Reader, whether on cell phone, laptop, tablet or
desk top, you may have a general preference, or not. Yet,
most will use your cell phones for many communication
and data managing. In fact you may even control
experiments via cell phones.
This post is not offering a recommendation for your choice.
It is aimed at alerting you to the real problem of losing
control of your identity by making public your cell phone
This is something you should carefully limit, like giving
out your id or password.
Online hackers are targeting cell phone numbers increasingly
as their use for many things increases. An article by M.
Stokes highlights a half dozen items that may signal your
cell phone number has been hacked– shorter battery life,
interrupted performance, increased data use, uninitiated
calls or texts from your phone, and mysterious pop-ups and
trapped into a cell phone hacking situation. It is worth
Do you reckon how many situations you “choose” to accept
a subscription? Your yearly membership in ACS– subscription
[how many years have you been a member?] , Marriott hotel
chain ‘elite’ member, Netflix subscription, Amazon ‘prime’,
New York Times online subscription, journal subscriptions
(both personal and institution). Business has adopted the
model that individuals do not ‘own’ things, memberships,
and even personal items. It is evolving to ‘things-as-a service.’
and others have indicated a change to the time
covered the subscription model in some detail showing
how they use AI and collect and parse your personal data for
increased sales without human interaction.
Marketing is different for ownership and subscription models.
Ownership is driven by getting you interested in one time
purchase. Whereas subscription marketing has
-streamlined purchasing, with the company knowing
everything about you
-advertised easier returns and breaking off subscription,
if satisfaction is not met
-with the aim to keep you as a subscriber, there a regular
upgrades and improvements, new content and features
-many subscription services allow you to pick specific
items for your needs and wants.
Know that the chemical enterprise is already deeply
involved in the subscription model. R&D is likely to
be headed there.
It is just as hard now, as it was in the past, to assess reports
of data. In the past, one would have to wait until there was
enough sample size using the specific question. So often
now we need to assess the bias inherent in the source.
[If data is published in peer reviewed journals by a variety
of established authors, it is likely worth using the results and
conclusions. What must be factored in is that publications support
awarding of grants and promotions. Publications represent
a time-honored path. Things can be proven wrong, but rarely
do these kinds of results find the light of day.]
Think about business news or about scientific data, hypotheses
and conclusions in “news.” So much is hampered by bias from
various sources. In science, we speak about the importance of
controls or control charts and sample size. The logic of
conclusions and validity of models also play essential roles.
There is an equivalence in the non-scientific world of looking
at ‘news cycles’ and marketing of ideas. In addition, we are
encouraged to realize the emotional content and repeat frequency
with catchy easy phrases that sway human thinking when there
is not an equally persuasive rebuttal.
There was a time when audiences believed that there was an
editor and fact checker for what is reported in media. It seems
like this is no longer the case as the money driven enterprises
seek ready-viewers and ready-readers. So common now summaries
of habits miss that dimension.
Nonetheless, polls depend on the question raised, options of
answers, the sample size and variety, timing and context.
They are of a different “reality.”
to report, consume and believe the news we pay attention to.
It is of high value to highlight journalism best practices
using the scientific method.
Realizing most scientists and engineers receive little
specific training in grad school or their careers related
to patent applications. It is instructive to see the next
in the series of contributions by
Taylor Jennings and Maria Inman.
Their summary reveals the significant content: contains a
synopsis of the discovery of Lithium - LiMPO4 materials
followed by (1) filing provisional patent applications, (2)
filing of utility patent application, and (3) filing continuation -
in - part patent applications,
The strong article clarifies differences between the two
kinds of applications and the requirements to maintain
Provisional Patent application
-claims NOT required
-will not be examined and not issued as a patent
-cannot claim domestic or foreign priority
-21 year term if nonprovisional is filed in 12 months.
(utility is a nonprovisional patent application)
The Jennings and Inman series of Interface articles is
Debilitating illness related to stress may not happen to you
for a long time. It happened to me, a Ph.D. after 3 1/2 years
of grad school with 3 hot offers a month after my defense and
a meaningful 44 year career in three major fields and an
unbelievable post career retirement.
Working out at a gym on an elliptical machine, I fainted (medical
term syncope) because blood did not get to my brain due to
blocked arteries. Ends up a cardiac cathetarization found
blockage in my main artery in the heart leading to open heart
triple bypass surgery. That was a year ago and resulted in a
major life change. Back to near normal again, thankfully.
