looking through the magnifying glass



Hi everyone, and a very happy new year. May you always be as productive as you plan to be.

Talking of which, I want to start of this year with a little rant. Or is it actualyl a rant? I’m not sure. All I know is that I’m still sitting in the lab on satruday, after a more than just laborative week, having a pretty serious cough on top of things. And why am I doing this? not even so that my own research would thrive. Nooo way! I’m teaching at the moment. – full time – The question is does it really bother me that I’m still in the lab on a saturday, despite this being the first day of real snow around here this winter? Or do those endless hours in the lab the last week bother me?

Not really. Becaus I’m doing something I actually really enjoy. You could even say love.

Teaching students, at the end of their masters program, bright and curious minds. Who spend almost as much time here as I do. I know a lot of people that don’t quite enjoy teaching as much as I do. But for me, that spark of understanding in their faces, that neverending question in their eyes; sometimes asking for which buffer to use, sometimes complete not-understanding what is going on at all, and sometimes really elaborate scientific questions demonstrating deep understanding of what actually is going on. Those questions, and the moment they find their own answers (with help at times) is really building up my own self confidence and I enjoy it, a lot! And it is one of the most important things in science if you dare to ask me. Of course, I’m kind of educating, almost breeding, my own competitors for the future (maybe even my own bosses). But what worth is knowledge, if you don’t pass it on?

I once heard someone saying about science and education, it’s not about passing on the torch, it’s about lighting the spark. And I don’t really agree. It’s about both, it’s teaching how to light a fire, and giving away tons of wood to burn!

Same thing goes for creativitiy if you ask me. Creativity, in a way, is synthesising all the things one knows and knows how to do, without being aware that that is what one is doing. And the combination of all those old things, with just a little new idea. That is what creativity is.

In the end, you cannot be a great singer songwriter on the guitar, if you don’t know how to play a guitar.

So, I guess what I want to say is, if you enjoy teaching, then do it, if you enjoy learning, just do it! And maybe you realize that both go along hand in hand. I’m learning the most when I’m teaching myself. Because I have to look at things from another point of view, my students point of view to be more precise.

I think we could all do that a little more often, and I think it is one of my good intents for the upcoming year. Try to actively look at the things I do (or everything for that matter) from more than only my own perspective.

Makes me curios actually, what would be your new years resolutions?



Tedx Talk by Eunice Hii from UBC Vancouver talking about “Follow your passion?”

Eunice Hii from UBC Vancouver talking about “Follow your passion?”

That’s something for all generation Y’ers out there (to which I belong too) and a little bit to all the other that want to understand us.

Wow, what a voice!

I cannot possibly not share this.

This guy has such an amazing voice, I still sit here trying to believe it. I’m pretty sure it’s real, but still I’m having a hard time believing it. It’s just, my eyes and ears don’t agree that this could be possible. Just have a look. And yes the human voice is probably the most impressive music instrument known to humans!

Communication problems – the basis

Hey guys, don’t worry about me if I shouldn’t put up too many posts in the upcoming few days, maybe weeks. But there are two things that somehow take all my attention right now.

Number one, I have a big experimetn upcoming, that will consume basically all my time since I want to get some results out of it before christmas And the other thing, doing literature searches; have you ever come across those words: This article is available in russian only?

Well I sure did, and it annoys me.
And that brings me to my next point, communication. The very starting point for any kind of communciation is a common language. And I’m pretty sure that those guys in russia do good research, but they don’t publish it in englisch, and since I can’t change that easily I decided to take the other way around, and I’m trying to learn some russian these days.

So to sum that up: I’m deep into experimeting and if I have time left, I’m trying to learn one of the more difficult languages this planet has to offfer.

lets see now;

Introduction: check

Materials and Methods: check

Results: well that’s to come

Discussion: That’s up to you now, let me know what you think about that

Hang in there and let me know if you are planning on similar projects these days!


Seth Raphaels shot on the Randi Foundation 1 Million dollar

Seth Raphaels shot on the Randi Foundation 1 Million dollar

Seth Raphael claims to be a computer psychic, or that his computer is psychic, or a psychic. I got confused half way trough. But watch this and prepare to get blown of your chair!


Feeling Stupid?

Feeling Stupid?

Interesting Paper on one of the interesting aspects of being a Scientist!

The Valley of Shit

The Thesis Whisperer

I have a friend, let’s call him Dave, who is doing his PhD at the moment.

I admire Dave for several reasons. Although he is a full time academic with a young family, Dave talks about his PhD as just one job among many. Rather than moan about not having enough time, Dave looks for creative time management solutions. Despite the numerous demands on him, Dave is a generous colleague. He willingly listens to my work problems over coffee and always has an interesting suggestion or two. His resolute cheerfulness and ‘can do’ attitude is an antidote to the culture of complaint which seems, at times, to pervade academia.

I was therefore surprised when, for no apparent reason, Dave started talking negatively about his PhD and his ability to finish on time. All of a sudden he seemed to lose confidencein himself, his topic and the quality of…

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A pacifier, a ribbon, and a supermarket counter

English: pink ribbon

English: pink ribbon (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I just had the coolest thing happening to me for a while. And it was one of those little things. Usually I don’t post my everyday life here, but this one is really worth sharing.

So I was standing at the supermarket check out, trying to buy some lunch and it is my turn to step up. Yet there is something in the way. A little boy, merely a toddler, maybe 3 or 4 years old. Standing right there at the check out, with his little blue and white woolen cap on and his  pacifier in his mouth. And he’s trying to hand something to me, with his eyes having that asking for help expression that kids can do so well and everyone just seems to instinctively understand. First I didn’t realize what it was, took it anyways and had a bit of a closer look.

It was a little card board stand, for those pink breast cancer awareness ribbons, that apparently had fallen of the counter. And he goes on, picking up the ribbons that had fallen to the ground, handing them over to me one by one, and we built this little chain of help. The toddler picking up the ribbons, me taking them from his height reaching for a height that people are more prone to look at, and the cashier herself, arranging them neatlly on the board.

So lets not forget about breast cancer, and be proud that people help each other at times without wanting anything in return, and the pure altruism that kids sometimes show.

Awesome kids are awesome!!!!!


John Cleese on Creativity

John Cleese on Creativity

John Cleese as a civil servant in the halls of...

John Cleese as a civil servant in the halls of the Ministry. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

A great talk by John Cleese on creativity and what it takes to be creative send to me by my supervisor.

Thanks for that to my awesome supervisor who forwarded it to me. And, to spoil a bit, he is right about time!