Posts by Bart Janssen

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  • Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit,

    The EU is changing the post-doc setup so that anyone who has been in the same place 5 years becomes an employee not a contractor. This is to counter the increasing casualisation of academic work.

    Yup and the US is having issues with their whole academic system because of the "cheap labour" of post-docs messing up with academic career progression.

    However, neither the EU nor the US are actually prepared to pay for the research so labs try and get it done cheaper with post-docs ... a little cyclic methinks.

    And who says this kind of contrscting doesn't exist in NZ employment law at the moment? There are loads of post-docs happily (or unhappily, as the case may be) working around the country.

    Well yes there are loads of post-docs around the country. But whether the law actually allows them to be employed the way they are is another question. Post-docs aren't litigious by nature but it is an open question still as to whether the rotation of post-docs is illegal.

    The simple fact is most post-docs who come here for 3 years actually want to leave at the end of their contract and head back home or on to a new lab. Which makes the law an ass. However even in NZ I know of labs that openly abuse the post-doc system to get cheap labour knowing full well they should be hiring permanent employees.

    Like I said this isn't simple stuff.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: A few (more) words on The Hobbit,

    "Why should senior CRI staff, whose career is a project to project existence, be at risk from a contractor taking them to court to be re-classified as an employee, simply because the CRI was successful at securing one project after another, and loyal enough to keep re-hiring the contractor from one project to another?"

    I'm conflicted on this one. It is an issue that has been raised with govt as well.

    Assume a short term grant that gets refunded. So initial funding was say 3 years with no promise of repeat funding, so a new scientist gets hired on a 3 year fixed term contract. Then lab gets new funding for an additional 3 years but if they hire a different scientist they get taken to employment court and lose. If they rehire the same scientist for another fixed term contract they get taken to employment court and lose. So they essentially have to take on the scientist as an employee but what happens if they then lose funding ... theoretically they can let the scientist go but it isn't usually that straightforward.

    This is one area I am conflicted because really they shouldn't be able to boot the employee unless the employee isn't performing and if that is the case they should go through the process and remove them for poor performance.

    BUT

    And this is where science is a bit weird. There is a tradition of having scientists spend some time after they get their PhD working in different labs around the world to build networks and gain different experience. It's called a post-doc. They are typically about 2-3 years in any one place. So having 2-3 year fixed term positions that rotate people in and out of an ongoing research project is considered normal and good for everyone involved. And there isn't really any room in NZs employment law for such a role.

    BUT

    Some people abuse the system by exploiting post-docs as cheap(ish) labour which they get rid of before they start to want pay rises or benefits like holidays. And our law should protect employees from such arseholes.

    As you can see this stuff isn't simple. But no worries, urgency will fix it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Cock!,

    Good god its turned into the Todger Dialogue here.

    And we know Emma never intended that to happen.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Cock!,

    I'd just like to note the importance of multiple sampling. Large numbers of measurements are the key to obtaining accurate results. Be kind to your statistician.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Hard News: Anatomy of a Shambles,

    This whole thing makes me think the actors union has been watching too many movies. Unfortunately Warner Bros aren't quite as stupid as the townsfolk.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Cock!,

    I am pretty sure you can attempt to measure it on every single state, and create some kind of graph.

    Yeah sure - I'm really just looking at the graphs

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Cock!,

    I mean, can you guys honestly say you've never measured it?

    What your missing is that Heisenberg's principle applies to penises just as it applies to quarks.

    As soon as you attempt to define it's length, it starts to move.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Cock!,

    Vajazzling.

    vajazzhands?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Cock!,

    It's that old joke

    When we say we're thinking about nothing, we really are

    Really it's just another dangly wobbly bit - to go with all the other dangly wobbly bits - sadly there are more of those each year

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

  • Up Front: Oh, Cock!,

    are certainly not on good terms with their bodies

    well my penis is fine but my bloody calves won't behave like they used to

    Size does matter for guys: in any group situation it usually doesn't take long to sort out who the big swinging dicks are and a sort of hierarchy is established.

    Really? As a straight male I've never experienced that group dynamic.

    Also never experienced that - not even as a nudist where it was clear to all

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3426 posts Report Reply

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