So, I’m playing with these SEO tools (jux2 is one) and did a search for alisonchilla. MSN yielded some weird results, including the infamous TuND! In fact, the TuND link that came up was the announcement for the Tuesday Night Dinner just before my adventures in South America. Proof (as if you needed any) that anything that goes up on the internet never really dies …

Speaking of weird results with MSN Live search — where the heck am I? I show up in the results for “Alison Chandler” but only for my Burning Man photos. Odd. It’s like Microsoft isn’t even trying. I mean, I own “” for pity’s sake.

AltaVista turned up this gem:
Alison Chandler: 1 x IEWA Women’s Intercontinental Champion (September 25th, 1998 – October 19th, 1998). Watch out! I may finish you with a cobra clutch followed by a leg scissors! GRRRRR!!!

I’m directly stealing from AAAS’s homepage today. Kinda cool to see your work on TV.
“NBC4-TV in Washington, D.C., focused on AAAS headquarters for a story on environmentally sensitive architecture.”

Better be careful what you say on air – now you may NEVER be able to live it down.
TVEyes lets you search transcripts of Internet news broadcasts for free. A fee-based service gives you even more reach. I tried searching for “the journal Science” and got four clips. The first clip was more than 7 days old and no longer free on CNN’s website. I would have to pay a one time $0.99 fee or $24.95 for a year’s access.

As for podcasts, you can search transcripts at Podscope.

Now, neither of these seem to be perfect – I know good and well that every edition of The Word Nerds should have popped up when I searched Podscope for “rude word of the week,” and I only got a few. Also, I got one result for “James Patrick Kelly” and I know Jim has his own podcasts that didn’t turn up. But it’s a cool concept, one that Yahoo! or Google or MSN will jump on in the near future, I’m sure.

Where I got my news:

Science banner ads
People keep asking me, “So what do you DO at your new job?”
I send email. LOTS of it. There are about 70,000 members that receive our enewsletters (3 of them), letters, and announcements. Then there are a whole bunch of people who we would like to become members who have signed up for free access to the magazine site. In exchange, they gave us their email addresses and told us we could mail them. So we do.

The big thing I was working on last week was promoting the Breakthrough of the Year issue and online coverage, which included a video and podcast. It is available for free at:

I sent out the email announcement to members and non-members (Hey, who doesn’t want free content? Especially when it’s relevant to you.)

I also created banner ads that are running on the websites of the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, San Jose Mercury News and Yahoo! News. I made one that blinks, just to annoy Herb.

Spanish language post

At Slashdot

Alison’s New Job at AAAS: Day 2
(American Academy for the Advancement of Science or “triple a, s“)

The commute – hasn’t gotten to me yet. Waiting for that day when the Metro breaks down and I curse public transportation. But for the moment it’s kinda nice to be able to sit and read for half an hour before work. Though I do find myself thinking that everyone on the subway in DC is far too civilized. Everyone quiet, politely ignoring you while they read the morning newspaper, bury their nose in a novel, or sleep. I’m tempted to play mind games with them. Do some sort of social experiment. Is there something wrong with me for thinking that these people need their lives shaken up a bit?

The people – all seem nice enough so far. My cubemate is 60ish woman who works on graphics for the Marketing department. Haven’t heard much out of MaryEllen yet. There is an Allison who lives next door to me – I think she dislikes that I’m causing name confusion. Waiting to see what kind of nickname they decide to give me at work.

The job – it’s going to be a lot of meetings, a lot of trade shows, some mindless sending of e-mails and some writing.

The dork factor – surprisingly low. You’d expect these people to all be science nuts. Not in the marketing department, it seems – though I may be sorely underestimating these guys. To raise the bar I’ve got a quote from Bill Nye the Science Guy and a copy of the periodic table of elements that I’m gonna tack to my wall.

Bill Nye quote (I think this was from Wired – I clipped it, so I’m not sure anymore)

Q: Science and comedy seem like strange bedfellows. How do you make serious science funny?
A: How can you not make it funny? Humor is everywhere, in that there’s irony in just about anything a human does. There’s all this PB&J: passion, beauty and joy. But there’s also the futility of the whole thing. We’re just humans on this dying planet, and it doesn’t much matter what we do. We’re always setting up expectations, whether scientific or otherwise, and failing to meet them. That creates comedic tension. The more you find out about the world, the more opportunities there are to laugh about it.

The journal Science
The main goal of my department is to get people to be members of AAAS, the major benefit to scientists being a subscription to the weekly journal Science. It contains light science reading such as “Structures of the Bacterial Ribosome at 3.5 Angstrom Resolution”, and “Retrograde Signaling by Syt 4 Induces Presynaptic Release and Synapse-Specific Growth”. In trying to read the publication that I’m trying to promote, I find myself mentally substituting the word “blah” for any scientific term over 7 letters. This about doubles my reading speed, without much loss of comprehension. Win-win, I say.

Alas, I don’t think this apathy towards words I do not know will be long-lived. The stupid magazine has already taunted me into re-familiarizing myself with what a mole is (“The amount of a substance that contains as many atoms, molecules, ions, or other elementary units as the number of atoms in 0.012 kilogram of carbon 12. The number is 6.0225 × 1023, or Avogadro’s number. Also called gram molecule.” It can be used in making calculations about gasses.) , and I’m sure that I’ll be digging back to my high school physics and chemistry lessons to try to make sense of more of what I’m reading.

Book Review
Eats Shoots & Leaves by Lynne Truss.
This may be hard to believe, but Truss manages to make reading about grammar fun – highbrow, but fun. Really. I swear. How can you not like this example of how an added comma can change the meaning of a sentence?

With comma: “Now I must go and get on, my lover”
Without comma: “Now I must go and get on my lover”

A fellow Terp has a cartoon on Cartoon Network’s Adult Swim.
Aaron McGruder was writing for the Diamondback while I was at UMCP.
See his strip-turned-toon on TV:

What is your greatest weakness? Why do you want to work HERE? Tell me about a problem you had to solve or an obstacle that you had to overcome. If I were to call your former boss right now, what would he say about you? Why are you looking to change jobs?

Ah yes, the joys of job interviewing. Carefully wording your answers without sounding like you are carefully wording them. Mastering the art of bullshit.

Glad it’s over. The experience was good, though my answers could use some work. I mean, the interviewers are just looking to see that you can put together a coherent answer, that you have enough social graces to get by in a work environment. But I’d like to be able to answer with more conviction.