Monday, March 26, 2007

Of applications and white supremacy

Regular readers (both of you) might recall that I'm heading up a program to have a bunch of undergraduates do research in our department over the summer. Last Friday was the deadline for applications. Here are some interesting tidbits from that process:

We received about 60 applications. Not bad at all. I am told by people with similar programs that next year we will receive up to 300! We got the grant money to run this program in mid-February which is when most programs have their deadlines. Many students would have already arranged something for the summer before we got going this year. I'm not sure I can handle 300 applications...

Of the 60 applications we have about 10 that consist only of one or two letters of recommendation. No application form, transcript etc. as required. What's with that? It takes a lot of time and effort to write a letter of recommendation. I think it's disgusting that so many students would ask faculty to write such letters and then not even bother to apply. Okay, one or two applications might have got lost in the mail, but 10?

Apparently some foreign students are blind to the stipulation that applicants be US citizens or permanent residents (a requirement of the NSF who is funding this program). Despite this being in big bold red letters on the home page of our web site. And stated in at least two other places on the web site. And on the application forms. I haven't counted those students in the 60 apllications.

One young lady from Romania emailed me to see if she was eligible. When I replied that she was not, she promptly invited me to be her "friend" on Facebox (apparently a Romanian version of the very popular US Facebook). I haven't replied to that, or the following three invitations... She's on my junkmail list.

Here's a copy of an email I received late Thursday night (keep in mind the deadline was Friday)-
"I was thinking of applying to the program but I thought the deadline was later than tomorrow until I just saw on the website. I can send in all required application materials by tomorrow except for the recommendations. I have told my professors they can have another week to send their recommendations. I hope that's okay." [Emphasis mine]

My reply-
"No, it's not okay."

Finally on applications, while I was typing this I received three express mail envelopes with more application materials and a phone call from some student's mother who wants to hand deliver an application... Oy.

And white supremacy? DocStymie, this is one you'll really like:

Rep. Charlie Rangle, D-N.Y. (remember he's black) when asked on public TV what he thought about the President, replied, "Well, I really think that he shatters the myth of white supremacy once and for all".

Word of the post:

sang-froid \sang-FRWAH\

Freedom from agitation or excitement of mind; coolness in trying circumstances; calmness.

Example: It takes remarkable level of sang-froid to catch a Matthew Hayden six with one hand while not spilling the beer held in the other. (See here, although I'm afraid it will be lost on Americans.)

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

For JollyRgr

I'm posting this here because stoopid LiveJournal isn't letting me post comments on DocStymie's blog...

The good Doc had blogged about a recent paper that appeared in the (new) scientific journal PloS Biology. This concerned modeling all the proteins in the yeast proteome.

The recently-shaved JollyRgr had asked:
"yeast proteome something like human genome in general concept????

Am I on the right path???"

So here's the answer...

Kinda sorta. The genome is the set of blueprints (genes) for making the various components of a living organism. Think DNA = genome. Each gene encodes a component. Proteins make up many, probably most, of those components. The proteome is the set of all proteins in an organism. So the genome encodes the proteome, plus more. Yeast, like humans and all other living organisms, has a genome and associated proteome. We use yeast as a model organism because it's genome, and proteome, has many of the same components as the human versions.

So there you go.

Friday, March 16, 2007

I'm back...

Actually have been for almost a week. Too much life happening here.

Anyway, the trip was good. The Kaddo Borawni was superb, as was the Lamb Lawand... Hmmmm, goooood!

Not much to say other than point out Vista has turned out to be, well, a typical Microsoft product as demonstrated here and here. Is anyone surprised?

In all fairness, Apple is not without it's issues. DocStymie, you may want to be aware of this one.

Finally, it's World Cup time! Cricket that is. Ireland tied Zimbabwe. How cool is that?

Instead of a word of the post, here's little quote from the online commentary of the England-New Zealand match from the BBC:

"Whoosh - almost a disastrous run-out as KP calls for an insane single. Vettori hurls the ball at McCullum with Vaughan half a pitch short, only for the 'keeper to fail to gather the ball. Massive let-off.

In reply to those of you asking for more info on the gaggle (this in reference to an earlier comment about a group of young women)- specifically, how many are international class - I say two things: firstly, that that sort of sexist badinage has no place on the BBC, and secondly, about half of them."

I love the English commentators...