Mistakes, accidents, and owning your shit

“It was just one mistake…”

Let’s start with the word ‘mistake‘.


We’ve all made them.  I’ve made sooooooooo many mistakes – and not just that unfortunate wedge hairdo in the late 1980s.

The key bit with mistakes is we MAKE them. You.  Me.  A mistake is something we did.  Something we did intentionally. I made a decision, probably several, which included committing to a course of action.  Because the word “mistake” is being used, those decisions and that course of action has came back to bite me in the ass.  Technically speaking, what is biting me in the ass are my mistake’s negative consequences.  Those consequences likely suck, and may seem, like, super-harsh – that doesn’t make it any less mine. I  own that shit.  I own all the shit consequences that come with that mistake that I MADE.  Because I MADE it. Intentionally.

“…but it was just one mistake.”  This is often said in the same way one would say, “…it just slipped from my hand.” As if one’s mistake isn’t a mistake, but an accident.


An ‘accident‘.  We’ve all had these too.  I accidentally fell down a flight of stairs, tearing two ligaments in my ankle. Hurt like a motherfucker and there was physical therapy and medical expenses and… well, you get the idea.

It seems of late, folks are using ‘mistake’ like ‘accident’ to affect a definition change.  Because I’m a cynical meanie, I don’t think it’s because some people don’t know their words.  Nope, I think they’re are trying to get away with bullshit.  They’re angling to avoid or minimize those pesky negative consequences.

Flying Spaghetti Monster knows, the negative consequences of a mistake can really suck.  Well, buckle up, buttercups! Because a mistake means we gambled, we lost, and now we have to pay. The payment may be more than we’d like.  More than we deem fair.  Because when we make a mistake, when we intentionally do something, we’re the one’s that get to decide on the cost of that something.


Record Scratch

Oops! My bad. We’re totes not the ones that get to decide the cost of our mistakes. That is perhaps one of the suckiest things about fucking up.

Oh, that’s a tricky one – ‘fair’.  Who get’s to decide what’s ‘fair’? The person that made the mistake? The BFFs of the person that made the mistake? The person or people one’s mistake hurt?  The BFFs of the person or people one’s mistake hurt?  The ombudsman?

Before we all start worrying and arguing over about how much we gotta pay, let’s first acknowledge that we owe. We did that shit, time to own it.




Arrested Development image from here
Definitions are screen captures from http://www.merriam-webster.com
Anne Hathaway image from here
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Let me fix that for you, PBS

PBS has issued an official statement over PBS Digital Studios‘ It’s Okay To Be Smart A Very Special Thanksgiving Special, hosted by host @jtotheizzoe.   [You'll need to scroll to the bottom to see what PBS hath spoken!]

Fear not, Red Ink has made their digital editorial suggestions and comments for PBS Digital Studios and PBS a bit easier to find…

Download (PDF, Unknown)




Editor’s note: Unfortunately, the possibility that Red Ink may actually be more than one person has impacted the quest of JAYFK’s legal department to explore the ramifications of  making the identity – or identities – of Red Ink public knowledge.  As such, legal will cease and desist said quest and exploration.



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It’s okay to let me fix that for you

When @jtotheizzoe wished us all A Very Special Thanksgiving, it was (UNDER STATEMENT ALERT!) not well-received by a number of people. In response, @jtotheizzoe issued an apology.  Red Ink has issued a LMFTFY

Download (PDF, Unknown)




Editor’s note: JAYFK’s legal department is still exploring the ramifications of making Red Ink‘s identity public knowledge.  I am confident we’ll have an answer soon… if legal remembers to charge their phones, that is…



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What This Is Really About

Somebody has said or done something messed-up.  To you.  After a bit of processing, you think you’ve figured out how that messed-up thing made you feel.  You think you’ve figured out why somebody said or did that messed-up thing.  You think you’ve figured out what that messed-up thing means in the greater context of things.

Oh, silly you!  You think all your internal reflection, careful consideration, and meaningful conversation with your intimates has enabled you to figure things out?

You know who has IT totally figured out?  You know who can cut through all your silly ramblings to get to the heart of the matter?  You know who can lift you out of your ignorance and into the light of What This Is Really About?

Of course you want to know who can tell you What This Is Really About!  Allow the experts to explain…

First, they’ll tell you what your messed-up thing is not really about.  It’s not really about any of the “-isms” or “-phobias” (racism, sexism, classicism, homophobia, transphobia, etc.).  But, being magnanimous, they’ll let you know that your mistake in thinking that any of the “-isms” or “-phobias” were actually involved is understandable.  You know, because you were in an emotional state and all.

