Are you a science scout? Perhaps you should be! Here are the science scout badges Absinthe has earned to-date:
The "MacGyver" badge. In which the recipient has demonstrated that his/her science communciation prowess was handy in simplifying a potentially challenging scenario. Particle physicists are infamous for making easy analyses waaayyyy more complicated than they should be. Absinthe's former specialty was in multivariate statistical data analysis, and she spent a lot of time showing such people that their analyses could be drastically simplified simply by using their brains (surprisingly enough). This at times didn't make her popular amongst her colleagues. If nothing else, particle physics is a big pissing match, where the goal seems to be coming up with an analysis that is so fucking complicated that even your colleagues can't understand it.
The "I blog about science" badge.
The "destroyer of quackery" badge. In which the recipient never ever backs down from an argument that pits sound science over quackery. Yup, that's me.
The "I can be a prick when it comes to science" badge. In which the recipient can be so passionate about things of a scientific nature, that he/she may appear surly, rude, and/or unpleasant. I've been told that I am "not nice" when I talk about gender issues in the sciences. For those out there who agree that I am "not nice", talk to the badge, because the face ain't listening.
The "I left the respectable sciences to pursue humanistic studies of the sciences" badge. In which the recipient is now probably having a lot more fun than he/she did before. I disagree that particle physics is "respectable", however it is true that what I do now has more of a social sciences bent to it rather than hard science.
The "will glady kick sexual harasser's ass" badge. (And we mean "ass" in the most holistic of ways). In which the recipient stands up to such miscreants in the work place. Places of science should know better. Anyone who reads this blog knows Absinthe earned this badge a long time ago.
The "has frozen stuff just to see what happens" badge (LEVEL III). In which the recipient has frozen something in liquid nitrogen for the sake of scientific curiosity. The story behind this also involves Mr.Absinthe, a happenstance encounter with a dewar of frozen nitrogen in a lab, coffee creamers, and a moment of simultaneous absolute stupidity on both our parts (quickly followed by frozen creamers thoroughly stuck to our tongues, with both of us frantically scrabbling to try to get them off). I don't want to talk about it any further...
The "I've done science with no concievable practical application" badge. There are probably more who are deserving of this badge than you would expect. Pretty much all particle physicists have earned this badge. This is probably connected in some way as to why the field is so fucked up, but I haven't figured out how yet.
The "experienced with electrical shock" badge (LEVEL III). In which the recipient has had experience with the electrical shocking of himself/herself. I have earned this badge, but not in a science setting...one day when I was 7 months pregnant with our first child, Mr.Absinthe decided to fix our 30 year old clothes dryer. Using it just after his repairs, I happened to touch the inner drum, and got 120V right through my body. The baby jumped, and then went still, and stayed still for half an hour (during which time I was extremely anxious). She turned out to be fine, but perhaps not coincidentally was born with curly hair. Mr.Absinthe is no longer allowed to fix appliances.
The "statistical linear regression" badge. We figured that if you actually know what those three words together mean, then you deserve a badge. Statistics rock! Regular readers of this blog have no doubt figured out that Absinthe *loves* statistics and data analysis.
The "I've set fire to stuff" badge (LEVEL I). In which the recipient has set fire to stuff, all in the name of general scientific curiosity. I once burned a big pit into a fireproof lab-bench in high school. The incident involved a big honkin' chunk of sodium in a plastic petri dish, and the inadvertant use of lots of water.
The "I may look like a scientist, but I'm actually also a pirate" badge. Drinks rum. Into pillaging and stuff. Soft spot for evolutionary biology. Damn straight...check out the Hallowe'en 2006 post if you don't believe me. How many people do you know who actually have a complete elaborate pirate costume hanging in their closet? Plus, last year I had a research fellowship in computational evolutionary biology. And don't even get me started on the subject of rum drinking and pillaging...it was like this badge was *made* for me.
The "talking science" badge. Required for all members. Assumes the recipient conducts himself/herself in such a manner as to talk science whenever he/she gets the chance. Not easily fazed by looks of disinterest from friends or the act of "zoning out" by well intentioned loved ones. Mr.Absinthe and I talk about physics pretty much every day. I also talk about gender issues in physics pretty much every day. Oh yeah, and there is this blog...