Monday, 29 August 2011

Should I or shouldn't I?

So in the time that husband and I have been living in this apartment complex (a bit over six months), the building hallway has had a large window without a screen. It just so happens that directly on the outside of the window, is a huge wasp nest. I have on a few occasions seen wasps come inside and fly around the hallway. On the weekend I killed one, and now I'm pretty sure they hate me. I always close the window, and yet the next time I'm out in the hallway, it's open again. Now I'd kind of understand if this was the only window, but there's another one right near it (with a screen intact) that is always open, which doesn't allow wasps in. As there are many people in the building and I'm not sure who the window-opener is (I'm assuming that although clever, the wasps are unable to open the window themselves), I can only see one option: the passive aggressive note.

I have constructed the following sign to potentially put up...

Yes, I did make this myself. I'm quite proud of it.

So the question is - should I, or shouldn't I put the sign up?

Extra information:
  • I don't really know any of the surrounding neighbours well - we are only on a saying 'hello' in passing basis (sometimes).
  • Husband really doesn't seem to be concerned about a potential wasp invasion, so he's no help.
  • I'm not entirely sure if these are the type of wasps that sting people, so I may look silly putting this up if they're not a danger to anybody.
  • I'm not sure how long this no-screen business has been going on. Perhaps all the other building occupants have no problem with this, and it's been this way for years. If this is the case, a sign suddenly showing up now may signal us as the culprits (being the most recent to move in).
  • I think I'm allergic to wasps (not deathly so - I don't think, but once I stood on one accidently and my foot puffed up so much I couldn't wear shoes); or at the very least, I'm a hypochondriac. To that end - don't google wasp sting pictures. It's not pretty.  

What do you think...?

Saturday, 27 August 2011

Lie to Me

[I'm a bit sad this show was cancelled; source]
Unfortunately, lie detection isn't always as easy as it is made out to be on TV and in the movies. A lot of lie-detection methods aren't overly reliable, and as such many aren't admissible in court proceedings. However, at the conference I recently went to in New York (details here) I got to hear about some exciting lie-detection research that is very promising.

Wednesday, 24 August 2011

Sunday, 21 August 2011

Early warning signs your child may turn into a nerd.

Rainier: (talking about the new movie he's in) My son returns from a fancy east coast college and I'm horrified to find he's a nerd.
Kent: Hahah, I'm laughing already.
Rainier: It's not a comedy. 

Case Study: L, started off as a seemingly normal child, but as time went on started to become a little too interested in spending all her time reading. Favourite books were those teaching about science, and often led to impromptu experiments such as making a barometer. Attempts to get her involved in sport were soon considered futile. Often claimed when she grew up she wanted to be a doctor. Her favourite poster was not of a celebrity, but of the solar system. Would often stay awake worrying about what was there before the universe started. Even though she received roller blades one Christmas, she turned out to be much more excited about the microscope set she had begged for. She could then be seen for hours outside collecting specimens (mostly leaves because bugs are gross), dissecting them, and staining them to look at under the microscope. There was a period of optimism once she became a teen that she would turn out normal (with a short duration of being interested in girly things like lip gloss and backstreet boys), but alas, these disappeared once she decided to read psychology textbooks for amusement. She is now a PhD candidate, and all hope is lost for her not being a nerd.

You too can buy a microscope set for your nerdy kid here. Though why encourage it, really.

As illustrated in this case study, you can see that the nerdiness only grew worse with time. It is important to recognise nerdy behaviours early on and act accordingly.  

Possible outcomes of having a nerd as a child may include: them having a PhD, winning a Nobel Prize, making millions of dollars from patenting an awesome idea ... scary stuff.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Cool and/or nerdy apps

Since I recently bought an iPad, and also own an iPhone (no apple did not sponsor this post) I thought I would mention a few apps that I think are pretty cool - but keep in mind that I am a giant nerd (and have never proclaimed otherwise). As such you may not find them as interesting as I do if you aren't as similarly nerdy. 

Star walk even works in daytime!
Star walk - hold the iPad up to the sky and it will tell you what constellations you're looking at! This app is extremely well made, and very fun to use. It is very pretty - everyone I show makes this noise: "ooooooooh" - but this app also is very clever and makes me feel like a back up career in astronomy is possible yet!

Pocketshrink - this one is specifically for iPhone. The point is that you can use these apps to diagnose yourself with 3 different disorders: ADHD, Panic disorder, and Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I generally think using the internet or an app to diagnose yourself is a bit dodgy - however I actually know some of the people involved in developing it, so have reason to think it's fairly legit (Hint: if you're using your iPhone to check if you have NPD, and also at the same time using it as a mirror, you probably do have it hehe).

Ted - "riveting talks by remarkable people, free to the world". Ted talks involve a huge variety of speakers on a wide range of topics, and are well worth watching if you want to be challenged, entertained, or amazed (or all of those). I was excited to find out Ted also comes in app form, so you can take it wherever you go and watch when you have a spare few minutes.

