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    Lady Gaga Feels Your Pain
    By Andrea Kuszewski | January 23rd 2011 05:30 PM | 22 comments | Print | E-mail | Track Comments
    About Andrea

    Andrea is a Behavior Therapist and Consultant for children on the autism spectrum, residing in the state of FL; her background is in cognitive

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    If you've ever been a grad student, post-doc, or a research assistant, surely there have been days when you thought, "This is the worst research project on the planet. Is this really science? Does anyone else see how crazy this is? Am I the only one in this lab who speaks English?" And worst of all—"Why the hell am I putting myself through this torture?"

    Oh, yeah... a degree. That's right.

    So how do you vent your frustrations while maintaining your cool, thus preventing a nervous breakdown and/or expulsion? Channel Lady Gaga like these students did!

    Behold: "Bad Project"


    Thanks to the lovely and talented Lisa Donchak for the link!

    Comments

    vongehr
    This is the worst research project on the planet. Is this really science? Does anyone else see how crazy this is? ... Why the hell am I putting myself through this torture? ... Oh, yeah... a degree. That's right.
    I know - just another attempt to get attention with lady gaga and barbie dolls in the title in absence of anything more profound to say, but let me take it seriously nevertheless: If that is how you did your education, i.e. to get a degree and secure a place in a hierarchy, it explains a lot about why and what you write.To answer your question of "If you've ever been a grad student, post-doc, or a research assistant, surely there have been days when you thought ...", the answer is a resounding NO!!! If you take science seriously, you do not engage in such. I for my part suggested almost all research projects myself convincing my respective supervisors that my way is the way to go. If it failed at times, it was due to nature not agreeing with me, but never because the question was not a valid scientific question to ask.
    Andrea Kuszewski
    You know what, Sascha? I used to run a social skills training group for young boys with Aspergers, and I think some of the topics we covered might be helpful to you. One of the topics was "How To Recognize&Respond To Humor" and another was "How To Disagree With Your Friends Without Being A Complete Ass"—or something like that. If I can locate the program files, I'll send them to you, free of charge—just because I think you're super. (^_^)
    vongehr
    Dear Andrea, thank you very much in advance. And maybe that would be even a great subject for a science blog post, as there are quite a few who could also benefit especially in the world of science and blogs (a splash of Motl anybody?). Such could lead into a great discussion of high significance, like for example about how far social skills training for people with characteristics that deviate from the norm constitutes suppression of highly desirable input into the shitty situation the world has come to via normal human social behavior.
    I'm starting to see a trend here. In the first comment, failed experiments were due to "nature not agreeing with me" and in the second, social skills are apparently an instrument of repression that robs humanity of your potentially world-saving, norm-defying qualities. These may well be the writings of an underappreciated genius, but they *sound* awfully like the writings of a jumped-up little emo kid.

    Of course, it is entirely possible that the things that really *are* missing from "normal human social behaviour" are pretentiousness, long-windedness and a hilarious lack of self-awareness. But I doubt it. In some parallel universe ruled by wankers, there's probably a nice, funny, self-deprecating version of Sascha wondering why no one listens to him.

    vongehr
    Oh Ed - you have no idea what you are talking about. Did my pooping on Andrea's happy happy joy joy party somehow also pee pee on your own card house of identification? In case anybody doubts: Yes, my being an ass at times is a deliberate action against a certain kind of coffee house culture in the science blog community. This constant patting each other on the shoulders mutually confirming how good and funny and progressive we all are (e.g. certain online 'conferences', science cheerleading, ...) is sheer arrogance in a world like ours. Why don't they eat cake - right? If anybody is responsible, it is those that could have known better. This makes intellectuals responsible, if anybody can be at all. Do you get what that means in terms of "hilarious lack of self-awareness", dear Ed?
    Andrea Kuszewski
    This constant patting each other on the shoulders mutually confirming how good and funny and progressive we all are (e.g. certain online 'conferences', science cheerleading, ...) is sheer arrogance in a world like ours.
    Ok—so you are saying *we* (meaning myself and anyone who attends science conferences, people who commented on this post, etc) are arrogant. Hmm. Here's a definition from Merriam-Webster:

    Arrogance: an attitude of superiority manifested in an overbearing manner or in presumptuous claims or assumptions.

    Now let me redirect you to one of your own quotes from a previous comment:

    To answer your question of "If you've ever been a grad student, post-doc, or a research assistant, surely there have been days when you thought ...", the answer is a resounding NO!!! If you take science seriously, you do not engage in such. I for my part suggested almost all research projects myself convincing my respective supervisors that my way is the way to go. If it failed at times, it was due to nature not agreeing with me, but never because the question was not a valid scientific question to ask.
    Now, I'm a little confused—what about the original post of mine was arrogant? Please direct me to specific passages and instances that were taken as offensive.

