Archive for the ‘stupidity’ Category

The Heebee-Jeebees

Last night, as I was getting ready for bed, I noticed this ENORMOUS centipede-type bug just hanging out beside the scale in the bathroom. It didn’t move for a while, so I was hoping it was dead. But, then I made some sort of noise and it frickin’ skittered across the floor to the other side of the bathroom.

I freaked out and ran into our hallway/landing thing, and told my cat to go get it. A few hours before, I saw him deeply concentrated on something on the bathroom floor, and figured this must be what he was concentrating on.

Funny enough, he wasn’t much help. I don’t think he quite understood what I wanted him to do. In any case, I had to go back in the bathroom to finish brushing my teeth, and the damn thing skittered across the floor again. This time I let out a little squeal, and the cats proceeded to get puffy. Thanks for the help, kitties!

I did not sleep well last night. I kept having these dreams of enormous, gross looking bugs that can run faster than I can. Every time I woke up, I had to do a check of the bed to make sure the damn thing wasn’t cuddling up with me. And, I couldn’t avoid going to the bathroom in the middle of the night.

I’m still having a case of the heebee-jeebees every time I even think about it…and it’s not like I can avoid going into the bathroom!

Ugh – this is one thing I miss about living on the 12th floor of an apartment building.


Another P&C Update

Just an update on the pop & money stealing from DH’s lab: more money was stolen, so the pop has now been moved from the common kitchen area to an office area. The number of people taking pops has drastically reduced – most likely because they have to go into an office to get (and actually pay for) one.

Apart from this excitement, I’m sorry that this blog has been so lame lately. There is honestly nothing to write about (freely). I hope to have news to report in the coming weeks.

Academic Snobbery

Perhaps I’m getting more sensitive to this kind of stuff because I’m not a huge fan of academia, but I seem to have witnessed more and more situations which can only be described as academic snobbery.

Just the other day, a bunch of astronomers in the department were chatting. At first people were bitching about how little undergrads know (a typical conversation between profs, TAs, etc.). Even though it’s a bit disrespectful, it really is unbelievable what some first year students don’t know (ratios for example, or simple algebra), so I can understand the frustration.

However, the conversation then turned to include examples of things “everyone should know”. One professor was absolutely disgusted that less than half their class thought it was possible for the Moon to be up during the day. Well, I’m going to admit this right now: I didn’t know this until I was in my undergrad. I know plenty of PhDs that wouldn’t know this now! You know why? Because the general public doesn’t stare up at the sky every day, monitoring the positions of celestial objects! It’s not that they’re stupid, it’s just that they’re not totally engrossed in astronomy day-in, day-out. Once you tell them that’s the case, most will understand and realize that yes, in fact, they have seen it in the day-time sky.

Another person said “If you asked a person on the street what one of Newton’s laws are, they wouldn’t be able to tell you!! I think that’s so sad.” Again, why would someone not in physics/astronomy know this off the top of their head? What’s interesting is they probably know the laws, they just don’t know them as Newton’s laws. This does not make them stupid or ignorant!

What these people don’t get is it’s a two-way street. Someone from business could ask these people what process management is and be appalled when they couldn’t answer. Or someone from geology could ask them to categorize a bunch of rocks, and the same thing would happen. It’s all about what you do on a day to day basis, and to be self-centered enough to think your work should be known and understand by everyone on the planet is just plain naive.

The most annoying case of academic snobbery is when people complain about the accuracy of science in movies. This has come up recently with the movie, 2012. I don’t know about you, but I don’t go to movies to learn about science!! I go there for the entertainment, to get away from science and real life, and to have a good time. If all movies were scientifically, historically, politically, etc., etc. accurate, we’d just be watching documentaries all the time. Don’t get me wrong, I love me some documentaries, but I like to go into a fantasy world too.

So, to all you academic snobs out there – get your heads out of your asses, lighten up a bit, and have some fun already!

P&C Update

Last post I told you about DH’s co-worker getting screwed over while trying to raise money for students in his department.

Well…ladies and gents…it gets better…

About a week ago he decided to take some change out of the jar, and exchanged it for a $5 bill. The next day it was gone. Thinking that maybe he actually didn’t put the $5 bill in the jar, he tested it out and put another one in. Guess what? It was gone the next day!!

This is in a secured building! People need IDs and swipe cards to get in, and if you don’t you have to sign in and must be with someone at all times. That means someone who works there is doing this.

Who are these people??

Pop and Circumstance

A post-doc DH works with is the nicest guy in the world. He decided to buy flats of pop, store it in the fridge, and charge only $0.50 per can (which is at least $1 less than from the machines or stores) on an honor system. The profit was to go toward events for students.

Unfortunately, he didn’t foresee problems with the honor system. Out of 200 cans taken so far, only 50 have been paid for. That’s a measly 25%!! Isn’t that awful? I mean, people are willing to take advantage of this guy trying to do something good for the students in his department, all in order to save $0.50?!

DH and I were talking about this and just got angry. We were not brought up like this, and both of us would feel incredibly guilty and embarrassed if we did something like that. But, there are obviously a lot of people that are totally fine with taking advantage of someone. These are also the people that probably go through the door when you’re holding it open and don’t even say thank-you, or walk in a row of three on the sidewalk and don’t move over so you have to walk in the gutter. Give these people an inch, and they take a mile.

Do they act like this on purpose, or does it honestly not occur to them that this is bad behaviour? When they take that pop and don’t pay for it, are they thinking “Haha, sucker – there’s no way I’m paying for this if no one is holding me accountable!!” or do they just take it without thinking anything?

This is one reason why there is such a lack of trust in our society. Anytime you do something nice, 75% of people take advantage. Why bother? Screw me once, shame on you; screw me twice, shame on me – after being screwed over a number of times, even the nicest people will become jaded and stop acting that way. It’s sad.

Impostor Syndrome on High

Wow – did I ever have “damn, am I stupid” day today 😦

I met with my supervisor and gave him the rest of my thesis (a good thing, yes). He hadn’t read anything else I had given him over the past two weeks, but he told me he’d try to read everything by the end of the week.

Right after lunch he brought me my intro with corrections. For some reason I’m really taking these comments personally, and it doesn’t help that he wants me to add a TON of stuff. Now I don’t know where to start, or where to add certain sections…I just feel overwhelmed and freaked out. I only have 19 days before I have to submit it.

Then I went to a PhD defense – the student has 7 published papers…SEVEN!! Well, one was a second-author paper…gah!! Who publishes seven papers during their PhD?? I couldn’t follow her talk at all, not even the title slide!

Anyway, I feel like shit and just want to cry (and have on and off all afternoon – just ask DH). I just want this awful part of my life to be over already!

We’re Supposed to feel stupid!

I am a regular reader of sciencegeekgirl – a wonderful blog about science education. A few days ago, she posted about a short article published in the Journal of Cell Science entitled: The importance of stupidity in scientific research.

I strongly encourage all of you out there – either in science or not – to read this essay. It really puts things in perspective: that it’s okay not to get everything and, in fact, that is really the point of scientific research.

I think I might print this out and read it when I’m feeling particularly stupid or inadequate. It surely is making me think twice about leaving the academic world entirely…

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