Thursday, September 2, 2010

The grad student totem pole

There are certain things about grad school that you kinda forget about once you move on. It's been roughly 6 years since left my grad lab and a lot has happened since then. With the new grad students filtering in around now, I was reminded of one absolute: new students get what's left.

For whatever reason, there is always a known ranking of resources in a grad office. A best desk space, best chair, best coffee cup, best whatever, and every other similar item fits into the hierarchy.  Grad student B has the third best chair, for instance. At times of personnel flux, the perturbation sets off a wave of resource shuffle.

Senior grad students get first choice and will scarf up anything that is higher in the ranking than they already have. The next in line than devour their refuse and so the grad student food chain re-arranges itself with the n00bs getting the scraps.

This, of course, is unbeknownst to the noob, because they are just happy to be starting something new and everything takes some adjusting to. Research, all the reading, the other students, a new place, new surroundings. While they find their bearings they don't notice that their chair has one arm duct taped on and their mouse only scrolls in one direction. The other students, of course, assure them that the chair is the most comfortable one and the loose arm staves off carpel-tunnel. Besides, who ever scrolls up in a document or webpage? All the good stuff is down!

Before long, the noob realizes the deal and starts counting down to the next resource shuffle.    

Monday, August 2, 2010

Opening a new shop

To borrow a phrase from one of the most narcissistic public displays in recent memory, I'm taking my talents to Scientopia. My new blog, called The Spandrel Shop*, is part of roughly 25 either new or moved blogs that have assembled in this new collective.

In the wake of the blogger shuffle that been going, a group of us have been working to put together a community of bloggers that approach science from a number of different angles. From that start point and largely on the back of Mark Chu-Carroll's technical chops, Scientopia has come into being.

So why are you still reading this? Go over and check it out!

*h/t to CPP for helping with the name.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Substantial transition

And just when you thought all the moving around and updating your links was done...

I wanted to write today and let people know that this blog will be moving on Monday and hopefully my readers will come along as well. It's a bit odd for me because this spot has been 'home' since the start, so I have mixed emotions about moving to a new place and letting this space go dormant. I'll be leaving it up on the off chance that I don't fit in the new neighborhood or the movers break all my shit on the way over, but my posting activity will relocate for the foreseeable future.

I wouldn't be moving, however, if it wasn't for something really exciting. I'll be posting a link on Monday, but my guess is that come Monday you'll know where to find me...

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My application to Nature Network... or blogs?

As has been covered ad nauseam, with all the flux at ScienceBlogs recently there has been a lot of movement of voices to new places. One of the consequences of that is a number of open blog spots at ScienceBlogs, and some people see this as a great time to try and join the SB collective. I guess one has to pick a good time to move up in the world.

In other news, it would appear that things are not so happy inside the garden walls of Nature Blogs, either. Perhaps this is the perfect time for me to apply there?

In that spirit, I would like to use this as my application to Nature Network... er, Nature Blogs (it seems unclear even to their bloggers). I even already made the banner!

I would make a good NN blogger for a number of reasons.

First, I don't care about knowing information like how many hits I get for which posts or who my audience is. I mean, why would that be helpful? And who needs a blogroll?

Second, I like talking to only a select group of other bloggers and to avoid engaging anyone else at any time, using barriers to said engagement when possible. It keeps the riff raff out, ya know, like we've been doing for centuries.

Third, I have an iphone. `Nuff said, amiright?

Fourth, I am totally cool with a non-functional front page that does nothing to promote my blog in any way and is completely impossible to navigate.

Finally, I am totes in love with LOL cats and like to fill entire comment threads with their hilariosity.

If that isn't enough to make my application get rubber stamped, there's a case of watercress on it's way to London as we speak.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Don't forget the staff

The employee structure in academic institutions tends to be an odd mix. Odd in that there are essentially three components, all with very different goals. The most familiar is likely the faculty, who are there to teach and do research in varying proportions. There is also the administration, which I would define as former academics who have taken an administrative, rather than research-oriented career trajectory. Finally, the staff are there to make sure everything gets done.

The relationships between these groups can range form outright adversarial to synergistic (administration buzzword!) and I think it is most common to hear about the interactions that go badly. It's true that we tend to write more about the frustrations we face than the small victories thought the day. But at the end of the day there are those outside of our peer group we have to place our trust in to do the tasks we are not equipped to do.

