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Medicine Science

My theme song these days…

…is, sadly, this:

It’s times like these that my surgical residency training comes in handy.

Yep. As I’ve alluded to, it’s been grant time, and this was my night. But the R01 is finished. I’ll have my lab people go over it one last time for errors and typos, and then it’s off to the university grants office. I hope.

That reminds me. As all NIH rats know, the real deadline for R01 grant submissions is February 5. At least that’s the date when the NIH wants them. However, our grants office requires us to get the electronic package to it a whole week before the deadline. I thought electronic submission was supposed to make our lives easier, but, geezer that I am, I think I miss the old days of printing out a bunch of copies and heading to the airport the night before to use the FedEx box with the latest pickup time to get the grant to the NIH in time.

I’m too tired now, but maybe I’ll have to pontificate on the joy that it was to try to describe five years worth of science in only 12 pages.

Another day, perhaps.

By Orac

Orac is the nom de blog of a humble surgeon/scientist who has an ego just big enough to delude himself that someone, somewhere might actually give a rodent's posterior about his copious verbal meanderings, but just barely small enough to admit to himself that few probably will. That surgeon is otherwise known as David Gorski.

That this particular surgeon has chosen his nom de blog based on a rather cranky and arrogant computer shaped like a clear box of blinking lights that he originally encountered when he became a fan of a 35 year old British SF television show whose special effects were renowned for their BBC/Doctor Who-style low budget look, but whose stories nonetheless resulted in some of the best, most innovative science fiction ever televised, should tell you nearly all that you need to know about Orac. (That, and the length of the preceding sentence.)

DISCLAIMER:: The various written meanderings here are the opinions of Orac and Orac alone, written on his own time. They should never be construed as representing the opinions of any other person or entity, especially Orac's cancer center, department of surgery, medical school, or university. Also note that Orac is nonpartisan; he is more than willing to criticize the statements of anyone, regardless of of political leanings, if that anyone advocates pseudoscience or quackery. Finally, medical commentary is not to be construed in any way as medical advice.

To contact Orac: [email protected]

9 replies on “My theme song these days…”

I remember it well.
work, college, more work, out with friends, home at 3 or 5…
I would typically just stay up all day Sunday and zone out around 10 pm Sunday night. or Monday night…
Heh.

This year, my institution has decreed that project grants (our NIH R01 equivalents) must be in one month before the agency deadline. You can imagine how many friends the grant office made with that one.

Actually, I’m lucky. It’s only because my cancer center has its own grants office, which does a lot of the work normally done by the university’s grants office and only requires the university grants office only for the last couple of steps in the submission that I “only” have to have my grant in a week early. My colleagues who are not affiliated with the cancer center had to have their R01s at the university grants office two weeks before the agency deadline; i.e., last Friday.

So much is done electronically these days. When I was in college, I would go through a ream of paper a semester, typically, for all the required papers. My college senior daughter has finally finished the ream we gave her when she started her freshman year and took a new ream with her after Christmas. My college sophmore daughter has not even opened the ream we gave her last year except to fill her printer (which I don’t think is even turned on). All of her work is submitted electronically.

Brave New World…

12 pages is EPIC! We get 6 in the UK (for one postdoctoral position, 2 more per person that you ask for in addition to the first).

Whether the de facto deadline is one day or one month before it has to be at NIH, there is zero change in the situation – most PIs will always be right up against the wall.

Why is that?

Thrill seeking? Increased sense of self-worth that it’s all on you, or conversely, the pleasure of experiencing highs from team-work under artificial stress? Delusion (or not) that one obtains the best product by hectic methods? Simply poor planning skills?
Enlighten me. Or just give me lies to believe in that will help me cope.
I do understand the “problem fully loaded into memory” advantage, but not that it has to be end-loaded.

Even-more-pure rant from here on.
I’m a statistician, and it is common to be handed stuff with insufficient turnaround times, that are 1) so fuzzy in the experimental designs that they are not comprehensible, 2) require heroic efforts to power, since hand-coded simulations are required to properly assess it, 3) contain brain-dead or broken experiments that need repair (“I count that you are actually proposing a 5-way fully-crossed design that will require 1600 mice each with tumor size measured 20 times, what was your estimate?”). They often contain infuriating improper use of language not understood by the writer in attempts to be buzzword compliant (“signature”, “synergy”, “significant”), and avalanches of pretentious language I call biospeak (“where I am today, the temperature outside is downregulated, but, importantly, the boson flux is significantly upregulated”). Practitioners may be unable to smell the stink, since it’s nearly everywhere. What happened to “as simple and clear as possible”?

Hmm, I still don’t feel better, dammit.

Can anyone explain why when I saw the thread and before I saw what video Orac posted, the first thing that jumped in my mind (for Orac’s theme song these days) was “Rainbow Connection” by Kermit the Frog?

I’m trying to understand that one.

Well, I hope your hard work pays off, but I have to say the timing of it all could be better. To have Orac off-line the week Andrew Wakefield went to the intellectual gallows, and then the Gates Foundation announces it will invest (puts pinkie to mouth) ten billion dollars into vaccination programs and new vaccines, why, it must be sending the woonited into a tizzy.

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