Please be aware that this website (pressure-ink.com) will seize operations as of June 15, 2019. 

Update Version 1.5

July 25, 2018

  1. Earlier posts written between 2015 and 2016 have been fully reformatted to maintain the same look throughout the website. Some pages were updated in Version 1.4, but now it extends to all entries. All articles have now a mobile friendly version (in some cases, a text only version) for better reading using the Reader View in Safari (iOS and macOS devices only) and in the current version of Firefox. This currently does not work with Chrome.

  2. We have edited all article URLs and made them clearer, so that they are easier to find and remember.

  3. Website-Wide change in fonts and colours to allow for easier reading. We have also made page titles and subsection titles more prominent and visible throughout.

  4. We have reformatted the HelpZone (now Resource Centre). This section also benefits from a dedicated Index so that you can find what you are looking for quickly. Index is currently in development and will be implemented later this year.

  5. Glossary has been reformatted and will contain the definition of all technical terms that appear on the website.

  6. Improved metadata. Update 1.5 focused on making sure webpage information was accurate and up-to-date. This allows for better visibility in search engines.

  7. We have set up the infrastructure to later implement searching by tags. Tags shown on the bottom of entries show keywords relating to the post. You will be able to search through an index of tags (nested under the Home section) to quickly search through related articles.

  8. We have also created the infrastructure for a Sitemap (nested under the Home section) to see all that pressure-ink.com has to offer.

  9. We added the “Translate this Page” widget (powered by Google Translate) at the bottom of each post, allowing us to increase engagement with visitors.

  10. Organisation was key to update 1.5. Subsections have been re-organised, now appear in alphabetical order (with a few exceptions). You will also find bigger thumbnails, and all have activated links, so you do not need to click on the headings to reach destinations.

  11. We added a Lifestyle section and removed the Gaming section. The Arts (split between Visual and Performing Arts), Gaming and Health & Wellbeing are now in one section.

  12. Added the Lifestyle Blog.

  13. Added trademark information at the bottom of each main page.

  14. We are changing our policy such that we will be announcing annual website updates and how we have improved the website.

Spawn Theory: Thought of the Day

Our new Lifestyle section is aimed at combining the trivialities of our everyday life with all the wonders of the natural (and supernatural) world.

We all want to change the world

Published on:
January 1, 2019

But we also want a career.

As the new year rolls in and celebrations pass, we begin to wonder what lies ahead. For some of us this unexplored year brings excitement as well as insecurities that we might not be willing to admit. For most of us, however, we are in sync to the yearly rhythm of life, and neither look forward to the new year nor welcome it with fear. We welcome it as we would welcome any other day; with a gratefulness of being alive. The value of the individual is so often disregarded in our ever so growing population. To tackle the problems of the world we form collaborations and networks including a little something of each individual personality, bringing forth diversity in both intellectual and emotional intelligence, and create a much stronger force to solve complex problems. But we mustn’t challenge the importance and power of the individual. After all, what motivates us, as individuals, to pursue these projects can be a combination of selfishness and aspiration to make a difference to a world that needs much of it.

Continue reading

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Careers | Science Communication | Development

Pressure - Doctor's Corner

Is a tablet a computer?

Published on:
April 20, 2018

The modern computer comes in many forms. Our needs are changing, so why shouldn't the PC market change as well? 

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Computers | Technology | Tablets

Science - Applied Science - Computer Science

A PhD in isolation

Published on:
March 26, 2018

A PhD is by definition a degree that represents up to four years of original research. Within that time, you will be expected to specialise on something very specific, but which has a significant implication in a broader topic. A PhD requires a level of maturity and professionalism, and its outcome will not only depend on your ability to collect results, but on the ability to be productive even in challenging situations. A PhD requires frequent planning and re-planning, as well as commitment. But this commitment comes at a cost. As you progress through your specialism, your knowledge will become very specific and while you may know basic concepts, you may become isolated from knowledge and skills that are obtained by other means. 

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PhD | Development | Isolation | Careers

Pressure - Doctor's Corner

Where have all my good friends gone? 

Published on:
February 18, 2018

Starting a PhD is a leap from your undergraduate or taught postgraduate. Like going to a new school, you will be faced with meeting and getting to know strangers, which may eventually be more than acquaintances or may just remain as colleagues. Then there’s the feeling that you’re sticking to more education, while everyone else you know wants to head out to the real world and search for a real job. Your good friends have graduated and most have left the campus. Or maybe it was you that left, and embarked on your adventure, leaving behind everyone that you knew. It is not surprising that some prospective PhD students are scared of being isolated and left all alone.

