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Breathing room

1. Ideas for simple meals I can stockpile at work? I'm having flashbacks to the stash of dried vegetables, TVP, and ramen packets in Texas. Similar circumstances here, except I've sworn off orangutan killer palm oil so most brands of ramen are off the list. A big part of me is in denial that this is necessary again, but on the other hand it's been super depressing to get home at 8 pm, hungry. I'm thinking possibly MRE Indian food plus instant rice.

2. Getting to work on "real" science feels like a small breath of fresh air, a small chance to quell the interior panic over how slow I've been in making progress on publications and such.

3. Time to grade exams so I can post midterm grades. To do: learn how to post midterm grades. Yeah.

4. I think next week's homework is going to consist of a short writing assignment about some specific aspect of biotechnology (e.g. bacterial cloning, DNA sequencing, CRISPR-Cas9, DNA printing, gene therapy, RT-PCR, microarrays). I have been keeping an eye out for short commentary pieces on these subjects that have been published in academic journals and that highlight benefits, drawbacks, and limitations of these techniques as they're used today.

The challenge is how to give purpose to the writing assignment so it isn't merely an academic exercise, so to speak. One possibility might be to dust off the format of an Op-Ed. Hmm. Or perhaps get students thinking about arguing for a specific policy about the use of their chosen biotechnology topic. Other possibilities? Maybe we could try to think of ways to communicate with the public about a specific topic, not strictly limited to print/writing. Hmm. I suppose what I could do is ask for a summary, then ask an open-ended question about ways to get a larger audience to effectively grapple with the subject. (propose a method to teach people about this topic / engage them in the issue; for example...)

This is one of those things that could either be a great success, or it could be terrible.

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