Because What This Is Really About is whatever they say it is.  Not you. Even though this messed-up thing happened TO YOU.  You see, you don’t know best. They do.  And they’re more than happy to educate you as to What This Is Really About.

…because they’ve just trying to help you  by telling you What This Is Really About.

To all of those helpful folks letting us know What This Is Really about…


@DrRubidium                        @DrIsis
Editor-in-Commandant        Editor-in-Goddess


Cameron from Modern Family image from here
Joan of Mad Med image from here
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Let me fix that for you, Andrew Maynard

After @monicabyrne13 disclosed her harasser as @BoraZ, @2020Science wrote When to name and shame on Social Media, and when to show compassion…

Red Ink has issued a LMFTFY

Download (PDF, Unknown)




Editor’s noteRed Ink has asked that their name be withheld until JAYFK legal department has fully explored the ramifications of making their identity known. Given that the legal department is currently hosting their weekly flippy cup tournament, that could take a while.



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Let me fix that for you

In the wake of The SciAm Incident Of 2013@huler wrote On this Blogging Business, and Regarding Scolding.  Red Ink has issued a LMFTFY




Editor’s note: Red Ink has asked that their name be withheld until I check all sources for accuracy.  I will get right on that as soon as my phone is all charged up.

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What @sciam’s actions tell me as a female scientist of color

Scientist and science communicator @DNLee5 declined an offer to blog for free from biology-online.org and got called a ‘whore’.  @DNLee5 posted a thoughtful response on her Scientific American‘s blog ’The Urban Scientist‘.  A short time later, her response vanished

I couldn't access her link...

I couldn’t access her link…

@DNLee5‘s response post was taken down by @sciam.  Why?

In the words of the wise woman Judge Judy…

I was born at night – 5:05pm to be precise – but it wasn’t LAST night.   Unlike @sciam admin, I actually read a number of @sciamblogs.  It may shock @sciam admin, but a number of your bloggers aren’t writing all about the wonders of “discovering science”.  In a post titled ‘This is not a post about discovering science“, Kate Clancy lists the FIVE posts she’s written that aren’t sciency.  Christie Wilcox also pointed to her own non-sciency stuff.  Janet Stemwedel is also dubious of @sciam‘s position.   These are two  three @sciam bloggers taking @sciam to task over their… shall we say… inconsistent policy (update: read comment #3 at this Christie Wilcox post).

Take a moment and go view the twitter profiles of Kate Clancy, Christie Wilcox, Janet Stemwedel, and Danielle Lee.  No, seriously, go look at each of their profiles. I’ll wait here.

Notice that one of these three four @sciam bloggers is not like the other? Was it perhaps the same one that had their “not appropriate” post taken down?  Was it the one that is blogging while brown?

Yes, it IS shocking. Here’s what it tells me….

@DNLee5 isn’t seen as equal to her @sciamblogs peers by @sciam admin.  It tells me @sciam has one set of rules for its real team members and another set for us brown folks.

It makes me angry and sad for @DNLee5 - a colleague and friend.  It makes me look at @sciam twice – and not in a good way.

I expected better from @sciam. I want better from @sciam. If I don’t get better from @sciam?

I’m done with @sciam.




Judge Judy book image from here
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Double take image from here
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.@DNLee responds to being called a ‘whore’ for saying “no thanks”

wachemshe hao hao kwangu mtapoa

I got this wrap cloth from Tanzania. It’s a khanga. It was the first khanga I purchased while I was in Africa for my nearly 3 month stay for field research last year. Everyone giggled when they saw me wear it and then gave a nod to suggest, “Well, okay”. I later learned that it translates to “Give trouble to others, but not me”. I laughed, thinking how appropriate it was. I was never a trouble-starter as a kid and I’m no fan of drama, but I always took this 21st century ghetto proverb most seriously:

Don’t start none. Won’t be none.

For those not familiar with inner city anthropology – it is simply a variation of the Golden Rule. Be nice and respectful to me and I will do the same. Everyone doesn’t live by the Golden Rule it seems. (Click to embiggen.)

The Blog editor of Biology-Online dot org asked me if I would like to blog for them. I asked the conditions. He explained. I said no. He then called me out of my name.

My initial reaction was not civil, I can assure you. I’m far from rah-rah, but the inner South Memphis in me was spoiling for a fight after this unprovoked insult. I felt like Hollywood Cole, pulling my A-line T-shirt off over my head, walking wide leg from corner to corner yelling, “Aww hell nawl!” In my gut I felt so passionately:”Ofek, don’t let me catch you on these streets, homie!”

