Cosponsors for F32?

(by AmasianV) Mar 28 2014

I've been reading and hearing from numerous sources that it's advantageous to have cosponsors for an F32 proposal. Yet, when a postdoc colleague of mine recently contacted a program officer to inquire about this, the PO was all wtf do you need a cosponsor for? What's the dil?

3 responses so far

Teflon for Teeth

(by AmasianV) Nov 15 2013


I may come to regret the title of this post given the chemophobia and fear surrounding fluoride and water fluoridation, but recent research suggests that fluoride may help prevent bacteria from causing cavities by creating a non-stick surface on teeth.

Read more at PLOS Blogs.

No responses yet

Five Minutes of Awe

(by AmasianV) Sep 25 2013

Fullscreen it. Turn up the volume. Enjoy.


[Box–The Synthesis of Real and Digital Space (with Robots!)]

One response so far

Wow, there must be a loooooooooooot of folks who don't f*cking love science

(by AmasianV) Sep 20 2013

Yes, the funding situation for science research and the career trajectories for PhDs are all sorts of suckery right now. I’m currently in that boat navigating those waters. So if you ask me, “Should we push for increasing research funding?” The answer is obvs yes. Should we push to put people in office who reflect this sentiment? Yerp. Should post docs be paid more? Yes….err...I'm open for debate (see below). Should all of these issues get "debated in the media, that sees equal time with the wars we fight and the bills we pay our aging workforce?” Absolutely.

So why do I find this WHY YOU DON’T “FUCKING LOVE SCIENCE” post misdirected?

Breaking people down into a false dichotomy of those who truly love science and those who just proclaim that they “fucking” love science dismisses the multitude of ways people (have to) prioritize matters that impact their lives. If science funding isn’t your number 1 priority...well, psshh, then you’re doing it wrong is quite frankly condescending. Ever wonder why people thumb their noses at scientists? Well…

If the point of the post is to preach to the choir, then bang up job. But if it’s to make a case to those who prioritize entitlements/earned benefits, military spending, etc. ahead of science to bump science higher on that list, then I don’t think this helps:

“No, what you love is social security, high-tech fighter aircraft, and bombing the Middle East so that it stays in the stone age where the government has assured you it belongs.”

Can anyone else taste the contempt?

Also this:

Not to mention that many graduate students are paid less than the average unemployment benefit.  That’s right: for the first five years of those two decades, most people would’ve gotten paid more if they’d not had a job at all.

Cool. Thanks for contributing to the “you’re better off doing nothing and suckling at the teat of government” narrative. One, as far as I know you can’t draw unemployment benefits for 5 years. Two, as a graduate student you agree to be trained and receive said stipend. Three, although they may not end up in their expected/intended careers, science and engineering PhDs have the lowest levels of overall unemployment (1.5%). But you know...trivializing the unemployed is *totally* ok.

As for increasing postdoc pay, this is debatable and I’ll let the peeps with more experience in the postdoc game hash it out. For me, I have several questions: Is a postdoc really about further training anymore if the intended career opportunities on the other side are dwindling? Or has it basically transitioned into a de facto midcareer position? In which case, should we really be making what is essentially a temp position more desirable by increasing its salary? Is it possible to have better paid, more permanent-y, PhD-level research positions instead?

3 responses so far

Eyelid surgery

(by AmasianV) Sep 12 2013


As if Julie Chen's revelation that she was pressured into eyelid surgery to advance her career--a decision for which I don't blame or judge her--wasn't rough enough, it was disheartening to hear her say "many of us [Asians] are born with too much (emphasis mine) fat on the top of our eyes." I'm dismayed by the extent to which a certain standard of beauty/image is engrained in our minds.

Video [5:03]

7 responses so far

Snake defeated...

(by AmasianV) Aug 29 2013

...Ph.D. acquired.



Thank you everyone!

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Get on your feet!

