October 30, 2010

The short term memory of the American people

"Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it." (George Santayana)

October 18, 2010

PhD comic

I saw this PhD comic and had to share it because I think all grad students have experienced a complete and utter brain meltdown. For me, it occurs when I'm being asked a barrage of questions that I can't answer without my lab notebook -- which is, of course, unavailable at the time. I go into a blank stare, mumble "Ahh ... I don't know off the top of my head ..." and slink slowly toward my office to procure the necessary documentation.

October 12, 2010

Superficiality in science

[Preface: I am aware that common courtesy is an integral aspect of a functional and polite society. I just wanted to rant a bit.]

Why do you say "we" when you mean "me"? Is it to make me feel like this is a team activity? You don't need to bother. I know that the protocol you mention following "we should" is what I will be doing. Without your assistance. I'd rather you just come right out and say that, instead of force me to smile and nod and play along with the superficiality.

And while we're being honest, if you ask me to do something, I take it as a request, meaning that I have the option to decline/refuse. I won't simply say yes because I'm a grad student and have no authority. If, however, I can't decline/refuse because the request is actually a command, then don't ask me. Tell me. Why give the impression of options -- that my opinion matters -- when it isn't a factor in the decision?

October 08, 2010

Expectations, standards, and the quest for perfection

I've been reading Lori Gottlieb's book "Marry Him: The case for setting for Mr. Good Enough" and I gotta say, she has some very valid points. A lot of women have a checklist of the desired traits we want in a partner -- sense of humor, financially stable, family-oriented, etc. However, these standards are often subjective, overly specific, and impossible to achieve. What constitutes a good sense of humor anyway? Witty banter or practical jokes? Being able to laugh at yourself or never taking anything seriously? The permutations of humor are quite varied, but not all would be acceptable.

We seek perfection in a spouse, eliminating potential mates before we've had a chance to get to know them. We seek perfection in a spouse, even though we aren't perfect ourselves. We believe adjusting our expectations to be more inclusive and cast a wider net isn't being realistic, it's settling. And settling leaves a bad taste in our mouths.

Perhaps, we really do need to focus more on the good -- the plethora of qualities our potential mate has that are desirable -- than nitpick the few that irritate us. Afterall, what good is having impossibly high expectations/standards when you end up alone?