Monday, August 30, 2010

Busy busy busy...

...working on an extremely cool grant, due Wednesday. I want this one to get funded soooo badly - the science is so cool and the potential impact so great. I wish I could blog about it!

Anyway, until I'm free again, here's an interesting link from Genome Biology. As a twist on the annual Beloit College Mindset List1, the author pondered:
what would the scientific worldview be like for someone, let's say, just starting graduate school today (and therefore about 22 years of age)? Born in 1988, how would their scientific lives differ from the lives of the generations preceding them (including mine, which is the only one I really care about)? It makes for some interesting speculation:

there follows a list of techniques that have always been outdated (or routine) in these students' lifetimes. Some examples:
• In their lifetime, no one has ever pipetted anything by mouth.

• Believe it or not, they have never known a world without cDNA microarrays.
Worth reading despite the feelings of advanced age that will inevitably follow. As Beth said on Twitter, "That makes me feel old. In MY day, we had to look at DNA one gene at a time! Uphill both ways in the snow!"


1. which "provides a look at the cultural background of the students entering college that fall. The creation of Beloit's Keefer Professor of the Humanities Tom McBride and former Public Affairs Director Ron Nief, it was originally created as a reminder to the Beloit faculty to be aware of dated references. As the website notes, 'it quickly became a catalog of the rapidly changing worldview of each new generation.'"


  1. Ugh!!! This reminds of those annoying students who don't know what an 8 trac is or what a floppy disk looks like. Not the 3.5 hard disks, but the black 5 inch floppy disk, that actually flopped...sigh I'm so old.

  2. Ok, but you only have to go to Egypt or India or similar to be back 30 years in time.
    But yeah, I do feel old too, having grown up without a mobile phone and such. I don't have a mobile right now in fact! But that only proves that NZ is still 30 back in time too.
    (hehehe, no that is not true. I can really think of only 2 people in NZ without a mobile)

  3. Make that three - I don't have a cell phone either. As for floppy disks - there were punch cards when I started university and pocket calculators were very expensive and very rare.

    I remember a friend importing an Apple 2 and thinking how wonderful was that! It was the first computer I'd seen that wasn't some gargantuan beast in the basement :)

    Am I old - well I don't feel old! Just a bit well used :)

    viv in nz

  4. I remember being in undergraduate labs and the safety rules always said "Do not pipette by mouth" and we'd be all "Who the HELL would do that?" But in grad school I met people who were like "Oh yeah, I've done that." Gross!!!

  5. SM, I have to admit to never having used a proper floppy or an 8 track. I was alive while they were being used, but didn't ever use a computer until the 3.5 inch non-floppy floppies came in!

    Having said that, we had an Atari computer for games, and you had to load them from a cassette tape. The computer would typically crash 24 minutes into a 25 minute loading procedure.

    Nina, I got my first cell phone during my PhD days in, ooh around 1998. I cycled to and from work along the canal and then by a river, on paths that were often covered in broken glass, not in the best part of Glasgow, and often in the dark, and thought it might be good to be able to call for help if I fell off my bike.

    Of course the only time I ever did fall off, my major injury was caused by landing on my brick of a phone, which was in an inside jacket pocket. The bruise was spectacular!

    KK, wow, punch cards, that is old school! :)

    Last week my boss and I were working on the grant budget and neither of us could find our calculators, so we did all the sums on our iPhones. I asked if he thought we could put new ones in the budget for that reason, but he said no :(

    Beth, I know - I always thought that ubiquitous rule was a joke, but my PhD supervisor told me that he used to do it! That and he'd do PCR by putting tubes in a rack and manually moving them between 3 different water baths for hours at a time...

    We don't know we're born, honestly.


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