Poll: How do you feel about that degree, smartass?

Top 10 Al Pacino Rants

Some say Pacino developed his brilliant method acting skills after a brief stint at the bench following The Godfather.
image source: andsoitbeginsfilms.com

After reading the guest article by OnlinePhDPrograms.com posted here yesterday, I got to thinking about my own PhD. I definitely have days where I think it was time that could have better been spent grabbing a foot-hold in the job market, especially since it’s obvious that academia has all but completely slipped my grasp. Industry has never been that appealing to me either, so what does it leave? Well, plenty, but how much of that actually necessitates the seven years of hard labor? Since I haven’t put myself out into the market much to speak of, I’ll have to be content with the skills I’ve picked up and simply say, ‘I guess I’ll find out’ and ‘God. You better hope so’ (*points to heavens, viciously shakes fist*).

But what about you? I know many of you have finished or are in the midst of completing a PhD. Do you think it helped you in securing employment outside of academia or industry? Could you have done it without? If you don’t already have the PhD, are you planning on finishing considering the state of government funding and the ultra-competitive nature of group leader-type positions? In short, would you do it again/are you going to finish?

Chime in with the poll below, and if you’re thinking of applying to a PhD program, take note.

The Practical Ph.D.: Can a Doctorate Help You Find a Job?

**OnlinePhDPrograms.com approached me about sharing an article they posted recently regarding graduate studies, employment opportunities and what is right for you as an academic. It takes a thorough and fair look at many things to consider when pursuing higher education and I would highly recommend it to anyone thinking of taking that next step — it’s rarely a short (or cheap) one. Enjoy. — BRENT**

Over the past few years, the value of a college degree has been questioned, though perhaps not quite so harshly as the Ph.D. While criticisms of doctoral study have not been entirely unfounded (Ph.D.s are struggling a bit more in the current job market than they have in years past) the reality is that earning a doctorate in most fields can be a solid career move that offers potential for advancement and can potentially open up entirely new career avenues.

Still, the time and money poured into a Ph.D. can make many prospective students (and current ones, too) wonder if getting a Ph.D. is really all it’s cracked up to be. While there’s no simple answer to that question (it can differ quite a bit based on individual goals and the field of study), a Ph.D. does offer some career advantages that other programs, whether master’s or professional, simply can’t match. With so many resources out there telling you not to pursue a Ph.D., it’s important to also look at the reasons a Ph.D. can be good for you and to explore some of the practical skills a Ph.D. will teach you that will make you a desirable commodity on the job market.

What Will a Ph.D. Do for You?

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The Onion. Satirical Science Roundup.

moon_tinyThe Onion has always been a solid and dependable go-to for me when I needed a satirical rant on the state of this backwards world we live in. At the very least, it reminds me that I’m not alone in believing that far too many people are dragging the rest of us down. So for fun, I wanted to throw out a few hilarious articles targeted at the science community and I think you’ll find that while absurd, there’s a lot of spot-on observations to take away.

Holy Shit Man Walks on Fucking Moon

Science Channel Refuses To Dumb Down Science Any Further

Snooze Button Time Traveler Sets Coordinates For 5 Minutes Into The Future

17-Year Cicadas Horrified To Learn About 9/11

Report: Chinese Third-Graders Falling Behind U.S. High School Students in Math, Science

National Science Foundation: Science Hard

Evangelical Scientists Refute Gravity With New ‘Intelligent Falling’ Theory

Scientists: ‘Look, One-Third Of The Human Race Has To Die For Civilization To Be Sustainable, So How Do We Want To Do This?’

Dolphins Evolve Opposable Thumbs

Slovenian 8th-Graders Surprised Even They Outperformed U.S. Students In Science

Check out more in The Onion Science and Tech Section

Here’s a tough little bastard…


‘Cockroaches got nothin’ on me’

This is a Tardigrade, also known as a Water Bear. Wired.com had a little piece on this fellow outlining it’s indestructible properties. That’s right, the Water Bear is probably the most resilient creature on earth and possibly beyond. Known as polyextremophiles, Water Bears can survive temperatures as low as -273C (-458F) and as high as 151C (304F) for very short periods of time. They can go for over a century without food or water and withstand the oxygen-less vacuum of space. In fact, they can handle pressures as much as six times that at the bottom of the Marianas Trench. Water Bears are also extremely tolerant of ionizing radiation, managing to relax while receiving doses of 570,000 roentgens while a measly 500 would kill me or you. They can also stand high solar radiation, gamma radiation, ultraviolet radiation and salinity, not to mention your mother. It’s the perfect date – a partner that will fit your lifestyle.

