During the pandemic it was timely to read Walter Isaacson’s
“The Codebreaker” as it brought to life the transnational process
of understanding viral RNA infections leading to mRNA vaccines.
The book, while 700 pages, was so good I needed to gift it to our
daughter who was part of CRISPR projects. Then our daughter-
in-law, a biologist, asked to get it too. [I might just gift her a copy.]
Isaacson weaves a compelling story of how curiosity driven research
has led to actual treatments for congenital diseases. It is often
related to Vannevar Bush’s report that offered
“basic curiosity driven research and science is the seed corn
that eventually leads to new technologies and innovations. Harry
Truman launched NSF based on this report.”
Codebreaker also breaks into a timely description of patents
in this realm:
“Ever since the republic of Venice in 1474 passed a
giving the inventors of any new and ingenious
device the exclusive right to
profit from it for 10 years …
…Biological patents have a long history. In 1873 the
French biologist Louis Pasteur was awarded the first
known patent for a microorganism: a method for making
yeast free from organic
germs of disease. Thus we have
pasteurized milk, juice, and wine.”
“The modern biotechnology industry was born a century
when a Stanford attorney approached Stanley Cohen
and Herbert Boyer and
convinced them to file for a patent
on the method they had devised for the manufacturing
new genes using recombinant DNA…”
Stories of the people involved in this incredible science
epic should be worth the time for scientists to peruse. He
tells of competition leading to cooperation, mentoring and
Thoughtful reading in a time of uncertainty is Adam Grant’s
It comes to mind in relation to a previous post on Multi Career
Every time we discover new information, we can
1. attach our opinions to our identities (adjust)
2. stand our ground in stubbornness of preaching and prosecuting
3. treat it like a scientific issue and evaluate with all the tools of
data collection, hypothesis testing, statistical inference and trial
Some of my take-aways from the book include:
- Define our values, not our opinions
chief among them– curiosity, continuous learning, mental
flexibility, new skills, interests, hobbies and habits
- When doubtful, reframe as a situation for growth
+learn something you do not know as a step for new
+find a way to emerge discovering something new
- Have each person you meet, teach you something
+accept conflict, reframe as debate, rather than disagreement.
Written to teach us something.
Washington Post writer provided worthwhile guidance
on attention we should give to news stories.
1. Peer Review source. Peer review can take time.
Faster release happens with preprints, containing “RXiv”
as in MedRXiv and BioRXiv and ChemRXiv
are not peer
2. Confirmation bias can inform our reading both for
and against a report.
3. Correlation is a suggestion, not definite proof, tested
4. Experimental results should be compared to honest
and reflective control experiments. Double blind controls,
sample size of experiment, subgroup interpretations,
nature (dose, animal vs. human, etc.) of test too.
5. Headlines, source and big names can dominate.
6. Political headwinds can blind science or technical report.
Filed under: Recent Posts
Posted by: site admin
@ 4:30 pm
This was my second virtual ACS meeting and I
feel it far exceeded all my expectations. It might be
worthwhile to reflect and share some things.
It goes along with Scott Galloway’s recent book, “Post Corona:
From Crisis to ‘Opportunity” where he points out that much
will be dramatically different in our future and we should
prepare for it.
To begin, I have attended more than 75 society national
meetings mostly in the US and many held by ACS. There
are different objectives in attending technical society
This latest meeting had me focus on using the
ACS be the highway for learning…. about
COVID mutations, therapies and vaccines,
global climate modeling,
micro-plastic waste reuse,
mRNA and SIGLECs,
data management for wider discipline use, and
education in the post-Corona age.
My strategy for participation involved
- serious review of the agenda (for nearly a week) to form
a meeting outline before the meeting,
- determine the best way to interact with speakers
(early in the meeting: plan to capture email addresses to
contact speakers shortly after the meeting),
- access supporting publications and follow up (COVID
was the most intensive, as the Moderna mRNA and
Michigan State study of mutations and antibody
therapies were revealing)
Positive surprises were reported, as well, including
- critical challenges of water purification near semiconductor
- stories about chemistry before chemists (R. Hoffman)
- chemical education approaches: CCI, use of movies,
FAIR standards data management and ethics
- miniaturization of biological structures
It is the middle of the ACS meeting.
