Compliments for 100 Dollars

conversations, funny, Pepper, random

Shedding Light

I walk past a middle school at lunch every day. Most days we all just carry on with our own work (mine: dog walking, theirs: game playing), but today was different.

As I walked by the school yard, one of the kids kicked a ball over the fence and across the street. She asked if I would throw it back over, apologizing a lot as she did. It’s no real burden for me, so I retrieved it and threw it back over.

Another student asked if I could help retrieve a second ball, and then a third (there wasn’t a fourth). Again, not a problem, so I returned those balls as well. And then he said this:

“You’re so generous! Thank you! If I could pay you $100 I would, but I don’t have any money. Your dog is beautiful and healthy. Have a good day!”

Now, I can’t be…

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Academic Science and the Gig Economy

Academic Gig Economy, Funding, Science

This Ȼ Life

Many of those working in academia have anecdotal glimpses of the changing nature of the workforce; from endless postdoc purgatory to the armies of temporary technicians, a world very much removed from previous decades of apparent stable employment. A paper published recently in PNAS has confirmed these suspicions; Milojević and colleagues looked at changes in authorship in leading journals of representative fields in each of the three major scientific disciplines (astronomy, ecology, and robotics) to determine the longevity of the average scientific career. Their results give a nasty shock. By splitting authorship into two categories (‘lead’ and ‘supporting’ roles) and tracking when authors appear and disappear from published works, the paper determines that since the 1960’s academic science has relied increasingly on a temporary workforce.

Furthermore, the length of a scientific career has been dramatically shortened in recent decades, “…from relatively long survival times in the 1980s to very rapid…

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