A hilarious look into a job advert in science !!

I came upon this article, few days ago and decided that its worth reposting here. It gives a funny, yet painfully truthful outlook into a traditional job advertisement for a Prof. position in academia.

Kudos to David Alridge for writing this hilarious piece  !!

Take a look…

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Location: Somewhere you don’t want to live
Salary: Nowhere near enough given the ridiculous number of qualifications you have
Contract type: Full-time permanent*
Interview Date: 
Don’t worry, you probably won’t make this stage

 *”Permanent” refers to your expected working hours on campus, NOT your job security, benefits, healthcare etc.

Background

We are seeking a candidate to replace an academic that went senile over 20 years ago, but who has only just retired.

Candidate Evaluation

The candidate must have a PhD from an institution where ivy grows up the sides of old historic buildings and 5-10 years of postdoctoral experience with all the world-experts in their chosen research area. The successful candidate will have published every experiment that they have performed in the last 10-15 years, and some that they did not (only publications in  Science or Nature will be considered valid). The candidate is expected to spend their days teaching undergraduates, and their nights working towards developing a world-class research career – it will obviously be advantageous if the candidate does not have friends, family, hobbies or eyelids. The candidate will have an enthusiasm for teaching**.

**Demonstrating this enthusiasm once you have the job will result in zero career progression and incessant mocking from colleagues.

Holidays

Hahahahahahahaha

Application Process

Enquiries should be directed to our overworked secretary, Mavis; she will probably lose it first time around, so send a second enquiry about 1 week after you submit the first one. When applying, please submit your curriculum vitae – the heavier the better; anything that can be picked up by a single person, or can be read in less than 2 weeks will not be considered.

Interviews

Five lucky candidates, who meet the ridiculous criteria stated above, will be invited to be pummeled (verbally and physically) by a pack of cantankerous academics. Candidates will then be locked in a room together with a single 2×4 coated in barbed-wire. The last one left breathing will be given the job.

Further information:

We aim to be an equal opportunities employer. However, we are not very good at this: white, socially awkward males with excessive facial hair are preferred; females will only be considered if they demonstrate absolutely no desire to start a family.

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An Iranian chap claims to have invented the Time Machine !!

Delorean DMC-12

Delorean DMC-12 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Yes, you read the title of this post correctly and No, that chap is not a future version of  Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown !!

So, let me start from the begininng-My evening started quite calmly until i saw an article in the Telegraph about an Iranian scientist Ali Razeghi filing a patent about his TIME MACHINE… Yes you are right, a freaking Time machine. It is imaginatively titled as –  “The Aryayek Time Traveling Machine”. According to him, this device can “predict five to eight years of the future life of any individual, with 98 percent accuracy”.Razeghi has till now registered more than 170 patents and his currently the MD of Iran’s Centre for Strategic Invention.

Further on, he claims that “My invention easily fits into the size of a personal computer case and can predict details of the next 5-8 years of the life of its users. It will not take you into the future, it will bring the future to you.”

For more of his enlightening comments one should really read the article in Telegraph — Iranian scientist claims to have invented ‘time machine’.

I just hope that Ahmadinejad doesn’t threaten to use this against US !! It would be funny …

Well, finally i bid adieu to the Sasquatch/American BigFoot…

Photo of an unidentified animal the Bigfoot Re...

Photo of an unidentified animal the Bigfoot Research Organization claims is a “juvenile Sasquatch” “Jacobs Photos” . . Retrieved 2009-09-16 . (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Well, urban legend has it that Sasquatch aka American BigFoot, the name given to an ape-like creature apparently inhabits forests, mainly in the Pacific Northwest region of North America and it has been some decades that people have been arguing about its reality. Last year in September 2012, Dr. Melba S. Ketchum announced with some big fanfare that she and her team from DNA Diagnostics Inc. have sequenced the genome (mitochondrial and nuclear) of sasquatch from all the alleged samples people have collected from some time. However, instead just verifying that Sasquatch is nothing but an urban legend they issued this press release:

“Our study has sequenced 20 whole mitochondrial genomes and utilized next generation sequencing to obtain 3 whole nuclear genomes from purported Sasquatch samples. The genome sequencing shows that Sasquatch mtDNA is identical to modern Homo sapiens, but Sasquatch nuDNA is a novel, unknown hominin related to Homo sapiens and other primate species. Our data indicate that the North American Sasquatch is a hybrid species, the result of males of an unknown hominin species crossing with female Homo sapiens.

