Are you kidding me…?!

Sometimes it’s hard to decide on whether a piece of news that you stumble across is satire or for real. Like this one, which was published on Forbes’ website:

I’m not working in the US, but even from a European perspective… I don’t even know where to begin. Not sure what I like most: the “minimum travel demands” (I’ll be traveling to six countries in October), or the “cozy working conditions” or the “long breaks” that I’m supposed to have.

But looking at the comments that this piece of work sparked (564 and counting…), I’m not the only one who finds it ever so slightly lacking. Fortunately, there’s a later rebuttal also on Forbes’ website, which paints a far more realistic picture.

Thomas

A whole new level…

Seen a videoclip lately that made you speechless? Here’s one:

Easily qualifies for the most embarrassing, sexist and condescending advertisement attempt that I’ve seen in a looong time. I guess one can conclude that the guys in Brussels have a slight communication problem – and a huge problem in their gender perception.

But let’s look on the bright side: they managed to make even the Catholic church look progressive…

Oh, and let’s look at how they describe their youtube-channel:

Seriously: they start the description of a youtube-channel aimed for making science interesting for young women with the sentence

Science is the basis for our make-up, fashion, music and so much more

and then later on continue with

‘Science it’s a girl thing!’ will challenge stereotypes around science

 

Well, they certainly have balls. One has to give them that…

Thomas

Final Report of the Marine Paint Programme finished and printed

We’ve finally made it! The report of the Marine Paint Programme is finally done, available for download (PDF) and (upon request) as a paper copy.

Marine Paint will also present and discuss its finding at the final conference, which will be held 14/15th of May in Gothenburg. Please contact me if you would like to get more information.

Thanks a bunch to my colleague Åsa Arrhenius! She put in all the effort into compiling the report, finally hunting down all the “Yes, I know I’m late, but I’m so busy that I couldn’t make even the 5th deadline” contributors, and also accommodating the “Yes, I know it’s already after the 5th deadline, but could you make a last, last, last minute change, please??” requests. And, as usual, Åsa Dahlbäck, who took care of layout, graphical design and print.

The report provides an overview of the aims, approaches and achievements of the Marine Paint Programme, which was run at the University of Gothenburg and Chalmers University of Technology. I had the honor of serving as Programme Director during the last two years of the programme (of a total of nine years). As I’ve written in the report itself:

The Marine Paint programme started more than half a decade before I got involved. Being the successor to Björn Dahlbäck and the final Director of the programme was certainly a special challenge. Not only did we need to organise the finalisation of the experimental work, lay the foundation for the final publication and dissemination activities, but the commercial activities of I-Tech reached an all-time high. All-in-all, the final years were challenging times – and I learned a lot about synergies and goal conflicts between applied and fundamental environmental research, about the involvement of academic organisations in applied research and about the proverbial difficulties of “herding cats”.

Marine Paints activities, although deeply scientific in its core, were aimed at “applied research” in the most positive sense. That is, making research results available for improving the environmental performance of antifouling paints and, consequently, for limiting the environmental footprint of current shipping activities. Did we reach that goal? You’ll be the judge.

All the activities of a programme such as Marine Paint ultimately depend on the quality and quantity of its fundamental scientific activities. For that reason, I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the field assistants, master students, PhD students, Post- Docs, technicians, external contributors and senior scientists involved. They all spent countless hours in the lab, behind the computer and in the field in order to provide the high-quality data that Marine Paint so much depended on – and always went the extra mile if necessary. Special thanks are due to Marine Paint’s steering group, which was pivotal for the organisation, vision and implementation of Marine Paint. Without all of you, Marine Paint would not have been as successful as it is today. Stort tack!

A small difference that matters…

reply Maybe it’s because those two icons looks so similar? Or perhaps people want to “spread the news”?

Whatever it is, the scenario is always the same: Somebody sends around an email to a group of people, containing perhaps an invitation to a conference, a request, a question or something similar. And of course, all recipients are listed in plain sight in the “to” field. So events follow their their natural c(o)urse: a couple of minutes later, your inbox becomes flooded with a lot of “Sorry, don’t know”, “Oh yes, please!”, “Sorry, I won’t be able to attend” or “Would really LOVE to come, but my cat is sick…” or similar answers of obvious importance to all the 50+ people who were receiving the initial question…

I just came back from vacation, and a rough estimate leaves me with around 200 of such mails. And unfortunately, no spamfilter can handle them.

Please: it’s just a small difference, the “reply” and “reply all” icons really look alike. But it matters. A confirmation or decline might certainly be important to the initial sender – but often that’s it.

And if you’re sending around these types of circulars to a large group, why not considering to use the “bcc” field instead? So that people don’t get tempted.

Thomas

Power of research

power of researchAnd nobody believed me…

So, here’s the link and the background: The EU Commission actually put together an online game, called “the power of research”, which can be found at http://www.powerofresearch.eu/. It is supposed to “to inspire young Europeans to pursue scientific careers”, according to the press release from the Commission. To be honest, in addition to an online game, I could think of one or two things  that could be improved if we want to inspire students to pursue a career in science. But I guess, that’s just me…

Anyway, have fun and tell me how the game performs!

Thomas