bookmark_borderWhat does a scientist cost?

I was flicking through the job ads in New Scientist today, and as usual, I was appalled by the salary levels. Some examples:

  • Acoustic scientist in the navy: £25,000.
  • Middle Atmosphere Scientist (PhD required): £29,360–£34,630.
  • Post Doctoral Research Scientist (biochemistry): £24,200–£27,200.
  • Scientist – Viral Vaccines: £20,575–£25,000.
  • Postdoctoral Researcher Polymer Synthetics: £28,289.

At the same time, the government is frustrated because so few youngsters pursue science. No wonder! Doctors earn upwards of £100,000, as do many successful bankers, lawyers, broadcasters and so on. Why on earth would anybody pursue a career in science if it doesn’t pay?


Glass of water (4/365)
Originally uploaded by Jim Murphy

Dominic Lawson has a good rant about water in The Independent today.

He’s questioning why so many people are drinking so much water:

This organised panic about dehydration seems to stem from a misreading – quite possibly deliberate – of guidelines from the US Food and Nutrition Board in 1945. These stated that “a suitable allowance of water for adults is 2.5 litres daily in most instances. An ordinary standard for diverse persons is one millilitre for each calorie of food. Most of this quantity is contained in prepared foods.” As Shapiro notes, the last sentence of that advice is always left out, leading to the idea that we need an extra eight glasses of water over and above our actual requirements.

Apart from that, I’ve never understood why the same amount of water is recommended everywhere. If I’m in a really hot place, such as walking around in the midday sun in July in Spain or Georgia, I naturally drink lots of fluid. However, during winter in Scotland, I simply don’t feel the need to drink as much (which is natural given I sweat much less), but the water fanatics still claim I should drink the same eight glasses as in the Mediterranean summer sun.

bookmark_borderA long fence

30 metres of fence
Originally uploaded by PhylB

When we bought our house, the southern end of the garden was marked by five huge cedar trees that took all the sun but allowed wee Léon to run straight out onto the busy road. Not ideal.

So last week we had a cowboy cut them all down, and this week another guy has put up 45 metres of fence, 30 metres to the south and 15 to the north.

We’ll need to paint it and plant some nice plants against it, but it’ll soon look nice!