USC speech

April 22, 2008

Worst jobs in science

Filed under: Uncategorized — minimax @ 9:12 am

 

artificial : made by people, often as a copy of something natural  • bench : a long, usually hard, seat for two or more people, often found in public places, or a long table for working on  • coat : to cover something with a layer of a particular substance  • close call : when you come extremely close to a dangerous or unpleasant situation or only just manage to avoid it  • conceal : to prevent something from being seen or known about; to hide something  • injured : hurt or physically harmed  • insert : to put something inside something else, or to add something, especially words, to something else  • lubricant : a liquid such as oil which is used to make the parts of an engine move easily together, or a substance put on any surface to help it move more easily against another one  • manual : done with the hands  • nominate : to officially suggest someone for an election, job, position or honor  • qualification : an ability, characteristic or experience that makes you suitable for a particular job or activity  • retiree : a person who has stopped working  • rubber : an elastic substance made either from the juice of particular tropical trees or artificially  • sample : a small amount of a substance that a doctor or scientist collects in order to examine it  • shift : a group of workers who do a job for a period of time during the day or night, or the period of time itself  • stimulus : something that causes growth or activity  • store : to put or keep things in a special place for use in the future  • technician : a worker trained with special skills, especially in science or engineering  • tube :  a long thin container made of soft metal or plastic, which is closed at one end and has a small hole at the other, usually with a cover, and which is used for storing thick liquids 

 

 

 

 

JOB A : Scientists who need animal sperm use masturbation—with either an artificial vagina (AV) or a hand. The AV—a large rubber tube coated with warm lubricant —is mostly used to get sperm from bulls. When a randy bull mounts a cow, a brave technician, AV in hand, places himself between the two and redirects the bull’s penis into the AV, which he must then hold tight until the bull ejaculates. Everyone who’s done this job has had at least one close call from an angry bull, and more than a few have been seriously injured. The much safer manual technique is used mostly with pigs, which are trained from an early age to mount a small bench while the researcher reaches around with a hand and provides the right kind of “stimulus”. The best job? We nominate the pig. 

sperm : 精子  • masturbation : 手淫  • vagina : 陰道  • bull : 公牛  • randy : 好色的  • cow : 母牛  • penis : 陰莖  • ejaculate : 射精  • mount : 爬上

 

 

 

 

JOB B : Click … click … click. Mostly retirees, fish counters work for eight-hour shifts, April to October, watching fish swim up fish ladders built on large dams. When a fish counter sees a fish, she pushes a button. Click. When she sees two fish, she pushes the button twice. Click. Click. Here’s the exciting part: There are different buttons for different kinds of fish! Fish counts determine how many fish people are allowed to legally catch, and this system is one reason for the record number of salmon in the past couple of years. That, in turn, is good news for the fish counters, who can push 300 buttons an hour these days. “It is more exciting on a good day,” explains fish counter Marty Schluterbush.

fish ladder : 魚梯  • dam : 水壩  • record number : 最高記錄  • salmon : 鮭魚

 

 

 

 

JOB C : Gastroenterologist Michael Levitt recently paid two persons to repeatedly smell the odors of other people’s farts. (Levitt refuses to say how much they were paid, but it would seem best to describe it this way: Not enough!) Sixteen healthy people ate large amounts of fart-producing beans and inserted small collection tubes into their anuses. Levitt carefully stored the gas from each fart. The odor judges then sat down with at least 100 samples, opened them one at a time, and inhaled deeply. They then had to rate just how bad the smell was. Levitt explains that doctors have never studied farts, even though their smell can be an important sign of disease. 

gastroenterologist : 腸胃科醫生  • odor : 氣味  • fart :   • anus : 肛門  • inhale : 吸入

 

 

 

 

ANIMAL MASTURBATOR : Scientists who need animal sperm use masturbation—with either an artificial vagina (AV) or a hand. The AV—a large rubber tube coated with warm lubricant —is mostly used to get sperm from bulls. When a randy bull mounts a cow, a brave technician, AV in hand, places himself between the two and redirects the bull’s penis into the AV, which he must then hold tight until the bull ejaculates. Everyone who’s done this job has had at least one close call from an angry bull, and more than a few have been seriously injured. The much safer “by hand” technique is used mostly with pigs, which are trained from an early age to mount a small bench while the researcher reaches around with a hand and provides the right kind of “stimulus”. The best job? We nominate the pig. 

If you lost your current job and had the opportunity to take this job at the same pay, would you? If not, why not? Would you prefer to do the work involving the bull or the pig? Why? If you had the opportunity to be a sperm or egg donor, would you? If not, why not? Would it matter for what purpose your sperm or egg would be used?

 

 

 

 

FISH COUNTER : Click … click … click. Mostly retirees, fish counters work for eight-hour shifts, April to October, watching fish swim up fish ladders built on large dams. When a fish counter sees a fish, she pushes a button. Click. When she sees two fish, she pushes the button twice. Click. Click. Here’s the exciting part: There are different buttons for different kinds of fish! Fish counts determine how many fish people are allowed to legally catch, and this system is one reason for the record number of salmon in the past couple of years. That, in turn, is good news for the fish counters, who can push 300 buttons an hour these days. “It is more exciting on a good day,” explains fish counter Marty Schluterbush.

 

Would you be interested in this job if the pay or benefits were extremely good? Do you think this job would be very boring for you, or do you think you might enjoy it? How boring would you say your current job is? What is the most boring task you have to do? Have you had, or do you know of, any jobs that you think would be more boring than fish counter?

 

 

 

 

FART ODOR JUDGE : Gastroenterologist Michael Levitt recently paid two persons to repeatedly smell the odors of other people’s farts. (Levitt refuses to say how much they were paid, but it would seem best to describe it this way: Not enough!) Sixteen healthy people ate large amounts of fart-producing beans and inserted small collection tubes into their anuses. Levitt carefully stored the gas from each fart. The odor judges then sat down with at least 100 samples, opened them one at a time, and inhaled deeply. They then had to rate just how bad the smell was. Levitt explains that doctors have never studied farts, even though their smell can be an important sign of disease. 

How much money would you demand to work as a fart odor judge? Would you agree to be the fart producer if a friend of yours were doing the research and needed volunteers? If not, would you agree if a significant amount of money were offered? Are there any foods that cause flatulence for you? If so, do you try to avoid these foods? Do you fart in front of other members of your family? Your friends? Anyone else? Have you ever had a memorable experience that involved farting?

 

 

 

 

Which of the three jobs do you think would be worst? How would you rank them? Can you think of any jobs that are even worse than these? What is the worst job that you have ever had?

 

 

 

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