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Thursday, March 31, 2011

New photos

The result of a lab outing to Aramoana.

Favs!
Both directions under observation
Child of exploration
and:
Look at this
Oh, and:
Old support
Hmmm, maybe also:
Airfield

Love Google

Their Logo today is brill:

It's Robert Bunsen's birthday!

You can guess what he's famous for (right?!) but other things less well known - like the discovery (with a colleague) of caesium and rubidium in 1860 and 1861 respectively.  Fun stuff.

I love Science!

---

EDIT:  Is it just my imagination, or can I see 'google' spelt out in that shit?!  Cool!

Oddly Beautiful

It seems like the whole 3D printing bandwagon is a fun ride, I have seen several strangely beautiful pieces made on such devices, shall have to keep an eye open to see if it takes off in the mainstream.

These however, I find quite lovely - in a scary metal, thorny kind of way.

From Shapeways, via BB.  Want!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Plush sculpture!



'Corrupted Dog' by Joshua Ben Longo via Super Punch.

Just look how happy those maggots are!

Friday, March 25, 2011

Hero for the Week

Jenny made these for what sounds like fun - and practice of her trade (art director). Initially they had the Smithsonian logo going on, but when the internets unexpectedly blew up with their awesomeness she changed it to 'generic museum'.

Love it. Brings to mind the Rock Stars of Science campaign.

Love the bow tie. (I might have a wee soft spot for Timberland's beats. *sheepish*)

Geek Bling

On this historic day - when I'm wearing my new necklace! Eeee!


















Lego Minifig Weasley Twins!

How much do I love this ring?  On Etsy, love it - probably wouldn't buy it.
Solid Sterling Silver 925 Harry Potter Ring ALL SIZE

On Repeat

Aural craving for SYOD today.  Who would have thought?

Takes me back to the years of music sharing with the little bro.  Good times :D

Friday, March 18, 2011

Greenery

I didn't even attempt to bake for St Paddies Day this year.

Luckily, office-girl did!  Her Birthday (and her mother's) too, so double whammy for baking reasons.

And just look - it's my kind of baking.


Mmmm, toxic-vomit-green friands.  Delicious.
(there was also some amazing fudge, but as I am not a fan, I cannot comment on its edibility!)

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Mucus monster: afraid of the Bennett's

This darn cold is wearing me down, so I have curled up on the couch with a tumbler of juice, the cats favorite blankie and the only film worth watching upon such an occasion.



I shall paint my nails, cough my lungs out, and watch dear Lizzie fall in love all over again.


- via the iPod magic wand.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sci Fi Freak

Turns out the headache over the last couple of days was a prelude to a cold, which today took a happy little vacation down to my lungs.

I am mucus girl.



So I stocked up on the tissues, pulpy juice and spiralina smoothies, and have been knocking back the vit c and salbutamol like a trooper. Slept all afternoon and then caught the early showing of 'I am number four' with one of my Good Peeps. Back home and in bed by 9pm.

This particular GP moves to Melbourne on Sunday and time is, as ever, running out.

I was running a bit late this evening and forwent the cheese burger pickup till after the movie (traveling and snot-food, only time I crave that crap) only to get there first, cause GP was making her own run to the golden arches. Oh the irony.

Anyway- the movie.

Super, super powers, aliens, baddies in black with epic guns and glowing red eyes, shape shifting beasties with teeth- the perfect elements for a tacky, epic masterpiece. Take out the awful, disgusting, hormonal, teenage romance bullshite, and you have left only the brilliant cliches you need in such a movie.

Plus you know, this guy:



Yum.

Loved him in Hitman.

But - what was in the damn silver box?! Looks like I'm either waiting for the next movie, or reading the books. Shall investigate the crud-level and get back to you :D



- via the iPod magic wand.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Sitting in Glass Houses; drinking tea and planning World Domination (aka Thesis Completion).

I wrote this piece in response to several articles in major journals in the last couple of weeks. When our Blog Mistress gets back from holiday, it will eventually make its way here. Keep an eye out.

