Monday, March 30, 2009

Plagarism in Science (in general)

Recently, my PI was given a paper to review from a Journal that shall remain nameless. Not an American journal. Lots of non-American Journals are top notch and publish awesome work.

This paper for review is loaded with typos and the sentence structure makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. I understand that the English language is difficult and mistakes will be made, especially when trying to write science English, it's even more tough just because writing science is that much more tough. Usually I can decipher what someone is trying to write even if the sentence is awkward. This paper for review I could not figure out. The sentences made absolutely no sense and I could not figure out anything to make them make sense. I reread and reread and it was much more FUBAR than awkward. I discussed this is a colleague. He looked it over. Some of the sentences were really not too bad, I was just missing them through all the muck. Well, my colleague thought it was strange that there were good sentences in the muck and so he googled the good sentences. Lo and behold: the good sentences were copied word for word from other papers.

Now, as I said before, the English language is tough. I get that. This is why everyone needs to have a native English speaker at their disposal to proofread (anyone want to hire me to proofread?!?!). Reviewers that see lots of typos will just think you are sloppy and that your research must therefore also be sloppy. Not a good way to get your paper accepted. But to plagarize in the land of google, you're out of your darn mind. Period. You can type whole sentences into google and it will find them. I'm really astounded that this author thought that no one would figure out that he plagarized. The data is therefore perceived by the reviewer as completely unreliable.

The moral of my story: Google is the tool that people will use to find out if one plagarized. Google will give the plagarist away. Don't plagarize. Proofread. Proofread. Proofread.

Friday, March 20, 2009

science nerd or social butterfly?

So, my old lab was a rare bird of friendliness and talkativeness. We laughed (loudly at times), we played music (which induced dancing at times), and it was fun to go to work. Mostly, it was fun because we made it fun. I believe that Mary Poppins had it right when she said that in every chore there is to be done, there is an element of fun. And SNAP! the job's a game! That's how we rolled in my old lab (for the most part). My new lab, there is no laughing, no talking, no music. I was shhhhed for laughing in another person's lab earlier this week (by my labmate, not a person in the other lab). Have I entered a realm of science in which I cannot laugh?? Because I LOVE TO LAUGH (another Mary Poppins song, what is happening to me), and I refuse to stop. How in the world do I get past the shhhers of the universe so that I can be myself??

Have I entered the wrong profession just because I am too social for other scientists to handle? Because if they cannot handle my laughing, maybe they should join in, they'd feel better.

I met a man with a wooden leg named Smith. Oh really, what was the name of his other leg?


Wednesday, March 18, 2009

wedding planning

After 9 years, Adam and I are finally getting married. We've bought a house together, probably we should tie the knot too. This is not exactly a shotgun wedding, and there are no buns in any one's oven, but it is being planned rather quickly.

We will be getting married at the FW History Center. It was originally a courthouse and was built in the 1890s. It is this awesome old building and our reception will be in the original courtroom - which is a giant room is 30-40 ft high celings and windows all the way up the wall. I am so excited about the place! I have a dress and 3 of 4 bridesmaids have dresses, the tuxedos have been picked out, and I cannot believe things are coming together so quickly! We have someone to marry us, we are meeting with our probably caterer this weekend, and if the liquor store reception booker man would call me back I could order the booze!

I am having a hard time finding the perfect invitation. And the perfect shoe. Both of which are, I think, going to be fun shopping for. But the invitation I need to shop for and find soon... and I keep having days like today, it's almost midnight and I'm still in the lab. I cannot shop for invitations or shoes in the lab. I can poke around on the internet, but I need to see things in person to make a decision. Since I want to print my own invitations, I have been on the look out for invitation kits. The Flower Factory had a kit that I liked, but they only had one and I need two! Of course. They had a kit that they had lots of and I did NOT like it. Sigh... I've heard of a few other places that are good and I will have to check them out... if the lab doesn't eat me alive.

never judge a book by it's cover?

How about by it's title?

Yesterday I was looking around the grocery store books because they were all 40% off. I know, books at a grocery store are very limited, but 6 years of working in a library means I gravitate to the books, especially when they're all 40% off. Now, I didn't purchase anything, but I had a good laugh. Have you looked at the titles of Harlequin romance novels lately??? Because they are HILARIOUS. I don't read romance novels, and those titles gave me one more reason why I don't. Lots of titles about defiant virgins and rich men. And one of the titles was so long that I couldn't read the whole thing... I got bored half way through the title and had to move on. And you know these titles were accompanied by a lovely cartoon...

I realize that Harlequin has been around for a long time, and those titles just make me think they're out of ideas of what to call their books...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


the importance of grammar...

