My rescuers

(by gerty-z) Mar 10 2016

So, DrugMonkey has tagged me a blog meme. And I've been meaning to come back over here more now that things are settling down* So, here goes. Who are the five characters from movies/TV that i want to come in and rescue me from a "bad situation"

hmmm. i don't watch that much tv, but ...

  2. Rachel Maddow
  3. Michonne
  4. Arya Stark
  5. BanditoKat

I'm not sure any of my picks are "stable" ...


*hahahahaahhhaaa No they aren't, but whatev

One response so far

What the hell? some #sobtember motivation

(by gerty-z) Sep 03 2015

So this happened to me today via text message:

from unknown #: hey, this is [name of someone I don't know]

u#: [not my name] call me back. or [other person] or [another name]. another name said to

u#: call me back. or [other person] or [another name]. another name said to (yep, that one got sent twice)

me: you seem to have the wrong number. this is not [not my name]

u#: is this [also not my name]

me: Nope

u# and I'll text you my number
[not my name]

me: Pls don't. You have the wrong number.

u#: who is this then

me: Go away

u#: sorry I got the wrong number

u#: [not my name]

-End scene

What the hell is wrong with this idiot?

In happier news, today is the second day of #sobtember (not #sobtober - that wouldn't be until next month. also, it sounds a lot like "sober"). In case you need a little motivation, here is an excellent video that the magical @scitrigrrl has found for us:

One response so far

#Sobtober (edit - I mean #Sobtember) - let's do this!

(by gerty-z) Sep 01 2015

While I was prepping for teaching today (*barf*), a couple of the twitts came up with the fantastic idea of an September workout challenge. It's been named #Sobtember. Here are all the details, from the most-awesome @SciTriGrrl:

#SOBTEMBER  - A new workout challenge.

We haven’t done this for a while, and with a new semester starting, we figured it was time to set up a workout challenge as threat of public shaming and punishment inspiration, motivation, to work out stress at the beginning of the semester.

The goal is 30 workouts in 30 days. Or 7 workouts per week throughout September.

30 concurrent days is really incredibly hard because life happens, so this doesn’t need to do one workout per day. You can double up on some days and take a rest day others (see FAQ #8).

CARDIO workouts are at least 30 minutes of getting your heart rate up.

STRENGTH workouts are at least 10 minutes of strength work. Doesn’t have to be weights - it can be planks or pushups or yoga or pilates. Or the NYTimes 7minute workout. Physical Therapy. Whatever you need to work on / want to do.

Let me (@scitrigrrl) know if you’re in, then tweet your workouts with the hashtag #Sobtember, subscribe to the #Sobtember twitter list.

For those up for a challenge, do at least three (3) cardio and two (2) strength training sessions per week*.

*For those of us (like me and @TheSpenceLab) who get confused with counting and days-in-the-month, 3+2 does not add up to 7 workouts per week, so you’re gonna need to add 2 more workouts per week.

If you can’t do that, do whatever you can/ whatever you need to work on. All workouts are good.


Question 1: Can I have rest/sick/lazy/binge-TV-watching days
Answer: Yes. Catch up by doing 2 workouts on the same day to catch up.

Question 2: What if I lie?
Answer: Cheating is bad. It’s a woodchipperable offense. But I’m FAR too lazy to check up on you, so you’re only lying to yourself. Also see the answer to #3.

Question 3: What happens if I DON’T do the workouts?
Answer: @namaste_ish is in charge of all punishments for workout failure. Twitter shaming is the least of your worries. Be very, very afraid.

Previous punishments have included… photos. [shudder -gz]

Question 4: What do I get if I DO the workouts?
Answer: Twitter-love. motivation for the next workout, and the satisfaction of working out.

What? you wanted cookies too?

Question 5: How do I know who else is doing it?

Answer: subscribe to #Sobtember twitter list, and watch your twitter stream. We already have a star-filled lineup including @GertyZ, @Namaste_ish and @CackleofRad.

