The folks over at The Science Creative Quarterly have hit on a stellar idea. They call it the Order of the Science Scouts of Exemplary Repute and Above Average Physique, and this is their (or should I say our) badge:
To qualify for membership, you have to meet their standards, not least you have to be "mostly in agreement with the truth". And, just like the normal scouts (now there's an oxymoron), there are merit badges. It's no fun just to show your badges. As you'll see, the whole point is to tell the story behind them. Turns out I have pre-qualified for 17 OOTSSOERAAAP badges myself. That's a lot of stories to tell, so I thought I'd add them a few at a time. Here's the first tranche:
Note: to see how one earns each badge, visit OOTSSOERAAAP.
The "talking science" badge. Well, this is sort of a no-brainer (or, perhaps, a brainer). I talk science, sometimes inducing acute boredom in others. I do think I deserve a special mention for talking so much science once that I lost my voice. Then I croaked science.
The “I blog about science” badge. Another no-brainer. See my posts on this blog. Nearly every one is about science. Some of the meatier ones are here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here.
The "arts and crafts" badge. My dear friend Jennie with whom I sat back to back for four years during grad school (and we still managed to like each other at the end), is my chief witness on this one. Some of our crafty sciencegeek hijinks included:
1) Home decorating ... but in the lab. You see, we spent an awful lot of time in there. And there weren't any windows. Add to that the sound of an interminably noisy shaking incubator named "Caligula", and what you get is a near-perfect prison cell. So, we did what any light-deprived grad students would do. We painted our lab orange.
2) Dissertation procrastination by means of arts and crafts. Some people go to the pub, some play video games, Jennie and I did arts and crafts, mostly using Photoshop. It could not possibly have helped me finish my PhD to have created variously colourised versions of this DAPI-stained Drosophila egg chamber (left), but I did it anyways (right).
The "I'm pretty comfortable around an open flame" badge. I have used bunsen burners to sterilise implements, yes, but also to clean my bench. It's very simple, you just (a) squirt benchtop with 100% ethanol and wipe all around, (b) light on fire. Voila, a sterile benchtop. Perfect right before a three-day weekend ...or after some less than tidy lab mate uses your bench for something, well, less than tidy.
Coming soon, badges 5-17. I know you can't wait.