Careers in Science: Kris Pearson, Custom/OEM Production Manager

It began at a sink. Advancing from Dishwasher to Production Manager might seem like an unusual career path, but after speaking with Kris Pearson, the Custom/OEM Production Manager at Promega, it appears perfectly ordinary. I was thrilled to meet with her and discuss both the broad strokes and gritty details of working in Custom/OEM Manufacturing. Continue reading

Ghosts

buddhabrot fractal image

Formless, recursive and abstract, it can be tough to wrestle the ghosts of the conscious mind.

Please believe me when I say this is the hardest thing I’ve done. Typing this sentence might as well be lifting a boulder, and the next could be even heavier. Before this, the hardest thing I’d done was say “good morning” to co-workers, and before that, it was simply getting out of bed.

Just about the only thing I find easy is going to bed, but sleeping is a different story. Every night I lie down, unsure if I’ll fall asleep within seconds and wake what seems like moments later, swatting aimlessly at my alarm clock, or if I’ll remain awake, tired beyond belief but some mysterious finger in the dyke preventing a flood of sleep from washing over me.

I’m one of the approximately 21 million people in the United States who suffer from major depression. Let me tell you, it’s kind of a bummer. Lying awake at night might sound terrible, but it’s the easiest thing in the world compared to writing a sentence, saying “hello”, smiling. I live each day negotiating a watery fog, often unsure what people tell me, confused about what comes next, and desperate for the energy to participate in the world.

This isn’t an essay asking for sympathy; receiving pity from others would only make me feel worse. Besides, as a function of suffering from depression, I’m convinced nobody is reading this, that nobody is going to read this. This essay is for me. Only by engaging and grappling with this disease in words and in actions can I ever hope to pin it to the ground.

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Toying with Science

This video is an entertaining and instructional look at early developments in microbiology (NOTE: it’s 8 minutes long, so plan accordingly):
[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3ArusOqt8EM&hl=en_US&fs=1&]

This isn’t the first brickfilm I’ve seen, but it’s definitely one of the most detailed I’ve come across.

The archive of videos at Brickfilm.com is a pretty exhaustive resource for this type of entertainment, but if that’s not your cup of tea, I’d recommend checking out the films of Al Jarnow (readers of a certain age will definitely recognize his work). Also instructive, but in a sly way.

Slowing it Down

Here is a slow-motion video of bullets striking various surfaces. It’s long, but mesmerizing.

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QfDoQwIAaXg&hl=en_US&fs=1&rel=0]

A few thoughts:

  1. I know the bullets are likely made of lead and therefore pretty soft, but seeing this action slowed down really illustrates how little separates solids and liquids.
  2. I really, really want a camera that can shoot a million frames per second.

The Reappearance of Scurvy

I’ve written previously on my fascination with Antarctica; so it’s with tremendous pleasure that I link to this essay by Maciej Ceglowski on scurvy and Robert F. Scott’s doomed 1911 expedition to the South Pole. Even though it’s telling a single story – how and why the cure for scurvy was found, lost, and discovered again – it synthesizes science, history, military strategy, public health, and brilliant writing. It also contains this gem:

“Eat a bear liver every few weeks and scurvy will be the least of your problems.”

I stumbled across this essay last night and let my dinner grow cold while I read it to the end. Ceglowski is a talented writer (see also his excellent rant on the space shuttle), and reading this dissection of knowledge and hubris is a joy.

How Magnets Work

[youtube=http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wMFPe-DwULM&color1=0xb1b1b1&color2=0xcfcfcf&hl=en_US&feature=player_embedded&fs=1]

This is why I love working with scientists. Always there exists a deeper question, always a further nuance. Feynman’s ability to reject a metaphor absolutely is amazing and fascinating.

This video is seven minutes long. Every second is worth it. (via)