Question 6: I did a 60minute spin class. Does that count as 2 workouts?
Answer: No.
Question: But…?
Answer: No.
Question: b…?
Answer: STILL NO. But if you do a 30minute cardio and 30 mins strength, that is 2. Or Spin class followed by a 30minute run = 2. Or 30min run in the morning and 30min walk in the evening = 2.

Question 7: Does eating icecream count as a workout.
Answer: not unless you’re actually working out WHILE eating icecream. [...and you don't throw up. -gz]

Question 8 : Who do I contact for questions?
Answer: Just tweet with the #Sobtember hashtag. [Or, you know, leave a comment -gz].

Question 9:
Answer: Nope! But please post pics of leg warmers. [PLEASE! -gz]


* High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) workouts with weights can count as either strength OR cardio, but do not double count one HIIT workout as both. That’s cheating. And cheating is a woodchipperable offense.

Now if you do two in one day, you can do whatever you like, eat whatever you like, and basically own the world.


Links for HIIT workout

Also: inspiration, motivation, to work out stress at the beginning of the semester.


#Sobtember starts TOMORROW!!

6 responses so far

Asking for a friend...

(by gerty-z) Aug 21 2015

What is your favorite way to get out of meetings? I had some ideas on twitter, but some folks thought that the blogosphere might be better for this query.

Screen Shot 2015-08-20 at 5.06.32 PM

Any ideas?


15 responses so far

It's time for #DarwinsBalls - Brackets for a good reason

(by gerty-z) Mar 16 2015

UPDATE #2: YOU GUYS ARE AWESOME!!! All but one of the original projects I put up have been completed!!! I'm adding a couple more projects, just in case there are any late-comers. Scoring is progressive (you get more points for later rounds) so there is still a chance!!


UPDATE: Three of the projects on the original list have been completed!! YOU GUYS ROCK. As of now, there are 49 folks signed up. But there is still time! I know the games to figure out the last 4 games have already started, but those barely count. The For Realz games don't start until Thursday (I think). There is still time to get in on the fun!! OH - and use this link to sign up (thanks @namaste_ish): If that doesn't work, send me a gmail @ primaryinvestigator or else DM me on twitter @gertyz

Hey all! It's March, and that means College Basketball! Around here, there is a tradition of hosting a bracket competition -- for a good cause, of course. This year, there was an idea to have folks contribute to Smart Girls at the Party - Amy Poehler's community to encourage girls and women to be themselves and change the world. It is pretty awesome, IMO. Sadly, I can't find a link that we could use for donations. It is very confusing. So instead I went over to Donor's Choose and picked some great projects that we could support. If you aren't familiar with Donor's Choose, then I just can't even. JOKING! It is an exceptionally good charity where teachers can ask for money to get stuff they need for teaching.

So here's the deal. If you wanna play, you gotta pay. Go to Donor's Choose and put down your entry fee ($10, students and postdocs can enter for $5). Then go to and fill out a bracket. The group name is Darwin's Balls, the password is MarieCurie. Then let the trash-talking begin!! Also, @Namaste_Ish has arranged for some excellent prizes for the winners. Fun trash talking AND prizes!!

You can donate to any project at Donor's Choose that you want. Or pick one from the list that I put together trying to find "less urban", high poverty projects:

Centered in Learning ~ Mrs. Cabrera's class at Bell Elementary School in Deming, NM. "My students need language arts and mathematics center activities to focus on practicing and strengthening their skills." This is basic stuff: Math flash cards, reading folders, white board markers. Let's get these kids going!!!

NEW! 2nd Annual Science Fair ~ Mrs. Sutton's class at Shady Spring Elementary School in Shady Spring, WV is looking for supplies so they can have a science fair.

NEW! Dissecting for Degrees! ~ Ms. Dugger's class at Woodward Elementary School in Atlanta, GA. Help a class of 5th graders get the opportunity to do frog dissections!

