Thursday, 21 April 2011


Yes, I know the photo is on the wrong day! Photos on a Thursday? Why, it's unthinkable!
I actually have photography block. I haven't seen anything and though, `wow, that's pretty` lately, and that's unsurprising. After all, we're in full-on melt-down mode here in Fairbanks. The snow is nasty, mud is getting all over, and ice is building up on any depression or level surface. Add to that the fact that most of westridge on campus is being dug up right now, and you got yourself a pretty ugly place. Luckily, soon it'll be warm enough for foliage to start coming out, and the place will be greener than you can shake a stick at.

Wednesday, 20 April 2011

You could have picked a worse locale...

... Paul could have tried to set up shop in Ester. That's my attitude towards the Goldstream General Store. About two years ago, you may recall there was a stink about the employees going on strike. The store used to be owned by some nice folks who decided to sell it quietly. So quietly that almost no one knew about it until it was done. The problem was the new owner had strong opinions about tattoos, religion, politics, and just about everything else. And they were 100% to the right of right. And he was rather vocal about them. Well, that's fine - that's anyone's right - but you have to question the business savvy of starting an outwardly conservative business in what's basically a valley full of hippies, dilettante dog mushers, unwashed students and university staff. The valley isn't as liberal as Ester, but it's pretty close. 

The problem, and the reason this  is back in the news, was because the new owner tended to talk to his employees about religion. A lot. In a hostile manner. Leaving aside the wisdom of talking about religion at work (there's a time and place, and that's neither), the employees thought the content of the conversation amounted to harassment at the least. Things to the effect of `Catholics are the root of all evil` and how they would go to hell. At least two employees have sued over this, and thus far, one has won. I'm surprised it's taken two years for the case to worm its way through the courts - this was about as open and shut as it gets, given the amount of evidence that Paul was saying those things. Getting redress for being obviously wronged through the courts is an incredibly slow process. I might have just said `forget it` and dropped the case myself.

What really gets me is the guy's business plan. It's terrible, to be blunt. This is Goldstream we're talking about here, no one wants to buy stuff they picked up at safeway, brought to the general store and slapped a mark-up on. You want to make bank in the area, open a store that sells local foods, or organic food, or anything of that sort. Make it a pick up location for those organic farm distributors that are so popular on campus. Sell to the clientele you can get,  not the one you wish you had. If they had even a little bit of local goods there, they would have many more customers than they actually do.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Fairbanks is looking for a bioinformatics guru!

Here's an announcement that was recently sent out over evol-dir:

University of Alaska Fairbanks seeks a Unit Manager for the Life
Science Informatics/ Epidemiology Biostatistics cores. These cores
provide technical computing services, such as database development and
management, data dissemination services, optimization of technical
software, custom data analysis pipelining, maintenance of
computational clusters, and user training workshops to facilitate the
growth and maintenance of a diverse user group. This position is
jointly supported by campus-wide research groups, including the Center
for Alaska Native Health Research (CANHR), the IDeA Network of
Biomedical Research Excellence (INBRE), the IAB Spatial Ecology
Laboratory, and grants to individual researchers.

The position requires significant attention to both substance and
detail and a commitment to working collaboratively with faculty and
staff involved in the Institute of Arctic Biology, as well as at other
UA campuses. The Manager will interact with up to 150 researchers on a
regular basis, and oversee the work of programmers and system analysts
with an operational budget of approximately $750,000/yr.  Experience
with computer hardware including networks, clusters and servers, as
well as an understanding of programming and scripting are also
required. Capability in Red Hat or any Linux is required, while
familiarity with SQL, PHP and/or Perl are strong pluses.
Additionally, experiences in any field of bioinformatics are pluses.

Also desired are strong communication skills; human resource skills
for management of the work flow for a small highly skilled and
professional team, including direct supervision, budget authority and
planning responsibilities.
Typical education should include a graduate degree in bioinformatics,
biology, medical science or a related field with strong computational
aspects, or information technology/mathematics/statistics or related
field with demonstrated biology underpinnings.

To apply, go to UAKJOBS.COM.

More information about the supporting programs can be found here:

Life Science Informatics

University of Alaska Fairbanks is the flagship
university of Alaska with more than 10,000 students.  There are active
research programs in Biology as well as in
Chemistry and Biochemistry .  LSI also
provides the support to researchers in UA Anchorage

Additional information about Fairbanks, Alaska:
Fairbanks, Alaska is an exciting place for many people.  This job
offers a life-time opportunity for you to experience vibrant, diverse,
and adventurous life with the comfort of medium-sized city.  It is
conveniently located and the direct flight from Seattle WA takes only
3.5 hours.  It takes about 2 hours of driving to the magnificent
Denali National Park, which offers unparalleled wilderness experience.
For more adventurous, Arctic
National Wildlife Refuge or
Wrangell-St. Elias National Park

can be easily accessed.  You can enjoy the midnight sun during the
summer.  Even in the winter, we have a lot of fun things to do.  The
shortest day is about 4 hours, but there are plenty of light before
the sun rise and after the sun set.  We generally do not have wind, so
it does not feel as cold as Chicago in the winter.   We have lots of
cultural activities such as active music community and arts, film and
music festivals, too (e.g., ).

A lot of us did not know how high the quality of life is in Fairbanks
until we moved here, and most of us fell in love with the "Last
Frontier" State.  I hope you'll take up this opportunity and join us.

Click for Fairbanks, Alaska Forecast