From my perspective, and especially as I was first learning* how this place works, having a couple of dependable staff members in my college who just get things done has been one of the most important and useful things I could ask for. Their jobs are critical to my success and their willingness to go out of their way to be helpful has made my life infinitely easier as a result.

I think most people reading probably know or work with at least one person like this and all I would ask is that you not take them for granted and recognize their efforts in any way you can. It is easy to lose sight of the difference helpful staff can make when you get used to it, but as someone who has faced their share of clock-punchers, I will always find the time to thank someone for doing their job well.

*This process continues, but I'm less stupid these days.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Name that blog

It is a time of flux in the science bloggoshpere and here will be no different. There are blogs and bloggers moving all over the place (several to Labspaces, including Dr. Becca's new blog and Biochem Belle's new location) and more likely to move soon in the wake of the ScienceBlogs meltdown. With the biggest tree in the forest significantly reduced, the light is allowing for new growth of smaller networks. I knew I should have paid more attention in Ecology class.

I've got some things planned for the next week or so to shake things up here as well. The first order of business is changing the name of the blog. I have a few things kicking around in my head, but I've gotten lots of great ideas on a variety of topics from you readers, so I'm throwing the opportunity to name the blog out there for anyone who would like to give it a shot.

One factor that may make a difference is that I would like to move this blog in the direction of adding more content related to evolution. I'm not sold on including that in the name, but I'm leaning that way.


Friday, July 23, 2010

Slaves to a walnut-sized sack

The difference between having a kid in diapers and one not in diapers is pretty big. Diapers are a pain in the ass (sometimes literally) and generate a lot of garbage, but there is also a certain amount of freedom that accompanies wrapping your kid in an absorbent layer. Often they will let you know when that layer is pushing its capacity, but the urgency in dealing with the situation is usually not ridiculous.

Once potty trained, everything changes. I should say that I couldn't be happier to be free of diapers and the associated paraphernalia that comes with having to extricate one's offspring from a saturated layer of human waste. However, now the dreaded cry of "PEE PEE!!!!" (or worse) has taken on a new threat level. In the car, this means find the nearest bathroom, even if you would previously never have considered using that particular facility. I have spent more time in public restrooms in the last few months than the previous two years, and I can tell you that not all are created equal. Generally the Wee One is pretty good about holding it together, but that doesn't mean that I'm not taking a mental inventory of every available bathroom in my vicinity at all times, in case.

The same principal is true for bedtime as well. Too much liquid before bed and we end up with the situation we had this morning at 5:00am. Imagine not waking up to an alarm with familiar music, but instead to the crackly screams of "PEE PEE COMING!!!" through the monitor a room away. Never prior have I needed the ability to transition from REM sleep to a full sprint in a second's time quite like the past few months.

I'm sure this will improve soon, but for the moment it's hard not to feel like a hostage to another person's bladder.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Job data in ecology and evolution fields

There tends to be a lot of hearsay and rumors in the academic job market and much of what gets spread around is based on N=1, as in, a friend of mine was on a search committee and told me....

For this reason a paper that just came out in the Israel Journal of Ecology & Evolution might be of interest. Marshall et al. used a survey-based approach via the EvolDir and ECOLOG-L listserves to obtain data from individuals recently hired into TT positions. Their disclaimers are as follows:

We recognize several limitations of data gathered from online, anonymous, voluntary surveys. We were explicit in our instructions that participants only take the survey if they had been offered their first tenure-track job or equivalent position within the last four years and that they answer the questions as they applied at time of hire, but we are fully aware that confusion with regard to either of these instructions could inflate the numbers. Additionally, we cannot account for the bias of surveying principally from subscribers to EvolDir and ECOLOG-L email directories, as subscribers as these directories tend to be geared towards research rather than teaching issues. Persons employed at institutions requiring heavy teaching loads and lighter research requirements may have been less likely to participate. Therefore, the surveyed faculty may not represent a true cross section of successful first-time academics.

What they ended up with was a data set of 181 participants from countries all over the world. They asked pretty basic questions, including number of years as a postdoc, number of pubs (total & 1st author) at hire, etc. On the publication front, they found that:

...first-time hires had, on average, two first-author publications in journals with impact factors between 2 and 10... and one first or co-authorship paper in a higher impact journal like Science, Nature, PLoS Biology, or Trends in Ecology and Evolution...

