Figures. I’m even mentioned in last week’s “Ask a Scienceblogger” question, and I’m not around to answer it!

How is it that all the PIs (Tara, PZ, Orac et al.), various grad students, post-docs, etc. find time to fulfill their primary objectives (day jobs) and blog so prolifically?…

Looking at the responses, I think Mark already nailed it: insanity. But I suppose I’ll ramble a bit below the fold, anyway…

(Catch that? Look–rambling by me! Another post appears! Lather, rinse, repeat!)

Seriously, though, I do strive for most of my posts to go beyond just my ramblings and random thoughts. (Whether I succeed at that is a topic for debate, I suppose). Razib hits on some of it–for many posts, by the time I actually get to a computer to write, I’ve written much of the post (or at least, outlined it) in my head, so it goes pretty quickly. I also, generally, hate to be not doing something. If I’m sitting around at night watching TV, I’ll work on posts (or manuscripts, or grant applications, or lectures–whatever is top priority at the moment) at the same time.

As Janet notes, it’s also helpful to write about topics that overlap with your “real” job. In the next two semesters, I’ll be teaching courses on molecular epidemiology and infectious causes of chronic disease: two topics that I frequently write about here, so I’m posting and doing background reading for my courses (and keeping an eye out for fresh, interesting papers to discuss in class) at the same time. I also write about new developments on pathogens I personally study, such as group B strep and Streptococcus suis, etc., and I’ve used these posts as precursors to paragraphs in manuscripts and grant applications. Finally, I largely write about what I know, which minimizes research time. (For example, a post like this one on network theory takes a lot more background reading and research time for me than this one on streptococcal pili.)

And finally, I just don’t sleep much. Waste of time.

Comments

  1. #1 Dennis
    June 22, 2006

    At the risk of sounding extremely stupid, what exactly is a PI?

  2. #2 Tara C. Smith
    June 22, 2006

    PI = Principal Investigator

  3. #3 Algerine
    June 22, 2006

    Really? I always thought it was 22/7.

  4. #4 Abel Pharmboy
    June 25, 2006

    Dennis, a P.I. or Principal Investigator, is usually at least an assistant professor level researcher who has the credentials and experience to lead an externally-funded research project. They are required to hold the terminal degree in their discipline, usually a Ph.D. or M.D., although I’ve seen a Pharm.D. or MPH serve as a P.I. While they may not conduct all of the research themselves, they are the intellectual leader of a given project with responsibility for coordinating all those who execute the experiments and reporting the final results to the funding agency and in peer-reviewed journals. The P.I. also serves as the fiscal head of a funded project and is responsible for hiring qualified personnel and accounting for proper expenditure of research funds.