COMPLETED!! Send the FeMale Robotics team to space! ~ Ms. Madanski's class at Robinson Elementary School in Toledo, OH. "We are a group of ten 4th-8th grade inner-city girls who work hard, have fun, and are learning to build and program a robot. You can help us prepare for our first LEGO League competition next year by obtaining a Space Challenge Set to practice in the off season!"

COMPLETED!! Make Math Come Alive ~ Mrs. Mastin's class at Tilles Elementary School in Fort Smith, AR. "This project will provide my students with the opportunity to have a hands on experience with math concepts across the curriculum and make it more applicable to my students. They will be able to visualize and understand the concepts behind math strategies and think critically about those strategies. By using these materials, I will be able to provide instruction to my students that they will never forget."

COMPLETED!! Helping All Students Succeed Mathematically ~ Ms. McClelland's class at Oakland Heights Elementary School in Meridian, MS. "By funding our project, you will make it possible for my female students to improve their attitudes about mathematics by getting some much needed practice. I feel that the girls will build their confidence and esteem as they learning to enjoy math. Please help us succeed at learning."

COMPLETED!! Supplies are Running Out...Help ~ Ms. P.'s supplies project  at Longfellow Elementary School in Pasco,  WA. "This project will make a huge difference in our classroom by providing my students with essential items that they need every day. Without basic items like paper, and dry-erase markers my students will not be able to accomplish their learning targets." Holy crap, this is heartbreaking. They are running out of paper, ffs -gz

COMPLETED!! Multiplying the Love for Math and Science ~ Ms. Thompson's class at McClure Elementary School in Tulsa, OK. "With these materials, my students will conduct experiments, engage in hands-on learning activities, and take part in a more meaningful learning experience. I believe that this will allow them to retain information they learn, long-term and apply the skills they are learning to everyday life."

SPORTSBALL! Do something good, maybe win a prize based on randomly choosing your bracket! It is All. The. Awesome.

Now get on it, folks.

50 responses so far

AMAZING on-the-ground reporting from Alabama

(by gerty-z) Feb 11 2015

Ran across the BEST ever reporting piece about how Alabama is dealing with newly-legalized "gay" marriage. This dude is Da Bom.

Sadly, I can't figure out how to embed the video. So click here. I promise it is totally worth clicking!

One response so far

Guest post: Not oblivious

(by gerty-z) Jan 30 2015

Hello old friends - I am kicking the dust off this blog after what has been way too long. I know that we have a lot of catching up to do, but right now there is something important I need to talk about. I don't think that you could miss it, but this week two former Vanderbilt football players were convicted of brutally raping a young woman. Of course they took some videos and passed them around to their friends. And of course, they were convinced up to the last minute that they would "beat" the charges. Because ... they play football?? ... they were too drunk to know what they were doing? (BARF!). I can't express how very angry and gut-wrenching I find this entire situation. There is so much fucked up here, I just can't even go through it all.
In the aftermath of the conviction, the Chancellor of Vanderbilt posted a statement about the situation. It includes lots of words about how this "isn't part of the culture here" and "this stuff is at all colleges" and blah blah blah when is this all going to go away?
Others at Vanderbilt are having a different reaction. Below is a message that I got from Dr. BethAnn McLaughlin (@McLNeuro), a faculty member at Vanderbilt's Medical school. She has agreed to let me post it here for you
From Dr. McLaughlin:
I am not oblivious.
The New York Times claims today that Vanderbilt is oblivious to the horrific violent rape of a neuroscience undergraduate student by 4 former football players. I have many neuroscience undergraduates in my lab. I am not oblivious. I I am angry. I am embarassed. And I am crushed to my core.
I am keenly aware through the outstanding work of Kate Clancy and Hope Jahren that women face horrible violence everyday throughout the world. And I would like to think that my daughter will never have to face harassment or violence because she is female. As a mother I want to believe that putting Amelia in the best schools provides extra levels of protection for her when I am not there.
Statistics speak of a different reality - one that doesn't care how high you have moved up the ranks in academia.  This is heartbreaking and we must do better. I must do better for my students and we all must do better for women and girls in our country and throughout the world.
Friends who are professors, please talk to your graduate students and post docs about how you trust them to talk to you and will have their back. Most graduate students interact with undergrads every day. They need to know caring is part of our culture and more important than any experiment . Bring in HR to help you if you need to...that's what they are there for.
Parents, believing that being in a good school or around well educated men means your children are safe is something you do at your peril. This is not a safe world for women. Catcalls, harassment, violence, discrimination, pay inequality are all very real.
I don't have all the answers but I'm deeply committed to doing better for all the amazing women I have had the priveledge of mentoring. But please, don't believe the The New York Times when they say Vanderbilt University doesn't care.  I care.