For many of the categories, the variance was high. For instance the average age of hire for people at PhD-granting institutions was 33.1 +/- 4.1 and the average time spent as a postdoc was 3.08 +/- 2.15. The average number of pubs for that same group was 12.75, but with a whopping SD of +/- 7.63.

Most of the data are pretty much summed up in the first paragraph of the discussion, where the authors state:

Although significant variation exists in all categories and within all categorical groups, the qualitative message of this study is that prospective ecologists and evolutionary biologists are required to dedicate significant resources to publishing high quality papers,
applying for grants, and teaching courses if they want a reasonable chance of eventually landing a permanent position at a college or university. This will not come as a surprise to most, but what is striking are the qualification of the average successful candidate regardless of level of institution, region of the world, or gender. The successful candidate will most likely be in their early 30s, will have spent several years as a postdoc, taught multiple courses, received several grants, and will have published more than ten articles, with the majority of these articles appearing in high impact journals (Table 1, Table 2). These statistics suggest that all students considering careers in ecology or evolutionary biology should expect a highly competitive market that most likely will require substantial time investment.

I found it interesting that they found some different trends, based on gender and between the US and Europe / UK.

On average, successful applicants from the UK and Europe were younger at age of hire, spent more time as postdocs, had more publications, and received more large grants than individuals from the US (Table 1, Table 2). This could possibly be accounted for in part by the fact that many European Ph.D.s take only 3 years to complete rather than the typical 4–6 years in the US. Female applicants from doctoral institutions in the US generally had lower averages than males in these same categories, but this pattern did not exist in comparisons between genders within the UK category. However, it should be strongly noted that these differences between genders for doctoral institutions in the US are qualitative and not statistically significant.

The Marshal et al. paper was also followed by two responses, one by Roy Turkington, a faculty member in the Botnay Department at the University of British Columbia, and the second by Douglas W. Morris, who is a faculty member at Lakehead University. The Turkington article focused on a resent faculty search at UBC, where two positions were available. Dr. Turkington breaks down the candidate pool for those searches and reports much the same story as the Marshall et al. article. The Morris paper, entitled "Life History and Multi-level Selection in Academe" is at least worth a read for such gems as:

Euphemisms called “labs” coexist in structured universal aggregations where they compete with one another for scarce resources. Labs cooperate to produce copious numbers of zygotes, most of which disperse synchronously each year. The strongest find their way into the protective brood pouches of crusty adults who shed soft-shelled offspring at regular intervals (slowly developing zygotes die by the incompletely understood process of academic apoptosis). Juveniles develop a hard external carapace by intermittently joining and extracting themselves from other labs. The hardened but vulnerable sub-adults then join a common pool where they compete for space and position on rapidly eroding substrate in the universal aggregation. Many become dormant and fail to contribute to the gene (meme) pool. Some return to the lab as brood-rearing helpers. Few survive the rampant competition and frenzied cannibalism in the pool. Not all of the survivors are safe on the fragile substrate. A second apoptosis-like event eliminates the weak and meek. Only the most persistent or aggressive remain.

All in all, it's worth a read, even if you are not in the fields included. Data from early TT faculty don't often surface easily, and despite the inherent biases of the study, there is something tangible here to look at. It may not be what many are looking to hear right now, but it's data.

Panel call

I've been trying to get invited for a review panel at NSF for some time now. The biggest problem has been that the proposals I have been submitting tend to land in a broad set of programs, often making me ineligible to serve on the panels related to my proposals. To make matters worse, my proposals often get co-reviewed between two different panels, doubling the number of panels I can not sit on. This actually scuttled my participation last round.

This round is different, however, because the two collaborative proposals I was intending to submit did not end up going in for a few reasons, meaning only one proposal went in to NSF this round. Before I read that again and start to feel sick, there is a silver lining.

I've been invited to serve on a review panel in this round for a program that I intend to submit a proposal to in January. Although I know it's going to be a decent amount of work and I'll have to juggle it with teaching, I couldn't be more excited. I've met the program officer in charge of the program and think the whole experience will be really positive for me. I'm hoping to also find an excuse to talk to the POs of the other programs I regularly submit to while I'm in DC.