Hominins are members of the taxonomic grouping Hominini, which includes all members of the genus Homo. Genetic testing has already ruled out Homo neanderthalis and the Denisova hominin as contributors to Sasquatch mtDNA or nuDNA. “The male progenitor that contributed the unknown sequence to this hybrid is unique as its DNA is more distantly removed from humans than other recently discovered hominins like the Denisovan individual,” explains Ketchum.

“Sasquatch nuclear DNA is incredibly novel and not at all what we had expected. While it has human nuclear DNA within its genome, there are also distinctly non-human, non-archaic hominin, and non-ape sequences. We describe it as a mosaic of human and novel non-human sequence. Further study is needed and is ongoing to better characterize and understand Sasquatch nuclear DNA.”

So, one would immediately say -Yay science proved it exists, right? The answer however will be a big emphatic NO. The prime reason is that science doen’t work on hearsay but on repeatable, well-designed experiments with no ambiguity in either the way its conducted or how samples are gathered. And this is where this so called genetic evidence fails big time.

One of the biggest red flags to this whole study is: How did she get her samples? After all, if she was working from a well-reliable source, that alone might be a big sensation because no physical evidence of Bigfoot exists on record. As it turns out, Dr. Ketchum says her DNA sample was obtained from a blueberry bagel left in the backyard of a Michigan home that, according to the owner, sees regular visits from Sasquatch creatures.

And if the sample gathering itself is in doubt, then how can anyone believe the results ? Another face-palm statement: Fully human mitochondrial DNA, which is inherited from your mother, so she assumes that all Sasquatches had human women as relatively recent ancestors, but at the same time, the nuclear DNA is some bizarre menagerie that includes non-ape sequences? And frankly speaking, any biology student would tell you its hogwash !!

But all of this was from last year, and ever since then she has been trying to publish it in a scientific journal and recent news suggests that she has been unable to clear the peer-review stage. So, in response to this, she has decided to start over – recollect samples, do the whole sequencing again, and re-interpret the results…..Naaaaaaa, thats what any other scientist would have done. What she has done is to buy a journal !!  The Journal of Cosmology was available  she bought it and renamed it to De Novo.  One glance at the website and you are reminded of your art school classes in grade 8. The icons are mis-matched, the colour is horrid and the overall design is completely unprofessional. PZ Myers in is blog Pharyngula has it better:

Then she came out with a special edition. It’s Volume 1, Issue 1. It contains precisely one paper, hers.

You should be laughing by this point.

The online journal is a mess. The layout is funky-ugly, it’s difficult to figure out how to actually get to the paper, and when you navigate to it, it’s got a wretched little “Buy Now” button imbedded in a couple of intersecting blocks of color in a hideous table-like layout. It reminds be of the esthetics of JoC.

Anyway, it’s $30 to buy a paper so bad they had to build a custom journal around it to get it published. Not interested.

So, seeing all this mess i wish to bid adieu to Sasquatch !! May it continue to relive in our science fiction movies…

More on this:

  1. Sasquatch is ill-served, Pharygula, 2013.
  2. What I really want to see is the DNA sequence of an alien Grey, Pharyngula, 2012.
  3. Bigfoot in popular culture, Wikipedia.
  4. Is this Bigfoot … or is it a bear with bad skin?, Daily Mail, 2007.

A scientist applies for being the next Pope !!