---

I am at that stage of the PhD. Contemplating completion and what the heck comes after.

There is always talk about the glass ceiling still present in industry for women and the issues surrounding women and science, especially during post-doctoral positions. (1, 2, 3). It is at this point where they, as a group, seem to fall off the scientific academic bandwagon. That being the age of child bearing and marriage, the impending desire for houses, families and stability. As a young woman, aiming for scientific academia as a career, these things naturally both scare and annoy me.

I thought we had gotten past all of that?

And yet – the inequality still remains. I want to be a postdoc, I want to be a lecturer. I want to be an AP then full Prof. And eventually I want to be Vice Chancellor of my current illustrious Te Whare Wananga. I don’t want my non-attainment of any goals to be due to sexism or inequality – my own mistakes are sufficient cause.

I am female, and scientist: hear me roar.

So what’s the problem? Obviously it’s not the men standing at the Uni doors theatrically intoning “You shall not pass”. That just doesn’t happen.

The problem is societal, and deep – and not likely to go away in this generation. There are teams working on it and the rich parts of the world have noble goals for eradication of the difference.

So what good can I do?

Not drop out, I think, is a brilliant start. I am part of a (relatively) large group of acquaintances’ gearing up to finish their theses and the pressure is building. Is the stress, pressure, unrealistic expectations and lack of financial security in our academic futures worth it?

I am also quite firm in the conviction that I am unwilling to choose career over family, nor will I agree that the best way to tackle this issue is to pay someone to do the housework, or to *shockhorror* let it go undone.

“Science is a marathon, so it helps to shed every little thing that might bog you down. Think hard about what aspects of science and life you enjoy most and prioritize and preserve them”

I don’t want to miss things, nor cut things out of my life because they don’t polish the path to academic sainthood. I also don’t want a husband who sits at home and does the dishes while I write grant proposals.

Why does a career in Science have to be so hard? The scarcity of funding is one unfortunate answer and there is nothing I can do about that. So I face in the immediate future, completion of experiments and writing of thesis without any future job-security-pot-of-gold to spur me on. The incentive is theoretical and yet – there is nothing else I want to do more.

I love science – I love the research aspect of University. I love the community and prestige and cutting edge excitement. I can’t wait to be a fully fledged, paper published, lab running, minion toting, and too-busy-for-reality member.

So being currently surrounded by a cohort of soon-to-be doctoral graduates brainstorming about alternate careers, ‘cause this one is just not worth it; is very, very hard. The prospect of completion alone induces night terrors – how did 3 years pass so quickly? How did I think that first literature review was anything other than a pile of scrap paper and printer scat? Am I really good enough for a life of academia? How could it possibly be that I could repeat all of my research in a month – and do it to a higher standard? How can I concentrate on writing The Beast when I have to apply for jobs at the same time? How can I concentrate on writing The Beast and applying for jobs when I need to publish precious papers to be anywhere near successful at either?!

And yet – I have never met a scientist who thought they had made a career mistake – and still stayed in the job. That says something for their dedication, and the commitment and drive of the successful few. A Career in Science is obviously not a decision you take lightly, or a future you just fall in to.

There are so many facets to my prospective Job – so many areas in which you need to excel. You have to be able to write for scientific journals, you have to have the good sense to select a research area which attracts funding, you have to write grants and undergraduate lectures/lab books/courses, you need to be able to teach to both a room of hundreds and only a few, you need to inspire undergraduates and cajole grad students, you need to be able to present your work to international crowds of potential thousands and sound absolutely brilliant while doing so. You have to have community involvement and wider interests to gain tenure and be top of your field (or at least highly respected). You have to be both man and machine, creative and rigidly strict. It is expected that you will give up portions of a ‘normal’ life and that you will toil for far more than the expected number of work hours. You have to be so much more than any other job calls for, and be willing to be perpetually unrewarded. At least in this wee country, where our own milk is cheaper overseas.

And scientists/academics are not considered a valuable factor of society. (On a side note - is it any wonder they have such barriers to explaining their work to the masses?).

