Saturday, October 09, 2010


The day before yesterday I skipped lunch because I was busy. But I had a nice dinner, and woke up yesterday, ate a healthy breakfast. None of that mattered, my body revolted with a horrible migraine around noon yesterday. After a few blinding hours, squinting through my experiments and printing out my notes in big letters so I could see what I had to do, I ate lunch and waited to let the medicines kick in. I really need to recognize, once and for all, that i cannot afford the luxury of skipping meals. The aftermath is just not worth it. Next time I decide to skip a meal, I wish my body reminds me by giving me a tiny migraine-preview. :)

There is this girl down the hallway who is an absolute sweetheart- K. She is extremely pleasant, always smiling, and always chatting me up. I asked her to take care of my experiment for me later at night because I really had to go home- in addition to that, she also gave me a mini massage, which already had me feeling better. So, instead of going straight home, I decided to get a massage at this chiropracters clinic down the street. It wasn't the best massage- the guy was too chatty and ruined the peaceful experience. I tried pretending to fall asleep and not respond but he wouldn't shut up- and what was worse, he was mostly giving self-promotional spiels. Like how people should get massages more often, how he does things, how good he is, blah blah blah. Aaargh.

Usually, the day after a migraine I wake up with a lingering pain in my head and neck muscles. Today though, I woke up feeling great! So I will credit the massage, in spite of the blabber. I wish there was an easier and more affordable way of getting massages more often. And no, not those massage chairs - those are hideous and only good for free trials in shopping malls.

I also woke up to hot steaming cup of poha. Yay for leftovers. :)

I read this last night. Gosh. The nature article touches upon all the points though: the kind of pressures that exist, the reward system in academia- the competition- surprisingly they don't mention the low pay. None of these are supposed to justify the act (A post-doc sabotages his lab-mate's experiments..they eventually catch him after setting up cameras in the lab!) - but they are all factors in the game in which some people do stupid idiotic things like this guy did.

Derek Lowe's post states this

...How often does stuff like this go on? To be honest, I'm surprised that there isn't more of it in academic labs. The competition between individuals is much more fierce than it is in industry (where people tend to work much more in large teams), and frankly, there are more unstable personalities in academia than there are in industry as well. At the same time, this is a thoroughly nasty thing to do, striking right at the basic workings of any research lab. ....

Frankly, I do think this happens very often, at all levels: your coworker gives you a protocol with one step missing, or an aliquot of something that is really old and doesn't work..or spikes your cells like in the story here. Not always do these get high profile coverage like the Nature article. Derek got some backlash for saying that there are more mentals in academia than industry - I don't know what to say to that- partly I do believe that fears of systems, rules and rigor are more in industry- for example you have to write your lab notebook in a specific way when you work in the industry- my paper-towels / post-it notes "to be transcribed" will not cut it. The other point - as was made by a comment in Derek's post - if and when such incidents happen in the industry, they more likely hush it up to avoid bad publicity and plummeting stock prices.

People that do not work in academia or science- what are parallel examples of sabotage in your work-lives?


I am going to capitalize on my good mood and get out of the house- get into lab, go out my book..have fun. Over and out.


la vida loca said...

D-school, where we can co treat patients, give away procedures to those lacking. You say" I don't have any myself"...and not share. Dont share study materials and so on.

Sujatha said...

Tel maalish, once a week. But you need someone to do it for you, though. Glad you're feeling better today. Have a great weekend!