You’ve always been kind to your pet. You buy it food. Good food, that is, with a lot of proteins. Food you’d almost be eating yourself, if it wasn’t for your pet.
You’re not alone… If you were living in Brazil for example, you may be surprise to discover a very cute little pest pet inside your foody bag*. Look at this on your left. Fairly cute, don’t you think?
It’s apparently a well known cosmopolitan pet pest. Scientifically speaking, you would call it no less than Necrobia rufipes, but I do like the vernacular Red-legged Ham Beetle. So when you buy a pet food bag, and bring it back home, one would say you’ve won some carry on insects!
* – R. Gredilha & A.F. Lima (2007). First record of Necrobia rufipes (De Geer, 1775) (Coleoptera; Cleridae) associated with pet food in Brazil”. Brazilian Journal of Biology 1 : 67.
No later than two weeks ago, I’ve met with a very nice insect. Trichodes apiarius, that’s for a name. I like this beetle, and the latest time I saw one was something like 11 years ago. Quite a long time. Well, I’ve been in & out and it is infeodated to Europe so I’ve lost touch for a good reason at least (although the Genus extend into North America, I didn’t encounter any). Nice to see you again, little beastie!
This looks like time to go to the fields. Earth is warming up slowly, rains are awaking late spring plants and flowers eventually blossom.
Now you have to guess. These are pictures from a calcareous slope, fortunately exposed deeply in Southern sun. What are you going to expect there that makes Seeds Aside running all around like furious (but quite happy)? Do you see anything? You have a few days to make it…
Before I share with you what’s probably my most unpleasant experience this year, let’s have some background setting info. This was during a (yearly) national application campaign to fill up full-time research positions. Basically you come up with your own research plan and a lab willing to defend your application. You have 10 minutes to convincingly present yourself and argue* about your outstanding research project and (best) your 10-year (pun intended) perspective in science. Every applicant is interviewed (though this rule will probably change in the next future, because this results into a time-costly and administratively procedural application round). In the session I was applying to, we were 80 candidates to 4 opening positions. Not a bad ratio, quite the contrary. But statistics show that your odds ending up with a position only become slightly greater than zero when you’ve published over 10 papers (the unofficial minima required), if possible all in the top 5 journals of your field. My application was thus slightly borderline of course, therefore I wasn’t expecting much beyond a “see what happens“. A lot of people encourage you to do so (“scientific tourism“), so that at least you’ve already experienced the bitterness when your time comes up, and you can withstand the harshest criticisms. As a consequence, I was ready for a cold shower. I hadn’t prepared myself for the interview instant killer though… (more…)
Sorry people I wasn’t really here in the internet recently. And posts were quite less about science bits but sock odds (at least there were sock options). I have a temporarily paper reading block. It does not help, you guess. I think this might have to do with being somewhat tired making up new projects without ever having the chance to realise one. Not to say I should have necessarily had the opportunity to do most (I have to admit some were quite bad), but keeping your projects in a back drawer is sort of frustrating in the long run. Particularly when you’re too deeply committed (hey, they’re mine after all!).
That said, I had my first real position interview last month (next one by the end of the month, so be prepared to very slow blogging activity in here), and I realise I didn’t post anything about it. It went bad, but that’s not too bad as I was anticipating it. Curiously, it took a very unexpected flip, and I think it is illustrating a rather unfortunate side of science, that is, when people get so accostumed to a way of reasonning that any other must be fallacious.
I pondered the possibility for an actual post about it in here and couldn’t reach for a decision (note that it’s cold and I don’t think it would be damaging whatsoever). So why not let you decide? Here is a poll as to whether I should digress on an interview instant killer…