BMJ’s seasonal shenanigans

BMJ, which insists on pulling a KFC, has been in operation for a long damn time. This journal focuses on health and medical things – SERIOUS STUFF. Every month, SERIOUS STUFF. January, Febuary, March, April, May, June – you get the idea. SERIOUS STUFF, month-after-month… except… wait for it… BMJ’s Christmas issue.

source: Buzzfeed

BMJ is kinda known for its seasonal shenanigans. Last December, Smithsonian Magazine cataloged The Best of the British Medical Journal’s Goofy Christmas Papers. In December 2012, The New York Times talked about how this Journal Offers Dose of Fun for Holiday. The Wikipedia page for BMJ even mentions this tomfoolery under the section ‘Journal Content’.  BMJ has been doing this for a bit over 30 years.  That doesn’t stop folks from taking BMJ’s “goofy Christmas papers” a little too seriously.  This year is no exception.

BMJ Xmas

This one is just made for righteous indignation.

This BMJ article is all over the damn place. NPR,The Washington PostLA Times, Daily Mail, and Buzzfeed – just to name a few. The Washington Post and Buzzfeed articles provided the following heads-up:

Every year, the British Medical Journal puts out an especially, shall we say, whimsical edition in honor of the holiday season. All of the studies therein are subject to the same standards as usual, but they tend to be a bit goofier than the prestigious journal’s usual fare. [The Washington Post]

It’s worth remembering that the BMJ’s Christmas issue is well-known for featuring a rather eccentric selection of articles. While the studies are all peer-reviewed, just like other papers, the topics are…somewhat unusual. [Buzzfeed]

NPR, Daily Mail, and the LA Times did not include such statements. Could be the article authors assumed their readers knew BMJ always pulls something a bit silly in December. Could be the authors themselves simply didn’t know about BMJ’s seasonal shenanigans. I have no idea. What I do know is that I found out about BMJ being a yuletide prankster the hard-ish way.

Back in 1999, the BMJ article Shaken, not stirred: bioanalytical study of the antioxidant activities of martinis‘ was getting all sorts of buzz.  At the time, BMJ was not on my journal radar and I was ignorant to its December pranks. I got a few paragraphs into this Bond article and was all…

source: Sodahead

I mentioned this article to somebody, along with all my feels.  Luckily, that somebody set me straight before I wrote a letter to BMJ.

source: Pixgood

Exactly.  So, if you see a BMJ article marked “Christmas”, just remember…

source: tumblr


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House of Academia

1. Why we do research

source: OK Magazine

2. Why we bust our asses grading papers

source: OK Magazine

3. Our pep talk to students after that bad exam/presentation/report

source: OK Magazine

4. Post-grant submission, pre-grant decision

source: OK Magazine

5. Looking at a room full of busted lab junk when college space is at a premium

source: Complex

6. When your student or postdoc makes a boss move

source: Giphy

7. When somebody tries to pull a Armando Córdova at a science conference

8. After learning that there are two faculty/staff meetings this week

source: Vulture

9. After pulling a Reviewer #3

source: Uproxx

10. When office hours are over

source: Tumblr

11. When writing our NSF or NIH biographical sketch

source: tumblr

12. If a student tries to manipulate you into giving them a grade they didn’t earn

source: OK Magazine

13. When somebody mansplains your area of expertise to you

source: tumblr

14. Research collaboration, you say?

source: wifflegif

15. The minute you submit grades for the term

source: tumblr


Contribute your own gifs in the comments or tweet to @theJAYFK

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Scientific Publishing Flowchart!

After @ChemBark‘s investigations into A Disturbing Note in a Recent SI File and Some VERY Suspicious TEM Images in Nano Letters, plus the recent “unfortunate remark” left in the main body of a paper, we thought a Scientific Publishing Flowchart was in order!

scientific publishing flowchart


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Human Resources would like to clarify something for you

Human Resources
Any Company* With Any Damn Sense
Any City, Anywhere

Dear Colleagues,

We have received some questions about appropriate employee gatherings on the premises after an email from an outside vendor describing ’Sex Toy After Work Parties’ was received company-wide on September 23rd.  I am writing to address questions raised by this email, which is archived here.

