Archive for: December, 2011

I can't complain

Dec 31 2011 Published by under awesomeness

OK, that's a lie. I could complain. But I shouldn't, and I won't. 2011 was pretty good for me. I moved my blog over here to Scientopia, which has been great. I've gotten to know some really awesome folks. And also Genomic Repairman. We've had a lot of fun here! At least, I hope it was fun for you, because mostly you all held my hand and helped me get through another year on the tenure track. I got support when my postdoc PI cut the apron strings, we worked together to develop some questions for a qualifying exam, you helping me learn to say "NO" (it's a work in progress) and listened to my rants. I tried my hand at research blogging. And in another sign of awesome, you guys also totally KICKED ASS with the Donor's Choose drive this year: 18 of you donated $480, reaching 1195 students. NICE!

One of my favorite posts of the year was where I handed out tips about talking to non-scientists (which I still argue is a fantastic way to get better at talking to scientists, too). But, based on stats the posts that you guys liked most were "for the new graduate students" (there was a feisty discussion in the comments), "did I just get dumped?" (the apron strings ref above) and "I gay wrote this post" (a little essay about being out as a lesbian).

I had a pretty good year IRL, too! The Gerty Lab is up and running. I put in an NSF grant, got awarded a nice fancy "beauty pageant award", got a new science tattoo, and I'm working on my first R01. I have peeps in the lab, and they are really getting the hang of this. We are gonna crank out some cool shit in 2012. #GRAR πŸ™‚

I have really enjoyed getting to know you all, here and on twitter. I pretty much founded a "Emily Hauser fan club". We had some fun with hastags (#drunksci, anyone? and how awesome was #zestycootermarinade), and just like @mbeisen, I learned about #FWDAOTI. I am looking forward to a great 2012, and hope to talk to you all a lot more then!

In case you missed it, there have been a couple of awesome things in the past week or so. I am going to sign off for 2011 with one them, which I think is one of the most awesome pictures of the year (and therefore totally appropriate to post twice in two weeks): the happy ending of DADT.

Photograph: Brian J. Clark/AP

Happy New Year!

One response so far

fucking awesome (chapter 2)

Dec 23 2011 Published by under awesomeness, gender

I am apparently on a mission to restore (my own?) faith in humanity this week! This entry was brought to my attention by the Most Fantastic Tideliar on the twitter. If you can read this without getting all warm and fuzzy then I don't think we can be friends:

One Teacher's Approach to Preventing Gender Bullying in a Classroom

My job is not to judge, but to teach, and I can’t teach if the students in my class are distracted or uncomfortable. My job is also about preparing students to be a part of our society, ready to work and play with all kinds of people. I found that teaching about gender stereotypes is another social justice issue that needs to be addressed, like racism or immigrant rights, or protecting the environment.

I think this is the first time ever I wished I lived in Wisconsin. And I'm gonna forward this link to Mini-G's preschool teacher. Just Awesome πŸ˜€

One response so far

An awesome thing (with bonus rant)

Dec 22 2011 Published by under awesomeness, queer

A couple of days ago The Guardian posted a picture of the first same-sex couple taking part in the Navy tradition of raffling off the first homecoming kiss. The photo has gone viral, even making it onto Obama's Tumblr (where it has gotten a lot of "likes", which is nice). Even though you have probably already seen it, here it again:

Photograph: Brian J. Clark/AP

Fuck Yeah! One of the great things that happened in 2011, IMO, was the repeal of DADT. And it just heartwarming to see these women, both in the military, take part in a really touching Navy tradition. And there was cheering!

But don't forget...every GOP candidate for POTUS has said they will reinstate DADT. Newt Gingrich, a front-runner of sorts, went so far as to tell a gay Americans not vote for him (no problem!).Β  And Santorum (who has a history of saying ridiculously homophobic things) can't imagine why a gay person would vote for him (finally something we agree on!). Rick Perry made a video in an attempt to out-stupid everyone else in the field. I could go on, of course, but looking up all these links is making me stabby. The fact is that every GOP candidate is against equality for LGBT citizens, or at least feels like they can use the issue as red meat for the GOP base. But some folks are pushing back, and these candidates have been having to defend their positions on the campaign trail. Including Mitt Romney, who had a fantastic interaction with a gay vet in a diner in NH. And there is other good news from 2011. For example, this year, for the first time, the majority of Americans are in favor of same-sex marriage. And the demographics make it clear that this trend will continue. In the mean time, I hope that every American comes to the conclusion that they shouldn't vote for someone that can't won't even pretend to represent all Americans as POTUS.

13 responses so far

12 months of Balanced Instability (2011 edition)

Dec 21 2011 Published by under meme

It's Holiday Meme Time! Every year around this time we bloggers take a minute to go through our posts from the last year, and re-visit the first sentence of each (below). This is a tradition that pre-dates me, but you can learn the whole history over at Drug Monkey's place. This has been a pretty awesome year. My lab is really starting to click, and I am starting to almost feel like I know what is going on (famous last words!). Over here, I gotta say, I was kind of on a roll this year πŸ™‚ I'm really looking forward to seeing how 2012 is going to turn out, and I hope that you will all stick around for the fun (teaser: I'll probably have to start thinking about my first tenure-review! ACK!).

