Category Archives: Science

Generally consists of rabid soap-boxing and finger-waving, sometimes simultaneously.


As far back as I can remember, teachers, parents and soap operas have told me that if I  worked hard, studied like an adolescent boy with his first Playboy and Made Something Of Myself, I’d be the beaming recipient of success, happiness and job satisfaction.  There was also the distinct possibility that, when I awoke in the mornings, the sun would smile at me whilst blue-birds helped with my tie and shoelaces.  Ostensibly, reward – both in terms of job satisfaction and fiscal remuneration – was to be directly indexed to skills, knowledge and contribution to society.

If this is true, it logically follows that medical researchers must be receiving salaries so large, placing any two scientist’s personal wealth in one geographic location would result in a catastrophic shift in the earths axis; after all, we’re discussing people that tirelessly chip away at the face of disease so that we may enjoy longer and more comfortable lives.

Wait, what?  AU$48,000 to $85,000 … gross?


Perhaps a personal anecdote will help put it in some kind of perspective.  Before returning to study, I was working in project management on an oil and gas installation.  On site, we had a cleaning contractor that supplied staff to clean the ablution block, offices and lunch rooms on a continuous coverage day-shift – four days on four days off, ten hour working day.  In return for working half the year, the cleaners received four weeks paid holiday and AU$85,000.  That was in 2007.

The only kinda-sorta good to come from such a disproportionate pay-grade is that  people go into medical research almost exclusively because it’s their passion.  They love, are fascinated by, and truly enjoy what they do.

Incidentally, one can’t help but wonder if applying the same pay-scale to politics or finance wouldn’t achieve great things.  There would have to be something terribly, fundamentally wrong with the world if the finance sharks who managed to roger the global economy got paid post-rogering-bonuses so large they’d make Solomon blushespecially if medical researchers, by comparison, received a pat on the head and a gold sticker.


Okay, so we’ve established that personally they may not make fantastic money, but at least there should be plenty of funding available for the projects they work on, right? It’s not like researchers would have to engage in academic knife-fighting to score some sweet, sweet grant money, is it?



Posted by on April 10, 2011 in Science


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It seems that the dark clouds cast over stem cell research by the Bush administration are gradually edging over the horizon of – I apologise in advance – change. Forecast: clear skies with patchy rains of cash, which may intensify later in the decade.

Personally, I think the Bush administrations attitude towards stem cell research is perfectly described by non-traditional use of the phrase “cock-blocking.”

Halting potentially revolutionary research from proceeding was GW’s prerogative, but there’s a world of difference between “Jeebus told me it is wrong,” and “I have clear evidence that it is wrong.” I may, of course, be expecting too much of the poor guy; I get the distinct impression that his executive order restricting stem cell research was written in crayon on butchers paper.  Possibly signed with a messy, red crayon “X.”

Word at the San Francisco Chronicle is that a sizeable (US$230m) amount of cash is about to be apportioned to various research labs by the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. $230m is about a thousandth of what should be invested, but it’s a start.

I mean, it’s not like there’s been a massive sinkhole of money, lives and resources being, for all intents and purposes, thrown away since … oh… circa 2003 or anything. Fossil fuels People need liberating, after all. Oh, and WMD’s and stuff. Yeah.

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Posted by on October 29, 2009 in Science


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