Symbols in Bigfoot Footnotes

Apparently, I’m on a Drang kick because I have just been getting all kinds of inspiration from his site during the last few days.

I’ve talked about Bigfoot before as a great and elegant way of making annotations on a site. Upon reading some Dr. Drang’s posts, I realized that he uses a snowflake icon, ❆, as his inline footnote placeholder. What a great idea! Considering the theme of this site, I decided to incorporate a Font Awesome flask, , as mine.

All I had to do was edit the bigfoot-default.css file as shown below: 1

You can find the full file here for reference.

  1. I use the connotation of the word “all” lightly. It really took me about an hour and a half to figure it out. Let’s just say I’m still learning CSS…

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Podcasts and education

Last week, after updating my phone to iOS 8, I noticed the Podcasts app is now a stock app. Since it was now staring at me in the face, I decided it would be a good time to start something I’ve wanted to do for a long time — actually listen to podcasts. It’s perfect too since my commute to work is about 30 minutes each way, so I can easily split a typical podcast into two sections (or even continue listening in the lab while working up a reaction). As of now, I’m addicted and will probably even add a section highlighting my favorite ones and episodes.

The first station that I recognized was “This American Life.” To be honest, I had not even heard of the program until this great entry in the Lifehacker How I Work series.1

The weekly episode happened to be, “A Not-So-Simple Majority.” It’s a particularly moving piece, documenting the unfortunate events surrounding a NY school district and the board’s incredible succumbence to conflicts of interest.

This topic really strikes a nerve for me as a budding educator, realizing that the children are the real victims in this situation. All politics and religion aside, it is incredibly saddening to see things like this take place at the cost of essential education.

I highly recommend giving the episode a listen if you haven’t already. I’d love to know your thoughts.

  1. I’m a huge fan of the How I Work series, by the way.

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Do things because they are hard, not because they are easy

I just came across an old AMA on Reddit with Neil deGrasse Tyson promoting his then-upcoming revamp of the Cosmos TV series.1 When asked for some tips on choosing a career in science, he responded with a very inspiring piece of advice:

In whatever you choose to do. Do it because it’s hard, not because it’s easy. Math and physics and astrophysics are hard. For every hard thing you accomplish, fewer other people are out there doing the same thing as you. That’s what doing something hard means. And in the limit of this, everyone beats a path to your door because you’re the only one around who understands the impossible concept or who solves the unsolvable problem.

Very motivational!

  1. A must-see for any science enthusiast or anyone who wants to learn more about science.

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My thoughts on opinion entitlement… [LINK]

Dr. Stokes, a philosopher at Deakin University, summarizes just about everything I have ever wanted to say on the endless “opinions” that everyone appears to have, particularly on social media.

If “Everyone’s entitled to their opinion” just means no-one has the right to stop people thinking and saying whatever they want, then the statement is true, but fairly trivial. No one can stop you saying that vaccines cause autism, no matter how many times that claim has been disproven.

But if ‘entitled to an opinion’ means ‘entitled to have your views treated as serious candidates for the truth’ then it’s pretty clearly false. And this too is a distinction that tends to get blurred.

This is especially important in distinguishing between good and bad science. In good science, you will find hypotheses, which are the results of observations and application of knowledge. In bad science, you will always hear opinions, albeit cleverly disguised as “hypotheses.”

Read the full article on The Conversation.

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Adding Style Sheets to ChemDraw in Windows 8

One of my favorite blogs, Totally Synthetic, has a F.A.Q. that includes a download of the ChemDraw style sheet (“stationery” for Mac users) that the author uses for his beautiful drawings. If you wanted to add a style sheet like this to your collection, you would have to add the .CDS file to the ChemDraw Items folder, which was usually found at

C:\Program Files\CambridgeSoft\ChemOffice2006\ChemDraw\ChemDraw Items

However, for people like me on Windows 8.11, this directory does not exist. Instead, you should enable view of “Hidden Items” and head over to:

C:\ProgramData\CambridgeSoft\ChemOffice2012\ChemDraw\ChemDraw Items

Perhaps this is already common knowledge, but with my denseness and failed Google searches, I only discovered this by chance…

Hope this helps others who were confused as well!

  1. Yes, much to my sadness I will be using Windows for work-related stuff until I graduate.

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