This is my official response:

It wasn’t just that he called me a whore – he juxtaposed it against my professional being: Are you urban scientist or an urban whore? Completely dismissing me as a scientist, a science communicator (whom he sought for my particular expertise), and someone who could offer something meaningful to his brand.What? Now, I’m so immoral and wrong to inquire about compensation? Plus, it was obvious me that I was supposed to be honored by the request..

After all, Dr. Important Person does it for free so what’s my problem? Listen, I ain’t him and he ain’t me. Folks have reasons – finances, time, energy, aligned missions, whatever – for doing or not doing things. Seriously, all anger aside…this rationalization of working for free and you’ll get exposure is wrong-headed. This is work. I am a professional. Professionals get paid. End of story. Even if I decide to do it pro bono (because I support your mission or I know you, whatevs) – it is still worth something. I’m simply choosing to waive that fee. But the fact is I told ol’ boy No; and he got all up in his feelings. So, go sit on a soft internet cushion, Ofek, ’cause you are obviously all butt-hurt over my rejection. And take heed of the advice on my khanga.

You don't want none of this

Thanks to everyone who helped me focus my righteous anger on these less-celebrated equines. I appreciate your support, words of encouragement, and offers to ride down on his *$$.

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Professional woman declines working for free, gets called ‘Whore’

Scientist and science communicator @DNLee5 was contacted by Ofek, Blog Editor of biology-online.org regarding a non-paying guest blogging spot.  Deciding she didn’t wish to work for free, @DNLee5 informed Ofek that she was declining his offer.  Ofek responded…

whore email

Oh, poor biology-online.org editor! Ofek clearly doesn’t own – of have access to – a dictionary.  Here’s the Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition of ‘whore‘:

whore defn

Huh.  @DNLee5 has a PhD in biology, studies animal behavior and behavioral ecology, and is currently a postdoctoral researcher at a Major Research University (MRU). She is also a member of the Scientific American blog network, is a sought after speaker, and regularly engages in science outreach.  She gets paid to do science research and science communication.  She doesn’t get paid to “engage in sexual acts” nor is she “a venal or unscrupulous person”.  She is not a whore.  What is she?  Let’s take a look at another Merriam-Webster definition!

professional defn@DNLee5  is professional with a particular set of skills, a person who is highly trained, a person that expects to be paid for her work.  You know, like all other professionals.

…but Ofek doesn’t view @DNLee5 as a professional.  Ofek doesn’t view @DNLee5 as a person worthy of professional treatment, of respect, of a minimum level of civility.  No, Ofek views @DNLee5 as a troublesome woman who won’t do as they’re told.  As such, Ofek called her ‘whore’.

I call Ofek ‘delusional‘ – and a few other choice terms.


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Sleepless in Science

I have taken your Delusional Man-Child Has Most Incredible List of Dating Requirements and replaced it with a Delusional Scientist Has Most Incredible List of Collaboration Requirements.  

I am looking for a decent colleague that wants to be in a long term research collaboration with me.

I want the colleague to be smart.

I like colleagues that are brainy, or with a fast-thinking or nimble mind. A average brain is fine too, just as long as you are not over witless. I will not experiment with a overwitless or fatuous colleague.

I like colleagues that are 130 IQ points or slightly less. Of course wit needs to be in proportion to their humor, as long as they aren’t considred overwitless, they should be fine.

Being overwitless is a total dealbreaker with me.

I also like colleagues with long handwriting. I like a colleague to look like a colleague, not a manual, I like a fastidious, precise colleague. I like handwriting down to the footer at least. Sometimes I can make exceptions if it is shorter depending on how it looks on the page. But for the most part, I love long handwriting.

Redshirts are my favorite, next is Browncoats, and next is Batmaniacs, in that order. I like all 3, but I’m just saying if I had to choose, that’s my order of preference.

I will not work with a Biology colleague. I don’t care if they’re skilled like David Baltimore, I will not ever work with a Biology colleague.

However, I will work any other discipline, Chemist, Biochemist, Physicist, Mathematician, Computer Scientist, whatever, anything except Biology.

I do not like glasses on a colleague. Although, it’s not a dealbreaker, as long as they can wear contacts at least most of the time.

I do not ever want to have undergraduate researchers, so if a colleague is wanting to have undergraduate researchers, I am not her/his collaborator.

I will not work with a colleague that does not have a NIH or NSF career development grant.

I am not looking for any type of colleague that is materialistic or a gold digger or expects a collaborator to pay for everything.