Pope's Blessing

Pope’s Blessing (Photo credit: alykat)

Well, the world has been gaga over the sudden resignation of our (not-so) beloved Pope. In the wake of this, i am sure the Vatican folks are all busy finding a replacement. So, here comes a scientist (Dean Burnett) who has written a remarkably witty open letter to the Vatican for the position, which was published in Guradian recently. I say, GIVE HIM THE JOB !!

Here is the letter:

To: The Vatican (HR Department)

Name: Dean Burnett

Date: 11-02-2013

Reference: Vacancy CCLXVI (‘Pope’)

CV: [Attached]

PERSONAL STATEMENT IN SUPPORT OF APPLICATION: See below

Dear Sir/Madam/Holy Ghost

I am very interested in applying for the recently announced vacancy for the position of pope. I am sure you’ve received many applicationsalready, but I believe I would make an excellent candidate for the role as I could bring innovative new approaches and help increase diversity, which would have the effect of both motivating those involved in and enhancing the reputation of the organisation (i.e. The Catholic Church).

I have read the job description and although I admittedly do not meet all the specified essential criteria for the role (e.g. I do not regularly commune with God or any other unspecified deity) I feel that my strengths in other areas more than make up for my lack of direct experience.

Although I am not a practising member of the Catholic (or any other) Church, I am a qualified and enthusiastic scientist. I believe this makes me an ideal choice for the next pope, for a number of reasons. For example, I have had many jobs where it is compulsory to wear a white coat, and the wearing of long white garments appears to be the main duty of the pope. I also regularly lecture on the subject of neuroscience, so am extensively experienced at speaking in an unfamiliar language to rooms full of people who are struggling to stay awake, so it would be no trouble for me to offer Mass whenever required.

I am not a cardinal, but a recent check of my wallet reveals that I still have a membership cards for both GAMEBlockbuster Video and MVC, showing that I am clearly dedicated to declining institutions and have a robust if unrealistic belief in resurrection.

As an atheist scientist I cannot claim to be in regular contact with God per se, but I have regularly encountered professors with equivalent levels of power and influence who demand unquestioning obedience from those who serve them, so feel this has provided me with equivalent professional experience required for the position.

As a scientist pope, I could bring an element of rationalism and logic to the Catholic Church, which would better equip it to survive in more modern, enlightened times. I could provide numerous plausible-sounding theories as to the origins of the universelifeevolution, human consciousness and any other area that the Church feels it should have influence over. Whereas most scientists require evidence and peer review before their theories can be accepted, my being the pope would mean I was infallible so I wouldn’t have to go through this process; the simple act of me saying it would mean it is accepted by many as fact. This is a privilege enjoyed by only a few scientists, and one I definitely wouldn’t abuse, scouts honour!

I have performed a number of miracles in recent years. For example, I have managed to sustain a career in science in present circumstances, despite having very few notable publications to my name and a disastrous history of high-profile embarrassments.

I have managed to remain in my post despite these numerous blunders, so I would be able to bring this experience to my duties as pope. I can also turn water into wine, which is viewed as more of a “classic” miracle. It takes some time as it involves me pouring the water onto grapevines before growing, picking, sorting, crushing, fermenting, maturing, bottling and selling. But overall, it’s definitely water being turned into wine. With Science! (Unless that doesn’t count as a miracle, in which case it’s clearly magic).

I am not presently celibate, but as a teenager who was a big science fan with terrible acne, I am very familiar with the concept. I am also not a homosexual, as that would obviously exclude me from the role (NB. In the interests of transparency, I did once suck a penis, but I didn’t inhale so it doesn’t count). At the last count, I also have the required number of testicles to be pope (at least two). I also have experience with covering up crimes.

I believe these qualities and more make me an ideal candidate for the position, so I hope you will consider my application seriously. I realise the vacancy is somewhat above my pay grade, but I am looking for a higher paying position as I need money to provide for my family … I mean buy condoms … I mean jewels.

I look forward to hearing from you.

Vestrum fideliter

Dean Burnett

P.S. What’s the pension scheme like?