I feel like everywhere I go, everything I read, there are typos EVERYWHERE. I cannot correct everyone. I cannot even correct most typos I see. It is making me crazy. Really and truly, it hurts my eyes. When I see typos on facebook (ie: what does they have in common, your awesome, their you go etc), I want to scream, but I ignore. But when I'm given a paper to review that has been submitted for publication that is covered in typos, I want to offer my services for a hefty fee. The person I am considering to cater my wedding has a website covered in typos. I'm really considering offering my proofreading services for a discount on food. Not that they would do it, but their website is driving me nuts! And their typos are super easily fixed because it's mostly just mispellings. Hopefully their typo problem has nothing to do with how good they make food! I may be losing my mind, but typos, whether they be spelling or grammar, pop off the page and hurt my eyes.

I actually think I am beginning to enjoy proofreading. If anyone out there needs some fresh eyes on something they've written, send it my way! I am constantly searching for typos without even trying! I wonder if someone will hire me to search for typos. I could totally do it! And if anyone doesn't know what is wrong with my examples above, please ask, I would love to let you know and prevent a few grammatical errors from entering the universe!
Alright, I'm crazy, but I'm okay with it.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Now, I am super excited to have a job. In this crappy economy everyone is struggling, even PhDs. But I am feeling suffocated by a-holes.
I found out yesterday that a postdoc that has been in the lab for over two years cannot purify protein and that the female graduate student in the lab has to purify it for him. For the research that we are doing, we CANNOT do anything without pure protein. Period. So, he could not do anything without this graduate student starting everything for him. To me, that is 1. very shady and 2. bullsh*t. It takes days to purify, and this poor graduate student spends days getting protein to give away, bull. The other thing about this postdoc, which makes this whole someone else purifying his protein thing even stranger, is that whenever anyone needs anything and he has it made, his response is "you can use it, if you trust it." Now, I think this is extremely strange in the simple fact that he wouldn't make the wrong thing and sabotage his own experiments. But it also makes me realize that he doesn't trust anyone else. YET he uses purified protein made by someone else. Granted, it's easy to determine its good protein because it wouldn't have any activity if it was bad, but what the heck. "if you trust it" is this postdoc's favorite phrase and it is annoying and rude. Maybe it is his way of preventing anyone else from using his stuff. It's still so strange.

And today, another crappy group meeting. But this time I got yelled at. Not really really yelled at, but yelled at enough to make me want to slug my boss. He does not listen to a word I say and then yells at me. And then I repeat myself and he says "whatever". His favorite f-ing word is "whatever".

I am being suffocated by a-holes that go around saying "if you trust it" and "whatever" with intermittent smoker's coughs and throat clears that make me sick to my stomach.

And, being the only American, and an American that pays attention to typos and grammatical errors, I am being tortured constantly. Do I correct my boss? Do I let it go?? Most of the time when I do correct him, he just says okay, but he even combats my corrections. I went to a Catholic elementary school, they start pounding grammar in immediately, I know what I'm talking about. ROAR!

I need a drink...

Thursday, March 5, 2009


I just received a phone call in the lab for Dr. 'my last name'

I had to think about who that was....

Me! :) haha

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

blog much?

i have been at my postdoc for a month.
i miss not having to ask questions about everything. i miss being the one people ask questions of. though, the rotato in my new lab asks me lots of questions. it helps.

here's a question story scenario. two of my new lab members are Chinese. one is very new to the US and his English is a little shakey, but he's learning. last week I went to lunch with the two of them (which is just upstairs when I bring food). when talking to me at the table, every word is in English. But random other Chinese people walk by and then they all start talking in Chinese. I do not understand and I am completely ruded out of the table. This has happened twice now, and I just get up and leave when I'm done eating. And I try to eat faster so that I can get up and get out of there. Is it okay that I just leave?? Should I say something about how annoying it is for a conversation to happen with me in the conversation circle that i cannot understand?? Or should I just stop going to lunch with them?? The new postdoc isn't going to get better with his English if he doesn't practice. And who better to practice with than a Chinese girl with good English and an American girl who only speaks English.

I am also not feeling as chippy and cheerful as I was in grad school (which may just be the biggest oxymoron ever). We cannot listen to music in the lab (torture) and everyone is really quiet (odd). I feel like I must be quiet too, but I am not very good at it. So, I break the silence, but I feel like I'm imposing on everyone. This is just not normal to me. The headphones come out a lot, which I found helpful forcing me to focus in my old lab. But still being in the question asking phase, I need to have my ears and I need everyone else to have their ears. Sigh...

Adam and I are really getting cracking with the wedding planning. I think we've found a place, we really need to find a caterer. Though I'm wondering about just getting GIANT subs from Subway... Anyway, I will be letting everyone know soon about the date, hopefully in the next week.
The dates we're looking at are 5 months away. makes me feel like imploding with their list of things that should have been done by now. or maybe exploding, we'll have to see...