national labs

What is it that you want me to say? Do you want me to say ‘Poor you. Miranda is picking on you. Poor you. Poor Andy.’ Hmm?

Wake up, six. [The Editor-in-Chief] is just doing her job. Don’t you know that you are working at the place that published some of the greatest artists of the century? Halston, Lagerfeld, de la Renta. And what they did, what they created, was greater than art, because you live your life in it!

…You have no idea how many legends have walked these halls. And what’s worse? You don’t care. Because, this place, where so many people die to work, you only deign to work. And you want to know why she doesn’t kiss you on the forehead and give you a gold star on your homework at the end of the day. 

Wake up sweetheart.


The Devil Wears Prada 

Nigel, art director of Runway (fictionalized Vogue magazine), to the main character.

This helped pull myself out of this sinking, depressive feeling I developed a few weeks into my time at the National Institutes of Health. You do not deign to work in the halls of greatness! I was waiting for a feeling of motivational arrogance to arise – that which I had as an upper division undergraduate. But that was never to come as someone on the lowest rung of research, amongst those specialized in a field so difficult it is impossible to fully penetrate as a mere post-bacc. I serve science from my minor role, not myself. And out of that comes confidence that expands that role.

My fashion background to the rescue, for once! Now I listen to favorite songs on each morning walk through campus I take to get to my lab and feel my chest expanding each time. There is a renewed sense of awe each day. I am ready, each morning, to serve science and become great through that, gradually.

Heard back on the final draft of my next paper from the one coauthor I was most concerned about (a very big name in the pure-research world; he missed my talk at the last conference, so this was all new material for him), but he replied and said that so far he had zero objections to my submitting it as-is, and then included several paragraphs about how valuable this work will be to tornado forecasting and nowcasting efforts in an immediate, operational setting, and ended with “This work strikes me as a very positive example of academic and operational collaboration, and we’re grateful to be included in the process!”

I am so happy about this, because that’s always been my goal–I’ve discovered that, while I love theoretical research in a lot of areas, when it comes to tornado stuff my margin of patience for all things hypothetical is just razor-thin because I always feel like this stuff needs to get applied and out there to the public yesterday, there’s always that urgency. And this guy works in a very important national lab (…which, I find out in three days whether my application to work there for a year as a postdoc made it through the review process), and he’s the boots-on-the-ground getting-this-to-the-public-quickly guy. He’s got concrete ideas about how to apply this in a way that are basically word-for-word the “Exhibit A” AI I was toying around with a couple years ago, so we’re gonna be playing with that once I have a little time to breath (two more papers and a dissertation to write in… like two months, it’s cool).

Because I’m the first author and my adviser stepped back and let me take care of all the authorship negotiations on it, these really feel like my contacts, and it’s reassuring to know that no matter where I end up, these are people who are excited about my research and want to keep working with me.

I sat in on the all day career symposium at the NIH, coding on my laptop throughout. After the dozens of panels and gobs of networking chatter, sitting in an empty auditorium was such a pleasure. But it allowed my mind to think about the day and not, as is intended, merely absorb it as helpful advice, and I found myself wandering more empty areas while feeling more and more put off by the whole thing. 

The whole day had an ethos I find so strange. The day rested on the unstated assumption that we scientists are here to do something good, yes, sure, but that, more than anything, our ultimate goal as scientists centers around securing our happiness, leveraging self-reflection and career tips to find our way into a financially stable job (Saw a presentation about average salaries in various positions) that is in sync with our personal wants (several presentations about checklists of self-reflections), such that our higher education degrees are really mere stepping stones in acquiring a certain lifestyle. Why is it that wherever there are liberals there is this pervasive culture of self-care (I say this as a liberal; can I not be a liberal and reject a subset of the culture. Maybe this is the natural outcome of liberalism + funding drying up to the point where not everyone can do science)?

I want to do something great. I do not want to strategize my salary negotiations, or get an MD or PhD so I become eligible for the wealth of industry jobs that will have me writing 20 page reports for the FDA by day and dining at expensive restaurants at night. By all means, I am glad there is this widespread incentive system that encourages people to educate themselves, but I find the incentive system so, so out of sync with my idealism and incentive system. And it was made even more strange by capping off the day with this message boiled down in 20-minute blitzes, striking the same tone as a sidebar magazine article: Quick tips on how to understand blah blah blah and get the career your want.

The NIH is a strange place. Infested by people who are obsessed with what comes after the MD or the PhD, by virtue of the fact that the place is infested with MDs, PhDs and MD/PhDs, while we post-baccs are here stewing over getting into MD/PhD programs. Then there are the sleepy PIs on autopilot, secured in funding and secure with their legacy in science, who council the sleepy graduate students who treat their work like leisure, picked at only when interesting or perturbed by a deadline. 

There is of course energy, no doubt, in some places, there is sometimes aggression brought forth in a journal club critique. But I am finding myself needing to make my own energy, and making energy develop out of the working relationship I have with the post-doc I assist. He, at least, feels a hunger I can work from. He is a nerd, he wants to do great things, I see in him little concern about lifestyle, being more than eligible and credentialed to go into a padded industry job, choosing instead to struggle to become a PI himself. 