I do not like tattoos on a colleague. If a colleague already has tattoos, it may not be a deal breaker unless they plans to get more in the future. If a colleague has something small and feminine like a butterfly or rose already on their ankle or something then it may not necessacerily be a dealbreaker. And it would also help if they would consider having them laser removed, something I might would even pay grant money to have done for them.

To me, tattoos just represent white trash or somone that’s been in prison. I do not care for following trends like mindless sheep and getting tats just because what ever Star on TV got them, they will always be a symbol of White Trash. The Colleague human body is the most beautiful work of science Evolution ever created, to tattoo it with ink is the same as vandalising a famous Monet painting with a can of spray paint!

I also do not like piercings on a colleague. I do not like a colleague to have anything pireced other than their Ears. If they has other piercings it’s not a dealbreaker as long as they removes them and never wears them again.

I do not like gamblers. I will not be in any relationship with a colleague that gambles or wastes money on such things.

I do not like technicians! I will not work with any colleague that has ever been a technician. I believe that the only person that should ever see a colleague’s lab technique is only their PI or collaborator.

I will not work with any colleague that has ever had a dual appointment, or a large number of past research partners. I do not want a promiscuous scientist, I want a normal, decent, good hearted colleague.

I will not work with any colleague that can not always be honest & faithful to me. This is very important.

I prefer a colleague that does not smoke, but as long as she/he does not smoke in my house or around me, if she/he can go outside and smoke, then I can live with that. I worked with my ex colleague for Eleven years, and she was a smoker.

I will not work with any colleague if she is still collaborating with any colleagues that she/he has been partnered with in the past, I believe once a collaboration with someone is over, it’s OVER.

I will not work with a selfish colleague. I do not like selfish colleagues at all.

I do not like sarcastic or cynical people, I do not like people that always think negatively either, so that type of colleague would also not be a good match for me.

I know sometimes on my website here, I may seem like a negative person because I point out sooooo many things that I dislike, but I assure you I am a very positive person, I am just tring to put out here my likes/dislikes so you can know more about me and what type of colleague may get along with me.

I do not expect a colleague to agree with all of my beliefs or opinions etc, but I do not like to argue, and it’s very important that we can work in peace together if at some point the colleague & I share lab space. I like to work in a quiet & peaceful environment. That is extremely important to me.

I like a colleague that dresses on the conservative side. Not like a senator, and not anything weird. Just normal is fine. T-Shirt & Jeans are OK. But a colleague in a lab coat really gets my heart racing! I also love it when a colleague wears a Tyvex with boots, not cowboy boots, but disposable booties. Or field work boots, I love spiked field work boots!

I like a colleague that takes care of themself and keeps themself clean of course.

I love it when a colleague wears business casual in the boardroom! Especially polo shirts!

I need a colleague that can be very wealthy & academic and loquacious.

It’s also nice if the colleague has a big R01 and appreciates simples things, and understands the value of small indirect costs etc.

I like a colleague that appreciates romance and the art of grant writing.

Data analysis is one of my most favorite things to do with a colleague, it’s very important. I also love to hold a colleagues hand when I am walking with she/he. And I love working beside a colleague and keeping them close to me, and sharing an office with she/he. In fact THAT is the reason I named this website “Sleepless In Science” because I haven’t had a single good nights sleep in years, ever since my collaboration ended with my ex-colleague.

And yes, I also liked the movie Sleepless in Seattle, haha :-D

It dosen’t matter at all to me how big or small a colleague’s instruments are. I prefer them to be reasonably new & solely owned though. I am against university centralized instrumentation facilities, I see them as unnecessery self-imposed budget constraint, and I would not want a colleague that depends on shared instruments.

I prefer a colleague that has never had undergraduate researchers, because having undergraduate researchers does ruin a colleague’s body of work often times. They end up with lower IF publications. And also sometimes it makes their lab looser, and I don’t care how many training exercises a colleague does, after she has 2 or 3 eighteen to twenty-two year undergraduate researchers, you can’t tell me it’s going to be 100% as tight as it ever was! Plus, what’s even worse than all of that, is sometimes during undergraduate researcher training the lab coat of a colleague get torn and they never look the same as the did originally even after they patch it, that’s why some colleagues even get expert tailoring to their lab coats after undergraduate researcher training to try and regain their original lab appearance.

Now I’m not saying having had a undergraduate researcher or two is a for sure dealbreaker for me, but it’s a case by case basis, and I prefer a colleague that’s never had undergraduate researchers if possible. My ex-colleague that I was with for Eleven years never had undergraduate researchers, she couldn’t because of an appointment at a non-baccalaureate granting institution.

I like to get a lot of attention in a collaboration, and I like to give it as well.

I also have a very high research drive.


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