What did I learn?
Take care of yourself. Manage your diet, weight, physical exercise,
annual physical. Even that is not enough, for I did that. There are
genetic contributions but it is occurring more and more frequently
as we live longer.
Family and friendships
make all the difference. I believe it is part of taking care of yourself
by looking after others in your
close circle. The stresses I see grad students point out
are real. It
is important to factor that element into your career path choice.
for recognizing this.]
Time management and organization. To me it seems to start with
goal setting and prioritization. Whether it is in grad school, post-
doc, or ina part time or full time career path position, figure out what
it is you wish to attain or grow or benefit from your effort.
Recognize any significant goal requires effort. The higher the goal,
can say something to others about you.
Work hard to develop strong personal relations with your adviser,
supervisor and mentors. Your success is part of what they wish for
as well. Share your goals with them and ask for advice. You will
be surprised by how you can be helped. Then when it is your turn,
pay it forward to others.
Stress is a root cause of diseases. WebMD points our eight stress
inducing medical issues:
- Heart disease. …
- Asthma. …
- Diabetes. …
- Headaches. …
- Depression and anxiety. …
- Gastrointestinal problems. …
- Alzheimer’s disease.
- Other conditions related to stress include:
- The common cold. …
- Weight gain. …
- Slower healing. …
- Sleep dysfunction. …
- Depression. …
- Ulcers and other stomach problems. …
- Back, neck and shoulder pain.
Don’t take things for granted.! Recognize subtle things
happen when you are stressed and it may not happen
In the days in mid-20th century, women were a smaller
fraction of class members in math, geology, chemistry,
and physics classes in many departments. This population
dynamic resulted in fewer women in scientific leadership
Implementation of programs to reach more representative
fraction of balance in leadership can benefit from thoughtful
attention, like Melinda Gates book
She argues that there are unseen benefits by broadening
the equality balance. While many organizations feel it is
nice to do but do not sense the “pipeline” permits more of
the perceived minority. In fact it is quite analogous to people
of non-Americans natives in emerging industries– their
different approaches and perspectives offers great benefits.
It often starts with men and men in families.
Ms. Gates writes about how Bill Gates driving his children
to school a couple of days a week moved other families
to share the transportation task in their families as well.
You are in a faster evolving situation, Readers, than even a
decade ago. Besides needing to learn the latest and critical
tools, trends and factoids of chemistry, biology, physics,
geology, math, statistics and software, the digital world is
transforming at an alarming, hard to keep track of pace.
Eight critical elements for your online presence include:
- your personal information
, including purchases,
apps used, websites visited are critical to accumulators.
- delete unused apps
- review spp permissions, keep them current
What do you share and post online? Avoid exposing
photos, security settings, banking-investment-biometric
data and log-ins
- With your associations changing your social networks,
friends and contact lists will evolve. Periodically review.
- Post only about others as you would have them post
Have an action plan for infections and malware. [I
regularly purchase AV software, but also use my home
owners insurance rider for computer issues
- use multiple passwords
- check your social media privacy setting; they change and
are different on different devices
- check for https:// and tools
2. Personal websites
It is incumbent on nearly all readers to consider and continuously
update their personal website
. It is not a resume or CV and
offers things outside your professional boundary and deeper
meaning of you (In mine I list my genetic genealogy and my
professional academic genealogy.)
Whether you are a student, post-doc or employed in
industry, government or academia, the internet is the leading
element now in marketing. It is both”push and pull,”requires
that technical professionals become a student of the continuously
evolving discipline of marketing
In the digital age, it is replete with the expansion of uses. Mobile
tools are personal assistants in too many to name ways. It includes
remote control of simple and complex devices. Research tools.
Digital tools permit visualization and simulations. Computational
power incorporates statistics.
- from an early age, engage and pursue beneficial uses and solutions
to practical problems. Learn from others.
- practically bring statistics into your daily, professional and practical
existence. Others are doing it to you.
5. Networking and Communication
6. Chemical Information and Government Resources.
Too often academic institutions seek originality and avoid
resources that are publicly available. It can be a missing
link to discovering or disproving hypotheses.
- explore how Chemical Information resources can work for you.
