Research and Productivity

I just got “101 Theory Drive” by Terry McDermott in the mail from my Dad, and somehow I’m nearly halfway through despite having a heap of books (mostly on aging) to go through. It’s a similar book to that of “Love in Goon Park” as it focuses on one scientist (Primary Investigator – a pretty cool title if I may say so) who is the antihero of the book. I say antihero because it seems like chain smoking, not sleeping and being a rebel seems to be a theme.

Grand Unified Thought of the Day: If you don’t have a way of getting the information you need – find one. “When you have a hammer, everything starts to look like a nail.” Don’t be limited by your current toolset – if you need something else to do a job right, go get it, or make it yourself. Richard Hamming’s words have stuck with me for awhile, though he’s got so many I occasionally go back and read through the whole lecture (Ctrl+f “tools” to find his thoughts on the matter).

It appears to a consistent thing that furthering our “tools” (technologies we utilize in the pursuit of understanding) is one of the biggest contributions to science one can make. In McDermott’s book, Gary Lynch’s lab what is called the slice technique to make the most of the rat brains they had. Without PCR, faster computers, calorimeters, etc etc, where would we be? Not as far as we are today.

That reminds me, another thing I keep stumbling across is the importance of doing “important work”. But another day.

Food Revolution

In other news, I watched through Jamie Oliver’s “Food Revolution”. It was interesting, but it was hard to see past the “for TV” characterizations of the people involved, with tension-filled moments courtesy of artful editing. Motivating people to want to change things appeared to the hardest part. It’s a little bit funny that T.V. is the original reward (the second being computers/the internet) for sedentary behavior, but I guess if you’re going to preach healthy lifestyles, the best way to hit the target audience is T.V.

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