From rant (WTF?)

NO OTHER ILLNESS

I am mentally ill. I have clinical depression. CD is a thoroughly miserable illness. I’m incredibly lucky to live at a time when CD like mine is easily treated by medication. Two pills every morning, and I’m myself again. The point of writing this isn’t to tell the world that I’ve got clinical depression, or to say “Gosh I like my drugs”. The reason that I’m writing this is gripe about how people react when they hear that I take psychiatric medication. For some reason, the fact that my brain has a problem that’s easy to fix using medication is…

HOW EVOLUTION NATURALLY SELECTED ME

If you’re anything like me you think Radiohead is the greatest band on the planet; that the Rolling Stones are important, but overrated; Natalie Portman is the greatest actress of her generation (and hot, even with short hair); the most disgusting noise is the noise of someone eating with their mouth open; and you read—a lot. But no fiction, only non-fiction. Not even James Frey non-fiction. A lot of it is news, some of it is commentary, and sometimes life experience. I read a lot about Intelligent Design (ID) these days. It’s not something that I’m particularly proud of, it’s…

BREAKTHROUGH BREAKDOWN

(graphic altered from Kadivar et al., 2006) If it’s not new, you can’t publish it; it is an axiom that illustrates a sickness in science. Doing biological research is not cheap, it takes time and money, and there is not enough of either to go around for everyone to fulfil their Nobel Prize dreams. If a scientist wants stability and adequate funding, i.e. a career, they have to produce. But these days knowledge is not enough; it has to be something that can turn into a “breakthrough”, a patent, or a pill. The pressure to produce, and for experiments to…

LIKE, “-OMIC” GOD!

Let us marvel at the proliferation of the term “ome”. First off – let’s define the term “-ome”. As near as I can tell, it means “whole” or “mass”. “-ome” takes into account the totality of a thing – it defines a field. Hence the “genome” is the sum of all genetic stuff and the first “-ome” I remember encountering – “biome” – is the complete collection of living and non-living components within a defined region. In addition, my thesis (as far as I understand it) deals in the realm of pharmacogenomics, a term that I think captures the striking…

WHITE COAT, WRONG TIME

Imagine you’re at Starbucks. You’re halfway through a co-worker’s order (“half sweet, no foam, saffron-scented, opium-spritzed, …”) when two men wearing coveralls come in. You hear them talking about a car they’re fixing. Their garb has grease on it, various stains of indeterminate origin. They saunter up to the till, place their orders, and get their drinks before you because the trainee taking care of your order is running to the Starbucks across the street to find more panda blood for your co-worker’s beverage. Tapping your foot impatiently, you notice that the two guys in coveralls have parked themselves in…