- Federal resources and reports are available through databases and search tools
Many societies and commercial publishing firms have been the
mainstay of scientific and technical publication the 20th century.
It is steared by technical reviewers and editors.
The 21st century sees the Internet providing free, open
access publication that is overtaking slow to evolve print
organizations. Textbooks are fair game.
One issue of C&EN contained several noteworthy items.
The first of three was appropriately tri-hydrogen ion reported
The story about the incidental discovery of the spectral
profile led to identification of this ion’s significance in
interstellar chemistry. (p. 18 of issue)
in properties of elements at higher pressures. It changed
an undergraduate. You mean elements have different
reactivities at higher pressures! Wow. (p. 11 of issue)
The article on retractions caught my attention (p. 16)
since that is related to a significant topic in my
Professionalism course. We had exercises, both intentional
and unintentional, on ethics, behaviors and what to do
if you observe something. Plagiarism heads the list of
root causes of retractions and one item that the article
missed that is quite important is that there are truth telling
a cost that everyone who writes for an audience should
be aware of. Several instances I have remarked on
assignments that the work looks like a copy from
another author, would you like to put things in your own
This entry starts a new dialogue called “hot buttons.”
This first button is “Motivation”. I found it curious what
” articulated on this topic, that for:
newbies (1-2 years) - “new skills or new knowledge and self
pride in accomplishing a task”
individual contributors (3-7 yrs) - “frequent communication
with higher ups” and value in work life balance [whatever that
evolving concept means]
mid-career (8-15 yrs) - “contribute to their organization’s
overall mission, goals”
sages (>16 yrs) - being able to and in a position to ‘get
It seems that business schools have influenced “motivation” asKellogg’s School
program attests. Their program offers finding
two or three personal drivers from five — 1- accomplishing meaningful
goals, 2-being part of a collaboration, 3-gaining status, 4-directing and
controlling your activities, and 5-being part of a larger effort.
This blog recognizes these academic elements. There are
two subsurface realities in our capitalistic system that need
to be realized. Reality 1
: money-profit- and advantage
dominates the economy
of the chemical enterprise. It is a big business.
[Think of bankruptcies, mergers, patent infringements, and
societies projects a ‘larger than life’ influence on results that
happen. [Mores in societies evolves over time…think of race
and gender equity.]
Few of my mentors shared this with me early in my career.
Say, you have strong technical writing skills in English.
Say, you have time (more than 4 hours a day) and credentials
that clearly show proven skills in improving technical
Well, there is a need, that some societies promote, is available
It is an interesting avocation for some, but I am not advocating
it. As I contacted an excellent technical writer to seek her
“take” on this proposal. As an article by Joanne Chen
while many people look at on-site reviews for determining
a purchase decision, objective assessment from a trusted
colleague will do better for you.
of her noteworthy comments. The remuneration is sub-standard,
sometimes it is not equitable and not timely, the feedback on
performance can seem arbitrary, without recourse.. Other,
She wisely points out that payment in advance and individual
contracts with stated expectations can avoid many troubles.
Now looking in the rear view mirror on this, it is possible
to offer a perspective.
One of the key things is to join and participate in professional
societies. This was a strong recommendation of a former
boss at Exxon Research, Jim Amick
. Our conversations led me
to pursue roles that might provide experience in leadership and
networking. It was not broadly spoken about at my first two
positions and it was not easy to get approval to attend meetings.
Yet when my turn for facing the music of job loss came,
it was my good fortune that managers encouraged me to
attend a national ACS meeting to participate in the job clearinghouse.
That led to several interviews and offers.
Weathering the storms of corporate life is mostly being in the
right place at the right time, by good relationship and
skill building. Accepting roles that are not part of my formal
background did stretch employment longevity. But looking for
volunteer opportunities for the common good– chairing meeting
sessions, reviewing articles, volunteering as local section member
at national meetings and then learning from successes of others.
Then, help others pursue their career aspirations.
As I saw happen to even the most talented colleagues, cut backs occur.
Through no fault of their own I saw many people get “sacked” and
pick themselves up and resume their career somewhere else. My
content here is to bring up end of career observations, as are described
in Mark Miller’s article
. [LISTEN TO THE PODCAST!]
