Smoothing Out The Grind.

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Part of being a graduate student is liberation! Finally, free of from the shackles of introductory undergraduate classes that are accompanied by the colossus that is studying. Regrettably, being a grad student also pins you into the category of very cheap labor. I personally felt an annoyance of three parts the day I found out that my assistant, a summer student, is paid better than I am because he is paid by the hour.

Though I cannot speak for all graduate students, I do know that for most of my fellow laboratory trainees there exists robots capable of easily automating the larger portion of the bench work we do. That being the case, I am old friends with repetition, a slow and torturous soul-killer that is known to many others as well. Of course repetition is our friend in many ways, helping to squeak our n-values towards significance, still it is also the bane of maintaining an interesting existence.

In my valiant attempts to combat the trials of monotony I have spent a good deal of time sampling the various options available to aid me in battle. Of course the go-to for most people is music, which is all well and good for a lot of people but I have grown to find it disappointingly unstimulating in the long-haul. So what was next for me? Technically I first tried listening to TEDtalk videos as well as talk-radio, but we’ll skip straight to the best thing so far, and that is podcasts! (more…)

Holiday Letter Three: Ode to two public radio podcasts

Dear Jian Gomeshi & Ira Glass,

You host two of my favourite podcasts – Q (Jian) and This American Life (Ira). Your shows differ in format, focus and country of origin, but coincide in their optimism about the possibilities of public radio journalism and their interest in human stories. I listen to your shows while I exercise, while I travel within and beyond Montreal, while I cook, while I do work around the house, while I make my many ‘to do’ lists and sometimes while I fall asleep. Unbeknownst to you, we spend a lot of quality time together and, in the spirit of optimizing that time, I offer the following suggestions for the upcoming year.

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