Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Your labmates' noses

A list of small, useful things (links):
Did I miss anything? Let me know!

UPDATE: MB wants to know "Why would you ever make polyperoxides?"
UPDATE 2: SeeArrOh has a tasty-seeming recipe for a microwave breakfast sandwich. I am tempted. 


  1. Re butane: While one of my profs was musing about convoluted nomenclature, he wondered why not just name everything as a derivative of acetic acid.

  2. Re: Feds science career. Having experienced federal hiring as a contractor "waiting my turn" to be hired, it sucks. It's a very similar system to the postdoc holding pattern for more professors to die and open up a tenure track position. They seem to have missed that point in their PR website.

    1. The contractor pay is ~100% of the permanent position, yes? Or am I wrong?

    2. I dislike more than any other HR site.

      First, you search the incredibly vague and useless job descriptions, "DUTIES: MAJOR DUTIES: 1301 - General Physical Science Series: A Physical Scientist could have duties which includes involve professional work in the physical sciences. The duties could also include work in a combination of physical science fields." Sounds like I'm a great fit! No joke; that is a direct copy+paste of an actual job description I just found, piss poor grammar and all.

      Now, you've found a vague job you are uniquely qualified for. You click apply, create an account, fill out some web forms, upload your resume, and upload a cover letter. Up to this point, it is just as crappy as any other HR megacorp website. What sets the Feds apart is that you do all this, click the next button, and it says, "Thanks, go visit the FDA/DEA/EPA/XYZ site and apply for the job with the agency!" You then go and fill out a similar set of forms with the same information, upload the same resume (or not, some agencies have you recreate your resume in their webapp) and then they don't even provide a space for that cover letter you just spent an hour writing.

      Guess I don't blame them for skipping the cover letter, since as far as I can tell, no human actually reviews the job applications you submit anyway. I have a PhD from a top-tier school, 3+ years as an NIH Fellow at another top-tier school, over a dozen publications, awards, etc. and I have never heard back from any of the Federal jobs I've applied for. At least they keep track of all the positions you've been robo-rejected from, at current count it is more than 20 for me.

    3. I've seen more and more work in my agency being done by postdocs, guest researchers, and contractors. And while a good portion of the current forty-somethings got their foot in the door through a postdoc, I've seen very few hired since I got here. I suppose it's just more anecdotal evidence that fits within the "scientist glut" hypothesis.

  3. Hey there,

    I am the guy who comments as PharmaHeretic at the Pipeline. Anyway, I was wondering if you have heard about the long-term effects of the ongoing stupidity in the Pharma sector on the lives of the more senior (older) laid-off scientists.

    While some of your posts do talk about the the short to medium terms effects, I believe that the loss of over 50% of your income and the accompanying family issues (divorce, putting kids through university etc) must be devastating to many 50-somethings.

    Everybody knows what their ex-colleagues are doing a few months to a year after layoffs. But what about their lives after two or three years?


looks like Blogger doesn't work with anonymous comments from Chrome browsers at the moment - works in Microsoft Edge, or from Chrome with a Blogger account - sorry! CJ 3/21/20