Thursday, February 28, 2008

iPOD Culture in the Lab

Black Knight over at Life of Lab Rat has a couple of humorous remarks on iPOD etiquette in the lab:
"I suspect that if someone is working at a bench in the wet lab then you have to look at how many earbuds are being worn. One means "Yup, I'm listening". Two probably means "Do not disturb: I've already made a mistake setting up this PCR and if you talk I shall ignore you. If you persist, I shall stab you with my Gilson". Whether the hands are gloved or not might have some bearing on the situation."

Works the same way here. I don't have an iPOD but I appreciate not having to guess when someone's trying to drone me out.

Funny how iPOD lab customs have evolved in parallel in our lab on the opposite side of the world. Maybe it's a colonial thing .

PS - Watch out. Black Knight is apparently not his real name.

Have a look add your iPOD etiquette lessons to the mix...


18 comments:

Anonymous said...

Er, I thought the people who ran this blog thought that science blogs could only discuss science.

Bayman, would you care to offer an explanation of how this is about science ?

BK said...

I am Black Knight (the author of the piece Bayman links to) and I write about the doing of science.

That close enough for ya?

Sorry about the double comment I made earlier - damned pop-up comment windows.

Anonymous said...

"I am Black Knight (the author of the piece Bayman links to) and I write about the doing of science.

That close enough for ya?"

You are free to do what you want on your own blog. This was not a criticism aimed at you, but at the people who run this blog for slagging of other science bloggers for not writing about science all the time and yet then go and post this. The two positions do not seem to be consistent.

iayork said...

Bayman, would you care to offer an explanation of how this is about science ?

Several people contribute to this blog, and I believe bayman has already suggested in comments that he was not involved with, and not enthusiastic about, the offending post.

Do you plan to hang out here and make snotty anonymous comments on every post that doesn't meet your criteria? That could get tedious pretty fast.

Anonymous said...

"Several people contribute to this blog, and I believe bayman has already suggested in comments that he was not involved with, and not enthusiastic about, the offending post.

Do you plan to hang out here and make snotty anonymous comments on every post that doesn't meet your criteria? That could get tedious pretty fast."

There is a thing called collective responsibility. And if you look at the second post it begins "We have a confession", not "I", yet only only person, "Anonymous Coward" (what an apt pseudonym!) claimed authorship. Now either he has multiple personalities, does not understand the difference between the singular and plural, or more on that one person was involved.

As for you finding things tedious, I will just say likewise. I found your pathetic comment tedious. It seems you do not think hypocrisy is a bad thing. I do, and I will call the likes of Bayman on it. If you do not like that, tough shit. Get over it.

Anonymous Coward said...

Does that make you an anti-troll, or a double-troll?

Bayman said...

Bayman, would you care to offer an explanation of how this is about science ?

Fair comment, and totally predictable. Except that the post was an description of laboratory culture. It is communicating how scientists work and do science.

The point has already been made on the appropriate thread, but we were commenting in on trends on scienceblogs topic matter, not trying to tell people what they should be blogging about.

If you still want to complain about the original posts, by all means do so, but would you mind attaching those comments to the relevant post?

kamel said...

I'm the same - one earbud comes out means I'm listening. Both come out if the conversation is more than a simple query of the 'Where can I find...' variety.

Sometimes neither come out if my hands are occupied, like in tissue culture for example, but the volume is at a level where I can still hear and carry on a conversation (nevermind the fire alarm which our health and safety people seem to worry about)

Treat Cancer said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
J.R. said...

A bunch of folks in our lab have really nice headphones that completely block out all sound to the point that it's hard to get someone's attention to ask a question. But rather than get up and tap a shoulder, it seems to have led to the use of pippette tips being flicked across lab bays to try and catch someone's eye. Somedays it's like guerilla warfare in here.

Anonymous Coward said...

I was thinking about buying big circumaureal headphones, but they are not very discrete. I like still being able to hear what is going on around me. The only problem is that I tend to overcompensate with volume, which doesn't bode well for the health of my ear drums.

Bayman said...

J.R.,
Ha. Like the pipette tip idea. Makes we wonder if I can come up with a way of using a projectile to knock the headphone out...

Anonymous said...

I dunno, is it ethical to wear headphones?

mwc said...

Hey anonymous, don't be a dick. Take their word that it was experiment, or take other people's interpretation that it was a mistake. Either way, it's over; let it go. Nothing said was worth developing some kind of life-long enmity.

Apropos the topic, my only feeling on iPod ettiquette is please use an iPod, or a walkman, or that steel plate in your head, or something other than the speakers on your computer. I'm in the lab to work, not to join the dance party. Leaky headphones are also a no-no: that kind of noise achieves the improbable feat of making me even less pleasant than I normally am.

Pluto said...

I keep the volume low. Because I agree with other posters that loud headphones are even more annoying than ambient music you don't like and I try to not be an a-hole to my labmates. Also it's not great for lab culture if when you need to talk to someone there's always the barrier of first having to get their attention. But the advantage of course is that if someone annoying is asking me a question then I pretend that it's too loud to hear them.

Sarah said...

In this HIGHLY scientific discussion I just want to add in the technique of wearing both earbuds but not actually playing music, thus you can hear everything going on around you, but rarely get disturbed by other ppl ;)

Also, my lab is all about the radio, or system that plays iPods for everyone to hear - fine as long as the country music or death metal doesn't come on too often

Bayman said...

That's an interesting point re choice of lab music as well. I'm always trying to find good lab friendly music to add to my playlist. Music I dig, but that everyone else (or nearly) in the lab will too. Music that has wide appeal across diverse age groups. Music that won't scare away investors when they tour the lab. Tunes that won't distract you or make you cross-contaminate PCR tubes, but won't put you to sleep.

Can anyone suggest their picks for universal lab tunes? Off the top of my head a few of my standbys are The Shins, Gomez, Metric, Modest Mouse...

kamel said...

Can anyone suggest their picks for universal lab tunes?

My lab group consists of at least one person who doesn't like music in the lab period and the rest of us have pretty divergent tastes so headphones are pretty much the norm. On rare occasions when I throw music on my crappy computer speakers, The Beatles are pretty much universally crowd pleasing. I'll second Gomez as well, and Starsailor is pretty well received.