“Oh Tiktaalik, Transitional Form”

*sings, to the tune of “Oh god our help in ages past”
Oh Tiktaalik, transitional form
Our fav’rite pseudofish
Thy stubby legs and half formed lungs
Would make a tasty dish!
Great Tiktaalik, make us believe
ev’lution does take place
where once you flapped upon the shores
is a new amphibian race
Dear Tiktaalik, we learn in school
though millions of years hid
found is our great transitional form
“fish” walked as once you did!
Oh Tiktaallik, transitional form
through your long-fossil’d bones
ev’lution’s heard all round the world
Speech rising from the stones!

The Road I Traveled By: October Scientiae

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth.

-Robert Frost
Two roads diverged, and there I stood
Trying fruitlessly to see ahead
Tried to divine, as if I could
Both roads and where they might have led.
Immersed school, nearing journey’s end
Fearing to leave those hallowed halls
To scholarship my steps would bend
But to what ivy-covered walls?
To warm red brick, chalk dust, books piled high
Wittgenstein, Sartre, contemplation, debate
The inner world of the mind, letting life go by
To wrestle with new philosophical states?
Or to the other, stark, seeming cold
Walls folded round a hive of activity
To study the mind with test tubes and pipettes
How foreign it seemed then to me!
I took the cold road, as I thought I must
In search of cures for tortured minds
Philosophy left behind, books to dust
I walk logical paths of different kinds.
The science road, revealed to me
Was never cold nor stark
It glows with passion and energy
Making other paths seems dark.
Though now I remember my two roads
and philosophy with a sigh
I do not regret my test tube choice
And love the road I travel by.

Poem of the Day: #9

There was a grad student of yore
who had neither office nor door
at his desk in the lab, students gathered to gab
until he could stand it no more.
All this chatting he could not abide
for his writing he wished he could hide
so when no one would leave
he rolled up his sleeves
and soaked them in formaldehyde.
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Poem of the Day: #8

After Lunch
I. After lunch, it creeps
Death of my motivation
the dread Food Coma
II. The coma slips in
Data wavers on the screen
Just to close my eyes…
III. No, foul sleepiness!
I shall not submit! Hook up
My caffeine i.v.!
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Poem of the Day: #7

scooped.gif
I. the lab’s dismal air
mourning your unborn paper
alas, you’ve been scooped
II. lab mates crowd around
printed copies fly like birds
try to find a flaw
III. your data can’t die
publish you must, or perish
find a new angle

Poem of the Day: #6

The following poem is dedicated to my labmate, post-doc, and colleague. You know who you are.
Boom!
How cruel my labmate yesterday
Upon my computer screen
played dance music, bad 80’s style
“YOU BEEN RICKROLL’D!” he screamed.
At first I laughed, ’twas no big thing
And the dancing was funny and wry
but now I find, dangit, Rick’s on my mind
My labmate was too sly.
So if to you rickroll appears,
Beware, it’s untimely curse
All crazy now, it haunts my dreams
My own horror universe.

BOOM!!
You been Rickroll’d!
Sings…”never gonna give you up, never gonna let you doooown…”

Poem of the Day: #4

With apologies to Lewis Carroll, who is spinning in his grave.
‘Twas grad school, and the slithy gels
did gyre and gimble on the bench
All mimsy was the PCR
In front of this lab wench.
“Beware the Dissertation!” they cried
“The data that sucks, the committees that catch
Beware the late night hours
and woe, your weekends it will snatch!”
I took vorpal pipette in hand
long time the maximum hypothesis sought
’til rested I in papers with a sigh
and sat a while in thought.
And as in uffish thought I stood
The Dissertation, with aims unnamed
came wiffling through my fevered brain
and burbled as it came.
one-A, one-B, two-A, two-C!
And through and through
My specific aims soon to be complete
I left it dead, and took its head
to my committee to compete.
And hast thou slain the thesis aims!?
Back to the bench, young candidate!
Your standard error is glory, but a complete story
Is needed to graduate…
‘Twas grad school, and the thesis aims
did gyre and gimble, the model bent,
all mimsy mocked my data points
to this poor, sad student.
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(The Jabberwocky, aka the Thesis)