I have attended more than a dozen Zoom presentations. Yet I need to
J. T. O’Connell, “Never do these two things after getting a low ball offer”
1. “Don’t take a low ball offer personally.”
2. Avoid “Reacting with AFD [anger, frustration, disappointment]
Instead, gather your thoughts, prepare a solid response and show your
mature approach and thinking.
Despite the lower offer, ask for two or three days to think it over.
In person or over zoom or phone, respectfully thank the offerer for the
J. T. wrote:
- honored that you chose me, admire what company aspires, agree
you area good fit
- this call is hard to make, offer features do not make your
- do not wish to waste time, trust if you are willing to work with me
to continue the conversation
She outlines three outcomes, yes, no and ‘approaching yes.’
If the firm adjusts its offer, they want your value. Come to an
agreement, that both sides can be happy with.
Of course, ask for things in writing. If there are legal restraints,
seek appropriate advice to protect yourself and word it precisely.
Computers, it was reported in 2020, quantum simulated a simple
John Pople and and Walter Kohn were awarded the Nobel for
contributions and developing the use of computers to understand
chemical structures with quantum mechanical concepts. (1998)
To my knowledge little has been described about the impact of
the chemical enterprise.
Sure, we can order chemicals using computers, manage
accounting and monitor reactions by computers, but in many
realms from politics to social physics to organizational behavior
to raw economics, surveillance capitalism is dominating
21st century life.
It is commodification of personal data. The
extension to chemistry where data is compiled and analyzed
with computers is only a matter of time to find applications.
Oh! My gosh!
Recent issue of CEN had a page devoted to virtual presentations.
Were you left thinking: what about screen sharing, What about file
sharing, what about “raising hands” and other details? [CEN 12-7-20,
I recall hosting virtual presentations for a class, holding classes
virtually due to snow closing, and attending virtual conferences
for various situations and groups.
While I recognize many constraints on CEN publications (ads,
graphics, font size, and layout), a brief search has discovered
Think about the program you use– Zoom, skype, google groups
Test presentation in advance and arrange for screen sharing
arrangement. (If some or all information is “dense” perhaps
send out in advance or arrange follow-up arrangement, like
Use a microphone, headphone and test elements in advance
with trial audience. Either plug in power or fully charge,
have appropriate lighting, background, privacy settings,
no interference, even some questions set up in advance.
Plan for an agenda, arrive early and prepared, have a
clock in eye view, consider having hard copy with post-its
attached for remarks and call-outs. Connect with appropriate
small-talk and situational introduction. Note the use of a
mute key and avoid using keyboard or other distraction
elements during the presentation. Stay on time.
The presentation is for the audience. How will you monitor
attention, response and feedback? Will you seek questions
and comments throughout or at specific intervals? Will
it be oral, will it be visual with text, will it be photos and
graphics? Have titles on slides that reveals the objective.
Your energy plays a role. Consider standing if it helps.
That changes the dynamics of the camera and mic arrangement.
During the Pandemic quarantining I have been taking a
number of Master Classes. At first I chose more than
a dozen about space, science, technology and economics.
The places where I was unfamiliar with the instructor
or topics were initially less of interest.
effective and authentic communication. Am I surprised
by how much I believe she has something to say and
great communication ability! In her 6th lesson she reveals
in her unique way best practices to succeed in job interviews.
Some specific take-away comments were:
- “make your mess your message”
- “early detection is key” [for all ailments and problems]
- “proximity is power” [you can influence your success by
being in the right place at the right time.]
- “Optimism is a muscle that gets stronger with use.”
Normal contracts for Master Classes are a bit pricey ($150-
185 unlimited number of classes for a year This is my 20th
class and my wife has viewed half dozen in 6 months). There are
reasonable cancellation policies if you wish to discontinue.
for a realistic review.
[I have searched for ways to view just this one class and
have not discovered any. There may be a youtube file
that you can locate, however.]
An email reached me about changing career paths
[from Zackary Crockett].
I will try to find a viable link
This can happen to many of us who are trained as
a scientist where technology takes a
hockey-stick-like shift in what methods and areas
of expertise are favored and successful.
