The week of responsible research

Responsible research, sustainable science, aware academia. No matter which alliteration you choose, considering the environmental impact of your research sounds a bit meaningless, like dynamic synergy.

But is it?  If you think about it, it makes a lot of sense for climate researchers to think about the climate footprint of their research.  The two main pros for this are that:
a)  we obviously need to reduce global carbon emissions right now and everyone has to do their part, but also that
b) climate scientists will be more well respected if we lead by example. Wouldn’t you have less faith in your doctor if she was a smoker, or put less trust in your architect if he lived in a ugly house?

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The week of the cry

OR
Is it worth it?

A few days ago I came home for lunch and had one of the biggest melt downs I’ve had in ages. Not one of those little tearies that might happen after you stub your toe, but a full on, family pet died kind of crying session. Why? Because I could not solve a problem at work. All morning I had tried and tried to fix this small issue, and it simply would not budge. I was frustrated at myself and the world, and the only non-violent way to deal with it was to cry. Don’t tell Tim Hunt.Read More »

The week in the cloud

When I was at school, I would always take home what I now realise was ‘optimistic homework’. Two text books, two binders, my pencil case, the novel we were reading in English, three notebooks, my diary, and my calculator. You know, just in case. It was lucky for me that large, surfing brand backpacks were cool when I was at high school, because mine was chock-a-block on the bus almost every day, full of tasks that I ‘might’, but generally didn’t, complete.

During my PhD, I did all of my work on a laptop. It was connected to a large monitor most days (I’m not a complete posture masochist) but again it meant that almost every night I would ride home with my Mac Book Pro on my back, full of intentions to work. Inevitably, I would then drag it back again the next day having not opened it at all.

My current work situation puts me in the blessed position of being able to walk to and from my office. I can come home for lunch, nip back if I’ve forgotten something, and walk a lovely 3km everyday. But finally, I am getting a bit smarter. I take a small bag, my diary, a bottle of water, and that’s it. Why? Because now I live in the cloud.Read More »

The week of the meeting

Meetings are important. Particularly for student/supervisor and boss/employee communications, but also for any sort of team work, one face to face chat is generally worth a thousand emails. Some people have too many, and some people have enough, but I think we can all agree that across the board of professions out there, knowing how to attend a meeting is a fairly necessary skill.

So why is it that the meeting I attended last week was a display of some of the least professional behaviour I have ever seen? The attendees were professionals: scientists, managers, leaders and actual grown-up adults. And yet, the level of attention paid was similar at times to that of primary schools students. Email checking, texting, leaving the room frequently, having secondary conversations with other attendees, farting loudly… ok, maybe no loud farting, but everything else was definitely there.

This experience last week, and with other meetings over the past few years has led me now to present to you the SHITELLY factor, a function that I have just made up to quantify how badly some people behave at meetings. If your SHITELLY score crosses the SHITELLY threshold, then you are officially a Random Uninterested Distracted Employee who Doesn’t Understand Decent Etiquette. Yep, a RUDE DUDE.Read More »