Friday, March 13, 2015

You Had Us At "I Am Drunk." A Reader Turns Us Onto Mozman.

Hi, RGM,

(1) I love you.

(2) I bring you this breaking news (forgive me the occasional incongruity of thought, for I am drunk). I confess I lurk on the idiotic Chronicle from time to time to kill time, because I procrastinate too much (you know, that ONE awesome feature of our profession everybody is talking about). 

So, while perusing that silly source, I stumble upon a thread that just set me off. Here's the thread in question:,178841.0.html. I checked with my partner who is unaffiliated with academia, but, alas, affected by it in virtue of living with me. The partner concluded that the dude named mozman should be legit "punched in the dick".  

That is all. That is my misery. A random guy on the internet. I know. Because no social life. I spent my time on what will inevitably be a sub par dissertation instead of proper human contact.

I don't know why I'm emailing you even. In Russian they would call it a "крик души", which means "cry/shout of a soul". So, I suppose it is that. I do really think the guy incarnates everything that is wrong with academia. Do with it what you will. Not that you need my directions. Sorry. Ok. That is all.


  1. (1) You need a moniker, esteemed correspondent. "Cry/Shout of a Soul" seems as good as any and better than quite a few.

    (2) I suspect that at Mozman's funeral there won't be a damp eye.

  2. Why is Mozman involved with science? He clearly has the skills and perspective of an administrator. Get him an associate deanship - stat!

  3. Yup, sounds to me like Mozman would be a perfect candidate for Associate Dean of Research, especially in a unit heavy with biomedical types (relax; I'm in one right now...). From his posts I think he's actually productive in research, which would invalidate him for the post of Vice-President or Associate Vice-President of Research for the uni.

  4. Now you know why contemporary science has become so conservative, unadventurous, risk-adverse, stilted, boring, and intellectually stagnant. Compare any issue of the Astrophysical Journal from the 1960s with one from today. Astonishing new ideas have been replaced with plodding, incremental drudgery designed primarily to yield the maximum number of line items on the ol' publications list. Young scientists now have to traipse around the world as postdocs during their peak creative years, while some senior person gets the credit as PI or, often, is the only one allowed to submit the grant proposals. The few tenure-track jobs go to ones who haven't made any career errors. Now you know why "The Science Class You Wish You Had" by David and Arnold Brody lists the last truly epochal scientific breakthrough as the discovery of the double-helix structure of DNA---in 1953.

    For more on this, see:

    Hey, Physics & Astronomy Professors? THIS IS NOT OKAY!

    1. I completely agree. I wish we could somehow do away with the pathetic slave labor system of post-docs and graduate students.

      It would maybe be acceptable if the number of full-time positions in the field were in any way similar to the number of postdocs we hire, but it's not: we put them on a hamster wheel, eat years of their lives, then let them go try to find a job somewhere else.

    2. Hear, hear! I'll hold Mozeman down while you punch him in the dick!!!

    3. No. We'll punch him in his "Distinguished Senior Member".

      And I fear me that there may have been some significant A-holery involved in the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA.

    4. May have been? James Watson is a well-known "distinguished senior member."

      I've met some Mozmans (Mozmen?) in my time. My sibling did an MS in the lab of a guy like that. After the MS thesis defense, one of the other committee members pulled my sibling aside and said that the Mozman-like advisor had extracted more than enough work out of my sibling to warrant a PhD and that he'd support a petition to that effect. My sibling already had a job in industry lined up and decided not to squawk about it.

      So when Mozman says that the students in his labs owe him all their time, I'm pretty sure I know what that looks like.

    5. Staple his distinguished senior member to the floor.

    6. You forgot the important part: TWITCH! TWITCH!!!

  5. To Three Sigma (and others interested): according to Mr. Writer, who works in state government, in order to do away with grad student and postdoc indentured servitude, we'd have to "change the definition of 'professional work' in the federal Fair Labor Standards Act. Or pursue an amendment exempting academic professionals. Not impossible, but close. For reference, SHRM and SIOP have been trying to get FLSA and the EEOC Uniform Guidelines updated since the late 70s to no avail."

  6. When the mozbot said "You should just stop right there," he should have just stopped right there.