not others oh no no no not at all.

And: (a) you’re a freak, but not for this particular reason, and (b) your method makes perfect sense to me, but not to certain other members etc. etc. etc.”

Mike for “Mrs F and I also differ in this respect – I’m a “my right side = your right side” kinda guy, she’s a mirror imager. This probably means our wee man will grow up with food permanently stuck to his face.”

and ScientistMother for “Whether you’re a freak or not is not for me to judge, since I think we have alot of similarities and I hate to be the pot calling the kettle black.”

Aug 19 2011: Ricardipus for “I grew up in Kingston, a city characterized by many things including a large bend in the Lake Ontario coastline where it meets the Rideau River. To this day I can have confusing conversations with my parents as to whether certain streets run south to the lake, or east to the lake (or north or west in the opposite direction).

I need a GPS, I think.”

Frank Norman for “Of course you know the area is really gentrified when you see a restaurant open up that sells retro de-greased greasy spoon fare but at five times the price of the old closed-down greasy spoon cafe.”

Cromercrox for “I bet the cheese shop has resident bouzouki players, and never has any cheese.”

and rpg for ““The fact that most people agree on something doesn’t make it any more correct in my mind.”

That statement is true. And I cling to it. However,

“The fact that most people agree on something doesn’t make me a freak”

is demonstrably false.”

Sep 2 2011:

Chall for “yeah maybe… but I don;’t get why they’d bother with sending out money to do some research if they “already know what they want from it”. Just save the money, the time and write the report from the beginning. Wait what? That’s not “the scientific way”??? duh.


Mike for “I firmly believe that even if the tiny steps scientists (and their administrators et al) take might not seem like they make a difference right here, right now, it was someone’s tiny steps some time ago that have helped make the crucial medical advances that allow us to say things like ‘this brain surgery was relatively straight forward’. And any steps you’ve taken may well be helping out someone else in need somewhere else in the future. And the medicinal benefits of a good cuppa should probably not be underestimated.”

Steve Caplan for “though we all have our doubts, occasionally–especially when encountering personal and family-related medical crises–remember that today’s basic science is the future of medicine. Your years of basic research are not lost or wasted, but enriching the next generation.”

Steve Caplan again for “When I was a Ph.D. student, I used a primordial version of EndNote (I believe it was called “EndNote Dino”). For whatever reason, of the 196 references in my dissertation, EndNote decided it didn’t like the second author of every paper that had 2 or more co-authors.

No matter what I did or tried, I could not solve that problem. As such, I manually entered 174 2nd authors into my dissertation”

CromerCrox for “Many years ago when the world was young (OK, it was 1987) and I was writing up my Ph.D. (we didn’t have things like endnote, we had to do it all by hand), I had recourse to my adviser’s thesis on a similar topic, and found that not all the citations in the text corresponded with a reference at the back. I questioned my adviser on said omission and he went all wistful and recounted this story.

My adviser (we can call him AL) was having his thesis typed up by a typist, that is, a person who used a typewriter. The typist agreed to type the thesis in exchange for AL’s moped. It came to the point where AL had to take the references to be typed – these were written individually on large cards, several hundred of them, tied up with an elastic band, which AL carefully stowed in the pannier on the back of said moped. And so AL set off.

It was quite a long way to the typist’s house. It was getting dark, and it had started to rain. AL went over a small bump in the road, the pannier sprang open, the elastic band snapped and all his references flew out like snow all over the dark, wet road. AL collected up as many as he could, but – he said – there were probably a few – those he didn’t manage to catch – still rotting under a Cambridgeshire hedge.”

Mike again for “I’m amazed this was the problem you ended up blogging about. Srsly – so many different people actually using the same reference software? You were lucky. When I were a lad, all my co-authors insisted on eating reference gravel.”

Ricardipus for “I feel your pain… I am currently filling out a report for a Certain Funding Agency With Which You Are Familiar(TM), using an online system for a Certain Regional Organization That Administers The Funding Agency’s Funds In This Region (More Or Less, E&OE, etc.). Said online system has, in fact, a “reference lookup” feature similar to the one you describe. Putting a plain-vanilla PMID into it and clicking a couple of buttons results in a satifying SLURP of the data into all the relevant fields (author, title, abstract, etc.).