Many of you asked if the party described in the aforementioned email would be an appropriate team-building exercise.  While this company recognizes the value-added nature of social work team activities, a ‘Sex Toy After Work’ party would be a clear violation this company’s Sexual Harassment Policy (see Section 17 of the Employee Handbook).  While approval for after-work external sales parties has been given in the past, sex toys are not Tupperware. To be clear, no ‘Sex Toys After Work’ – or similar such activities – are permitted on company property at any time. As a ‘Sex Toy After Work’ party violates company policy and is thus prohibited, answers to questions regarding the correct timecard entry codes for such a party and exceptions to the company dress code are superfluous.

We hope you find this helpful. Please review the Employee Handbook prior to our newly scheduled mandatory workshop ‘Keeping Work Professional’ next Wednesday at 2:00pm in conference room B.


Any Director of Human Resources from Any Company* With Any Damn Sense


*except, perhaps, sex toy companies


Thanks to @LadyBits for inspiration and for the bit about Tupperware!

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NIST announces new time standard

BOULDER, Colo. — The U.S. Department of Commerce’s National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) has announced that a new clock, called NIST-RD, will replace the atomic clock NIST-F2.  While NIST-F2 uses the natural resonance frequency of the cesium atom to define a second, NIST-RD uses the frequency of Richard Dawkins tweeting something asinine.

NIST scientists examine NIST-RD

“Quite frankly, we never thought we’d find something more accurate than NIST-F2,” said NIST scientist Dr. Getta Reele, explaining “NIST-F2 was three times as accurate as NIST-F1, not gaining or losing a second in about 300 million years.” That kind of accuracy seemed impossible to beat.  NIST scientists discovered, however, that the frequency of Dawkins’ asinine tweets were nearly two times as accurate as NIST-F2.

While maintaining the most accurate clock is an important mission of NIST, the decision to replace NIST-F2 with a new timekeeper wasn’t without controversy. ”We just introduced NIST-F2 for the replacement for NIST-FI in April,” says NIST clock committee member Dr. Totes Fakey. “Introducing a new timekeeper only four months later raised some eyebrows.”  Controversy soon died down, says Fakey. ”People want to know what time it actually is. NIST-RD helps them do that.”


Of course this is fake. Image is actually of NIST scientists examining NIST-F2.

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A #lionfish gif tale


Gif sources: 
Chris Pine & Zachary Quinto 
Honey Boo-Boo
Karen Walker
these gifs were tweeted by me last night
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Feynman Excuses Bingo!

This is a special guest post from @AstroKatie and @DrMRFrancis

After Ash “The Curious Wavefunction” Jogalekar wrote a mostly-good-before-veering-into-WTF-territory post on Dr. Richard Feynman, a few of us took the time to patiently explain exactly what was so dickish about Dr. Feynman. Our criticism based on documented facts – and Feynman’s own words – irritated the Feynman Fanboys™ so much that they turned out in droves to tell us Exactly How Wrong We Were to talk about The Great Man That Way.

Well…. why should all the Feynman Fanboys™ have the fun?  Using actual comments on our blogs and tweets in our social media streams, we’ve created the Feynman Excuses Bingo Card. Play along with us!

Feynman Bingo

The problem of Richard Feynman

Heroes, human “foibles”, and science outreach

Feynman is not my hero

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Look, I’m just trying to help

So, you’ve realized you’ve got some privilege.  Perhaps you’re male. Or white. Or heterosexual. Or Christian. Or highly educated. Or rich. Maybe you’re even a white male immune to hurt feelings. Whateves. You’ve recognized you’ve got some privilege and you’ve decided to use your powers for good. You’re going to help. That group over there. The one you’re not in, but can totes do a solid. Because you’ve got privilege and a plan.

…and you’ve got a superhero name and costume

This all seems like a wonderful idea. You’re self-aware. You’ve the means to help. You’ve shown up to help and now…

Look, Patrice is just trying to be helpful.

WHAT THE WHAT?! Some (or all) of the folks you’re helping don’t seem sufficiently grateful for your help. They’re questioning your motives, your approach, your helpful plan.  They are not letting you simply show up and fix things.  Perhaps they’ve even said…

pipe down, baby Darth

This is not the reaction you were expecting.  Because you have privilege and a plan. And, because…

of course

Are you really? Did you ask them if they wanted or needed your help? Did you ask how you could best help? Oh, you didn’t ask those last two questions? Then…


Really, what are you doing? Because it isn’t ‘help‘.


