“I always know everything”

^^quote by my youngest nephew, then four years old (he’s now ten, still knows everything, and wants to be a lawyer, FSM help us all).


I spent Friday in an all-day symposium at my institute, on the subject of tumour biomarkers and personalised medicine. It was a really interesting event – encompassing discussions of health economics and ethics as well as scientific presentations by physicians, pathologists, and omicists – and a very welcome change of pace after finally clearing all my deadlines. As usual the details are unbloggable…

…but luckily the ubiquitous feedback questionnaire provided some good fodder.

The tick-box options across the top of the form were as follows:

Not at all / Slightly / Moderately / Mostly / Completely

and the list of questions started innocuously enough, with a question about whether the symposium had been relevant to my professional interests.

Next question: “The symposium identified the gaps between biomarker need and discovery”.

Um… some of the presenters did cover the gaps issue very thoroughly, but I didn’t really feel like I could tick the “Completely” box. What if there are unknown unknowns?!

After a few more standard feedback form questions, there was another one that didn’t seem compatible with the “Completely” option:

“The symposium increased my knowledge”.

I did learn a lot from the symposium… but unlike my nephew, I don’t think that it increased my knowledge so comprehensively that I now know all the known knowns (and known unknowns) about every known thing.

Not even about biomarkers.

Right, I now have to attempt to find some incriminating photos of my nephew with which to blackmail him if he ever reads this post and decides to sue me…

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 career, conferences, English language, family, medicine, Rumsfeldian symposia, science, silliness. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to “I always know everything”

  1. ricardipus says:

    At ASHG/ICHG in Montreal this year, I went to a lunchtime seminar session by a prominent provider of microarrays beginning with “Affy”. At this session, there were feedback questionnaires, including a bunch of questions about each of the speakers/talks.

    Unfortunately, the questionnaires were designed for some other session long completed in a different city, with speakers listed who just weren’t the ones I’d listened to.

    I left mine on the table and exited. The good folks from the company ending with “metrix” were somewhat embarrassed about it, when I spoke with them later.

  2. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Oops! Having worked for a biotech company that ran similar events and seen first-hand how much preparation, running around, panicking, micromanaging, hysteria, and paranoia goes into the planning and execution of such sessions, I can only imagine how much boardroom yelling went on when the mistake was discovered…

  3. Massimo says:

    So, “totally” was not one of the answers ?

  4. Cath@VWXYNot? says:

    Totally was 100% excluded

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