I spent so much of today in a fetal position in my bed, coming to terms with the fact that I will have to make my own energy. Science has sucked the energy out of itself from where I stand.

anonymous asked:

sometimes i feel ok for like 5 minutes and then i remember who the president is and then i want to die

i know i have/had a good number of conditions on that list, and im like. so fuckin fucked if i ever get sick again, which w the way my health is right now seems pretty likely. just knowing hes gonna kill thousands upon thousands of people in the US (and even more outside the US in bombings) and he may very well get us all killed on the west coast cus he cant shut his mouth, i just wanna move. please dont let me die from disease or nuclear war thanks

Mind blown whilst reading more of the theory underlying my lab.

“Lets examine what is going on in the chaos game. Information from the roll of the die is random. The system has no idea where it is going, until the dice is rolled. Forecasting the direction of the system is impossible. Yet, once the system receives information, it is processed according to internal, deterministic rules. The result is a limited range of possibilities, but the number of possibilities is infinite.”

Rules: Tag 10 people you want to know better

Tagged by: @redalertalerts (Thanks, Hun!)

Name: Samantha

Nickname/s: Sam, Sammy, Manthe, Manthy, Samuel (idk how), Snow White (pale skin, thanks), a few more.

Gender: Female

Sign: Capricorn

Height: 5’ 9"

Age: – years

Sexual Orientation: Don’t know, don’t care.

Hogwarts House: Ravenclaw (Not a soar loser tho).

Favorite Color: Red, Black, and Grey

Time Right Now: 4:23 PM

Average Hours of Sleep: 3 to 4 hours. And strangly, not tired.

Lucky Number: 4

Last Google Search: “Fortress Maximus IDW.” Trying to get heads up on @gunsinlegs!

Favorite Fictional Characters: Ratchet (Transformer; All continuity), Prowll (Transformer; All continuity), Starscream (Transformer; All continuity), Brainstorm (Transformer; All continuity), Stanley “Stanford” Pines (Gravity Falls), Shadow (Sonic the Hedgehog).

Blankets I Sleep with: One normal spread blanket; purple, green, and pink stripes.

Favourite Bands/Artists: Red Jumpsuit Apparatus, Three Days Grace, Skillet, Cash Cash, Ayreon, some more people I can’t remember off the top of my head.

Dream Trips: Spain or Japan, maybe South Korea.

When did your blog reach its peak: When I jumped @itsalwayssunnyon-cybertron’s “I have sexy thighs” post and showed Optimus Maximus’ chunky leg (which is Sunstreaker btw) and people loved it.

When did you make this Blog: I was a RP blog before this but I lost connection to it, so I made a new account for a new character. Prowl is great man!

Follower Count: 70

Why did you choose your URL: Two cops. Prick cop and Bitch cop. Yay!

People to tag: (If you’ve already been tagged, just ignore me)

@broadcasted-idiocy, @maximum-primeage, @facelessgunformer, @tarn-nation, @commanderultramango, @ask-the-paranoid-autobot, @autobotwheelie,@shatteredemperorofdestruction, @questionable-lab-safety, and @rung-not-ring

I’m working on bits of my sociology of STEM manuscript while my code runs through large data sets. 

And it strikes me: Wow, I started out at fashion school and here I am, six years after the fact of dropping out, as a computational neuroscientist/statistical physics trainee.

I am glad our academic system makes that possible, that I was able to pull that off and that my sociology work goes toward answering the question how that path is very weird.

Seeing a supernovae within hours of the explosion

For the first time ever, scientists have gathered direct evidence of a rare Wolf-Rayet star being linked to a specific type of stellar explosion known as a Type IIb supernova. Peter Nugent of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory says they caught this star – a whopping 360 million light years away – just a few hours after it exploded.

Hear more about this discovery →


I’ve been to Montana twice now and both times weren’t long enough.  I always leave with a longing to go back - I just want to rent a car and travel around the state shooting film!  These 10 photos of Lake McDonald in Glacier National Park were captured on Portra 160 and 400 35mm film with my Canon EOS 3. 

Don’t get why there are all of these “first apartment buy this stuff posts.” Some of them contain some good, basic stuff. But most of that stuff I realized I needed. Like I know I should have somewhere to sit and some bowls. Tell me something anyone who has ever lived anywhere doesn’t know or doesn’t realize so quick. Like I would tell someone to buy vinegar. It’s the most versatile cleaner I know of. Dandruff? A vinegar rinse balances your scalp. Dishwasher not rinsing well enough? Use vinegar as a rinse agent. Also to always have quarters if you have to use a coinop. You don’t want to be stuck needing a piece of clothing and unable to wash it. Don’t buy the cheapest vacuum if you can spend a little more. I did and needed up buying a better one anyway. Go to dollar tree for kitchen utensils. They have a crapton of stuff. They also have dishes. And that works fine. Do splurge on a chef’s knife. At least buy a nice one from Walmart on sale. Buy a large cutting board. Little ones just don’t do it. Get plants for your windows, balconies, etc. I know that Roma tomatoes, lemon button ferns, and mint do well in containers. Having something else alive in your apt makes it hella homey. Also, get prints when they’re on sale at nations photo lab or adoramapix. Or make your own canvas art. Whatever you’re into, hang it up on the walls. Yard sale frames are cheap and easily painted. Make the place your home. Don’t go crazy buying costly furniture or appliances right off the bat. Even if money isn’t an issue, it will give you time to think about what would be best for your apartment. Unplug stuff if you don’t need it plugged in. The first month I kept everything plugged in. Coffee maker, toaster, all my lamps, tv, etc. Second month I unplugged all that stuff and saved seven dollars. It’s worth the small amount of effort. Oh, and HAVE LOTION. Sucks to be 3 am with dried out feet and hands.