the past two days, i’ve been in d.c. participating in an NIH grant review session. this is where the NIH puts out some open letter, like, “we really need more research in the area of bla-bla, so send in all your best ideas and we’ll pick a handful to fund.” so some are crap and some are really cool ideas, and a bunch of qualified people get to sit around in a smallish hotel ballroom and debate their relative merits. yes, there were times where it was every bit as boring as it sounds. but honestly, it was kind of cool to get a feel for what’s on the cutting edge in this field, see the interesting new directions things are going in, and critique the new techniques they’ll be using to get there. though i’m by NO means an expert in this realm, i got to feel all useful by critiquing the animal models sections of all the grant apps. one of them had a plan for ferrets that involved this odd restrainer device, complete with an unintentionally hilarious diagram. “this,” i said, “is flat-out not going to work.”
yesterday, we got out a bit after 5, and the ensuing traffic jam home reminded me of why i only live 15 minutes from work. today, though, because we’d pushed through the majority of the apps yesterday, we rolled out right around lunchtime. after some lunch with a pair of my sciencey colleagues, i cruised on home around 2ish through the tiniest light flurry of snow.
you know how snow is always so wonderful in the movies? where the sun is shining and all is bright & beautiful, and the snow is light and fluffy and blows around in little breezy swirls? it snowed like that this afternoon. click for the arty winter pics: