Friday, January 25, 2008


Well as I mentioned awhile back, I have been busy writing away. Both the wet-lab work and the computer-based results were submitted together to the Journal of Cool Stuff . This was my first time submitting to J. of Cool Stuff. My advisor hadn't submitted there in awhile. The review on the computational work took 6 weeks. Minor revisions, mostly highlighting things for the reviewers that were not as obvious as we originally had thought. Easy fix. It took 8 weeks to hear on the wet lab work. Accepted pending minor revisions which included additional experiments along with curtailing the discussion or doing even more experiments. I took a week did the easy additional experiments (all yielding the negative results I expected with tons of caveats that make it hard to say anything conclusive about them, hence I did not do them in the first place, but we included all of that in the revised paper), and then we curtailed the discussion. The further potential experiments I am now doing and will turn into a short article, which in the end I guess puts me ahead of the game. I guess a thank you to the reviewer is in order.

The work I did for collaborators currently is sitting in their hands as they write their part. Glad there was a delay since in the meantime I wrote a review with another post-doc in the lab for Building Blocks Journal which was reviewed & accepted within the span of two weeks for the holidays. Our lab has submitted research articles to Building Blocks Journal they are also turned around in the same amount of time. We already sent back the proofs. Still waiting on the proofs for the articles for Journal of Cool Stuff. The reviews for BBJ are very complete. Their editors actually push the reviewers to you know actually review in a timely fashion. Wish other journals did the same thing. Nothing worse than waiting, wondering if you are going to have to drop what you are doing to do additional experiments to satisfy a reviewer. Better to get it done sooner rather than latter. You have to be able to move on, move forward, so much better for peace of mind.

And now what? Well, it is work with a post-doc in the lab pushing for a paper, work on the further experiments discussed above for another and then also work on a third project that hopefully will turn out a paper before the year is out. Productive yes, which is good but boy can writing be draining.

Monday, January 21, 2008

A day to remember what we forget as a nation...

Today in the US is Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. It is a day in theory we are to remember the work of Dr. King and by extension the Civil Rights Movement in this nation. Usually I am afraid to say we gloss over it looking at through safe feel good frames, of peace and brotherhood. We must force ourselves to remember. There is much still to be done. Equality is still a dream we are striving for.

I offer these reminders on this day of the work still to be done, still to be thought about and discussed. What we must remember.

The March on Washington in 1963 (The one in which Dr. King gave his "I have a dream" speech) was the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom. What were they advocating for?

Comprehensive and effective civil rights legislation from the present Congress — without compromise or fillibuster — to guarantee all Americans:
Access to all public accommodations
Decent housing
Adequate and integrated education
The right to vote
Withholding of Federal funds from all programs in which discrimination exists.

Desegregation of all school districts in 1963.

Enforcement of the Fourteenth Amendment — reducing Congressional representation of states where citizens are disfranchised.

A new Executive Order banning discrimination in all housing supported by federal funds.

Authority for the Attorney General to institute injunctive suits when any Constitutional right is violated.

A massive federal program to train and place all unemployed workers — Negro and white — on meaningful and dignified jobs at decent wages.

A national minimum wage act that will give all Americans a decent standard of living. (Government surveys show that anything less than $2.00 an hour fails to do this.)
[The minimum wage at the time of the March is $1.15/hour.]

A broadened Fair Labor Standards Act to include all areas of employment which are presently excluded.

A federal Fair Employment Practices Act barring discrimination by federal, state, and municipal governments, and by employers, contractors, employment agencies, and trade unions.

Dr King on the Vietnam War:
"A true revolution of values will soon look uneasily on the glaring contrast of poverty and wealth. With righteous indignation, it will look across the seas and see individual capitalists of the West investing huge sums of money in Asia, Africa and South America, only to take the profits out with no concern for the social betterment of the countries, and say: "This is not just.""

Dr. King on capitalism:
"You can't talk about solving the economic problem of the Negro without talking about billions of dollars. You can't talk about ending the slums without first saying profit must be taken out of slums. You're really tampering and getting on dangerous ground because you are messing with folk then. You are messing with captains of industry… Now this means that we are treading in difficult water, because it really means that we are saying that something is wrong… with capitalism… There must be a better distribution of wealth and maybe America must move toward a democratic socialism."

The latter sentiments lead Dr. King to begin to push for what he thought of as the 2nd phase of the Civil Rights Movement, dealing with poverty across the board (the first phase being taking on the challenge of segregation) with the Poor People's Campaign where he was going to champion for an economic bill of rights. He was assassinated in Memphis, TN before he had to chance to really push the campaign. Dr. King was in Memphis to support striking Black sanitation workers.

We must remember. We have a long ways to go. We have a history of only going so far to deal with the inequalities in our society. We gave up on Reconstruction after the Civil War, turning the South over to the segregationists, rewriting our history to look poorly upon Reconstruction (Gone with the Wind anyone). We only ended segregation in name only. We failed to do the hard work of actual integration. Giving instead into fears of "other" breeding the modern Republican Party and with it the presidency of George W. Bush.