Useful words you may not know

January 5, 2011 § Leave a comment

From Writedit, an extremely useful blog that mostly discusses grant funding news, comes this list of helpful words to use in (1) writing and (2) responding to negative reviews of a manuscript or grant.  Or in Scrabble games.  (Yes, they’re real.)

Battology n. The continual reiteration of the same words or phrases in speech or writing. A battologer is one who battologizes.

Dyslogy n. Dispraise; uncomplimentary remarks. The opposite of “eulogy.”

Ergasiophobia n. Fear of, or aversion to, work; diffidence about tackling the job. [something you write to the editor when explaining your medical reason for not accepting a manuscript to review]

Fustian n. or a. Ridiculously pompous, bombastic, or inflated language. The essence of fustian is not the use of big or exotic words but the adoption of a declamatory style that is unsuited, by virtue of its high-flown and flowery imagery, or its grandiose delivery, to the purposes for which it is being employed.

Hebetate v. To grow dull or stupid. The verb can also be transitive, meaning to make someone else grow dull or stupid — a sense of which it is hard to conceive an example except perhaps for the action upon the mind of prolonged exposure to radio talk shows or poorly conceived manuscripts. The noun is hebetude.

Ignotum Per Ignotius n. An explanation which is even more obscure than the thing it purports to explain. Literally, “the unknown by the more unknown.” Can be unintended or intended.

Jargogle v. To befuddle or mess up.

Kalopsia n. A state in which things [data] appear more beautiful than they really are.

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Skeptics everywhere

December 14, 2010 § Leave a comment

Here’s an early holiday gift for It Takes 30 readers, from Allan Drummond.  I think you will recognize its general structure, and I’m sure that many of you (especially wet lab workers) will empathize with some of its sentiments.

The Sparrow

Once upon a weekend dreary, as I labored, my eyes bleary,
Over many a faint (or spurious) signal from a fluorophore —
While my cells sat photobleaching, suddenly there came a screeching
Like a tiny voice beseeching, reaching my ears through the door.
“Who could that be,” said I, “screeching by my laboratory door?”
And I opened it, unsure.

Later, now, I mull it over — it was friable October;
Leaves once bright, now dull and sober, piled and shattered by the door.
Night had turned to sunless morning, gravid clouds hung black with warning,
But a hope had started forming as my cells went dark once more —
For I’d seen a long-sought signal as fluorescence died once more.
I flipped the switch outside my door.

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Systems biology humor

October 29, 2010 § Leave a comment

I was rather startled the other day to discover, via the statistics page that WordPress helpfully provides for each of their blogs, that this blog comes up first on Google if you search for “systems biology humor”.  This is mostly because of this post, although perhaps this and this also helped.

Now that I’m over being startled, I can’t think of any search for which I’d rather be first on the list. It may not be a search that people do very often (although at least one person did), but when someone needs to know about the role of humor in systems biology, It Takes 30 is there to help.  Do, please, help us defend our newly-won position: all suggestions gratefully received.

Harold discovers MatLab

October 1, 2010 § Leave a comment

From Abstruse Goose.  Which claims that Harold and the Purple Crayon was originally entitled “Introduction to Differential Geometry for Kids”.

Geeky songs, part 2

September 20, 2010 § Leave a comment

Vaguely triggered by finding the TMBG science songs, I’ve been looking for video or audio of the science songs by the late lamented Ira Herskowitz — such as “Nights In the Cold Room”, or “I’ve Been Working on the Genome”.  Can’t find them anywhere.  Can it be that no recordings survive? That would be sad.

But — although I have to say that most science song videos are really really bad — I did find this, from geekpop.  Lyrics after the jump.

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More anti-theorist humor

September 16, 2010 § Leave a comment


would anyone like to submit some biologist jokes? We’re open-minded here.

Or more theorist jokes, of course.  Nothing mean or rude, please.

Why experimentalists hate theoreticians

September 14, 2010 § 1 Comment

(Completely untrue, of course; we love our theoreticians).  From Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal.  Hat tip: Adam Palmer (Kishony lab).

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