The stork of scientists

I was debating today whether or not to post another short story, but then I looked at the pile of death threat letters, and thought better of it. Still, if you want to read another one, cast your vote at the “Comments” thingy below.

In other news, things are rolling as usual: Work, work, and more work. At least it seems that we are making some progress, and I think I saw a flicker of a light at the end of the tunnel, but then I had to go back to the lab.

Your autoclave bin is brimming!!!

Speaking of labs, next Thursday our Department – nay, our entire School (of Life Sciences) is undergoing a routine inspection by a Safety Regulations committee from the Home Office. In other words, The Man is coming to check us out. Which means that most researchers are going to make themselves scarce that day.

So everyone’s trying to do their bit, but there’s a lot of fear in the air, and we all know that the government can sense fear. No surprise really – the HO can shut us down just like that if they feel that we are not abiding by the Code. So I guess we should lock up all those radioactive mutant frogs that can play chess and listen to Enya. Seriously.

I’m also in the painful process of trying to put my Thesis together, and I’m discovering that writing a Thesis is nothing like a writing a paper (there’s more space) or writing a novel (there’s more boredom). What’s ironic is that doctorates demand that the hapless candidate work his or her proverbial behind off for three or four years, so that they can produce a huuuge document (up to 100,000 words) that will be read by a maximum of four individuals: Two supervisors (most times one), and two examiners. Out of these four, the supervisors already know what’s in it (or they should), and the examiners will forget it right after they’re done with it. Oh, I forgot: Some parents might want to read it too, but they don’t count since generally it could be in ancient Martian for all they knew (“it looks lovely, dear”).

Then the candidate sits through an oral examination (a viva) where he/she sweats it out with the examiners (one external, one internal) to end up in either of five places:

  1. Pass (“Congratulations, Doctor“)
  2. Pass, but needs minor corrections (“It’s good, just fix the typos”)
  3. Pass, but needs major corrections (“It’s good, but you can do so much more! Go do it”)
  4. Fail (“You suck”)
  5. Death (“You still suck”)

… and that’s where scientists come from!


Tune in tomorrow to learn all about writers.

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