Perhaps this is the test – the one you have to pass before you can attain academic professionalism. It being so hard to get through the door, that once through, you will forge hell and high water to remain, and make the best of it whilst there. It being so hard to join the damn club you never ever, consider leaving.

Would you join?

On Repeat

Sundays are beautiful.

And so is Stevie.


"Saaaaaaara - you're the poet in my heart, never change, and don't you ever stop."

You betcha, Stevie. Rock on.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Oh, pretty!

Beautiful.


 
Via Boing Boing, from here.  Just lovely.

Felony

So help me, I fake baked.  The baking goddesses are shaking their heads in horror.

Our Lab Manager's wife is bringing in their new baby today for morning tea (to have tea with us, not to have the baby for morning tea), and everyone 'baked a little'.

I foresee a massive baking spread.

Anyway - my cupboards and wallet are relatively empty, so I picked up some sponge, and whipped up some mascapone cheese and a cream based chocolate mousse filling.  Sliced the two sponges in half and went nuts with the filling.  Wrapped and chilled, I'll finish them off with sifted icing sugar at morning tea.

(The glass was just there.  Strange huh?)


Simple - and the wee edge I tried last night blew my socks off.

My life is a fucking soap opera

You know what? I care more than I thought I would.


I think part of this episode has been a mistaken 'world view' of me as an individual.  You want some (apparently surprising) deets?

I am tattooed, pierced and like listening to death metal in my car at such volumes that the vehicles 3 reps in each direction can hear it.  I am strong willed and independent, and do not approve.

My favourite radio stations are Solid Gold and Concert FM and every Saturday and Sunday morning I prepare a full tea service with breakfast.  I'm talking trays and tea cosies, silver spoons and bone china here people.  I sew some of my own clothes, I produce my own art and hang it on the walls of my own house, I have a million pets and want a million more.

And you?  You know nothing.

I consider this episode closed.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Oh wow

What a good controversy does high page ratings make.

Hi! *waves* I'm watching you watch me! Snap!

This is better than Shortland Street.

Though... that doesn't say much, does it?


- via the iPod magic wand.

Epic

Props.  You are my hero for the day.
epic win photos - Dumble Door WIN

Brace yourselves; I am on the good ship Righteous Ranter.

I am a big advocate for freedom of speech, and expression of truth. It might hurt, but the truth is always better. Always. Thus we come to a problem. Blogs are open to the public, but personal. It is yours; you can say what you want, whenever you want, however you want. And theoretically – if the reader doesn’t like it – they can jump off a cliff. (Or you know, not read it).

Obviously the laws still apply – and if you are smart, generic rules for ‘keeping the peace’. I approach my blog like a diary – whatever I want, whenever I want as a means to share my life with the world and acknowledge my issues and begin to deal with them. It is not to inform certain people, nor is it aimed at anyone except the generic internet ether. It is also under no one’s control – but mine.
My life, my feelings, my decisions, my directive.

So when I had an email from the head of the program calling me into his office, I assumed it was work related – what else could it logically be about?

But no – I was being called before the principal like a naughty child because someone had read something which they assumed was about them (rightly or wrongly, it doesn’t matter), had complained to their supervisor, who passed it on to the head of the program with what I can only assume was a directive to ‘take care of the problem’.

Yes. I am a problem.

Two things are wrong with this situation – first, Christ – if you don’t like it, don’t read it. Second; how is a personal situation relevant to the work place? If the person in question had an issue with me or my blog, completely unrelated to work, they should have approached me in the first instance. Not only do you look like a fool for taking a personal issue to your boss, but you put both your boss and his superiors in an undesirable situation. It should have been bounced straight back to the complainer, with a directive to contact the insulter (me) in the first instance, or a personal grievances mediator in the second.

This should not have entered the workplace.

And for the irrelevant record, the particular post in question, now amended to keep the peace (though really, did you think I would not expand on the subject further?!), named no names, and was about no business or institution that could have taken offence. I am certainly entitled to my feelings, and most certainly entitled to express them on my own blog.