How does the Water Bear bear (*couldn’t resist that one*) all of these annoyances? Well, you know the phrase, ‘I wish I could curl up and die’? Yep. They pull their legs in like a frightened turtle, desiccate their bodies of 99% of its liquid in a process known as cryptobiosis and wait for the worst.

The Wired article featured a number of other animals with ‘superpowers’, but none seemed quite as badass as the Water Bear. Check out the rest for yourself. Before you do though, I will throw in a couple of others that piqued my interest, since I’m sure you’re reluctant to navigate away from this thrilling narrative ride.

The Naked Mole Rat is ugly as sin, eusocial and resistant to cancer:

The Hairy Frog, when threatened, breaks it’s own toe bones, shoving them through its skin to create a sort of defensive claw, Wolverine style. Unfortunately, I cannot find any video of this. Where you at, Attenborough?!

How does your science knowledge stack up?


Everybody likes quizzes, right? At least that’s what I remember from grade school. Well, here’s a quiz by the Pew Research Center meant to test your science knowledge. So pull up your pants and dive in, you fools (I say fools because I feel like our friendship is that strong).

If I knew how to add a survey to this blog, we could follow the trend in scores of my readership – of course, that presupposes that people actually take the quiz…and that I have a readership. Seriously! Tell your friends about the site! In any case, I’d be willing to bet you smart whips would score top honors. I’d tell you what I scored but I don’t mean to intimidate you before the quiz or embarrass you after. Besides, you can always cheat or lie about the results. That’s the beauty of quizzes for adults…

How would you rate your sex life? Are you happy with your job? Do you have any regrets? Would you consider yourself overweight? etc…

Happy quizzing!

BioBust your knowledge in the BioBus…or just visit them in May

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‘Maybe I should be watching the road, but this BIO..is..so..addictive..’

Do you ever think about volunteering? I don’t. The pay’s for shit. So I suppose we can all be happy that not everyone aspires to my whims and convictions. But if you are looking for a way to get over good with college admissions, your parole officer or God, why not teach some science while you’re at it.

The BioBus is a not-for-profit educational lab on wheels that brings science to the public. They pitch themselves such:

The BioBus is a high-tech science lab on wheels! With the research-grade equipment aboard the bus, students explore the world around them and make their own discoveries with the guidance of professional scientists.

Let’s be honest, I’m sure students are coaxed towards the discovery the ‘professional’ scientist is working to get across, but no doubt it’s a great idea and a program that deserves to be expanded. Please check it out and try to get involved, unless you’re not a scientific professional, or don’t care for volunteering. What’s more, the BioBus is rolling into the NYC area for two different events in May: The first for Earth Day in the Rockaways, the second for the Super Saturday STEM Expo at the Harlem Armory.

And now that I’ve pitched the BioBus, permit me a few lines to express my grievances with said Bus. Checking a map of BioBus activity shows a trend you might associate with layabouts and safe-players. The vast majority of their goodwill is concentrated in New England…


The BioBus crew may need a lesson in why buses were invented. Is Bret Michaels available?

Generally well-educated and wealthy New Englanders are the last people that need resume fluff or extra help getting excited about school – those attributes are worn well into their backs by their parents. No! (*stomps foot. clenches fists*) Gas that bitch up and get south. I’m sure there’s a clutch of children in Mississippi that believe thunder is the sound of God throwing an 11 pin strike (that’s how he rolls) and that the difference between a genetically modified and regular tomato is the introduction of DNA.

So, please, if you’re from the south, or hell, if you’re from anywhere in need of real education, contact the BioBus and request a visit. And if you’re from New England, stop being so damn selfish and lie – request a visit to somewhere worthwhile. Let’s spread the wealth a bit. All of this, of course, is not to say the BioBus doesn’t have good reason to stay out of Florida for reasons discussed previously.