(by AmasianV) Aug 29 2013

How I'm going to start my defense talk:



One response so far

A brief look back on thesis writing

(by AmasianV) Aug 21 2013

Last week, I handed my thesis in to my readers. So before I get back to my snake training, I thought I'd share a few observations on the whole process that may be helpful for those of you about to embark on this journey.

1. Check your university's thesis format. They get picky about page numbering and font sizes and where figures/tables/illustrations can go. There's also the adjusted 1.5" left margin to account for the gutter area (oopsy poopsy). Have all these set beforehand, especially if you plan on embedding figures and tables in the text. Adjusting the format after the fact will invariably bump your figures and tables and texts all over the place.

2. Of all the things I thought would hurt from sitting all day everyday, hips never occurred to me. I imagine this is what having creaky, old door hinges for joints would feel like. I knew I should have kept up with my yoga.

3. If you plan on using Word to write your thesis: bookmarks are your friends. I used them to jump back and forth between sections of my thesis when the length got too unwieldy for simple scrolling up and down. (Still dreaming of a word processor that let's you scroll through a document horizontally rather than vertically.)

Also, you know all those periods in the table of contents? If you're about to manually type all of those, let me stop you right there. Use tabs with leaders and the decimal alignment if you want it all aligned to the right side of your page. Or you can have Word automatically generate one...if you have that much faith in Word.

4. If you live near your parents, milk that. I was able to convince them to bring me home-cooked meals. I'm kidding, I didn't ask. They offered, and it was awesome of them.

5. Half of my committee wanted my thesis as a pdf, and the other half wanted a hard copy. I had the hard copies spiral-bound at FedEx/Kinko's (or whatever they're called these days) where apparently, there's a limit to the size of a document they can have bound. They told me they would try to bind my thesis anyway. If you do this, insist that they call you if they encounter any problems. The person handling my order messed up the hole-punching on ~20 pages and ended up using photocopied replacements. If they had called to inform me of this goof up, I would have gladly reprinted those pages.

6. I didn't touch my computer or thesis for 48 hours after turning it over to my committee. I won't lie, there was quite a bit of separation anxiety.

Alright, bring on the serpent!

2 responses so far

Words and phrases I'm kind of tired of hearing

(by AmasianV) Jul 26 2013

In no particular order:

1. conflate

2. straw man

3. manufactroversy (Ok, I've only seen this used once, but I knew right off the bat that it belonged on this list)

4. correlation does not imply causation

5. schematic

This list is not exhaustive. Feel free to add yours below.



23 responses so far

My other other name

(by AmasianV) Jul 24 2013

I have another persona and his name is Wayne. “Who is Wayne?” you ask. Wayne is the one that orders the pizza. He is the one that calls to make the restaurant reservations. Wayne likes his burgers with sauteed onions and peppers, but no cheese. Wayne gets his doppio over ice with one pump of classic syrup.

Yes, Wayne is my Starbucks name.

But, Wayne is more than just avoiding the inconvenience of having my name butchered. Wayne is for anonymity during those transient interactions with strangers. The exchange of pleasantries with the supermarket cashier. The recounting of his trip to Vietnam to his barber. Answering surveys for the free schwag.

Wayne is also for when I don’t feel like deciphering what someone means when they ask, “Where are you from?” Where am I from? Do you mean where was I born? That’d be two towns over. Did you mean where I grew up? Right down the road.

No, I know what you mean. “Where are you from from?”

This isn’t one of those “things only white people ask me” situations either. My Vietnamese mechanic in San Diego thought I was Mexican until I started speaking in our native tongue...and even then. The Dominican cashier at my neighborhood butcher listed off five Latin countries before I let her know that she was on the wrong side of the planet--let alone continent. The joys of racial ambiguity. Where are you from? The question could mean three different things to me, but always seems to mean the same thing to the people asking. This isn’t to say that I hate when people ask. It’s just not always the conversation I want to have. Nope, Wayne is low key and incognito. He doesn't quite pique people’s interest or invite questions the same way that Việt does.

But above all else, Wayne is escape...escape from a joke that’s plagued me my entire life.

No, my last name is not Nam, nor is it my brother’s name.

11 responses so far

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