Monday, May 27, 2013

My First Journal Club and Seniority Battles

 Dear Diary,

At group meeting today, the chores were re-alloted.  So were the desks.  The selections were determined by seniority.  For the record, the order was

Professor Burke

I assume that undergraduate Kevin is somewhere in the middle, but he didn't come to the meeting.

Professor Burke decided to keep his office and Lucas took Stephano's desk. Everyone else passed on Lucas' old desk, so I now occupy a small corner desk with a lovely photo of a tropical beach on an American Lung Association calendar. Next month: The Grand Canyon! I also scored a sweet peg-board for important looking notes.

As soon as the new post-doc arrives, we will be shuffling the desks again.  I'll have to find a way to make sure that he doesn't want my desk because clearly it's the best one and the envy of everyone in the group.

A second seniority draft was held for computing resources.  People tend to get rid of their older, noisier computers for newer, quieter computers.  Li wanted something running a Mac operating system and some shuffling occurred sending Justin's machine to Li, Raphael's to Justin, and Raphael getting a new computer.

Professor Burke reassigned chores.  It looks like someone has to take John and Lucas's old jobs, so I'll be both the new group meeting note taker and web manager!  Lucas' job will be hard to perform since he has the refined dry wit and humor of a cartoon in the New Yorker.  I'm worried that they'll soon learn my humor of choice is physical comedy and that it won't translate onto the page.  John has given me stern warnings to always be funny which I suppose includes continuing to post mathematically themed cat pictures on the website.  I'll also have to learn how to program a website...

We then had a journal club where people brought in papers to share by giving a short presentation.  Everyone should always have a backup, peer-reviewed paper handy, so I've decided to carry a printout in my back pocket and put a copy on the pbe server under /elib/tex just in case there's a sneak-Journal Club attack.

Professor Burke finished by telling us how rotten the academic job market is, how professors never have time for anything fun, and the likelihood that we'll all have to become dancers after the sequester takes away all our funding.  The good news is he was able to clear out his unread email messages over the Memorial Day vacation.  Hooray!

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