Except when it doesn’t.”

Hermitage for “There is no ‘America, Fuck Yea!’ in the url, so clearly it’s fake.


and Juniper Shoemaker for “It only does that to Canadians. The solution is for us to annex you as planned.”

Sep 16 2011: Ricardipusfor “The problem with using a Smartphone is that people will automatically assume you’re checking your email, or playing a game, or something. Well, judgmental people like me, anyway.”

Ruth Seeley for “This happened to a neighbour of mine, except the water was shut off while she was in the middle of attempting to dye her waist-length hair. And it stayed off. Her solution was to dispatch all the occupants of the house to buy four-litre jugs of bottled water. My one attempt at dying my own hair involved henna – an attempt I quickly abandoned when I saw henna mud on my knees – I could just tell it was going to be like the attempts to paint my toenails – polish everywhere but where I wanted it. Whenever I’ve considered doing it myself subsequently, reading the ‘use of this product may lead to blindness’ included in the instructions has always made me stop and beg a friend to apply the dye instead (at least I’ll have someone else to blame, if not sue, if I do end up looking younger but unable to savour the results myself).”

Nina for “I suppose this is why my mum always had me dye her hair for her before I moved too far away … it is a pain though to dye someones hair when she is in constant panic the dye will burn of her brains. Gah.”

Grant for “I have red hair. When I traveled to Pakistan, at several times an old (and possibly slightly dotty) man approach me asking where I’d gotten my hair dyed. Muslims there dye their hair with henna after their pilgrimage to Mecca & and they were very impressed with my hair job. I took a fair bit to convince them that was the way that my hair naturally is.”

CromerCrox for “It took me a while to work out why I hadn’t noticed the crowd of Halal butchers sneaking into our bathroom so they could slaughter goats. Mrs Crox fessed up to her hair dye.”

and Seth for “It mentions Cleavage so it’s parent control or nanny state censorship”

23 Sep 2011:

Nina for “Well, something similar? A wedding and a conference at the same date. The conference date was known since … 4 years ago. The wedding, 6 months. Why don’t I just skip the conference?
I guess it is not exactly the same, as people get married only once (ahem, hmm, hahaha), and the conference is every 4 years.
On the other hand, during the conference I will be able to possibly find a future job. I m pretty sure that a wedding of a medical doctor and an accountant is not going to get me a job.”

Silver Fox for “Get your PIs to agree to have all their shit together one month ahead of time. (Right.)”

Chall for “I’d stick with tax people or why not Santa Claus? I mean, surely they’d understand that Santa can’t take off 23-26th of December GMT…. ;)”

Ricardipus for “I *still* get that dream about realizing it’s near the end of term, I haven’t been to any lectures, haven’t read the textbook, it’s too late to drop the course and I’m going to get zero. And I need it to graduate.

Nothing to do with grants, but the traumatic events that cause it are kind of similar.”

and Steve Caplan for “Ahhh, but grants can MAKE YOU INSANE. So if your mother had you tested years ago, things may have changed…”

Sep 30 2011:

Massimo for “At some point it boils down to asking oneself “OK, I know this person, she is my friend for xx years — do I really believe that she is trying to avoid this ? That she is wanting to play prima donna and be begged ? Is it conceivable that she may be making this up, ’cause, really, she hates beer and traveling ? Should I suggest that she ask for a postponement, since only uncommonly gifted people like me have such brilliant ideas — she may not have thought of it ?”
A reasonable person will conclude that in all likelihood if you say you can’t go, you just, um, can’t go. The unreasonable ones… whatcha gonna do…”

anarchic teapot for “I think my weirdest dream was a half-waking one during a particularly stressful project. My two-month-old kitten was explaining basic principles to me since apparently I’d forgotten them…”

Ricardipus for “Back in the dim and distant past, a friend of mine who worked in an honest-to-goodness photograph developing shop told me the advice his boss had given him about mixing developer – which went something like this:

“Mix it until it’s piss yellow”.

