This is painful.
I try keep up with the goings on in chemistry, both in the literature and chemblogs (see blogroll on the right). I follow both through RSS (via feedly), but mostly lurk, posting links here occasionally, and commenting on posts/reddit not frequently enough. I’m going to make an effort to work on both. The former I’ll address by sharing my favorites every week (hopefully every Tuesday?).
Compound Interest: The Chemistry of Decongestants
Not the Lab: Minty Fresh Terpenoids
In the Pipeline: Teixobactin: A New Antibiotic From a New Platform?
Chemjobber: Revisiting graduate school and mental health with Vinylogous Aldol
Compound Interest: Teixcobactin: A New Antibiotic, and A New Way to Find More
Not the Lab: Revisiting grad school and mental health with Chemjobber
Shit My Reviewers Say: Untrustworthy
#wswcgs: After answering every question successfully during my presentation
I guess I never made this post in 2012 or 2013, since I wasn’t updating much, but in years past, I’ve posted everything I’ve read for the year. I tend to obsessively track everything, including reading, for which I use Goodreads.
This year, I aimed for 60 books, and made it 70. I peaked in 2011 with 108, but I’m pretty pleased with 70. That’s including a few audiobooks, which are marked with asterisks. My recommendations are bolded.
Crime and Punishment [Fyodor Dostoyevsky] (3/5)
Fluke: Or, I Know Why the Winged Whale Sings [Christopher Moore] (5/5)
A Serpent’s Tooth [Craig Johnson] (5/5)
The Life and Times of the Thunderbolt Kid: A Memoir [Bill Bryson] (5/5)*
Legend of Sleepy Hollow and Rip Van Winkle [Washington Irving] (2/5)
South of the Border, West of the Sun [Haruki Murakami] (2/5)
From the Earth to the Moon [Jules Verne] (2/5)
Seldom Disappointed: A Memoir [Tony Hillerman] (2/5)*
Dreams from My Father: A Story of Race and Inheritance [Barack Obama] (4/5)*
Tsar [Ted Bell] (2/5)*
Bad Monkey [Carl Hiassen] (4/5)
Fahrenheit 451 [Ray Bradbury] (5/5)
Round the Moon [Jules Verne] (1/5)
Shades of Grey: The Road to High Saffron [Jasper Fforde] (4/5)
Inferno [Larry Niven] (4/5)
Search the Sky [Frederik Pohl] (3/5)
The Angel’s Game [Carlos Ruiz Zafón] (5/5)
What the Dog Saw: And Other Adventures [Malcolm Gladwell] (4/5)
The Appeal [John Grisham] (5/5)*
The Storm [Clive Cussler] (2/5)*
The Litigators [John Grisham] (4/5)
Wintersmith [Terry Pratchett] (3/5)
After Dark [Haruki Murakami] (5/5)
The Caves of Steel [Isaac Asimov] (5/5)
A Thousand Splendid Suns [Khaled Hosseini] (4/5)
Making Money [Terry Pratchett] (5/5)
Sundiver [David Brin] (3/5)
Into the Black [Evan Currie] (2/5)
I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings [Maya Angelou] (4/5)
L.A. Noir: The Struggle for the Soul of America’s Most Seductive City [John Buntin] (3/5)
Binary: A Novel [John Lange (Michael Crichton)] (3/5)
Shipbreaker [Paolo Bacigalupi] (4/5)*
Bossypants [Tina Fey] (2/5)
The Heart of a Woman [Maya Angelou] (4/5)
The English Girl [Daniel Silva] (4/5)*
The Perfect Assassin [Ward Larsen] (3/5)
Lost [Gregory Maguire] (3/5)
Something out of Nothing: Marie Curie and Radium [Carla Killough McClafferty] (3/5)
The Girls of Atomic City: The Untold Story of the Women Who Helped Win World War II [Denise Kiernan] (4/5)
The Lost World [Sir Arthur Conan Doyle] (2/5)
Five Weeks in a Balloon [Jules Verne] (3/5)
The Merry Devil of Edmonton [Unknown] (1/5)
The Merry Devil [William Shakespeare] (1/5)
The Magicians [Lev Grossman] (4/5)
The Secret Galactics [A.E. van Vogt] (1/5)
The Broker [John Grisham] (5/5)
Six Days of the Condor [James Grady] (3/5)
The 47th Samurai [Stephen Hunter] (4/5)
The Android’s Dream [John Scalzi] (4/5)
There But For The [Ali Smith] (2/5)
Sphere [Michael Crichton] (4/5)
Sputnik Sweetheart [Haruki Murakami] (3/5)
The Dog Who Came in From the Cold [Alexander McCall Smith] (4/5)*
The Book of Spies [Gayle Lynds] (1/5)*
The Survivors of the Chancellor [Jules Verne] (3/5)