- Center for Retirement Research (BC) found 37% retire earlier
(55% fail to reach age 66 target)
- one quarter of loss of jobs due to health (UMichigan,
- Workers 55 and older: unemployment rate 2.6%, but long term
unemployment of >27 weeks, is 26.6%, [that is, if you get laid off,
recovering is less likely]
- Sporadic income is hard to manage, but expecting to reach your
retirement goals set early in life, is getting harder and harder.
Pointers from Mark Miller
1. Assess your health and employment statistics in viable fields, as
time goes on.
2. Create interim plans including health care insurance and alternate
income streams that match outflows.
3. Fees and costs of retirement accounts. Look for financial advisers
who pursue your goals [interview several and don’t just depend on
Al Sklover shared one of the impacts of the 2018 tax law
change that allowed the mega wealthy a tax cut is to tax
as income any relocation reimbursement by employers.
The article recommends that new or relocated employees
ask for “grossing up” that is having extra sum of compensation
to pay for the taxes due.
Many times authors write about and speak about habits that
will help you be successful. As we come to appreciate,
winning and “success” are fleeting until the next event in a
I enjoy much of what David Brooks
writes in his NYT
editorials. One of the latest is about 2 mountains we face
in our lives–
“If the first mountain is about building up the ego and
defining the self, the second is about shedding the ego and
dissolving the self. If the first mountain is about acquisition,
the second mountain is about contribution.
On the first mountain, personal freedom is celebrated
keeping your options open, absence of restraint. But the
perfectly free life is the unattached and unremembered life.
Freedom is not an ocean you want to swim in; it it a river
you want to cross so that you can
plant yourself on the other
So the person on the second mountain is making
commitments. People who have made a commitment to a
town, a person, an institution or a cause have cast their lot
and burned the bridges behind them. They have made a
promise without expecting
a return. They are all in.
I can now usually recognize first and second mountain people.
The former have an
ultimate allegiance to self; the latter have
an ultimate allegiance to some
Supporting this are habits that build self-confidence and
lead to commitment. [taken from ]
1. delay celebration and develop a ‘reserve capacity’ to persist
2. make choices and have the mental agility to have a back-up
if first choice does not work
3. organize details, set priorities and understand root causes
4. be kind even in the face of rudeness, bitterness and
Readers of this blog might look at recent reports for:
Career path assessments and key employee skill area predictions
are also AI targets..
predicts AI will change 100 % of jobs in the future.
Suggestion: While it is nice to track trends, finding what
is likely to happen in the future and how to prepare for it
is better for our futures.
Fidelity Investments highlighted a Kiplinger article suggesting how long to keep hard-copy and/or virtual files of financial records.
Surprises include: Keep for 3 years records of spending using withdrawals from health spending and 529 accounts.
Keep for 6 years records of self-employed business income and expenses.
records of final tax returns
. (I guess this is where it might be handy to have something like Fidelity Investments, FIDSAFE
Keep Home purchase and home improvement documents, taxable account investment documents
Profile: Technology Specialist, Science and Technology Patent LLC
Style and Responsibilities
Proficient in both experimental and computational exploration of
synthesis and evaluation. Developed technology assessment
experience through post-doc and internship.
Personable and highly organized with different cultures.
Position involves bringing technical skills to bear on business
strategy and best legal practices for technology concept protection
for biomaterials, formulations, optophotonic electronics, food
Challenges and Stresses
Time is currently a limited resource with long commute,
management of household with preschool children and
current housing arrangement. Am using mentors to figure
out longer term strategies and encouragement to ask questions
and seek help.
Landing Current position and openness to new opportunities
The search for my current position that I started a month ago
faced several hurdles. We became new parrents, had my
work papers approved and dealt with several months break in
appointments. Yet we were successful due to persistence,
preparation and practice.
Just as one might expect, as soon as I started a new position
other opportunities arise. While the benefits package is quite
satisfactory and meets our needs (eg. salary exceeds ACS
Salary Comparator benchmark), I will find a way to accept
interview invitations. I do not do them from my employer’s
locations nor on employer’s time. I keep all engagements
confidential and record notes.
Interestingly, since this is a legal position “billable hours”
is a new work constraint that I am learning to include in my
Opportunities for Growth
In addition to a highly skilled staff and generous benefits,
the firm offers continuous in-house training, support for
personal growth and patent agent certification and help
in pursuing a legal education.