Art, meet science.”

Austin Elliott for “Speaking physiologically, the shade of yellow-ness of your piss varies considerablydepending on how ‘water-loaded’ you are, and thus as a function of how much fluid you have been slurping down recently. Tricky for photography.”

and Mermaid for “Similar instructions are common when trying to learn an old family recipe from my mom (who learned it from my dad’s mom), which really can’t be written down. “Add flour until it feels right” is a favourite, as is “Mix until it looks the right level of combined”. I am sure with practice I will know what it all means, but in the meantime the failed batches are depressing.”

Post(s) of the Week:

Mar 04 2011: Nina for “Fieldtrip part 1, the good, the bad, and the rain” (it’s another grumpy fieldtrip post from Nina! How could it NOT be awesome?!)

Hermitage for “How gaming makes me a better grad student: grinding” (I love this series, although I’m astonished to find that people will spend hours and hours on boring repetitive tasks for little reward FOR FUN in their spare time!)

EcoGeoFemme for “Getting Creative” (being in a small field without lots of ready-made kits forces you to come up with your own solutions)

and Flowing Data for “A study of iPad usage via fingerprints” (I once tried to write a post about how I know which iPhone games I’ve been playing lately based on the pattern of fingerprints on the screen, but I couldn’t get the photos to show up properly. Now I don’t have to!)

Mar 18 2011: Nina for “The field trip to Auckland/Waitakere ranges” (at this point I may as well just admit that anything Nina ever writes about field work will automatically end up here. I love it!)

Richard P. Grant for “On the hairy nature of light” (Fun with lasers – do try this at home, kids!)

Silver Fox for “Spencer Hot Springs, Then and Now” (Gorgeous photos, and tales of a battle between religious fanatics and profane geologists that may or may not have ended in arson)

and Cromer Crox for “Patterns” (is that a football or a purine?)

Mar 25 2011: Eva Amsen for “Waiting around as transferable skill” (doing a PhD might just qualify you to work as a secret agent – IF you can pass the first test)

Alyssa for “Scientiae: change is the only constant” (Sometimes it’s not only OK to let yourself quit, it’s actually the best thing to do)

Massimo for “Great things will be coming your way” (Are postdocs really being misled about their career prospects?)

Athene Donald for “Chinese whispers, truth and the media” (how media descriptions of Athene’s research focus have, um, evolved)

and Jenny Rohn for “In which I go native” (One Of Us! One Of Us!)

Apr 01 2011: Kat Arney for “Shoot low, girls, shoot low” (“Are girls still being steered towards more vocational professions, like teaching or nursing, when they should be encouraged to strike for the heights of the Ivory Tower?”)

The Bean-Mom for “Peace” (More cute and funny tales of the adorable Bean Girls!)

Uphilldowndale for “A rock and a hard place” (Gorgeous photos and a “hey, I’ve been there!”)

and Beth Snow for “Are YOU prepared for the zombie uprising?” (in which Beth and I make up two-thirds of the executive committee of the brand new and shiny Vancouver chapter of the Zombie Research Society)

Apr 15 2011: KristiV for “Traffic: on the roads and in the lungs” (food for thought for cyclists)

KJHaxton for “What is research really like?” (Off-label uses of Lego, or building a house of cards?)

CromerCrox for “Rumours” (precioussssss!)

and, of course, Eva Amsen for “Cat on a hot tin MacBook” (quite possibly the best post I’ve ever read)

Apr 22 2011: Bumper “I didn’t update BRC last week because I was skiing” edition: KJ Haxton (writing on the Scientopia guest blog) for “Real life ‘what am I?'” (engaging high school chemistry students with a real-life chemical mystery)

Steve Caplan for “An image that’s hard to shake” (Are the same people who review Steve’s grants also reviewing his novel?!)

Massimo for “Great blog. By the way, you are full of it.” (an interesting proposal to send trainees’ evaluations of their supervisors to funding agencies, among other topics!)