No responses yet

Guest post by @MyTChondria: Getting on with some help from friends #ThxSTEMMen

(by gerty-z) Jul 20 2014

This last week was a real shit-show in so many ways. I was especially hit hard by a series of events that highlighted the sexism in my corner of the STEM world. First, @kateclancy published a study in PLoS ONE about how many young women were sexually harassed or assaulted doing fieldwork, then a $20 million suit was filed against Vanderbilt that accused a professor of such horrible behavior that it makes me want to puke. Finally, Science magazine published a ridiculous cover image of head-less trans women, and a white d00d editor went to twitter to defend it and made it a million times more horrible. Ugh. I don't really know what to say/do. But lucky for me (and you, really), @MyTChondria sent me this guest post. I like the idea of recognizing our allies in this fight. Enjoy.


By MyTChondria:

This month has has been brutal for many people in STEM, particularly women.  Stunning Supreme Court rulings pulled our reproductive rights away bit by bit. This last week the horrors hit close to our jobs as allegations of horrific acts of sexual harassment against trainees, publication of data of the startling numbers of female field scientists who have been harassed and assaulted on work sites, and blundering non-pologies of Science as they depersonalized the tragedy of transgender sex workers.

I’m exhausted by the fact Henry Gee still works at Nature, that we live in a society where males sing Robin Thicke lyrics about ‘you know you want it’ and every part of #YesAllWomen resonates with me.

Men came by my office making light of these events. When I told them I was sad and these things hurt me and my friends, they squirmed but didn’t listen. They were either convinced simply bringing these things to light would help or that people were making mountains out of mole hills.

Figure 1: Nearly entirely accurate portrayal of me by Wednesday last week

Figure 1: Nearly entirely accurate portrayal of me by Wednesday last week

It was all I could do to keep from crying. And I don’t fuckken cry. This was the first week I really seriously considered leaving science. I thought I couldn’t look at my graduate students and fellows (all of whom are women) and tell them STEM is a healthy field. I’m not depressed, I’m sad.  And it crystalized as @MGHydro tweeted exasperation that nothing seemed to be changing.  Were we just documenting history or actually going to do something about it?

Friday night I huddled up with Mini ate some pizza and watched The Butler (she is obsessed with history and social justice). She watched the movie intently while white actors sat by blacks actors graphically reenacted the violence students were subjected to at Civil rights protests. I paused to see if it was too much for her and asked her why she thought the white students sat taking this abuse with their black friends. The real life photos of their injuries were horrific.

With the confidence that only a 10 year old can have, she said “Of course they had to sit there with them. You can’t live in a world where people you know aren’t being treated fairly by bullies. Even if it means you have to get beat up along side your friends. It's the right thing to do”.  With the help of wine and a nice fleece blanket, I thought about this over the next few hours, and found myself with a foothold to help me face next week with a sense of hope.

Many of my male Tweeps have called out sexism, thought deeply and fought hard for gender equality. They give me hope I’m not insane and alone. They help me believe there is not some fundamental and insurmountable difference in how men think women. I appreciate their voices cheering for me me when I’m doing the right thing even if I want to puke while it’s happening. I delight in these men who have the wherewithal to tell sexist men to STFU in their blogs, tweets and IRL.

