It seems okay to make good use of expletives in notes when needed.
Like "Dang", "Crud", and "Holy Molley"?
Let us not forget 'dag-nabbit!' :)
What are you talking about?
I was having some frustration with a problem I was working on so took it out on my notebook.
I once did a research project where I was instructed to keep detailed notes on my work in a notebook. The writing style was... let's call it casual. At the end the professor in charge informed me that the grant required that I turn the notebook over in case anybody wanted to audit the work I did during the project. It is now in the possession of the federal government.
I had a similar experience. Project management wanted my notebook containing detailed derivations for a complicated software model of a physical process. About ten pages in the middle of the notebook contained pages marked with a big X across the page, plus some descriptive words. The first couple pages used colorful terms related to bodily waste. After that it was just "WRONG," "STILL WRONG," "YEP. THIS IS WRONG, TOO", and finally, "ALL THAT WRONG <deleted> STOPS HERE."
It was received with some level of amusement.
Have you ever used expletives in your code? Like printf("An **** programmer wrote it.\n") or puts("*** again?"); ?
I did in the past. Then a fried o mine (owner of a small software company at the time) told me a story about how he was asked by a prospective client to show him an alpha version of the software they were working on...
We were once beta-testing a new Fortran compiler from IBM, when it failed to compile some perfectly legal (and simple) code with the fatal error message THAT USELESS ****** DAVE HASN'T WRITTEN THIS BIT YET.
The best part of the joke was not the message, but IBM's over-reaction when we sent back the formal error report!
I was working on a project (for strictly internal use, so presentability was irrelevant) with someone whose job it was to write a java application that used sockets, and we were running into issues with regards to the computer correctly releasing (not sure if this is the technical term, he was there to be the guy who knows what a socket is) the socket when we were done using it. We were never able to fix all the issues, and by the end of it our official error message scheme that we documented was broken down into the number of times the words "****ing socket" was used.
Not profanity, but related:
I was working on a project that involved an amine that was a fine powder and smelled soooooo fishy. In the report I submitted to my boss, I referred to this compound as "powdered cat breath":
I thought she would be amused - she had a good sense of humor!
Well the final report was sent to the home office in Finland, and a good part of it was the report I wrote, cut and pasted *without edits*. I don't know if it was an oversight or if she just didn't read what I wrote, but I'm sure some poor Finnish chemist was left wondering, "powdered cat breath"...wth?!?!
What does it mean for someone to audit your research? Like they'll go through it and look for stuff you did wrong?
If so, that seems like a really crappy way to treat somebody...
Well when you're using public money to write things notebooks, the public deserves to see what you wrote.
The only place I've experienced it is in vertebrate animal research labs, where there are ethics considerations. I've never seen it in theoretical research.
My understanding was basically if someone accused the professor of wasting the grant money, they could simply check the notebooks to see if research was actually being done.
That's possible, but I really only see it in experimental labs. We still use federal money in computational/theoretical pursuits. Of course, they're allowed to confiscate our computers... but then you're relying on being able to understand scatter-brained code without proper annotaiton
(I guess that's really no different than scatterbrained notebooks with bad handwriting though...)
I guess it's OK as long as you can deliver.
And warranted when you can't.
"Powdered cat breath" sounds like a machine translation.
I was thinking more Gleipnir from norse mythos...
Went a bit wrong on the beard thing...
If they were auditing against some recognized standard (e.g. ISO9001), not so much looking for "stuff you did wrong", but looking to see it the research team as a whole had some some procedures to check for "stuff that was done wrong", and that they actually followed those procedures and fixed the mistakes.
Making mistakes isn't a big deal, but not having any evidence that you checked for any mistakes might be a very big deal, especially if your research leads to people getting killed.
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