Who knows whether meeting the people in charge will help, but it certainly can't hurt. And the opportunity to see the review proses from the inside has me pretty pumped. Whatever insight I can get from the visit will certainly help me craft the January proposal.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010


Interesting times to be a science blogger. I have been blogging here for nearly 2 years and when I first started typing blather that got posted here, it wasn't long before I started reading You couldn't not read some of the blogs on that site and still have an idea what was going on in this corner of the bloggosphere. I first started reading Drugmonkey, then Isis and through them got to know many more blogs on SB that I now regularly read.

SB was a bit of a gateway for me to the science blogging community as a whole and facilitated my getting familiar with the people out there doing similar things - whether through blog comments, linked posts or even the regular blog warz. From that perspective, I will add my voice to the many that are disappointed with how Seed Media Group (SMG) has basically blown up a really good thing through sheer ineptitude.

At this point the demise of the site as a whole appears only a matter of time. Bora's departure appears to be the shot across the bow that signals the end to a great community. Even PZ is gearing up for an exit, and he pulls in nearly half the SB traffic (according to Bora's post). All the while there is no response from SMG, either publicly, or apparently privately either (according to PZ's post). Why should anyone else stay when the powers that be don't appear to care one way or another? It's a fucking shame, but I guess there will be one blogger to hold down the fort.

The silver lining here is that this meltdown has caused a shake up in the science bloggosphere that may be unprecedented and it will be very interesting to see the lay of the land in another 1 - 3 months. Will it be better? I don't know, but it will be different. Perhaps the move away from a corporate entity will change the community in a good way and reinvest energy into communities. Perhaps other blog networks will decide now is the time to expand in a big way. Whatever happens, there will be a monumental shift in our meta community as SB bloggers find new homes and bloggers from the larger community migrate to networks that pop up, but in the long run I think it will be for the better.

For now, however, R.I.P. ScienceBlogs.

Now PalMD is leaving and Zuska is as well. PZ is on strike and the talent drain continues, unacknowledged.

Dude, Fuck. Sigh.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Time to reassess

The summer is officially more than halfway over and the specter of the academic year is looming. For the last 3 weeks I have essentially been out of the office, between traveling and a 'vacation' that turned into "let's do every home improvement project we've been putting off for the last year all in less than a week". The break from my desk has been good, however, even if has not been a time of relaxation.

The break also provides an opportunity to sit back and look things over now that I've had some distance. Grants have been submitted, so that deadline is no longer an issue for a little while. An enormous amount of data has come back as well, and suddenly we have a much more comprehensive dataset than we had originally thought we would. These data and others have been gathering for a while and now that the lab is back from traveling, we will finally be able to sink our teeth in and churn out the papers from them.

We also have two new members joining the lab within the next 6 weeks and one graduating, so there will be a time of change to deal with as we incorporate the new people into the mix and figure out where they best fit and what new they can bring to the work we are doing. It also means saying goodbye to the lab's first student, which will be a landmark event in itself.

Inescapably, it's also time to assess our financial situation. The conference season was excellent for the students and myself, but dude, we spent money like a drunken bachelor in Vegas for the first time. There were flights, there was accommodation and there was food (some which I still know the identity of). I don't regret it, but we took a good hit to the account. This week it will be time to look over everything and figure out what we can and can not do in the next 6 - 12 months without outside funding. I'm hoping the answer isn't terrifying, but at least we have a sea of data to wade through.

Finally, I have been thinking a lot about this blog and where to go next. I have figured a few things out and have some changes planned. Stay tuned.

Friday, July 16, 2010

If professor big shot can't land funding, am I screwed?

One of the recent conferences I was at was a bit sobering - not for the data or for all the cool shit people are doing, but for the fact that several really big names in my field are all having funding issues. These are people who have averaged at least 2 or 3 CNS papers a year for the last 5 or so years and beyond. These are people who have set the pace for the field for years. These are the people who give talks that everyone discusses afterwards at the break.

Holy shit.

One individual who is at a prestigious UK uni has been without funding for two rounds now, and they are making him move to a smaller office! Talk about tough love. I would be in a broom closet with two other people right now if those rules were applied to n00bs at my uni.

But the reality remains. These giants in the field are getting the $$. Granted, many of those I talked to were not from North America, so it may be a reflection of the economic realities of certain countries, but it's still a scary prospect. My hope is that funding agencies are making the move towards putting their dollars into the younger crowd, but if they are not willing to fund the people who are still VERY active and have a long history of innovation, it makes me concerned about the chances of my proposals.

