Some of us survive this crappy job market by working as research assistants and adjuncting on the side. It pays the bills and allows us to expand our professional skills. Usually, though, it's hard to find a lot of satisfaction in your work because it's not really your work. It's your boss's research plan and you have to follow it, especially if grant renewals are dependent upon you. Often the teaching side isn't much better since adjuncts aren't given a whole lot of leeway until they prove themselves. But today, at least......
Whooohooo! I got my course evals for my Brain & Behavior class. An evening course one night a week for over 3 hours means it's tough to hold attention spans, but I somehow managed to keep 90% attendance going. The best part is... my marks were great! I averaged over 5 out of 6 (6 being the best score) on every single item, except for slightly under 5 when asked whether my exams fairly tested knowledge of the material. I expected that would be the case even though I had 60% of the class score a B- or better as their final grade; my tests aren't meant to be a cake walk but you can still succeed if you do well on assignments and such.
Bottom line: ya gotta keep yer chin up and celebrate the successes when they come. Now, at least, I should be guaranteed to teach this summer and next semester, and with it the opportunity to make a little extra money until something better comes along.
For a few weeks now, Sci's been wanting to get away from the sex for a bit. Not that I mind having this reputation as being a sex blogger (or whatever), but there's more out there to weird science than sex.
And so, the word of the day is: rhinotrichtillomania. Say that three times fast. rhinotrichtillomania, rhinotrichtillomania, rhinotrichit...crap.
Fontenelle et al. "The man with the purple nostrils: a case of rhinotrichtillomania secondary to body dysmorphic disorder" Acta Psyciatric Scandanavia, 2002.
So what could this word refer to?
Hmmmm, I wonder.
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Tonight, Sci is in the lab. It's 11:40pm, and counting. I will probably cop out shortly before 1am because I'm a chicken that way. Been here since 8am, when I found out that the freezer that stores my carefully sampled fruit slices had become unplugged the previous evening. Water all over the floor, and all of my lovely apple and orange sections are thawed. So now, Sci is here, running her samples before they go bad. Welcome to grad school.
And of course, this means that Sci can't go home and make herself nutritious eats. However, I do my best. I'm not a fan of ordering pizza to the lab. Grad students are VERY poor, and that money adds up quick. And I like to get some veggies and lean protein in my diet when I can.
So tonight, Sci is having Lab Cuisine (tm) while she runs her now-thawed samples.
To make Lab Cuisine:
1 pkg Ramen (throw that icky flavor packet AWAY)
1/2 small pkg frozen Oriental veggies (about 1 cup)
Morning Star chicken breast thingy (1)
Make Ramen as directed, discarding flavor packet. A hot plate in the lab is particularly good for this, but make sure you bring your own cooking container. Ramen in the microwave is crappy Ramen.
For veggies, stick them in microwave safe container, tightly covered, with 2 tsps water. Microwave on high 4 minutes. Result=steamed veggies.
Prep chicken according to packet instructions in microwave. On chicken, add 1 tsp of soy sauce before it goes in the microwave.
Mix ramen, veggies, and chicken together. Add soy sauce and sesame oil to taste.
Sounds icky, I know. But it's cheap! And when you are stuck in the lab til way late and hungry, you take what you can get. And this is what we keep in the lab fridge. Don't know why the sesame oil was there, or the soy sauce, for that matter. The ramen is something that all grad students (and post-docs) keep in their desks for emergencies. The frozen stuff Sci will admit running home to get.
But it was both cheap and nutritious (sort of, the Ramen is the kind with no trans fat and the flavor packet was discarded, saving you some high sodium issues).
Now all I need to do is find a way to store cake and cookies in the lab without my labmates noticing...
Isn't "quark" a great word!?!
I think it may have more appeal than "spork" and that's saying something.
