Archive for the ‘Quotations’ Category

Ten Things I Love About My Academic Job

Wrapping up a great first day of the “Let’s Have An Awesome Time Doing Science!” conference/unconference, Ron Vale, Chair of the Department of Cellular and Molecular Biology at UCSF, endeavored to impart some optimism and positivity to some proceedings that would no doubt also explore some of the challenges and downsides of doing science.

He began by telling us that he has friends in more lucrative jobs that are anxious to retire.  They’re always talking about how they hope to be able to retire five or ten years early – not because they have something in particular they long to do – they just don’t enjoy their careers and want them to end so they can do something else.

Ron said that someday he will retire from his position as a university professor – but he doesn’t look forward to it.  Like his family, his job is integral to his life and who he is.

His presentation was entitled, “Why I Love My Job,” and was structured around a Letterman-style Top 10 List (though in no particular order).  He spoke for several minutes on each point, and the list itself doesn’t really do the presentation justice, but he successfully conveyed how much he loves his job.

Ten Things I Love About My Academic Job
by Ron Vale

1.  Freedom to choose your own directions (like Ira Mellman said earlier, “I am serially interested”)
2.  Reinventing oneself throughout one’s career – flexibility
3.  Participating in a great era of discovery
4.  Being part of an international community joined by common interests
5.  Pleasant travels
6.  A social and “youthful” job
7.  Many measures of “success”
8.  Flexible daily schedule (“I don’t have to report to the office when the stock market opens”  “I own one suit and a bunch of t-shirts”)
9.  Doing some good
10.  Scholarship

International Year of Astronomy Video on

I have a new video essay on about Galileo and the International Year of Astronomy. It features exoplanet hunter extraordinaire Geoff Marcy and Ben Burress of the Chabot Space and Science Center.

Check it out. Let me know what you think. And get your own Galileoscope!… Science Comedian Interview

Someone I met via TwitterDelia the Artist – just interviewed me for  Current has a shorter, edited version of the interview but Delia is hosting the full interview on her own site.

And, oh look!  Here comes the full version now…

Where does science meet comedy?
Somewhere in Brian Malow’s universe.

From museums to comedy clubs, Earth’s Premier Science Comedian brings the funny to the hilarious 5th installment of Science is Speaking!

Read the rest of this entry »

Your Own Personal Cheesus

Looks like Frito-Lay is getting into the God Game.  A couple from my home state of Texas, found a one-armed two-inch praying Jesus in a bag of Cheetos purchased at a gas station.

Yes, it’s the traditional Second Coming story, just as you remember it.

Sarah Bell was eating the Cheetos out of her hand and she had already eaten most of the disciples when she discovered Him.  “It is a reminder of our blessings from God, but primarily I think it’s a funny Cheeto,” says Mrs. Bell.

She adds that her first reaction was, “Let’s put this on eBay.”

Of course!  Look!  A reminder of our blessings from God!…  how much do you think we can get for it?

“Thing is,” says Mr. Bell, “If it’s only 25 cents, we’re probably just gonna eat it.”

The artificial cheese-flavored body of Christ.

See for yourself…





This is not the first appearance of Jesus in a bag of Cheetos.  Check the sidebar on YouTube.  For instance, CBS reported a Cheesus on the Cross last year.





Science Comedian Slashdotted!

I’ve lost my virginity!  I’ve been slashdotted!

If you found your way here from there – thanks for stopping by.  The blog is relatively new.  There will much image, audio, video, and text content added in the coming months.

To find your way from here to there:
Stand-Up Comic Makes Science Funny

Thanks to Andrew Hessel for first bringing it to my attention (it became pretty obvious soon after that!).

It feels like a rite of passage – like a geek bar mitzvah.  Today I am a man geek!

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Nature Abhors a Science Comedian

“I am at two with Nature.”  –  Woody Allen

* * *

Unlike Woody, today I am at one with Nature…  the magazine, anyway.  One page of it.

There’s a short Q&A with me in the current issue of Nature.  The writer/interviewer is Nick Thomas, who is not only a chemistry professor but also an impressively prolific freelance writer.

The photo was taken at SciFoo 2008 by John Gilbey…  although the background has been entirely photoshopped out, leaving me looking like a cut out for a Monty Python animation.

Still, I’m in Nature.  That’s pretty cool.

Did I say “abhors”?  I meant “adores.”

Paul Simon – The Way We Look to a Distant Constellation

These are the days of miracle and wonder
This is the long distance call
The way the camera follows us in slo-mo
The way we look to us all
The way we look to a distant constellation
That’s dying in a corner of the sky
These are the days of miracle and wonder
And don’t cry, baby, don’t cry
Don’t cry

– Paul Simon, “The Boy in the Bubble” (from the Graceland album)

Science Foo Camp 2008 on Nature Podcast

While at Science Foo Camp 2008, I grabbed a few quick interviews for the Nature podcast, which was posted today on  Just a few soundbites from attendees David Bauer, Brian Cox, Chris Patil, and Martin Rees. And a shout out to me.

It’s the latest episode so, for now, you can find it here.  When it gets moved to the archive, I’ll link to its permanent location.*

Thanks to everyone who took the time to speak to me!

* Update:  Here’s the podcast episode (21 August 2008) in mp3.  And also a text transcription.

Gregory Benford Quotation on Passion

“Passion is inversely proportional to the amount of real information available.”

Gregory Benford‘s law of controversy (an adage from his 1980 novel Timescape).

Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?

Q: Do androids dream of electric sheep?

A: Only the ones from the Deep South. The others dream of electric French maids.

– Brian Malow