Stephen Curry for “Numb or numbered?” (are undergraduate admissions policies keeping pace with the increasing importance of mathematics in biology? Bonus points for awesome comments thread!)

Henry Gee (writing at GrrlScientist’s Punctuated Equilibrium blog) for “In Your Own Write: The ten rules for excellent writing” (does what it says on the tin. Well, 60% of it, anyway)

Suzi Feay for “Greatest critical cliches of all time” (if you only read one blog post about book reviews this millenium…)

Erika Cule for “What is the alternative?” (a summary of the issues behind the upcoming alternative vote vs. first-past-the-post electoral reform referendum in the UK)

ScientistMother for “Before I get into the midwife thing” (hurrah for socialised medicine!)

Prof-like Substance for “Graphic Fridays: your turn” (great concept, and some fantastic replies in the comments!)

and Hacked IRL for “Kayak WIN!” (WANT! Even though I’m a pacifist!)

Apr 29 2011: Steve Caplan for “NIH and my moral compass” (are funding agencies trying to force highly specialised investigators to become jack-of-all-trades?)

and Ruchi for “In defense of the city” (Every city does some things well and others less well, but overall they are awesome, because that’s where Ruchi lives. Oh, also, sustainability.)

May 06 2011: Nina YET AGAIN (three appearances in one week’s edition of BRC is officially a new record, folks) for “Oamaru, penguins, for future reference” (Nina continues to be hilarious, this time while exploring New Zealand and drinking whisky)

and Beth Snow for “The return of the cursed chocolate bar” (If the Canucks had lost on Tuesday, it would have been Beth’s fault and I would have been forced to kick her ass)

June 10 2011: DrDrA for “Media training… need it… or not?” (great advice for scientists who talk to journalists)

Ruchi for “What does green mean?” (redefining “nature” to mean that I don’t have to weed my garden? Sign me up!)

and Nina for “The “new” Christchurch” (melancholy post about missed opportunities in the rebuilding of a city)

June 10 2011: Austin Elliot for “Job or vocation” (if you couldn’t be a scientist, what (if anything) would you rather be?)

Eva Amsen for “Poster or talk?” (the pros and cons of both, plus a great comment thread)

Nina for “Reimagining Christchurch” (the community gets together to try and build a better city after the earthquake)

and Beth Snow for “Because I am nothing if not an attention whore” (Beth and her boobs were on the CBC! But don’t tell anyone that she’s a nutritional scientist!)

June 24 2011: Gerty Z for “I gay wrote this post” (what it’s like to be out as a new TT academic in the bio-sciences)

Barbara Ferreira for “Entangled ever after” (quantum weddings?! Why didn’t I think of that for mine?!)

ScientistMother for “Shit I forgot, it’s INSULTING to be called a woman” (he didn’t win us the cup, but Henrik Sedin is one classy guy. That is all I have to say about the hockey.)

and Kimli for “About last night” and for “Only Human”. (#thisismyvancouver. That is all I have to say about the riots.)

June 30 2011: Kimli for “Justice in action” (follow-up on last week’s BRC posts from Kimli about the Vancouver riot)

and Alyssa for “Swear pyramid” (ranking swear words turned out to be really fun!)

July 08 2011: Beth Snow for “My trip so far” (awarded for the excellent use of a “Stephen Harper is a totally normal guy” joke)

and Jeanne Sather for “The funniest thing that happened to you in cancer treatment?” (some great stories in the comments. Oh, and I was the one who sent the house plant!)

July 15 2011: Richard P. Grant for “On the journal with no name” (supreme cynicism)

CromerCrox for “Bigfoot” (extremely well-timed post that appeared the morning after I watched a documentary about Sasquatch and thought “ooh, I wonder what Henry would think of all this”)

ScientistMother for “You’re pregnant and everything you do will result in a mutant baby” (evidence-based rebellion against the never-ending advice)

and Unbalanced Reaction for “You can take the girl out of academia…” (time-travelling grammar checking)

July 22 2011: Eva Amsen for “Make history, not vitamin C” (epic post on how a quirk of primate evolution influenced human migration and caused a war)

CromerCrox for “One of our sea serpents is missing” (is it possible to apply critical thinking to cryptozoology?)

