Odd Web Material

May 21st, 2013

Thursday’s post on lab manuals brought my attention to this nice cheat sheet from the Zakarian Group at UCSB on how to collect an NMR spectrum. I am a big fan of cheat sheets—they let you focus on the big picture when you’re getting trained on an instrument instead of focusing on recording every simple command. That said, the Zakarian NMR guide is weird. It inexplicably ends with the statement:


I guess the line is some sort of inside joke in the lab, but why on Earth would you post it to a professional Web site? It reminded a labmate of the incident where racially insensitive material was posted on Clifford Kubiak’s site, for which he later issued a public apology.

If you enjoy these sorts of jokes, keep your boss out of trouble by not posting them to your lab’s Web site.

UPDATE (5/21, 5 pm): The line quoted above has been removed from the NMR guide. More info in the comments…

5 Responses to “Odd Web Material”

  1. andre Says:

    Did you contact Prof Zakarian about this? He might not know what the entire content of the cheat sheet is (if there is a student who is in charge of the website content or if someone sent him a copy of this sheet with the last line added on purpose or by mistake).

    That being said, cheat sheets are great. It’s also a way to see how use of the instrument “evolves” over time. Just having grad students teaching grad students how to use instruments is like a multi-year game of telephone, where little changes occur in each step. In grad school, our group had two different schools of how to use the NMR where one was actually producing inferior results because of a few small changes to how the instrument was used. We figured out the schism had occurred eight or nine years before we found out about it.

  2. anonymous Says:

    I can tell you first hand that Prof. Zakarian did not know about this and once the group manager found out, it was told to the person in charge of the website to be taken down immediately. It was an extremely poor and embarrassing choice on the part of the person who added that statement to the group’s NMR Protocol.

  3. anonymous Says:

    wow that kubiak story is news to me, and what an absurd load of BS. i’ve met prof. kubiak and he seemed like a genuinely nice person. the mitbbs invasion of that comment section to call for his sacking has almost got me hot under the collar, 2 years after the fact.

  4. Paul Says:

    @andre: I did not seek comment from Zakarian for this story.

    @anonymous (2:11 pm): It’s good that the line was removed.

    @anonymous (3:20 pm): I agree that calls for Kubiak’s ouster were ridiculous—an overreaction to what was probably poor judgment on the part of a grad student or postdoc with access to the Web server. That said, when you’re in charge, the buck stops with you. I thought the apology was appropriate.

  5. bad wolf Says:

    I’m almost sorry I brought it up, if it was going to reflect poorly on Prof. Zakarian. Students, i know it’s fun to include little lab in-jokes, but if professors get as much flack as Kubiak did they will quickly drop posting interesting things online altogether–too much risk, not much reward. Let’s not let that happen!

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