Captain Hammer gif from here
Patrice gif from here
Star Wars gif from here
Doing this for you gif from here
West Wing gif from here
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4 chemicals that can seriously f*ck you up (or save your life)

1. warfarin (aka “coumadin”)


Found in: Rat poison

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

This chemical helps prevents blood clots from forming. WHAT THE WHAT?” you might me saying, “I need to clot so I don’t bleed to death!” That, my friends, is a true fact.  BUT! If things go to clot cray cray…

…clots can break into pieces and travel in the blood stream, lodging in the heart (causing a heart attack), the lungs (pulmonary embolus), or the brain (stroke).

[excerpt from University of Michigan Hospitals and Health Centers 'Warfarin/Coumadin']

A bit of warfarin helps prevent that bullshit.  If you’re on warfarin, you’re under a doctor’s care and better do everything they damn well tell you.  This chemical is saving you from clot madness because it’s preventing clotting, a necessary bodily function. Dosage, follow-through, and follow-up are critical.

2. succinylcholine (aka “sux”)


Found in: Murder plots

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

This chemical paralyzes the muscles in your body from the outer extremities inwards. Sound terrifying? Damn right it does.  Deadly too, as the muscles helping you breathe will stop working.  Just how the hell is this going to save your motherfucking life?!

The administration of sux is part of the rapid sequence intubation (RSI) protocol, which means a medical team is actually trying to keep you alive – they’ve just got to paralyze you do to it.  If you’re being intubated, your airway is blocked and the RSI protocol is employed to get a breathing tube down your throat.  To get this tube in quickly, they’ll paralyze and sedate you.

Sedation means you won’t be conscious when the paralysis sets in.  Respiratory support means something will be breathing for you when the muscles involved in respiration stop working.  In 5 – 10 minutes, a clinical dose of sux wears off as it’s rapidly metabolized by your body.  The sedation will likely last longer.  The goal is that by the time you’re awake, your breathing has been stabilized and perhaps other medical issues have been (or are being) addressed. 

[excerpt from my blog post Killers that sux]

…and if you’ve been injected with sux without respiratory support and sedation?

3. Digoxin


Found in: Suicidesunnoticed homicides, hands of serial killer nurse

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

The heart is a muscle and sometimes it doesn’t work at Optimus Prime levels. Like a stoned dudebro at a DMB concert, sometimes your heart can’t get on the right beat. Digoxin is prescribed at low doses to treat congestive heart failure and abnormal heart rhythms (arrhythmias). This chemical chills out a speedy heart beat and boosts heart contraction strength.  This all sounds totes awesome, but… too much digoxin causes cardiac arrest which, YIKES!, could kill you.

4. atropine


Found in: The back-pocket of  historical and modern-day poisoners

Also found in: medicine that could save your motherfucking life

The fact that this chemical is found in a plant called ‘Deadly Nightshade‘ really underlines how fucking scary it is.

The symptoms of atropine poisoning were once summarised in the following way: hot as a hare, blind as a bat, dry as a bone, red as a beetroot, mad as a hatter.

[excerpt from Molecules of Murder: Criminal Molecules and Classic Cases by John Emsley]

Atropine fucks with your body temperature, vision (by causing your pupils to embiggen), salivary glands, blood vessels, and brain. Oh, and your heart. All of this can lead to some real damn unpleasantness, up to – and including – death.  Of course, atropine has been used to help manage certain Parkinson’s Disease symptoms, sort out cardiac arrhythmias, and serve as an antidote to nerve agents like sarin.

In conclusion…

The Persuaders – Thin Line between Love & Hate – Video (High Quality)


All chemical structures are from ChemSpider
Jay-Z gif is from gifbase
Airplane! gifs from tumblr and persephonemagazine


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App, smapp. Only our flowchart tells you if you’re an old maid

According to Slate, a Time staffer has developedhandy Facebook app that tells you whether you are an old maid.  You don’t need another app on your device. You just need our flowchart. DONE.

old maid flowchart


AARP logo from
Old Maid playing card image from
All other images from PowerPoint clipart
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