Saturday, January 14, 2006

Things to Do to Avoid Work I

In procrastination, the most difficult challenge is avoiding the guilt. You can't escape it, but you can push it to the background, and cover it with a sense of doing something as/more important.

Some procrastination is simply loitering, with no productive results whatsoever. The Art of Procrastination, however, is to make the non-work feel important, necessary, unavoidable. Like when you spend an hour trying to find the link to the article you once saw and now think your friend might be interested in. Surely helping a friend is more important than analysing your data? It doesn't really matter that the friend it totally oblivious about your effort and probably will just curse you for sending a distracting email when trying to get work done by a looming deadline. It's the thought that counts. Your thought, that is.

There must be a reason why helping out in someone else's research project is always more interesting than doing any work in your own, but I'll have to return to that issue later. Because now I'm meta-procrastinating, trying to delay writing about the real point of this entry, which is a superb way of spending countless guilt-free hours not doing your work!

In many ways, looking for a speck of dust in interstellar space sounds like a thing someone might want to do to avoid proper work. Now you can help them in the project!

NASA's Stardust Mission is looking for volunteers to help them sift through the millions of microscope images of the gel that was on board of the Stardust capsule. Stardust has been flying near comets in our solar system and a few dozen dust particles have hopefully been captured by it. Stardust will return to earth tomorrow, and the scientists are keen to find out if their fishing trip was successful. Pre-registration for Stardust@Home is now on.

This is a perfect academic procrastination activity, since the managers of the project have promised that anyone who finds a grain of dust, will get to name it, but more importantly, will be included as co-authors in the article announcing the discovery!

(at this rate, my chances of getting published through Stardust@Home are astronomically better than with my own work... Yes, I registered.)

(pic ©2005 UC Regents)

1 comment:

mitluana said...

I tried to open a Skype chat, but you were probably working. :(

Good for you! :)