I have no cookies to give. I’m not that kind of person.  I also know would stab me if it looked like I was doing it (they would also stab a dude, so I feel okay with this).  For all these things I am grateful.

Many of my female friends have similar stories of men who kicked other dudes in social media who impress and encourage them. So, I invite my female tweeps to share the hashtag #ThxSTEMMen with the names of a man or men who have helped you in your gender equality struggles.

@SciTriGrrl will Storify it and we can hopefully connect up other women with the merry band of misfits who champion women’s rights.


No responses yet

FUCK CANCER World Cup Pool

(by gerty-z) Jun 17 2014

It's back: filling out brackets because Fuck Cancer, courtesy of the ever-chipper Bam D. Woodchipper, @Bam294. You may remember the March Madness challenge that Bam coordinated in memory of her friend Chris Maki. So many of you all stepped up, filled out some brackets, and made a difference for his family. Because you are all AWESOME! But enough flattery.

There's MORE to be done, folks. This year, Chris's wife is participating in the Ride to Conquer Cancer to benefit Penn Medicine's Abramson Cancer Center. Coincidentally there is also a sporting competition going on! Bam had a super idea - a World Cup pool to raise money for Jill's ride!!

Here's how it works: go to Jill's donation page and give $5 (you can give anonymously). Then go sign up for the pool and pick who you think will win in each of the group games. I know they have already started, but we'll just pick up from here. After group play, go back and fill out the bracket for the knockout round. You get 1 pt for each game you pick during group play, 2 pt for round of 16, 3 pt for round of 8, 4 pt for semifinals, and 5 pt for picking the champion. The winners will get bragging rights (of course) and some amazing home-baked cookies made special for you by the most-awesome Sugar Scientist. Who knows what other delightful rewards might show up?

You can't win if you don't play!


4 responses so far

Of course there is bias in peer review, jackass!

(by gerty-z) Jun 08 2014

So the NIH has decided they want to try to minimize the effect of bias in peer review. That doesn't sound like a shitty idea, right? No. But apparently a lot of jag-offs couldn't stop themselves from starting in on the comments section. Many were "insulted" that anyone would accuse them of bias. Or wanted to make sure everyone knew that the only real bias was the kind that ended up tanking their proposals. Sigh. I don't even know how this could be a thing. Peer review is done by humans. Human are biased because of their previous experiences and their interactions with the culture and society in which they live. You don't have to be a fucking psychologist/sociologist to know this. You just have to have a few working neurons that can fire coherently and generate thoughts. Seriously, if this is hard for you then you DEFINITELY need to head over to DrugMonkey's blog to read the guest post by MyTChondria (who has a shit-ton of very active and coherent neurons, ftr).

I just have a couple things to add to some of the commenters over at Rock Talk. Beyond the obvious "pull your heads our of your assess, people!", of course that is addressed so well by MyTChondria.
1. If reviewers are repeatedly making "factual errors" when they review your grant, you might want to reconsider how you are writing your grant. Sure, reviewers will make mistakes (they are human, remember?). But it is a hell of a lot easier for a reviewer to be confused if you writing is jumbled, rambly, or incoherent.
2. There are not enough people with more than 3 R01 that limiting the number of awards would make a big difference. And if someone is smart enough and has enough ideas and resources to manage more than 3 grants, then why would we discourage them? There are a lot of places where it takes 2 R01 equivalents to run a minimal lab (soft money positions in particular). I know DrugMonkey has gotten into this before (for example, here).
3. Full-time reviewers. Seriously?!?!??! Who would take this job? No doubt they would never make mistakes. I assume that no one will be complaining about these "professional reviewers", same as everyone loves the non-academic journal editors. Can't have it both way, folks.

I just can't even understand how so many "scientists" can get their collective undergarments so twisted up over this topic. Come on folks. We're better than this.

12 responses so far

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