We will see, I suppose.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Geek tattoos

For a long while I have been thinking about getting another tattoo. I've been waffling on what to get for the past two years or so, based mainly on the fact that I have juggled three ideas without one completely grabbing me. It took me quite a while to decision on my first one, but I ended up happy with it, probably because I really thought it through. If something doesn't grab me I'm not going to get it stuck into my skin.

But based on some recent thinking, I may have a new idea. I am strongly considering one of Ernst Haeckel's radiolarian drawings from his book on the group.

This is appealing to me, not only because Haeckel was an incredible artist and an important player in the history of biology*, but because radiolarians are a really interesting group that very little is known about. Exploring the odd-balls of the world has always had more draw for me than studying the effect of one amino acid in one protein in humice. They also actively engage in dozens of different symbioses, which I find particularly interesting.

This brings up some questions for my readers, however, because I'm curious. Perhaps I'll get inspired from someone else's vison for themselves.

1) If you were forced to get a tattoo tomorrow, what would it be and why?

2) Where would you get it and why?

*Yes, I also know that he was a proponent of scientific racism and had some political views that would raise eyebrows in today's context. However, the good he did in promoting science has lasted far longer than his pseudo-Lamarckian ideas of human evolution.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Home agin, home again, jigidy jig

Whew, long couple of weeks. Feels like about a month. A lot happened while I was away, both at home and in the bloggosphere, both with lasting implications and neither of which I am prepared to get into now.

Got back late last night and got a few hours of sleep before getting up for a full day at work today in order to get a grant submitted today. That looks like it's on track and now I am waiting for the final approval from the grants office, so I have a few minutes of downtime. This whole month (real, not just perceived) has been crazy, and I know I'm not the only one feeling it.

I'm happy to be home though. As I dragged my ass out of bed with some pretty massive jet-punch-in-the-nose jet-lag this morning, I wasn't sure what kind of reaction I was going to get from the Wee One. Previously when I have been gone for a week or more, I've gotten the cold shoulder routine for a few days. But not today. No, I got a big hug and some father daughter time first thing this morning, then it was all daddy-do-it all morning. I have to say, that made it a lot easier to get going this morning.

I need a break though. Despite the fact that we got a ton of cool data back last night and are suddenly sitting on the material for a couple of manuscripts, they are going to have to wait. I'm taking most of next week off to relax, get shit done around the house and spend time with my family. I have just a couple of weeks before I leave again for two separate trips in August and then the semester will no doubt attack like a bear fresh out of hibernation. I have papers to submit and data to analyze, but I also feel like if I don't take a small break now I'm going to pay for it in a big way in a month or two. Sometimes it's good to let things wait for just a little while.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Blog meme (take 2): Who are you, what are you doing and why do you keep looking at me!!??!

It has basically been a year since this meme went around, including here, and DrugMonkey is reviving it (see additional links at DM). Since I'm traveling and writing a couple of grants in my "spare" time, I thought it might be a good opportunity to post something and get some feedback. In addition, there has been quite a lot of change in the readership since a year ago, so this might be particularly interesting to get a feel for who is here these days. In any case, Ed Yong (Not Exactly Rocket Science) asked the following round about two years ago:

1) Tell me about you. Who are you? Do you have a background in science? If so, what draws you here as opposed to meatier, more academic fare? And if not, what brought you here and why have you stayed? Let loose with those comments.

2) Tell someone else about this blog and in particular, try and choose someone who's not a scientist but who you think might be interested in the type of stuff found in this blog. Ever had family members or groups of friends who've been giving you strange, pitying looks when you try to wax scientific on them? Send 'em here and let's see what they say.

So, who are you (in as general terms as you like) and why are you spending what little time we all have reading this blog? If you generally read but don't comment, what would encourage you to join in the discussion more?

Friday, July 2, 2010

Bathroom humor

I've done a decent amount of traveling in my life - certainly less than many, but I've hit some odd places. One thing it is easy to take for granted is the different styles and ways society has come up with to drop a deuce. There is far more variety than one might expect and you get to see a few prominent versions as you travel around.

The hole-in-floor model is just a bad idea. I've spent an unfortunate evening after some bad calamari in Greece with one of these models, and the results were not good. Why anyone would decide that balance should be a critical feature of using the bathroom, I will never understand.

I'm also not a fan of the bidet. I'm sure if you're used to it everything works out fine, but seriously, I'm good without a cold stream of water on my ass in the morning.

