Tuesday, October 13, 2009

My dog has quite the lifestyle

Molecule of the Day points out how easy it ought to be to put our dogs on diets. Feed them less, right? So why are there diet drugs for dogs? Maybe it's about our inability to control our interactions with food, even to ask our dogs to abstain. Or maybe it's about sharing our concerns about weight with the family members that so far have been blissfully unaware of this American obsession. Or maybe there are drugs out there that could have use in people but just haven't made it through FDA approval.

Whatever the reasons may be I have to laugh as I think about these as lifestyle drugs for dogs. My dog has quite the lifestyle. No work, free food and drink, lots of affirmation and attention, and no responsibilities to anybody.

Friday, October 9, 2009

That was fun.

A helpless audience of GS199 students were subjected to 50 minutes of joy-filled rambling by me today, on the subject of Green Chemistry. Oooh I had fun! I hope that they did, too. It was an interesting experience, explaining this to a general audience. I appreciated their interest. It is a very fun story to tell, optimistic and varied and full of good characters.

Featured tales of Green Chemistry successes were the ibuprofen synthesis, TAML oxidant activators, and Non-fluorous, highly CO2-soluble materials.

Links are to the EPA summaries of the projects.

Now it's time to get out and enjoy the weekend.

What are they looking for?

Tis the season that recommendation letter-writing is beginning to wind down, just as the school year is beginning to wind up. I think this week is the first time in about 3 months that I haven't had somebody's letter request sitting on my to-do list. I'll admit it: I am relieved.

It's not that it's a job I don't like, it's just that it is a job. Crafting a letter that is honest, professional, and that gets the message right can be a difficult thing to do.

As I look out over the sea of expectant faces in my new classes I know that this coming year will bring more requests. I'm already watching for the qualities of character I hope to be able to write about later. Those would include things like flexibility, honesty, drive, and the abilities to both listen carefully and act decisively.

Students out there who know or think they know that they'll be seeking admission to medical or other professional health programs, studentdoctor.net has an article that does a good job of explaining how to think about and manage your presentation of yourself in your personal essay. Much of what is here is also relevant to how you might want to be perceived for letters of recommendation. This might be valuable reading.