However, I understand (and in retrospect, should have expected, though seriously - why are you reading my blog anyway?!) that it did result in a complaint, and to the boss (with regards to the particular person involved) and the options for the superiors once placed in their hands, were limited.

All things considered, it was handled very well and I sympathise with the people who were charged with taking care of this particular problem, when I guarantee it was about as much fun as scraping mud off shoes.

However, I do consider a line was crossed. No one can assume authority over my personal concerns (I am after all, way past 18) and the topic should not have been breached directly with me, by a person in institutional authority, but rather addressed with the person who thought to take it to an institute superior in the first place.

I am human, passionate and oftentimes sardonic, and am not the nice/happy/polite person you see in the corridor all the time. I doubt that is possible for any wo/man. Like my disclaimer (on your right, towards the bottom), and in light of the fact that I will always tell the truth as I see it, about both my feelings and the situations I encounter, I urge you to either not read the blog, or complain to the author directly.

Peace.


---
Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn't the mountain ahead that wears you out - it's the grain of sand in your shoe.
-Robert Service

---

EDIT:  It appears I have been mislead darlings!  Once the truth comes to light I will, of course, explain the particulars.  Suspend your disbelief for just a sort while longer.

EDIT: Oh treacherous lies! Nefarious deceit!

In this update of the Soap-Opera-That-Is-My-Life, we discover our humble protagonist (that's me people, keep up!) has been fed a wilful misrepresentation of the truth!

*gasp*

The primary antagonist never complained to her supervisor, never complained to anyone in an official or casual capacity. Instead she requested of the scheduler-of-teaching-streams that she not be put to tutor in the same class as I (now the hateful villain, and with just cause- if I were her I would choose not to teach with me either: for social reasons. For two people who have known each other for 8 years, and who was my bestie for 3, you would assume there was a background). An email was sent back, asking why, and a link to my blog was exchanged.

Upon falling in idle hands the issue became a crusade, to the point where I felt hunted, and more people entirely unrelated to the matter at hand decided to (unintelligently) involve themselves.

So in such a situation where the primary party (me, here) makes an effort (not reciprocated) at dignified mediation without directive nor advice from the interfering institutional parties, one must ask - where does that leave them?

The gossip mongers and trouble stirrers fiddled in a pie which they had no right to in the current context - and pulled out a stone.

Sweeties, you thought I, a plum?!

---

In a more formal note, I unreservedly apologise, definitely-ex-friend, for casting aspersions on your character earlier in this post, and making the fatal error of assuming I was told the whole truth, by an albeit unrelated person, with regards to the entire situation.

I am, most, sincerely, sorry.

Of the pie stirrers, however; what do you make of your own actions? I humbly suggest you contemplate how you might handle such a situation should it arise again in future.

On Repeat

I'm going to jump on the bandwagon that is themed sharing of things-that-are-related.  Like insects on Sundays, or Music on Mondays.

But since I'm such a free spirit (read 'couldn't keep to a self imposed schedule or restriction if I wanted to')  I'm just gonna do it whenever.

An explanation - the slight OCDness leads to occasional infatuation with eclectic pieces of music.  Bits of tune which just reverberate within my soul and demand aural delivery for several days solid.

It's weird, I know.  Listening to a piece over and over?  It would be enough to drive anyone crazy.

Luckily - I am already half insane, and I don't think I will ever be 'anyone'.

The last couple of days?  Toccata and Fugue.  And all because of a book.

Tongue tied

An extremely abnormal occurrence...occurred this morning.

I went in to my currant fav coffee house and was confronted with my lady-barista, with a new piecing.

Bull styles.

I was fully flabbergasted and couldn't force words out for what felt like a good 10 seconds.

My brain just froze.  I was thinking "sweet new piercing", but my mind-voice was so sarcastically toned I couldn't let it past my lips, but being all I could think of there was no room for other conversation.

I think I covered it up well - I prevaricated and changed my order to something completely abnormal so she thought I was just confused about the coffee...well, I should be so lucky.  (I'm a trim flat white kind of girl, and as I'm sure you've picked up, I don't change very often.  Coffee, Paasha, cleaning routine, breakfast, Poppas, love... ha).

We got over our awkward little moment by her commenting on my sweet, sweet new necklace (a wee red tiki on a ball chain I made last night from a pair of earrings), and lamenting that I always had the coolest of necklaces.  To which I replied, "yes, yes I do - it's my goal in life".

It's the truth.  Selection/assembly of necklaces and earrings: one of my (limited) skills.

So this morning I have felt completely off kilter from having no words (the horror!) and then completely at ease with such a lovely complement - because of its truth (*cough*) and the fact that she remembers me, let alone my necklace collection. 

But then, I do drink a lot of coffee.

Monday, March 7, 2011

An Open Letter

To the Marketing Manager of World Fitness and colleagues,


Re. Your promotional detritus littering the cars and streets in North Dunedin

I have been disappointed to discover you and several other unfortunate companies have resumed the reprehensible practice of distributing promotional flyers under the windscreen wipers of cars parked along Dundas and Castle Streets around the Student Ghetto.

Not only are you contributing to the disgusting filth pit that is the student quarter, since most people rip the things off in anger and drop them straight onto the street, but you are wasting finite resources in an ever sickening world. Is your paper un-bleached and recycled? Are your inks environmentally friendly? No gain in company revenue could be worth the direct harm you are causing our local environment.

As an advertising strategy, you are surely missing the mark, since you achieve nothing but resigned indignation if not direct anger, in the people you are trying to entice towards your business. Further, the people that use the majority of the parks along those streets are employed at the University and do not live within the confines of the ghetto – thus you add insult by targeting an audience whom you ignore completely over the majority of the year.

If you are specifically wishing to target students in their second year of flatting I recommend you take out an ad in the student magazine, Critic, or request permission to put up posters on the OUSA managed bollards around campus. That way you might attract notice from first and third years as well, not to mention the ever elusive postgrads.

Cease this reprehensible practice of throwing your promotional litter about the Ghetto.

Regards,
The Genetically Insane.

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Like kids with blocks

There is just something about lying on the lounge room carpet, playing board games with super people that is simply fantabulous.

Throw in some brilliant food and a tea tray and the evening is complete.



What more could a big kid ask for?

- via the iPod magic wand.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Isn't it odd

Catching up with people you have not seen in a long, long time.

[Paragraph retracted.  Go on, ask me why.]

Still - the long time absent friends; I love hearing whats been happening, and ultimately, the fact that nothing has changed.  PhD's sucking the life out of everyone.  And yet another candidate for the "don't want to be an academic after Grad" pool.  Oh dear.

Life is nothing but swings and roundabouts.

I want to play in the sandpit instead!

Figure 1.  Life = Sandpit.  Pushing shit uphill.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

New photos

Up on Flickr.

And I can't even decide which is my favourite...
Time and jewelery
Or
Fish bed
Or
useless bumpers
Or
Just a Silhouette
I just can't decide!

Oh Science

I love it when you work for me.
And also - new Lab web page! Whoop.  Read my novel here.  At least I find myself funny right?!

Sarah
Ahhh the Death Throes, every students nightmare.

(Man, I love how I had my hair that day!)

More mocking than 'ad'

How to piss people off, in NZ, according to Gizmodo:


Brill idea, serves you right for showing such an indecent amount of leg! (picks up her cats and goes out to her rocking chair).

Flies are amazing

"This video shows a clock that eats flies. The Flypaper Clock designed by James Auger and Jimmy Loizeau gets all the power it needs to run from the flies it digests. The Flypaper Clock traps flies on a sheet of flypaper that revolves around two rollers. The captured flies are deposited into a vat of bacteria, which generates electricity from a chemical reaction to keep the LCD clock going."



Very cool! Obviously not such a good idea for Dunedin in winter without any flies - but moths perhaps? and another to power the light to attract the moths...and another to attract the ones needed to run that one...