Your mindset is your key to success, I can attest.
After grad school, I desired to apply myself to an
area where “the rubber meets the road”, practical
areas– To work in industry
After doing this for several decades, in electrochemistry,
applied solid state and polymer chemistry, photography,
statistics, I learned from a national lab researcher that
later in his career he sought areas where he noticed “gaps”
where he could bring knowledge and experience to bear.
It was a deciding moment. My targets changed.
One area that is not mentioned in the Crockett story is
changes in your health and outlook, as our careers
extend and our “perceived expertise” and creativity
might not fit our roles. Nonetheless, I recommend the
article for it may help you.
During a career discussion with a Ph.D. who is figuring out
what to do next and what it takes to succeed, we talked about
“wow” factors of candidates that separates outstanding candidates
from good, yet unprepared, candidates. [I use this term to be
kind to unsuccessful candidates.]
What is the “wow” factor and how can candidates achieve it?
described it in a Young Entrepreneurs Council discussion recently.
- go the extra distance and trying new avenues pursuing goals
- developing new interests by reading and with mentors
- adjusting to new realities while learning from the past
- while they may not grasp the culture of the interviewer, understanding
that culture fit will not be based on real skills on paper but attitude
- being a self starter and willingness to take direction while adding
Doing the right things when no one is looking
= getting things done in timely basis with a profit motive
- being humble yet having self knowledge about strengths and
Strengths and weaknesses, what are you doing about it
- be able to describe your accomplishments in perspective
Realize that each one of us needs a tailored elevator pitch tuned to
why you want the position and you are a good candidate. Also,
have personal reflections revealing wow factor elements that shows
who you are by your behaviors
Read a purposeful NYTimes articel by Charlette Cowles
that point out what professionals can and should do
in Linkedin to help you meet your goals.
In a typical fashion for community networks, she lists
this Microsoft acquisition urges members to remain
active, whatever their current and future situation.
She advises to include true representative entries
into sections– photo, skills, certifications, active
networking, practice interviews, …
Following is a summary of this year’s entries with links.
You can find 2019 Career management HERE
USA Jobs.gov Suggestion
Chris Krebs has gotten appropriate notoriety for being fired recently.
The notoriety is for standing up to bombastic misbehavior and
practicing strong professional leadership in the cyber command.
Website publishers who sign up with PushWelcome are asked
to include a small script on their page which prompts visitors
to approve notifications. In many cases, the notification approval
requests themselves are deceptive — disguised as prompts to click
“OK” to view video material, or as “CAPTCHA” requests designed
to distinguish automated bot traffic from real visitors.
But many users may not fully grasp what they are consenting
to when they approve notifications, or how to tell the difference
between a notification sent by a website and one made to
appear like an alert from the operating system or another
program that’s already installed on the device.
This is evident by the apparent scale of the infrastructure
behind a relatively new company based in Montenegro called
PushWelcome, which advertises the ability for site owners to
monetize traffic from their visitors. The company’s site currently
is ranked by Alexa.com as among the top 2,000 sites in terms of
Internet traffic globally.
Fidelity Investment provided an appropriate list of
personal documents and card that one should not carry
around on your person. Losing them can be more than
uncomfortable. And, we know how anxious we feel when
we forget or lose our wallet or purse…
Included items on the top of my list are:
password cheat sheet
Some of these are not easy to replace. One strong recommendation
is to scan front and back of all items in your wallet or purse and store
pertinent items in a secure location where you can gain easy access
(including what to do if lost numbers and addresses).
Filed under: Recent Posts
, Observ. Trends
Posted by: site admin
@ 7:58 am
We need to be aware that various actors can manipulate
audio and video files for their purposes, not truthworthy.
The article helps us see how to detect defects.
Worth reading and learning.
Read a timely contribution from Al Sklover, labor and
workplace legal expert on Navigating Covid-19 related
Issues at Work.
