Accidental Remediation

those little hiccups on the way to saving the earth

Latest articles

Quality control

There was a side discussion that blew up a bit in last week's Ask a Manager, and now that I'm actually at a computer and can type, I can't find it. Anywhoo, there was a dispute regarding academic vs. industrial quality control.As a scientist who has done reasonably similar work both in grad school and at work, there is no comparison. Academia just doesn't...

office to field

I got a good question on this post regarding the transition from office to field attire in the same day. Guys have it easy in this respect because even if they work in a formal environment, they can just wear khakis to work and then lose the tie/roll up the sleeves and not look ridiculous if they have to run out to do something "clean" in the field...

Technician vs. scientist

When we're talking about entry-level field staff, some people tend to talk about the "techs", and I recently overheard a young geologist refer to himself as a "field technician". In consulting, field technicians and entry-level scientists are not the same thing, even though what they do in the field can look awfully similar. This is why I always refer...

still not an advantage

When I was writing the previous post about having a young-looking face, I was reminded of a conversation I had with a late-middle age man who has always been "the smartest guy in the room" and expected (and received) instant respect his entire career. I had mentioned disliking how young I look in passing, and he said, "but that's such a career advantage!"I'm...

not the baby anymore

I am pleased to announce that I have finally reached an important career milestone: I no longer automatically look like the youngest person in the room! I have officially graduated to looking like a "young professional" instead of a college (or God help me, high school) student.I didn't want to jinx it, but the last few times I've gone out to dinner...

old-time academic burn

Sometimes my work leads me in interesting directions. Working in East Coast Big City means that I occasionally deal with contamination that is centuries old. And because geology doesn't necessarily change that much in a few centuries, occasionally I end up digging into papers and manuscripts that are more than 100 years old.One particular thesis had...

Why we care

I came across an old article that I'd received ages ago (before blogging was a thing) and I think it's still relevant today as a reminder of why environmental regulations are so critical. The Philly Inquirer did a a great series on the aftermath of a fire at an old chemical warehouse, called "beyond the flames", and lo and behold, I was able to find...

field clothing closet

I have recently moved to a new place, and now I finally have adequate closet space for all of my clothing (fieldwork, office, casual, fancy)! I also inherited closet organization systems that I have no interest in changing or upgrading.So here's how I've organized it:Full-size closet #1 (field gear):1. top shelf: field sweaters, hats, and non-bib style...

ride-sharing?

The comments on this Ask a Manager post, from someone who was uncomfortable using Uber/Lyft and preferred taxis, ended up going into four digits. Most of them were anti-taxi.I've mentioned quite a few times that I am not exactly an early adopter of anything, so it probably won't surprise the reader to hear that I come down on the  side of using taxis....

New Year, new start

I sort of lost the thread of this for a while. It was the usual hiatus: have a few (or more) long/rough weeks, and fall out of the blog posting habit. After those rough weeks, I kept busy doing work that was hard to anonymize and not particularly relevant to this blog, which I keep to certain focus areas (see labels!), so I didn't have immediate new...

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