Looking through the window at the pretty cakes

I could not even pretend to lab work this week. I was booked to give two presentations, one at our lab-meeting show that is shared by five other labs, and the other at Worcester Polytechnic Institute. My friend Luis Vidali invited me over. Both talks included data presented for the first time, always a nice feeling, new data, but needing time to make presentable. Slides for talks should be not only legible but also attractive so I fuss with the graphic design.

The other temporal black hole was a Ph.D. from Pakistan. Way back in the winter, I agreed to be the outside examiner, having checked first that a trip to Sargodha would not be required. What was in my granola that morning? By now, my examiner’s report was overdue so nothing for it but to hunker down with a blue pencil. I soon threw the pencil across the room, the English was beyond editing without drugs or money. I can forgive the thesis that, and in my report I made an aside suggesting students be allowed to write their dissertations in their native language because that is challenge enough. Unfortunately, I could not forgive the thesis its missing controls and its complete absence of interpretation. It was a laundry list of results and the introduction did not explain what problem was to be solved and the discussion did not discuss to what extent that problem had been solved. Indeed, the most straightforward conclusion from the results (with the caveat of the missing controls) would be to contradict claims made in the introduction as apparently true. Writing a zero-star evaluation sucked and I did my best to write with care and decorum, if not an abundance of respect.

So those two experiment movies are sitting on my hard drive, pouting with neglect. “When will you analyze me?” they whine. I’d like to say tomorrow only there is this xyloglucan manuscript from my collaborator I need to edit.