Friday, May 8, 2009

Find Something to do in the Middle of This Graph.

This is not a Venn diagram. I'm assuming the activity can't be important and in your skill set and not be either relevant to your current job or interesting to you. Also, It can't be relevant to your current job and interesting without either being important or in your skill set.

Your interest and skillset are internal. Importance and relevance to your job are external. You have some control over your skillset and what your current job is. Your interest and what's important cannot be controlled. Your task is to find the middle of this graph by exploring your interests, expanding your skillset, moving toward important problems, and finding gainful employment solving them.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Once I'd written down the question, the answer was obvious

I was about to post the following to AskMefi:

Someone talk me down from the ivory tower's ledge [more inside]

I got my PhD in Computer Science in 2007, with a focus on computational biology. I have a wife and 2 young kids. During and prior to grad school, I worked/consulted for biotech companies always strictly as a means of paying the bills. My goal has been a faculty position. I applied in 2007 and got no interviews. Now, 2 years into a so-far-unremarkable 3-year postdoc, I've had an epiphony. I'm actually really good at industrial computational biology: making things work. I'm actually not that good at academic computational biology: publishing papers/getting grants. I'm also sick and tired of being poor. A friend of mine has eMailed me about a job at his company that seems like it would be pretty sweet. Whether or not this particular job works out, I'm thinking of broadening my search, effectively leaving academia behind forever. I'd like someone to explain why I shouldn't "sell out" and what will make me regret going into industry.

When I read the question, I knew exactly what my answer would be:

what took you so long? It soulds like you're headed for a failure in 2010 similar to the one in 2007. You're not getting any younger and your kids are growing up poor. You're not quitting academia. It's rejected you and you're finally realizing that fact. Take the price signal and GO!

Monday, May 4, 2009

15 Minutes?

By my math, if only one person can be famous at a time, everyone should be famous for more like 39 seconds. That's probably a bad assumption, however, since the Earth can clearly support more than one famous person at a time. It goes to 13:20 if you assume 20 people at a time. That averages to 1 famous person at a time in the US, but I'd say the US can support 10 famous people at a time at least. This means that each of us can now be famous for over 2 hours! I propose we keep 10 people on TV at all times, swapping out the one who's been there the longest every 13:20.

Friday, May 1, 2009

My Daughters Saw STAR WARS for the Frist Time Last Night

Last night, I decided that, since they're 5 now, they are old enough to see Star Wars (Ep IV, ANH), since that's how old I was when I had seen it for the first time. I'd thought a lot about it. My original plan was to show them TPM first, since that's pretty-much a kids movie anyway and it's about a little boy. I thought I might show them all of the movies in sequential (rather than chronological) order. However, ROTS blew that plan by being the least kid-friendly (darkest, scarriest and grossest) of them all. Also I figured that they might actually be more likely to end up liking Star Wars if I showed them a good one first.

Well, they were in rapt attention throughout. This was gratifying bordering on thrilling for me. However, when it was over, I asked them what they thought. Celia said:

"It was really more of a boys' move since there was only one girl and she didn't do very much."

I'm proud of her for demanding strong female characters. I told her that Princess Leia was the toughest of them all. Celia said "Maybe, but they didn't show her tough."

Eva said "I liked the ending more than the rest."

"You mean when they blew up the Death Star? I love that part too." I said.


"When they got their awards?"


"Then which part?"

"When they married"

That's right. She thought the award ceremony (white dress, walking the aisle, music) was Princess Leia marrying one or both of Han and Luke.