Op-Ed: Please Let Me Live Vicariously Through Your Perfect Data

Conchord, F., Graham, L. et al.

Hello, it’s me, the 6th-year PhD student from down the hall. I’ve been observing your experiments from afar, and I have but one simple but humble request: Please, let me live vicariously through your perfect data. Just a quick hit of your graph’s flawless curves will allow me to survive another year of statistical insignificance!

I too had perfect data, many years ago. It was a stormy day, my E. coli had been on their best behavior for weeks, and my data was on a hot streak. Then, like a ray of sunshine, I saw the numbers cascade across the lab’s ancient Dell computer, their log p-value of 0.001 sparkling like a raindrop after a storm.

And there it was. Proof that my genetically engineered bacteria were producing the exact small molecule I had intended.

Alas, that euphoria was but a fleeting moment in the 2nd year of my PhD, and I have been chasing the dragon ever since. Now I find myself deep in withdrawal, with tight standard deviations haunting my dreams night after night.

So here is my request to you, my fellow researcher: as someone at the brink of an extinct scientific career, may I steal a glance at your near perfect R2 values, even for just a few forbidden moments? If you will, please just let me feast my eyes upon that flawless sigmoidal growth curve for three biological replicates you were able to create. I promise, just a taste of this Nature-calibre data will give me the strength I need to trust science again.

To reward your for this small favour, I would be happy to provide you with services that would further help you focus on generating other beautiful data points! I will clean all your glassware, pick up after you in the lab, and serve you hand-pressed coffee if you would simply allow me to freebase your raw data. For an elusive R2 value of 0.99999? I will sacrifice my career, raise your first-born, and act as a human shield when you ask the feared lab technician to use her multi-million dollar machine.

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About Author

Fragnance Conchord

Fragnance Conchord is a day-time scientist pursuing comedy as a side-gig. Fragnance has written for Robotbutt, Blaffo and recently contributed to the book "Welcome To The Future Which Is Mine" by Not Elon Musk. Twitter: @FConchord

Lexa Graham

Lexa Graham is a comedian with a Master’s degree in Chemical Engineering, and the founder and editor of dnatured. She has previously written for Reductress, CBC Comedy and also had her research published in The Canadian Journal of Chemical Engineering.

About Fragnance Conchord 2 Articles
Fragnance Conchord is a day-time scientist pursuing comedy as a side-gig. Fragnance has written for Robotbutt, Blaffo and recently contributed to the book "Welcome To The Future Which Is Mine" by Not Elon Musk. Twitter: @FConchord