This is a collection of some notes I have saved in my “draft” folder. I was afraid they’ll disappear into oblivion but I cannot be bothered to write a full-blown blog post on each topic, so I just made three tiny incomplete blog entries instead.
1. Powers of Ten
You might have been like me, and grown up watching reruns of the Simpsons just before bedtime. You might remember a specific so-called “couch gag”, incidentally the best couch gag as voted by some people who were asked to vote, with the Simpsons family sitting down in the couch (the usual premise of such a “couch gag”), with the camera (is it called a camera in animation?) zooming out, zooming out zooming out zooming out, all the way into space. And without you knowing it, space has turned into subatomic structures and your zooning out until the view is on Homer’s head. Wait, why am I explaining this… just click here. Genius.
Turns out this couch gag was a spoof on a video from 1977 called Powers of Ten, as you can watch here, in case you have 10 minutes to spare to learn about the 10s and powers of 10s and anything 10-related:
2. On unconscious bias and why I don’t always trust my own judgement
Could it possibly be an accident?
(The answer, by the way, is yes. In this case it proved not to be, but such things happen all the time, when one’s data is as scanty as ours was. The human mind is very good at imagining patterns where none truly exist. If you are reading this book because you have an interest in pursuing science, whether natural history or some other, bear that warning in mind. It will save you a great deal of humiliation–I speak from experience. But that is a tale for a later book.)
From: A Natural History of Dragons: A memoir by Lady Trent – by Marie Brennan
I made some notes after making a phone call to a fellow researcher. It was a relatively tedious conversation, and I’d spoken to this person before in person and over Skype and there were no awkward silences. I know my own feelings about phone calls (ranging from do I really have to? to what am I supposed to say again? to uncontrollable crying, depending on the day), and wondered if it was maybe a universal scientist thing.
Probably it’s more of an introvert or overthinker thing, and possibly a lot of researchers just turn out to be introverted overthinkers *insert Venn diagram here*. But that seems like an overgeneralisation and a whole lot of box-thinking so let’s just pretend I was very good at imagining a pattern where none truly exists, and with a sample number of n=2, there is more than likely to be no pattern at all.