Wikipanion - Although I constantly warn the students I teach to never cite Wikipedia as a reference, I do actually use it a lot to start my search on a topic. Wikipanion makes this very easy when trying to search from my iPad. It is very easy to navigate, and quite intuitive. Much better than trying to search the website from the iPad or my phone. See also Howstuffworks - This app includes over 40 000 articles, and 12 000 videos, as well as quizzes. Informative and also amusing.

Brain Pro - The anatomy of the brain is simply amazing, and this is a great app to explore this. You can view the brain from different angles, at different depths, and using different brain slices. You can make little pins pop up on all the different brain areas (just like when I was in neuroanatomy in uni) and each pin will give you information about what that brain area does. There are also quizzes (that aren't easy I'll tell you that much!), not to mention that it's just really pretty. Awesome.
[pic via]

Some of these apps I've mentioned are free, and a couple are on the slightly pricey side, but I do think they are worth getting. As you can probably tell, I did go a bit app crazy, and my credit card definitely noticed! At least the ones I've mentioned are somewhat educational!

What are some cool and/or nerdy apps you think are worth checking out?

Monday, 15 August 2011

10 Reasons Why Doing a PhD is Awesome

1. Legitimate excuse to sit around discussing ideas
2. You get to research an area you're actually interested in
3. The expectation that you will travel to international conferences (often with the uni paying - woohoo!)
4. It's largely your own schedule (can choose when experiments are, when to tutor, when to get up even, when to work from home)
5. Funding: scholarships, research costs, travel
6. You're still considered an apprentice so you're not expected to know everything yet (phew).
7. Don't have to leave uni and be a grown up
8. Nobody cares (well I don't think anyway) if you wear comfy clothes every day
9. Everyone else in the PhD programme is just as nerdy as you so it becomes normal - you get to realise nerdiness can be cool
10. At the end you get to be called 'Dr' :D


Saturday, 13 August 2011

The time I almost died.

Jess over at Insignficant, Yet Important is currently doing a series on near-death experiences, and she kindly invited me to talk about mine, in which I nearly drowned in the ocean. This event is the reason that 'swim at the beach' is on my 30 before 30 list. One day I hope I can get back in the water without freaking out!

The post is obviously not overly science-y, or silly, for that matter. However it is a little bit spouse-y (new word and spoiler alert), so check it out if you're interested. 


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The Husband Questionnaire

Even though my blog is 'science, spouses & silliness' I think I tend to focus on the silly part the most. So today instead I have decided to talk about the spouse part. While reading through a friend of mine's blog: Lord Girl - I came across a challenge (based on this website) to work at making my husband more of a priority. Obviously I think any successful relationship is a two-way street, but it's not going to work at all if I try to change his behaviour instead of looking closely at my own. But of course I had to put my own psych spin on it and have thus come up with my own questionnaire for him to fill out: The [husband's name] Questionnaire.

Here are a sample of some of the questions:
As if I didn't already know what he'd like me to cook!

  • What are your favourites out of the meals I've cooked?
  • What are some meals you'd like me to try cooking for you?
  • What things do I do that make you feel the most respected?
  • What things can we do to make our house a haven?
Also I wrote a list of things I do in our house and relationship and have asked him to rank order them in terms of importance so I know which I should prioritise. For example, there is no point in me spending ages cooking elaborate meals for him every day, if say he'd really just prefer I use that time to spend with him!

A true psych questionnaire requires administering it to many many people to be able to do statistics on what the average person is like. However in this case I don't care about the average person - just my husband (who could be a total outlier for all I know)! Though I do think that I can check test-retest reliability by asking the same questions again in a year's time haha. However priorities do change so the reliability might be low too but that's ok!

Gosh I am just unable to escape being a nerd, hey.

Monday, 8 August 2011

Not a very good post.

Well, in that it's really only a few bits and pieces of what I've been up to, instead of a particular story. So imagine we're catching up for a coffee (or sugarfree energy drink) and you have asked me: what's been going on lately? 

Unfortunately, nobody has yet signed up for my experiment which is a bit of a bummer. I suspended it for half of last semester to sort out biohazard issues, but now they're all fine it'd be nice if people wanted to actually do my experiment! In the mean time, I've been working on statistics and writing up my second paper (and kind of ignoring for now my first paper that needs re-working due to being rejected) which I'm finding interesting at least.

I finished reading the book The Passage. I feel this is worth mentioning, as firstly it was a really interesting book, and secondly because I was so enthralled by it that it took over a few of my days so I wasn't doing much else in that time! I'm looking forward to the second and third parts of the series.

Finally, my tax return came in on Saturday and so I bought an iPad 2! It is pretty. I am planning to do a post shortly on some really cool science/nerdy apps that I have come across.
So pretty...

Well now I should probably get back to work! Sorry for the lack of posts lately peeps, but stay tuned :)

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

Semester craziness begins.

The second semester started last week. With this comes tutoring (and I'm even doing a lecture) and also resuming experimenting (once people sign up). Obviously these are both good things in that I get paid to tutor, and I get data for my experiment. But most days I just feel like this:

PhD Comics: Undergrad Cooties

...Come back, holidays!
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