Monday, July 21, 2008

nananana BATMAN

PRISE is already half over! That means we have to start thinking about our presentations, which was the theme of both of our talks this past week – our Seminar Series and our Distinguished Speaker Series.

Our Seminar was on ‘Presenting Research and Public Speaking’ and was given by Rebekah Maggor from the Bok Center. She helped us learn how to write abstracts for science research, and spent much of the talk bringing student volunteers (and non-volunteers ☺ ) up to the podium to deliver their abstracts, receive feedback, and then deliver it again – in all cases, with much improvement.

On Thursday, Dean Stephen Kosslyn, chair of the Psychology Department, came and talked to us about the ‘The Dirty Dozen’ - The Twelve Most Common Powerpoint Errors: Pointless Powerpoints, Wrong Audience, Bad Structure, Not Enough Direction, Too Much Material, Too Small or Indistinct, Too Busy, Too Few Graphics, Murmurs and Monotones, Talking to the Screen (don’t you hate it when all you see is someone’s back and their back covers the actual powerpoint?), Derailed by Questions, and Stressing the Audience. If you want to know more, pick up a copy of his book, ‘Clear and to the Point: 8 Psychological Principles for Compelling Powerpoint Presentations’, which all of us PRISEers received at the end of the night (I even got mine autographed – Sweet!). We all laughed when he joked at the beginning, “You all understand that Psychology is a science” and later when he said, “There are so many talks where they end with ‘Well, I guess that’s all for now’, and I wonder, ‘Well, what else is there for later?’” (Book image courtesy of Barnes and Nobles)

In between these two presentations, I had an amazing experience – I attended Walking with Dinosaurs: The Live Experience at TD Northbank Garden Wednesday night. Since not all of PRISE was able to go, I was really lucky to get off the wait list (45 minutes before we had to leave!) and didn’t know what to expect. A group of us met up at the Harvard Square T Stop

and later met up with another group coming in from Longwood. We got our seats just as the lights dimmed and the show began! The dinosaurs were HUGE and pretty realistic, and the special effects were just as good. Unfortunately, we weren’t supposed to take pictures, but here’s one from my cell phone:

My question is how they manage to take these dinosaurs apart and transport them from city to city (when I was in New York last week, so many taxis and all the banners outside Madison Square Garden had ads for the show).

On Friday lab cleanup continued as I helped my postdoc Brendan clean out our fridge as well as the fridges and refrigerators in the cell culture room. Cleaning out our own fridge wasn’t too bad (we did need a scissor to pick away at some of the ice…), but we had to resort to drastic measures to get everything out of the cell culture freezer, namely, a stop hammer, which apparently plays a critical role in the movie Shawshank Redemption (I haven’t seen it, but I will).

I didn’t have time to see it over the weekend because I saw a different movie – The Dark Knight. Everyone I knew couldn’t wait for this movie to come out (according to Aditi ’10, every ticket in NYC was sold out). I saw Batman Begins, didn’t really like Katie Holmes, and thought it was an okay movie overall (the butler and Fox were my favorite). However, this movie was amazing, and Heath Ledger played the Joker almost too well - the poster creeps me out! (Images courtesy of Google Images)

It was intense! I don’t want to give anything away, but if you haven’t seen it already, you should. The headline on the Metro this morning said it broke box office records and swept the Spiderman movies away.

Saturday I also took part in the PRISE Cultural Food tour, heading to Sultan’s Kitchen on State Street with a bunch of other PRISE fellows. I had Tandoori Chicken Kebab and Baklavah and it was delicious! Another group headed to Midwest Grill on Sunday, and the last PRISE initiated event this weekend was the Dodgeball game, which apparently involved 1000 water balloons and a lot of soaking wet PRISEers (of course, the torrential downpour Sunday afternoon probably didn’t help!)