Day 46-Updates

Chase 46/365

Today’s post concerns updates of previous posts, and the lessons learned therein.

Update #1- to Day 3-Paper draft, posted about a month and a half ago.
In this post I lamented the academic paper and peer review process and resigned myself to sending my draft “onto the next stages in the long journey to publication, all of which designed to reveal to me its many flaws.” I observed that one of my biggest shortcomings as a scientist might be a lack of confidence (or ego, depending on your perspective), what I called ” a significant amount of personal confidence and a sense infallibility.”

It turns out I could not have been more right, about the lack of confidence, not the peer-review process that is (although this is a highly notable exception). The paper passed quickly back and forth between my advisor and I with minimal changes. Then, after only a few weeks out for review, we received a response that included this: “I have now received three reports on your submission- who all recommend acceptance without change. This is the first time this has happened for me as Editor and so I thank you for making my job so easy!” as well as the words elegantly, beautiful, well-discussed, clever, relevant, raising the general impact, and absolutely no concerns.

For those of you who may now think I was completely imagining the rigors of peer review, here is a cartoon originally published in Nature magazine:

Lesson learned– work on that confidence thing.

Update #2- to Day 33-Baking
In this post I discussed learning to bake in a lesson taught by Lillian Kaplun. I described her as “a stern older Jewish lady”, who, although her lesson taught me the important principles of baking, also terrified me so much with the threat of failure that I was afraid to bake for years. On returning to baking, I truly appreciated the lessons she taught me, and her Apricot Bars tied for Best Overall in the competition for which I was making them. Recently, Mrs. Kaplun’s Niece found my blog post. According to her, Mrs. Kaplun was not stern, but “unwavering in her beliefs about what made good baking.” I feel a little badly for describing Mrs. Kaplun as stern, since I admitted myself that I was an argumentative child, and likely fully merited the sternness, which was exhibited only during the actual lesson.

Mrs. Kaplun’s niece directed me to a fantastic blog she had started to celebrate the centennary of Mrs. Kaplun’s life and where you will find the recipe for the “prize-winning” apricot bars (this site was password protected until her niece found my blog through a Google search, and realized it would be good to make it public). As I scrolled through a few pages of old photographs of Lillian, on the Flickr album linked within the blog, I came across a photograph entitled “People of all ages enjoyed learning from Lillian.” There I was, in my full pre-pubescent awkward glory, in the middle of the now infamous lesson!

Before I post said photo, however, I need to step back briefly to answer some questions you may soon be posing. No, I do not know what I’m wearing. Yes, I’m aware of how ridiculous I look. Yes, I do realize that the fact that this was 21 years ago and in the eighties is no excuse. No, I do not dress like that now (nor do I have any recollection, apart from this photo, of dressing like that ever). Ok, that out of the way, here I am at 11, learning to bake:

Lesson learned- for all its potential for alienation, the Internet is amazing at bringing people and worlds together. Oh, and fashion faux-pas will always find a way to come back to haunt you.

Update #3- to Day 29- Glass Beads
In this post I wrote, after describing the glass beads we use to spread bacteria onto agarose plates, “Yes, spilling them is somewhat of a disaster, and yes I have done it. But no, I have not yet come running into a room, encountered the glass beads on the floor, and tread in place on them several times before crashing to the floor.”

Today, as I was walking through my bay, I heard a crunching sound, almost slipped, and looked down for the culprit. It was– you have likely guessed it– a single glass bead.

Lesson learned- do NOT tempt fate in a blog post.

Today’s picture is at the dog park near my work, where my colleague and I ate our lunch in the sun to celebrate my publication. The lighting was un-inspired (it was around noon), so I spiced-up the photo with an object posted by Playing with Brushes on Flickr.

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2 responses to “Day 46-Updates

  1. I’ve been enjoying your excellent writing, and I’m not surprised by the editor’s comments. Well done and congratualtions.

  2. congratulations indeed! – fine writing on disparate subjects all fascinating through your lens!

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