Since MORE is always MOAR, I'm going to piggy-back the memes here and also ask you for a special holiday de-lurk. PLS came up with this one, which I think is a super idea. Please say hello!

Balanced Instability, 2011
Jan: Thanks everyone for following me around! [ed-my first post here at Scientopia!]

Feb: One of the little bits of advice I got when I was on the job market is that I should make my own website.

Mar: As you may know, my department is in the middle of a junior faculty search.

April: That's right, I'm outta here.

May: I got along well with my postdoc advisor.

June: As I am sitting on the airplane, I have had a fair amount of time to get some thinking done without any of the common interruptions.

July: As of today, I have been in my tenure-track position for ONE FULL YEAR!!!

Aug: Blech blech blech.

Sept: OMG academic peer review is totally fucked and it never works and the third reviewer is a stupid idiot asshole!!!11!!!1!

Oct: Once a month or so, Dr.Mrs.G and I pay a babysitter to hang out with Mini-G so that we can have a sanity- and relationship-saving "date night".

Nov: A right of passage for most graduate programs is the General (or Qualifying) exam.

Dec: One of my pet peeves is the passive voice.

I hope you enjoyed the look back over the last year. Don't forget to take a minute to comment, because it would be the best present ever if you could let me know a little about you (and what you are looking for when you visit me here). πŸ™‚


UPDATED: Now with linkies, for your clicking enjoyment! And because Drug Monkey pointed out to me how useful that would be.

10 responses so far

Saving the world, one poke at a time.

Dec 12 2011 Published by under awesomeness


I'm talking about the JAYFK Holiday Vaccine Drive. I'm sure that you all <3 the JAYFK for the insightful snark and ranty-ness. But this is totally serious. Kids are dying because they can't get vaccinated against measles. The Red Cross has put together a site that makes it easy to do something to help vaccinate these kids. So, if you are still looking for the perfect gift for the person that has it all, consider your work done. Because if you clickity on over there you can give that person the joy of knowing that they saved some lives. Adorable kiddo lives, even. That is a present that is full of win.

But really, don't thank me. I am pretty sure the super-fabulous @DrRubidium is the mastermind here.

One response so far

The fabric poster is FULL OF WIN! But...

Dec 11 2011 Published by under academia, jr faculty, on the job training

I was a little reluctant to try the fabric posters, but the one I made for this last conference was FANTASTIC. The images rendered well and it was so. easy. to. travel. with. There is no doubt I will be using fabric posters for ever and ever as long as I am doing this. Fabric posters and I are now officially BFF, as it were.

Not only are fabric posters easy to travel with and look great, but there are all kinds of interesting uses for fabric posters when you bring them home! Now, you might be able to do this with paper posters but, to be honest, I never actually bothered to do anything with them except throw them in the trash. It was a PITA to carry them wherever, I was certainly not going to schlep them home and hang them on the wall or whatever. But I digress. Now, since I just jammed it in my carry-on, I could use my poster as a cape (h/t Zwitterionique) or even make cut-out-snowflakes (Dr. Becca FTW! via Dr. Zen).

This raises an important question.Β  Now that I'm a PI, are my days of posters over? According to CPP:

"At this stage of your career, you should not be presenting posters at all. Indeed, you should not be submitting any abstracts at all to scientific meetings for which you are the presenter. If you don't get invited to give a talk, then you don't present. Only your trainees should be submitting abstracts as presenters."

I can actually see the logic in this...but I wonder if there might be exceptions. For example, it might take your graduate students a year or so before they are ready to present at a conference. Especially your first grad students. For example*. And perhaps you really want to take every opportunity to interact with folks and make sure they know about your most recent awesomeness.

So, I leave you with a question**: What do you think about PI's that present posters? And does it matter what kind of meeting they are at?


*at least one other extenuating circumstance came up in the comments to the previous post

**I would embed a poll, but this apparently requires super html ninja skill that are beyond me.

14 responses so far

In which the passive voice is considered to suck.

Dec 09 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

One of my pet peeves is the passive voice. And it is a thing that almost everyone does in their writing*. The passive voice is, apparently, what many scientists think sound appropriate/formal. Or something. For example:

It was found that the effects of gene x on (blah blah) were significant.

As compared to:

We found that gene x had a significant effect on (blah blah).

Do you see what I did there?

Now, this may be a common problem when you are first starting to write about science. In fact, many people (including me) have a tendency to write like this. But please PLEASE go through and remove the passive voice from your writing before you make someone else read it. If you are lucky, there will be someone that can beat this out of you before it is too late. Sadly, this is not always the case. In fact, I have heard of the horrifying situation where a senior author reverts nice, active sentences into a passive voice! I don't know what advice to offer you if you find yourself in this position. I mean, I guess you could run screaming. That is probably the best option. Really, I can only hope you all avoid such a horrible fate. Good luck!


*heck, some folks even do this when they are talking. WTF????

19 responses so far