A day in the life of a genome biologist in the not-too-distant future

12 04 2007

by Gregory A Petsko

Megalopolis, United States of Western Hemisphere, 18 June 2273. Thefollowing fragment was uncovered in an underwater archaeological dig,on the site now generally believed to be the location of the almostmythical engineering school, Screwloose La Tech. Ever since globalwarming led to the flooding of the entire Eastern Seaboard of NorthAmerica in 2138, artifacts from the Cambrian Period, as the period ofthe great universities in Cambridge is called, have been very hard tocome by. This document is therefore of great historical significance.Nothing is known about the writer, except that similarities of stylesuggest that he may actually have been the same as the master of the Genome Biology columns, whose work has recently been challenged as fraudulent.

Pursuantto Federal Paperwork Reduction Act 3,671 of 2016, herewith is submitteddaily activities report for Saturday, 3 June 2030.

7:44 am to 8:02 am. Arrivedshuttle parking lot number 4, located 11.25 miles from campus. Turnedoff motor on electric car and detached mandatory passive restraintdevices (seat belt, shoulder harness, neck brace, ankle restraints andwrist locks) before exiting. Plugged battery cord into recharger builtinto parking meter. Inserted $255 in five dollar coins to cover dailyparking and battery charging costs. [Personal note: must remember toget more five dollar coins from bank. Ever since university raisedoff-campus parking fees for faculty to $41,000 per year, have beenlugging around more bags of coins than an armored car.] Waited 30minutes for shuttle bus to campus.

8:46 am to 9:27 am. Arrivedat office. Couldn’t unlock door because minor head cold has alteredappearance of eyes and eyeball-scanner security device couldn’trecognize them. Waited 30 minutes for campus swat team to respond tosecurity alarm and unlock door.

9:28 am to 11:11 am. Turnedon computer and checked email. Only 1,459 new messages since lastnight. Ran new Microsoft anti-spam program, which automatically deleted832 of them, including message from mother. Ran newer Microsoftanti-spam bug fixer, which restored message from mother and other 831junk messages, plus 204 new junk messages it found from somewhere.Switched to personal examination of messages. Found that only twomessages actually were important; all others were spam, includingmessage from mother.

11:12 am to 11:54 am. Surpriseinspection by agents from Government Office for Toxicity Checking andHazard Assessment (GOTCHA). Examined all labs-on-chips at every studentdesk-bench. Found four minor violations (two chips were not dusted andthe dust from two others was not properly collected and stored). Eversince scientific responsibility for wrongdoing (SCREW) mandate of 2020,signed into law by President George IJK Bush IV, scientist responsiblefor laboratory must pay fines for any GOTCHA violations immediatelyfrom personal funds. Presented debit card to agents for fines of $4,400($1,100 per violation). Oh well, still a lot better than last week.

11:55 am to 12:39 pm. Metwith two students from advanced genomic, cell, molecular andpsychological neurosociobiology course. Listened to complaints abouttheir midterm grade. Students argued that grade of A+++, well belowclass average, severely hampered their ability to gain admission tomedical school and therefore constituted grievous psychological harm.Threatened to inflict equivalent grievous bodily harm unless I changedgrades. Ever since mandatory American national interpersonal armamentconcealment (MANIAC) statute law, signed by President George LMN BushV, required that all citizens carry concealed weapons at all times,such student-faculty disputes have become easier to resolve. Startedreaching for pocket grenade launcher but then considered that odds of2-against-1 dictated non-violent response. Changed grades to classaverage of Super-A+++++++.

12:40 pm to 12:45 am. Atelunch, which as always consisted of trans-fat sandwich on tobacco leafbread. Paused to reflect how amazing that earlier generations ofscientists actually considered this unhealthy – exactly the opposite ofwhat careful research has now shown.

12:45 pm to 1:56 am. Reviewedresults of latest genome sequencing project in the lab. Sequence ofgerbil genome, begun at 12 noon, now complete. Immediately entered fileof results into Microsoft Office 2025, which immediately crashed aftererasing file. Restored file from backup microdot and relaunchedprogram, which proceeded to write paper describing results, includingchanging spelling of my name to something it liked better. Attempted tochange name back only to be told by the program that it was smarterthan me, always would be smarter than me, and that I should go away andlet my betters do their job. [Personal note: visit district court andchange spelling of my name to that used by program].

1:56 am to 2:39 pm. Submitted finished manuscript, with Bill Gates III first author, as he is on all papers everywhere, to Nature Gerbil, Gerbil Cell, Gerbil Genome Biology, PloS Gerbil, and Current Gerbil Biology. (Ever since famous Supreme Court decision in case of J Craig Venter vs Nature, Science and Cell,scientists have had the right to submit their papers simultaneously toas many journals as they like, and to have the same paper published inup to five journals at once.) Since the Harold Varmus overthrow ofcapitolism (HAVOC) Act of 2011 made it illegal for journals to rejectpapers or to make a profit, all journals now accept all papersautomatically so paper was immediately accepted by all five. Shouldappear on-line sometime in 2037 if the backlog doesn’t get worse.

2:39 am to 3:55 pm. Attendedmandatory daily sensitivity training workshop, required of all facultyby the Office of Self-Esteem, which has controlled all US universitiessince the Political Correctness Wars of 2014. Was reminded yet againthat any idea, no matter how idiotic, must be respected since to dootherwise would stifle student creativity and self-expression.

3:55 pm to 4:00 pm. Thought about meaning of results of research.

4:00 pm to 6:15 pm. RealizedI had forgotten to check e-mail for several hours. Found 2,651 newmessages. Not bad. Deleted all except offer from ex-Nigerian governmentofficial who wants to give me $24 billion in return for promise tothink happy thoughts about him. Must look into this tomorrow.

6:15 pm to 7 pm. Packedup to go home. Waited 45 minutes for shuttle bus to parking lot. Whilewaiting, checked latest news on iPhone. Still no progress on ending warin Iraq.

Cited from Genome Biology ©2007 BioMed Central Ltd

Sterding: 昨天下午跟Grace聊了一会儿,算是正式交接了CIB主席的职位!终于可以安下心来做我自己要做的事情了。最近有想法,希望把blog换一个地方,不再写那些风花雪月的心情琐事,纯粹一点做research相关的东西(even though I have not hoped my life to be like the article described).

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