The Science ‘Career’ Graph

Crossing the Chasm - The Science Seed Round

Crossing the chasm and becoming a Lab Head requires a grant - called, aptly enough, a startup grant. This is the seed funding for your science startup. It’s enough money to pay you a tiny post-docs salary, pay lab fee’s and buy a small amount of equipment and supplies to last ~3 years. If you’re lucky it may also stretch to paying a master student. In this time you’re supposed to complete the research in your grant proposal, get it published in a prestigious journal and apply for more grants on the strength of this work: i.e. get yourself into a position to do an ‘A’ round.

Getting off the ground - The Science A Round

If you can sucessfully complete your research and manage to …

Continue reading “Somebody please Disrupt Science: Careers & Funding”

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Figure 1. Taken from my Wife’s office window, around 10am.

The weather was great this week - crisp and autumnal, with beautiful sunshine all week. It snowed a little on the local mountains and Cypress Mountain has opened for (limited) Skiing already, using the lower temperatures to make lots of extra snow. Whistler also opened this week, along with Grouse.

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Figure 2. Taken from my Wife’s office window in the afternoon, during the Golden Hour, which is now around 4pm.

In other, even better news, I’m starting a fantastic new job with PHEMI Health Systems on Monday - allowing me to afford to actually go skiing. I’ll be working as a front-end web developer, helping to build their healthcare information system, directly helping to improve clinical productivity, patient outcomes and medical research. Very excited to be using my …

Continue reading “It was a Good Week”

To create image thumbnails from a PDF document, run this in a terminal window:

$ convert -thumbnail x300 -background white -alpha remove input_file.pdf[0] output_thumbnail.png

The parameters to convert do the following things:

-thumbnailSimilar to -resize, but optimized for speed and strips metadata.
x300Make the thumbnail 300px tall, and whatever width maintains the aspect ratio.
-background whiteSets the thumbnail background to white.
-alpha removeRemoves the alpha channel from the thumbnail output.
input_file.pdfThe PDF file to use as input.
[0]The page number of the input file to use for the thumbnail.
output_thumbnail.pngThe output thumbnail file to create.

If you want larger thumbnails, just change the x300 parameter to match. If you want to output .jpg’s (or anything else, like .gif), just change the file …

Continue reading “How to create thumbnails for PDFs with ImageMagick on Linux”

They mix content with presentation:

The syntax definition includes the visual presentation - the colours - as well and a description of the language.

There should be one central syntax definition that everyone can hack on and improve. Then the theme would just be a list of colours for each syntax element defined by the syntax definition file.

Currently each theme caries it’s own copy of all the syntax definitions around. This is obviously wastefull - but it also leads to inconsistencies and to themes ‘not supporting’ some languages.

It also makes theme files much larger than they should be.

Continue reading “Textmate & Sublimetext do Syntax Highlighting Wrong”

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Figure 1. This figure has automatic figure numbering.

I had a feature request for automatic figure numbering, like latex. I was revamping this plugin for Pelican 3.3 anyway - and this didn’t seem too hard - so I decided to add it.

So, the Better Figures & Images plugin now supports automatic figure numbering. To enable this for all posts, just add this to your config file:


If you want to enable this per post, just add this to the metadata at the top of the post:

for restructuredText add this:

:figure_numbers: true

and for Markdown add this:

figure_numbers: true

Can you have Figures in Markdown?

I use reStructuredText for this site, and I’m not sure if you can even have Figures in Markdown documents - and I haven’t tested it, so caveat emptor …

Continue reading “The Better Figures & Images Pelican plugin now supports Figure Numbering”

There are quite a few changes in Pelican 3.3 - most of them minor, but a few which might mean making some changes to your site in order to upgrade. This is what I did to move my site from Pelican 3.2 to 3.3.

The change that had the biggest impact and took the most work was around image linking - caused by a combination of things. I think I was doing it wrong before and things changed in a way that meant this no longer worked. I also had to update my Better Figures & Images plugin to take this into account.

Previously, I’d been linking to my images like this, both in my theme:

/* Theme CSS Image Link */
background: #2C71B8 url(/static/images/blueprint-background.png) repeat;
{# Theme HTML/Jinja image link #}
<meta name="twitter:image" content …
Continue reading “How I upgraded this website to Pelican 3.3”

A beautiful - and beautifully executed game. The controls are perfect - precise yet perfectly balanced; possibly the best jump in any platform game ever. But it’s so much more. Minimal in appearance, yet rich in humour, characterisation and depth. Who knew that rectangles could have such complex emotional relationships? Graphics, timing, narration, progression are all deftly done, with polish and perfect timing. And the soundtrack - even if you never play the game (which would be a huge mistake) it’s worth buying for the soundtrack alone.

I really don’t say this very often, but it almost makes you proud to be British.

Continue reading “Thomas was Alone Review”

Looks at lots of makers who are doing public stuff, figure out & ask them how they make a living, write it down.


Continue reading “Can you support yourself financially as a Maker?”


Continue reading “How to add new Compose Key combinations on Linux”