Kalliopi Monoyios for “5 reasons your camera won’t steal my job” (great post on scientific illustration on Symbiartic, a science & art blog on the shiny new Scientific American network)

and Dr Rubidium, writing on the Scientopia Guest Blog for “Chemistry for the zombie apocalypse” (how to make yourself smell like a zombie without getting up close and personal with blood, guts and gore)

July 29 2011: Frank Norman for “Citing wrong ‘uns” (how can published papers be better linked to subsequent retractions?)

Stephen Curry for “Plague-arism” (nefarious doings in the world of student essays… and trademark infringement)

Athene Donald for “Myers-Briggs tests and the scientist” (personality, decision making, and role models in science)

and Beth Snow for “So Nice Creamer – a review” (methinks Beth needs more practice at this. So send her more free stuff!)

Aug 19 2011: Cromercrox for “Birds” (excellent post on Xiaotingia and why small children the world over will now have to say “I’m Archaeopteryx, Just Another Feathered Dinosaur!”)

Robert Krulwich (yes, the guy from Radiolab) for “What’s the world’s favourite number?” (people’s relationships to numbers?)

xkcd for “Lanes” (seriously, FUCK cancer!)

Viktor Poór for “Microbiology and the Old Spice Guy (cartoon) (my favourite episode yet of Stripped Science!

and I Can Has Cheezburger? for “Chemistry Cat: science and puns, together at last!” (periodically hilarious!)

Sep 2 2011: Erika Cule for “Expressive Behaviour” (how to demonstrate to people that you’re the best grad student EVAH)

Girl, Interrupting for “On some women I happen to find inspirational” some great picks, one of them rather unexpected!

The Excitable Scientist for “Not a letdown” (this new blog is off to a great start – this first post is about the dangers of field-snobbery)

Frank Norman for “A week in the library” (I loved this idea of a day-by-day breakdown of what Frank’s job involves. I might do something similar myself at some point)

Jenny Rohn for “In which I salute the pioneers” (the Dark Arts of protocol development)

SciCurious for “Friday Weird Science: for a highly symmetrical butt, you might want to consider soccer instead of tennis” (top-notch science. Surely a Nobel will be forthcoming soon)

Kat Arney for “Still scarred by sportsday” (as a fellow bullying survivor, I wholeheartedly support the idea of compulsory science fairs and music days, for the humiliation of the obnoxiously sporty)

Kimli for “Poet? Know it” (Kimli gets her Vancouver poet laureate application off to a strong start with a stellar limerick, haiku, and freestyle rap)

and Viktor Poór for “The real evil scientist (cartoon)” (honey, I shrunk the p values!)

Sep 16 2011:  Massimo for “Tough acts to follow” (thoughtful post on the road ahead for Apple and the NDP, and the dangers of brand/party identity being too closely tied to any one individual)

Alyssa for “Crappy books” (is it possible to break the habit of slogging through terrible novels because you can’t bear not to finish a book?)

and Nina for “Prague in 2600 words and 43 photos” (as sarcastic and hilarious a conference/tourism post as you would expect from the undisputed master of sarcastic, hilarious field trip posts)

Sep 23 2011: Hermitage for “In which Hermitage is a pissy black person” (excellent analysis of the recent report on racial bias in NIH review)

Eva Amsen for “Science offline” (the importance of offline communities for online science, and vice versa)

and The Oatmeal for “What we should have been taught in our senior year of high school” (genius)

Sep 30 2011: DrugMonkey for “Honesty in equal contribution”, “Authorship arguing arse”, and “Authorship order rules: the departed are demoted” (series of very interesting conversations about author order)

and Nina for “Toronto” (in which Nina discovers the joys of the Caesar – hilariously, of course)

About Cath@VWXYNot?

"one of the sillier science bloggers [...] I thought I should give a warning to the more staid members of the community." - Bob O'Hara, December 2010
This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.