    Attending conferences (like Science Online) serve to make us better science communicators, as well as provide an opportunity to develop relationships with others in the field— so comments like these occur as infrequently as possible. Maybe next year you should consider attending. I really want to believe this tool-persona you got goin on is just a desperate attempt to gain attention from those you feel rejected by.


    vongehr
    I'm a little confused—what about the original post of mine was arrogant?
    My comment was directed at Ed and answering Ed's comment. Arrogance was not mentioned in direct connection with your post. (It was referring to the palpable we-are-the-good-ones feeling in many forms of science, science outreach, ... . Stirring emotions in support of one's own side to distract from the many negative aspects, say polarization of debates through science blogs, encouraging uncritical science enthusiasm in spite of all the crap that comes under the label "science",... . If history teaches anything, it is maybe that any community feeling so good ends up being effectively bad. But this is not the place to discuss this.)
    I really want to believe this tool-persona you got goin on is just a desperate attempt to gain attention from those you feel rejected by.
    You really want to believe? Hmmm. Some clever guy said once (bad translation alarm): "there is no way to be good in a bad world". As far as I understand myself, I am fooled by pretend community aspects (e.g. science blogging communities). This makes me unreasonably concerned about being identified with stuff on other blogs that I absolutely cannot agree with (e.g. doing bad science to get a degree). Anyway - no further desire to hijack your comment thread - nobody cares about my persona. Feel free to delete what you deem trolling. I am out.
    Self-awareness is a funny thing.
    Some people are simply clueless about things they do not understand and put no effort forth to remedy.

    I vented my frustrations at some of the experiments I had to do by singing science lyrics to popular songs (example, Hey there Delilah, became "Hey look Deuterium," and was an instant classic). It is a fact of life that you can't always do the stuff you want as a lowly undergrad, post-grad, etc...
    Sasha, when you said "If you take science seriously, you do not engage in such." I found that rather distasteful. The only reason I did all those experiments was because I loved science. And those experiments, while seemingly meaningless at the time, actually helped me alot.

    Hank
    I think, rather than being the mercenary attempt to generate pageviews Sascha thinks it is, Lady Gaga invocations have become something of an inside joke, much like when when a researcher says "It has long been known that" (and they do, 75 times per month) we always hyperlink it to our Guide To Translating Scientific Papers Into Plain English.

    Here's hoping my putting Lady Gaga in this comment leads to more pageviews for you.  If not, I can try Justin Bieber.
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Seriously, posting this video was no "gimmick". I thought is was clever and funny, and relevant to many readers of my blog and other writers on this network. It was purely for amusement.

    Also, I don't post specific items/topics for "pageviews"; I post and write about things that inspire me—bottom line. Sascha needs to lighten up a lil.
    Hank
    They had me hooked at "I got your psycho, your crazy ass mice/can't read your protocol it's written in Thai"
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Oh, damn... there were so many good lines, I was laughing hysterically. Although the "I don't wanna be poor" line made me weep. :/
    That was freaking hysterical. I'm trying to imagine some of my Asian labmates putting on their animal-room duds and doing the Lady Gaga backup dances...I think they'd totally have gone for it. Every single minute of that was hilariously (in retrospect) familiar. Loved it.

    Sascha,

    Dude, you remind me of a brilliant grad student of mine, who was found one evening in his parked car, with no clothes, a handgun and blabbering on about all the furry spiders above his bed. After a brief "vacation", He finished his program, but dropped out of field and is washing cars in San Bernandino.

    Chill, play some bongos and chuckle a bit. Chasin' some 'tail might not hurt either. Trust me. You'll still have plenty of time for this science gig. ...and you will find someday that, after all, it isn’t as horrible as it looks.

    RF

    Andrea Kuszewski
    Is this..... Ceiling Feynman?!
    vongehr
    a brilliant grad student of mine, who was found one evening in his parked car, with no clothes, a handgun and blabbering on about all the furry spiders above his bed.
    Sounds like somebody had the urge to explore. Especially night shade drugs (atropine/scopolamine) make people overheat and disrobe and see objects that are not there at all (rather than just closed eyes visuals or patterns). I would guess thorn apple seed ingestion. Sad that such bright people have no legal alternative to explore states of mind in a safe and supportive setting. Brilliant people want to know, and under prohibition and all that, dosing goes often wrong.
    HedgehogFive
    My human alter ego feels every word of this song.

    However, I will not pass the link to those students who remain, since it might make them feel even worse.
    rholley
    Most apt, Andrea.  I do wonder, though, what the “Western Baby” bit refers to.  Is there some ethnically aligned exploitation implied in these words?

    Myself, I retired a few months ago.  The following video is, I think, more applicable to the older researcher.

    Robert H. Olley / Quondam Physics Department / University of Reading / England
    Andrea Kuszewski
    Heh. Happy retirement!

    Western Blot ("Blot, blot, Western baby, figure 1 will be amazing..") is type of testing equipment:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Western_blot
    I'm with Sascha, how dare we try to enjoy our lives.

    Great vid, seemed like you guys had a lot of fun making it :).

    That Gaga video is brilliant satire! My students will love it.
    Very amusing! I'm sure that a lot of effort went into this. I see on YouTube it currently has been viewed a whopping 3,600,000 times. The ratio of Likes to Dislikes was 52 to1, so I guess most viewers have a sense of humor and that a lot of people can relate.