Anyway, it turns out that 3 Quarks Daily is handing out QUARKS! They are handing out awards for science, arts and literature, philosophy, and political blogging on the two solstices and two equinoxes. As the summer solstice approacheth, they are taking nominations for the best science post. Laelaps has already been nominated for his post on Ida, and a bunch of other Sciblings have also been nominated (such as Tet Zoo, Science After Sunclipse, and Neurophilosophy). And there are also lots of nominations from other great science blogs like the Loom, the Intersection, and the Neurocritic.
But Sci isn't nominated yet. 🙁 *sniff*. It's ok. I'm fine. Don't worry about ME! All you have to do is leave a comment in the comment field with a link to the post. The post must have been written between May 24 2008, and May 24, 2009.
And of course, nominate people OTHER than Sci. There's a lot of hot science blogging going out in the internets. We have until June 1. Get nominating!
Is up! And we're in it. Two posts on Opponent-Process theory! I highly recommend this edition, there's an entire section on addiction, including an article on the addictive potential of marijuana, and another on the myth of dopamine and pleasure (ain't pleasure, it's...salience...sort of...of value-related stimuli).
Also, check out Juniorprof today, great post up on chronic pain, from someone who knows pain.
And finally, I'm sure you've all heard about Ida to death, I know I have. But Laelaps has a GREAT Op-Ed on it that's just come out in the Times!!! And he's been misquoted by the Discovery Institute! That's a sign you've made the big-time. 🙂
You people. You people and your REQUESTS. Requests to do things like blog more about opponent-process theory. Well. Sci hears you. She obeys. At least this time. And for all your drug addiction experts out there asking me to read Koob, I can assure you that I have read a LOT of Koob in my time. For those of you not necessarily familiar with the drug abuse lit, George Koob is considered one of the greatest minds in current drug abuse research, and has done a lot to conform the motivationally-focused opponent-process theory to the model of drug addiction that exists today. Guy even has a wikipedia entry! That's how you know you've hit the big time.
And so, Sci continues her discussion of opponent-process theory in this second installment, with many thanks to Koob and his co-author, Le Moal.
You'll need it.
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Believe it or not, for this Friday's weird science, I wanted to get AWAY from sex. Do something different. But then the boys at Deep Sea News decided to have their sex week, and then Joanne at Joanne Loves Science decided to interview Mary Roach (without ME!!! What were you thinking, Joanne. Sci is so hurt...but she couldn't really ask all the good questions because it's for middle school age...), and well, I have to do SOMETHING sex related, right? Of course right.
And, well, penises are funny looking. There's that, too.
Deng et al. "Real-time three-dimensional ultrasound visualization of erection and artificial coitus" International Journal of Andrology, 2006.
I would have loved to see the advertisements for this study: "Men needed between ages 18-65 for study of erection and coitus. Must have no history of erectile dysfunction. Ability to get it on with a Jell-O mould a plus."
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Challenge grant review assignments went out today. You know, the ones so essential to revitalizing the economy? Not surprisingly the reviews are due back soon- June 5th.
To access the challenge grants you use eRA Commons. However, eRA commons is going to be offline for the next five days for a massive infrastructure upgrade. Which means if you don't get your review assignment downloaded tonight, you can't access it until May 26th.
Genius. Download your grant assignments now, if you're reading this.
Perhaps I should put a special category up for "things I like to blog about". Or maybe just 'basics'.
Sci's been a little out of her bloggin' groove lately, feelin' her stuff is not up to snuff. But with THIS, Sci will get her groove back. And she will get it back with pictures. Pictures that are drawn in powerpoint so they don't make your eyes bleed. I care.
So what is the opponent-process theory? The opponent-process theory (hereafter called the OP Theory) is one of the current theories we are using to understand addiction. Because, to be honest, we don't really understand it. Oh sure, we know about initial rewarding effects, we know about withdrawal, we know about tolerance. But do we really KNOW what it is that makes people walk away from their families and homes and jobs and sell themselves for their next hit? A next hit that, oftentimes, they HATE and need at the same time? ...nope. Still working on that.
But one of the theories out there to explain drug addiction and how it may work is the OP Theory.
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