Don't Shake the Flask

Because you don't know if it'll explode

Month: September, 2006

Rabid Med Students Will Be All Over Me

I have heard that medical students get multiple choice tests.


Multiple choice tests only for the ability to choose a correct answer among all the possibilities given. It does not test your knowledge base at all. Yes, I have a poor opinion of multiple choice tests. And yes, maybe it’s because the only tests I’ve taken had been essay-type exams, and I’m a little bitter at the fact that biology grad students (often stereotyped as med school rejects) have to really learn the material while med students (who knows, maybe one of them will be your future surgeon) can skate by with guessing at the answers.

Also: Fill-in-the-blank is not much better.


The End. (via Dustbury) The blogosphere’s original carnival is closing down? Yikes. Does this mean that carnivals are now just another blog fad? Most likely. But I don’t want others to take this as a cue to pull up the stakes and leave. Because then where would I find the good stuff to read?

Animalcules 1.12

The latest edition of Animalcules, a blog carnival dedicated to our favorite microbes, is up at ¡Viva La Evolución! There’s stuff from the latest O157:H7 scare to microbial hydrogen factories. So go, read!

No Mad Skillz Here

Gah! The Blogger SAT Challenge! (via A Blog Around The Clock) Can you write as well or better than a high school student taking the written portion of the SAT? I’m thinking of taking it–for my own edification. I wonder if my recent spat of kamikaze novel writing will help me any?

In Other Blogs

Five Questions. The brief e-mail interview on blogging and books I had with John Baker is now up on his blog.

The Story Behind The Killer Spinach. Carl Zimmer has a really interesting article up on The Loom about the recent outbreak of E. coli O157:H7 and its evolution.

Lonelyguy15million. (via 2Blowhards) Never trust a picture on the internet. If people kept in mind this The New Yorker cartoon, guys wouldn’t have to worry about falling for beautiful girls who turn out to be dweebs blogging in their underwear. As for Sailer’s hypothetical take on what goes on in an Asian girl’s mind–heh. I don’t know what other Asian girls think about this, but all that internal dialogue gives me a headache. Besides, I don’t feel it’s very honest to fake being interested. (As for whether or not I would fake an interest in physics, see the paragraph below.)

Getting along vs. fixing the problem. Janet Stemwedel has a good deconstruction of the discussion involving the physics “pipeline problem” I mentioned in a previous post. One of the commenters asked: “Has anyone actually talked to women who were considering physics but ended up choosing a different discipline instead?” I had once considered double majoring in physics and biology. In my first semester as an undergrad, I even chose to take a physics elective rather than the biology one. All I can say is, I realized at the end of the term that I was a lot more fired up about biology than physics–i.e. my degree of interest–which had nothing to do with class difficulty or skewed ratios. Or even the professors–I’ve met some really nice physics professors and some really temperamental biology profs as an undergrad. As for math–three words: creepy teaching assistants.

Addendum: Now that I’m on the subject of teaching assistants, that brings up one particular incident involving a class on quantum chemistry. A couple of other female students and I went to the TAs (who were all male) for help but all they told us was to “figure it out yourself.” So we ended up camping outside the prof’s office door until the next morning in protest. Needless to say, those TAs were chewed out for being unhelpful.


How to Dissuade Yourself from Becoming a Blogger. (via Modulator) “If attention and validation are what you’re looking for, know that you will get neither from blogging.”

Dare to Be Bad! I so need some motivation to write. I’ve got to carve out another weekend some time (not this weekend, though) to get some rough drafts done. But wait–maybe there’s this. 25k in two weeks? Heck, yeah! If I can do 30k in 3 days, hopefully this will be a piece of cake.

Peter Jackson enters dragons’ den. Napoleon and dragons–who can beat that combination? Actually, I’ve heard good things about Naomi Novik’s books and the first three novels in the series have been sitting on my shelf for the past summer, waiting to be read (along with all the other books I’ve heard good things about). And if Peter Jackson is going to make some movies about this series–well, all the more to get crackin’.

Stains on Paper. “A community art project involving stamps and spots.” Now I am tempted to send some wacky stain in the mail.

The Thursday Threesome: Common Household Products

Onesome: Common– Quick and easy: the most common name you can think of! Okay, let’s make it a first (given) name…


Twosome: Household– cleaners? What is your “go to” cleanser when you have to clean the place up? Are you a Lysol Junkie, an Orange Blossom Special or maybe a Bleach it to Death type? Come on, come clean!

It’s called 409, right?

Threesome: Products– come and products go. What’s on your list as a “wanna’ have” for this Fall (no, not for Christmas; we’ll save that for later).

It’s not a product, but if I could get more of it: time.

The Navelsphere

In the order that I read them: Mark Evans | Nicholas Carr | Shelley Powers. All of them are talking about the inequalities of the blogosphere–how A-listers hog the traffic and fail to link to “tail-end” bloggers unless they link to them first (and most of the time, not even then). I’m not sure I really want to be linked to by the A-listers–especially since they tend to specialize in tech or politics, subjects in which I am not an expert in or have chosen to remain mum about. Although Shelley Powers had pointed out that Technorati now has a search on “authority.” That is such a big misnomer that it’s not even funny. Popularity is more like it. Everyone may love the mutt that goes begging around for treats, but it is no surgeon.

Web Bingo

Tangled Bank #62. It’s the Travel Bingo Edition at the Hairy Museum of Natural History so go read some cool science posts around the web. (On another note: I am not sure why the link to me is the same link from the last Tangled Bank. I am positive I submitted a different article. Ah well, such is life. These things are out of my hands.)

The ARG! of Science

There’s something I totally don’t get. Why do some bloggers just post quotes from news sources and then get tons of comments from readers? Even more galling: how come they post quotes of science stories from mainstream news sources about recent science papers and get tons of comments whereas I (or other science bloggers) read the science paper directly and write about it but get absolutely zilch feedback?

The (Former) Life of a Microbiology Grad Student. Evidence that even graduate students can get dooced. And of course this makes me paranoid. Or rather, more paranoid than I already am. I’m semi-anonymous here, but that doesn’t guarantee that no one will find me. In fact, people I know in real life have found me here online. That is why I hardly blog about any real life problems. Loud and obnoxious next door neighbors? Yes. Weird lab/school stuff? No. Although if you went through my archives with a fine tooth comb (and no, I am not suggesting that anyone really do so), you could probably figure out who I worked for and who I’m working for now. Anyways, back to the link–I really do feel for him. I went through Grad Student Hell (perhaps I should continue to refer to that period in my life in those terms) not so long ago and to my relief and amusement found that my love of science is about as hard to kill as a cockroach.