However, never have I seen the toilet take to the heights it is here in Japan. Call me old fashion, but if I'm in the bathroom I'm not looking for a conversation, so why does the toilet talk? These fucking things have more buttons than my home entertainment system. This morning I accidentally got a frontal bidet (don't hit the pink button!) and I'm not looking to repeat that situation any time soon. When did the toilet become the most technologically advanced item in a hotel room. There is no wireless internet here, the TV is the size of the Apple II and the shower is plugged into the sink, but I can have a conversation with my toilet? I don't think I like where this is going.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Increasing your academic visibility

One of the key things every new PI has to do when you start a new lab is to get the word out. You gotta let people know where you are and what you are working on, which is why doing the conference circus circuit is really important early on. But, there is a lot more one can do and I'm really starting to see the benefit of one major thing.

When I first got to Employment University, my department asked me to take on the seminar series. At the time it was a bit hodgepoged and disjunct so I think they expected me to invite a couple of people here and there and call it a day. I had, however, been in charge of a seminar series as a grad student, so the task wasn't particularly daunting and I quickly realized I could use it to my advantage.

I sent out a request within the department for suggested speakers, and as per expectation I only got a few. That gave me freedom to pretty much ask anyone I wanted to see give a talk. I made a list of all the heavy hitters in my field within my geographic "sphere of invitation" and started working through it. I knew I was going to do the seminar series for at least two years, so I was able to spread these talks out so it wasn't blatantly obvious what I was doing.

In the process of hosting some big name folks to the department I have had the opportunity to not only increase interest in my filed within my department, but also get on the radar of some key people from other institutions. This is paying dividends both at conferences when I get the opportunity to catch up with these people and meet friends of theirs, but also because people tend to return the favor and invite you for a seminar at their institution.

More recognition + more invited talks + more interesting (for me) talks in my department = win. It can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but coordinating the seminar series can have huge up side if you use it to your advantage.

Monday, June 28, 2010

Big meeting, small meeting

As a scientist, I can wear a lot of hats depending on how I want to sell the work I am doing. Like most labs, I can self identify with my study subjects, the phenomenon that we work on, the tools we use or how we approach our questions. That leaves me a pretty broad spectrum of conferences to go to, some of which I have been attending for years and others which I have only recently started to go to. I have my "must attend" list, but I try and mix it up with the other conferences I attend to both expand my exposure and to see what some of the other meetings are like.

One thing that is rapidly becoming a law for me is "Over 4 parallel sessions = far less time spent attending talks". It doesn't seem to matter what the conference is or how many people I know there, I just can't get excited about a meeting with a shit-ton of parallel sessions. Rather than seeing it as a smorgasbord of tasty science, it feels like a firehouse of information that I would rather not put my face in front of. Maybe I'm just getting lazy in my old age, but running through the maze of rooms to switch between several of the 15 parallel sessions during an afternoon just doesn't do it for me these days. And how do the organizers know to pick the two talks I really want to see and schedule them simultaneously?

I go to big meetings sometimes for a change and it's a good way to catch up with people I haven't seen in a while, but I find that I spend less time in the talks and more time chatting with people during the day. I'm not sure why that is, but big meetings get to be less about the presentations and more about socializing.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Travelers remorse

Part of the job is traveling. Whether it is for conferences or field work or collaboration, there is little way to avoid it. In general, this is something I really enjoy. Through my work I have traveled to numerous places I wouldn't have gotten to another way. As enjoyable as it is, however, there is a cost.

Even on a good day, leaving my family at home adds strain to their lives and forces an accommodation of a single-parent household. It's not devastating, but it is an imposed weight that I am very aware of. To make matters worse, there is a history of bad things happening at home while I travel, and this trip is no different. Both my wife and daughter are quite sick, resulting in a double admit to the ER at 4:30 this morning. Both are doing better now and I am hoping that we have hit the point where it can't get much worse, but it's early in the trip and I will be switching continents in a few days.

I don't know that there is much point to this post other than continuing the discussion on balancing work / life demands. Whereas the travel part of the job can be a lot of fun for those of us doing the traveling, every decision to go away carries with it an implicit demand that one's partner will pick up the slack at home. Sometimes that's a lot to ask.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Hellz Yeah

Why did it take so long to get internet on planes? Thank you whoever solved this issue.

That is all.