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Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Word Vomit

I’ve been trying to think up a topic to write this blog post on all day (in breaks from working on some actual work) but I still haven’t thought of anything! It’s a little frustrating to be honest. So I’m just going to type whatever pops into my head in the next fifteen minutes while I drink my coffee, and that can be today’s blog post.

Part of the reason I can’t decide what to talk about is that there’s so much to talk about! Bacteria are so diverse and so widely used that it’s really hard to narrow things down and pick a tiny subset to talk about. Just this morning I’ve read about probiotics, antimicrobials, cheese and the human microbiome, not to mention the assorted endophyte papers I’ve been going over! This is one big reason why I’m doing this blog; not only are friendly bacteria everywhere, but science as a whole is everywhere too! You can look at literally anything and there’s science associated with it. Obviously I’m looking at a computer right now, there’s a lot of science there. But there’s science everywhere else too; my coffee is from selectively bred coffee plants, picked for their flavour and then propagated throughout the farms to bring a consistent product. There are genes involved in that process; how amazing is it that changes in the structure of a single molecule of DNA in a plant on the other side of the world can change the flavour in my mug here in Wales? This brings me back to another big reason why I can’t focus today; sleep. It’s been really hot here over the last few days, which really affects my sleeping. It’s weird that a few degrees in temperature can have me wandering round the house at five in the morning, and shuffling brainlessly like a zombie for the rest of the day. Caffeine to the rescue!

Smell is another cool thing to think about. I love the smell of my coffee! Anyone who reads spy/murder books (or watches TV shows I guess) will know that cyanide smells like bitter almonds. Yum! But the chemicals causing the smells are completely different in shape and composition; the olfactory receptors use quantum to detect smells, which is pretty awesome! I don’t know much about quantum biology (although I’ve got a book on it waiting in my to-read pile) so I won’t go into any more detail on that in case I make a fool of myself.

I live in fear of making a fool of myself; I find it really hard to talk about my project, especially to professional academics, because I’m super scared of saying the wrong thing and sounding like I don’t know what I’m talking about, in case they think I shouldn’t be doing a PhD and I somehow get found out and thrown out of here. This is a real thing called imposter syndrome, but knowing that doesn’t help solve the problem much. Speaking to people has always been really hard for me! That’s a big part of why I’m doing this blog, and the vlogs, and will be making little science videos too (hopefully will have one ready this week even!); I need to practice talking, even if it’s just to a camera, because if I don’t then this will hold me back for the rest of my life!
The fifteen-minute alarm’s gone so I’ll wrap up here. A bit of a jumbly word-vomit type post but I don’t mind that too much!

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