A. Request Information about the Workplace Safety
Measures Your Employer is Taking for Covid-19
B. Request an Exception, Modification or
Accommodation for Your Covid-19 Related Health or
C. Request Information, Forms and Procedures to
Take an FMLA Leave of Absence for Covid-19
Related Health or Family Circumstances
D. If You are not Going Back for a Covid-19 Related
Reason, Consider Using an “Involuntary Resignation”
Letter to Preserve all of Your Options
E. If Applying for Unemployment Benefits, Explain
the Safety and/or Health Reasons You Are Not
F. If You are not Going Back for a Covid-19
Related Reason, Consider Requesting a Severance
As always, Sklover’s blog contributions are most helpful.
We were at the last checking book for our credit union
account. On the top of the book is a reminder sheet to
order the next checks at an email address. So I went
through the filling the form exercise and it would charge
me more than $30 for plain checks.
That seemed much to high. So I phoned the credit union
Sandy, the representative , asked for our ages and determined
that seniors do not have to pay for new checks when ordered
through them. I googled senior checking accounts and
determined that this is a common practice.
As you approach your senior years and your parents do,
contact your credit union and ask for senior checking account
Have you heard of that book?
No, well, I am here to tell you you are missing out on a real ice-breaker
of a nonfiction written by Tom Friedman and Michael Mandelbaum.
For decades there has been a struggle between the American economy’s
desire to constantly increase productivity and the desire to maintain
blue-collar jobs. We watched
- as more machines and cheaper workers replaced
American manual laborers
- as loss of blue-collared jobs were
compensated for by creating white collar jobs
- as we see the hyper connected world
threaten white collar jobs
We do it by inventing new white collar jobs, which requires
more start-ups and better education.
Workers who can think critically, who can tackle nonroutine complex
tasks, and who can work collaboratively with teams located locally and
Critical thinking has become the basic price of admission. Look for
proven ability to innovate.
Innovation is more than conceptual thinking. It comes our of working
with the problem. Working with the materials, on the line, seeing a
problem and devising a solution. Every employee is part of the
process of continuous innovation.
EDUCATIONAL TRANSFORMATION REQUIRES WHOLE
Graduation from high school is not enough.
Six improvements are proposed:
1. better teachers and better principals
the quality of an educational system can not exceed the
quality of the teachers. A principal recruits and retains great teachers.
WE NEED A NEW EDUCATIONAL ACADEMY MODELED
AFTER MILITARY ACADEMIES.
Great teachers make the difference. Colorado can be a model
for educational improvement
Education needs its “Tuskegee Moment”- prove that children can
compete with the world’s best.
2. more involved parents that demand more in children’s education.
3. politicians who push to raise standards
4. neighbors who invest in schools even if their children are not there.
5. business leaders committed to raising educational standards
FRIEDMAN AND MANDELBAUM URGE
As globalization and IT merge, expand and advance, old
categories of developed and underdeveloped will disappear.
The world will be divided between high-imagination-enabling
countries that encourage and enable imagingation and
those countries that simply fail to develop people’s
creative capacities and abilities to spark new ideas and
nurture their extra special features.
Add to the three R’s of education– reading, writing and arithmatic
with the three C’s– critical thinking, effective oral and written
communication, and collaboration.
Several sites recommend looking in to your passport expiration
date. If less than a year, now it may be a good time for there are
concerns that delays may be in store.
One of us was close to that timing and googled passport renewal.
She went to the site and printed the form with her data. At the
bottom of the page was a form to pay a fee. ALERT. There is NO
fee for the passport renewal form DS-82! She paid it and learned
that it was a scam.
Our immediate action was to contest the credit card charge (which also
had a foreign transaction fee included. This is a further sign that it is
a bogus charge.). Please be alert and not deceived by this.
There is a fee for a new US passport and renewal. [$110′ It is
sent to the passport renewal address.
It is not enough to do good research on topics of interest and
importance. You need to formulate a strategy to present your
work so that it is read by a wider audience and referenced
as a meaningful contribution.
- attractive title”\
- storytelling introduction providing implications
- broad access (I am a supporter of open-access. Also, provide
independent links in your online presence sites to google docs,
- outreach (this is not often promoted in science communities.)
The author wrote:
“…seek out readers. …Reach out to potential audiences…
It is important to take the time to help a general audience
understand the bigger picture of whatever you do …social media,
local media, professional media.”
Broad outreach can yield interviews and support future attempts
to scientific collaboration and application.