Are you planning international travel in the future?
I know when I was in grad school, the situation came
up that had me travel to several European countries.
Emergencies happened and we had to cut it short.
An article, Think you only need a passport?
WSJ 3-27-2019 by Scott McCartney
should be read, as it includes great trips:
- make sure your passport is valid for at least another
6 months from the end of your travel
- carry extra passport photos with white background.
[remember AAA offers photos– free for some members]
- carry at least $50 cash for on-the-spot visa fees
- register with the state department’s Smart Traveler
Enrollment Program STEP for contact with updates
- carry a copy of passports, itinerary, birth certificates,
medical prescriptions, credit cards in case of loss.
- plan a contact near home who knows where you are
and can help in an emergency
Another area of interest to readers might be journal articles,
where to publish and availability of publications.
I searched the ACS evolving policy and viewed the page
This is an area we should all take note of in consideration
with what is occurring with the rest of the global scientific
community aiming for Open Access by 2020. See details
I was tuned into this by an editorial in Interface by Jannuzzi
who linked to Richard Kiley at University College London
who wrote about the aim of “Plan S” to ensure research that
is publicly funded to be openly available. As a species we
face climate change, epidemic preparedness, major disasters.
He wrote of the Liberian government not being aware of
research of the potential impact of an Ebola outbreak.
If research was openly available and acted upon, some of
the thousands of death could have delayed to their normal
There is a sizable cost for ACS members
to participate in
OA open access. We can influence this by voicing what is
being done in proactive societies giving its members a
Clint Watts, former FBI agent, wrote a recent book “Messing with
the Enemy” and offers some helpful suggestions.
For your work on Platforms:
1. Ask whether the benefits outweigh the costs. Try to
minimize social media.
APP: Use Moment to monitor your time commitment.
2. Pop or drop our preference bubbles.
Know why we ‘like,’ tweet & share items
3. Listen or read those who oppose our preferences.
They provide the needed
reconnaissance for opposites.
4. Pick experts who are good critical thinkers. EOA
A. they have experience in their field and in the topics they
B. they have many observations in their field
C. they go through a deliberative process (analysis)
to arrive at conclusions. Structured evaluation, ask questions.
About where you seek and obtain your news, consider the abbreviation CMPP
Competency- source capable of knowing, gathering, and understanding
the information they provide
Motivation- why is the source providing the information
Product- type of information- audio, print, online, video, social. .
Each type conveys different meaning and
impressions of reality.
Process of collection- were sources primary or secondary.
Was the data selected to favor a position?
Is contrary data considered and tested?
As a twist on topics the blog shares, I wish to bring up
an intriguing book that I recommend you read– ’Zucked-
Waking up to the Facebook Catastrophe’ by Roger MaNamee,
Penguin NY 2018.
Unwittingly, many of us may be the fodder of metadata for
high tech internet operating organizations and platforms.
Then, we further participate and are entranced to follow
what the AI directed algorithms prescribe.
McNamee writes that the internet technology world follows
predictable patterns. He points out technology has two rules
of thumb– Moore’s law about integrated circuit packing
density and Metcalfe’s rule about the increasing value of
any network being proportional to the square of the number
of nodes (or members).
These result in a philosophy:
-make things appear to be free, effort-less and friction-less
to make networks and connections engage more often and
build on habits that evolve into addictions
-promote a libertarian philosophy that prioritizes individuality
over the common good. Individuals feel good about ambition
and greed. Disruption, being first and winning becomes an
The author highlights the role of the vision, value system
and connections a group of leaders, he calls the “Paypal
Mafia” have succcessfully promoted. [Named are P. Thiel,
E. Musk, R. Hoffman, M. Levchin and J. Stoppleman]
McNamee shared the finding that MoveOn.org president
described where FB and Google feeds no longer are subject
neutral but are biased to deliver likeable content and headlines
to engage emotions. [Ed Pariser]
A real stand out the book offers is a segment on B J.. Fogg
and Persuasion Technology that Silicon Valley firms employ
to compete, grow and prosper. the result is that the software
designer creates the illusion of user (you and I) control, when
it is the system (and AI) that guides every action. FB and Google
now include behavioral prediction engines that anticipate our
thoughts and emotions and offer high quality targeting for advertisers.