The Sandman, Vol. 1: Preludes and Nocturnes [Neil Gaiman] (3/5)
The Great Big Beautiful Tomorrow [Cory Doctorow] (3/5)
Revenge [Stephen Fry] (3/5)
Ratking [Michael Dibdin] (4/5)
The Black Hole [Alan Dean Foster] (3/5)
State of Wonder [Ann Patchett] (5/5)
The Blockade Runners [Jules Verne] (3/5)
Star Island [Carl Hiassen] (2/5)
Dead of Night [Jonathan Maberry] (5/5)
Ready Player One [Ernest Cline] (5/5)
The Listening Woman [Tony Hillerman] (4/5)*
Tommysaurus Rex [Doug TenNapel] (5/5)
The Strange Library [Haruki Murakami] (4/5)
Colorless Tsukuru Tazaki and His Years of Pilgrimage [Haruki Murakami] (5/5)
The Lagunitas Story [Tony Magee] (4/5)
Lots of really solid books. All new books. In fact, my goal for 2015 is to only re-read books. I never re-read, because there are always so many more books to find. But if I enjoyed lots of books, wouldn’t they be worth re-reading? In fact, if I never re-read books, what is the point of owning them? Other than decoration and lending them of course.
Tracking is going to be a little annoying, because Goodreads doesn’t have a good way to track re-reads (though they’re supposedly working on it), so I’m just going to be tracking manually until they get that implemented.
60 is a pretty reasonable goal, in recent years I haven’t gotten below 62. Here are my stats from Goodreads, though I joined in 2009, so anything before that is me guessing and relying on my poor memory. It’s probably reasonably accurate, I didn’t used to read as much, and Goodreads probably definitely motivated me to read even more.
I’d like to hit closer to 100 again, but instead, I’ll aim for 70 books in 2015.
— Margarita Noriega (@margarita) January 13, 2015
Chemjobber and Vinylogous just put out a second dialogue on seriously discussing the issues of mental health in graduate school (and industry), if you should go to grad school, and if it’s okay to quit.
You should read these to gain some insight if you’re:
1) In grad school
2) Thinking about grad school
3) Did grad school
4) Have friends/family who are/were in grad school
Essentially, you should just read these; it is really important insight. Grad school is nowhere near the same as college. Personally, I have no disillusions as to how easy I had it. Luck played a role for sure, but the right approach, putting myself in the right circumstances (in and out of lab) made all the difference.
I had an amazing PI, group, and friends. I worked hard, but avoided burnout. I played hard, but avoided slacking off too hard. Everything really just worked out, so I loved grad school. Would everyone? No, hell no. Could I do it because I was smarter, more dedicated, or some other arrogant reason? Hell no.
Go read those posts, and hopefully you can think a little differently of anyone who started/is in/finished/quit/didn’t go to grad school.
[Photo: Christopher Lange]
…was at age 2.
I’d be tempted to add it, but:
“Slavic Review (Impact Factor: 0.58).”
Journal paper titles are generally long and full of buzzwords. One of the ones that really gets me is facile.
It seems that people just use facile in place of easy, cause it sounds more technical and scientific. As you see in the above definitions (Merriam-Webster), it’s not exactly the same thing. The inaccuracy doesn’t bother me much, mostly the overuse.
Here are charts from Scopus on the frequency of facile/easy in article titles:
People use facile about three times as much as easy. Facile bothers me because of overuse, but the one that really gets me is novel. If you’re publishing a research article, it’s probably going to be novel, why else would you be publishing it?
Over 30,000 uses in 2014. (Thankfully maybe it’s on the decline?) And now for the papers I really hate:
If I’m ever asked to review a paper with either of these in the title, let alone both, they will definitely be getting a comment. Especially if it’s not novel, see: shit my reviewers say: