Archive for April, 2011

I can’t think of titles.  I have never been able to think of titles and I am still unable to think of titles.

When I write for SCN, my editor comes up with my titles.  Thought that “It’s a Matter of Attraction” was a clever way to introduce stem cell homing?  It was all thanks to my top notch editor.  I wrote a guest post for a personal finance blog recently.  No revisions to my post – but he didn’t like the title.  Hell – I didn’t like it either!  On my finance blog, one of my posts has the awe-inspiring title of “Indulge Yourself”.  WTF does that even mean?

I also can’t think of fictional names. I suck at coming up with fictional names.  When  I write fiction, my towns have stupid names like “Darcyville” (I hope that’s not a real place) and my characters are generically Annes, Davids and Johns (Except in 8th grade when I went through a Russian phase, and every other male character was “Alexei”.  Ahem…).

And damn it, I procrastinate.  I was supposed to write an intelligent post about new methods of stem cell testing and tissue culture that did not require animal tissues.  And you know what?  I wrote this instead.

//The end.

Read Full Post »

I have a new post up on the Stem Cell Network on the topic of fat stem cells and the use of these stem cells in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.  It was a better timed post than I had initially expected – just this morning, my “daily deal” email included an offer for a “breakthrough” stem cell skin cream.  Please do not buy this cream.

This terrifying link came though twitter today about a Yale student who died after getting her hair caught in some machinery late at night.  Soooo scary.  It’s a sober reminder to grad students and enthusiastic technicians – never work alone if you can help it.  Yes, I know we all have gone through the 12 hour time points or the 6am cell harvest – but at least let a close friend or roommate know where you are and take every precaution possible. Sadly, this can be as simple has tying back your hair, wearing your PPE and minding your general surroundings.

When I had to work late nights or early mornings in the animal facility, I always went around the room making sure racks and cabinets were locked down.  One of my greatest fears was to be in an animal room, several stories underground during an earthquake when some idiot has left the racks unlocked.  Imagine being crushed by several hundreds of pounds of metal while newly freed rodents roam your body as you lose consciousness. Terrifying.  But perhaps a bit of karma as well.  😛

Now that you all have that lovely picture in mind… Other links

  • This is what I’m getting the bf for Christmas.  What a great idea!
  • I found this post on how to get tenure at a major university incredibly… disturbing and discouraging, especially if you are a student.  Particularly this point:

Don’t worry about teaching, leadership, organizing, etc. I don’t think being good at these things actively hurts you, although I did once hear a senior faculty member say that he was negatively predisposed to candidates who had good teaching evaluations. (He was joking, I think.) Why? Because you’re spending time on something that isn’t research. But generally it won’t hurt, it just won’t help. You will typically be told (as I was) something like “teaching isn’t really important, but if your case is very close, it can help put you over the top.” Everyone agreed my case was very close, and my teaching was among the best in the department; it didn’t help. The point is simple: this stuff is not research.


Read Full Post »

I’m heading into the final stretch of the “go-back-to-school-for-my-second-degree” experiment and UBC reminds me again of why they piss me off so damn much.  I didn’t take out students loans this time around because when I was young and stupid and financially irresponsible, I racked up almost $40k in student loans.  I don’t want any more.  But I do want my interest-free period while I’m in classes.

So a week ago I went online, filled in my interest-free request for the summer session.  Done.  Right?

I got this message back today:

You have applied for and have been assessed for government student loan funding from Student Aid BC or have applied online for interest-free status for the Summer 2011 session. However, UBC is unable to confirm your enrolment because you are not meeting the minimum loan requirements. The specific error with your registration is that you have more than 10 business days between the end and start dates of your classes in total.

Please keep in mind; to be eligible for loans with during Summer Session you must satisfy all of the following criteria:

*       Enrol in at least 9 credits (audited, wait-listed and withdrawn courses do not count)

*       Enrol in a combination of courses that together form a study period that is at least 12 consecutive weeks long. Individual courses can be shorter than 12 weeks

*       Have no breaks longer than 10 working days between courses

I’m taking 3 classes, for 9 credits which total at least 12 weeks in length.  Otherwise known as a full time course load.  But with the way UBC structures summer terms, there happens to be a break of more than 10 classes between my term 1 classes and my term 2 classes.  AGHHHHHHHHH.

Mainly I’m pissed off because if the break had been at the beginning or at the end of the summer, there would be no problem and I would get some interest relief.  But just because the break is in the middle, I don’t get any interest relief, despite still taking the correct number of credits and class hours in total.

Read Full Post »

For anyone who’s interested in a career in bioinformatics:

There’s only ONE more VanBUG meeting this season and it’s happening Thursday April 14 at 6pm. Instead of a seminar style meeting, they’re doing a Bioinformatics Career Panel. Career panels are a great way of finding out what you could do with your degree, whether you are just starting out, have not started yet, or are contemplating a career change. I wish I had gone to more career panels when I did my first degree in biology.

The bioinformatics panelists include Benjamin Good (Genomics Institute of the Novartis Research Foundation), Inanc Birol (Michael Smith Genome Sciences Centre and School of Computing Science, Simon Fraser University), Anthony Fejes (Zymeworks) and Phil Hieter (Michael Smith Laboratories, University of British Columbia).

Consider asking questions about the technology that is used, what education is required for the field, what programming languages are most frequently used, and where the field is headed 5, 10, or 15 years from now. Or ask what their favourite flavour of ice cream is, I don’t care. 🙂

If you’re shy, you can submit questions prior to the event by emailing: dev@vanbug.org

I’ve been bad this year and only made it to a few VanBUG sessions, but I’m definitely going to be at this one!

Directions and original poster can be found on the VanBUG website.

Read Full Post »