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PhD | Personal Development | Work Ethics

Pressure - Doctor's Corner

Why PhD?

Published on:
February 11, 2018

I went into the PhD thinking it was going to an easy experience. Thinking back on it, I wouldn’t necessary say it was hard either. I think the hardest part of it was accepting that there is a learning curve and an aspect of personal development. I started a PhD directly after finishing my undergraduate degree, and having completed a successful final year project, I felt I was ready to continue academic research. I wouldn’t say that I was scared about starting a new degree. To me, it felt like the next logical step in my education. I briefly considered doing a Master’s degree, but the mere issue that it would have involved going to lectures and taking exams, deterred me from it.

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PhD | Personal Development | Expectations

Ink Studio - Inkwell Blog

The truth about academic jobs.

Published on:
February 9, 2018

The last question of my PhD interview five years ago was: what do you want to do after your PhD? At the time, I wanted to go into industry with a plan to return to academia and perform my own experiments. Four years later, I am not sure I still think that way. Employability and the value of the PhD has always been in the background during the degree. On the first day of the programme, the Graduate Director told everyone that about 10% of PhD graduates get a post-doc and something like 2% of those get professorships. At first, I thought it was about the competition based on the mere number of applicants and positions to be filled, but in reality, competition has very little do with it. There is competition within science, of course, and that plays a significant part to an academic’s development, but to say that only 10% of PhD graduates get a post-doc because they managed to out-compete other contenders, is too simplistic.

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Post-Doc | Jobs | After the PhD

Pressure - Doctor's Corner

Breaking down your PhD viva.

Published on:
February 1, 2018

There is nothing original by writing about the PhD experience and how to prepare for the viva. If you have submitted your thesis and are waiting for the viva, you might spend a full day reading other people’s experience on blogs and forums. In fact, this article could very well be another generic guide on how to prepare for the viva, that you may or may not read. Reading through other people’s experience and advice may give you that tiny confidence boost that you need. You might already know everything about what to expect on the day. And yet, you are still reading this. I guess one of the first things that we learn on a PhD is to gather as much information from several sources before coming to our own conclusions.

While it is good to talk to others about their viva experience, it can give you a false sense of exposure to it. Most advice is good advice, but is good advice always relevant? The problem with most of viva preparation advice is that it is exactly what we expect. That is because it will usually be given by people who have successfully passed their viva and wish others to pass as well. Therefore, it is not surprising that most of these blogs are highly positive in delivery. But I find that these tips are so generic and blatantly obvious that we might forget their real importance. Perhaps these guides are written as a way to comfort the person reading it, rather than breaking down the logic behind the viva. Let’s be honest, have you ever come across advice and think ‘I didn’t know I was supposed to do that’.

Here’s what you aren’t being told, but must know.

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PhD Study | Viva  Preparation | How to Pass

Pressure - Doctor's Corner

5 reasons to be excited for your PhD viva.

Published on:
January 18, 2018

The PhD is not a linear experience, and getting to know your subject and be comfortable with your results takes time. Some days you might feel really excited about the results and think you understand, then be faced with a complex question that you can’t answer. And then the entire project seems to collapse and those exciting new results don’t seem so great anymore. 

Did I do enough? Could I have done more? Frankly, yes. But, hardly needed to pass. For some reason, most PhD students dread the viva. Perhaps it’s the feeling that there is no control over it and not know what to expect. But guess what, if you have gone through the PhD and attempted to write a thesis, you are ready for the last stage of the process.

Here are 5 reasons why you should be excited for your PhD viva. 

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PhD Study | Viva  Preparation | How to Pass

Pressure -Doctor's Corner

130 Degrees of Freedom.

Published on:
May 31, 2017

We all must travel at some point in our lives.  Whether that is short distance to and from school or work, or long distance like going on holiday.  In fact, migration has been an important part of human evolution and enabled the spreading of genes—the principle of genetics.   But travel, in which ever context, takes careful planning and assessment.  While travel may pose some risks, the results are rewarding.  Much like species that risk everything at a chance to mate, opening our travel networks, ensures the well-being and survival of our species. 

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Transportation | Airports | Planes

Applied Science

Ten Little Test Tubes

Written by:  DrEmmanuel G Escobar

Ten little test tubes were given a shine,
one rolled away and then there were Nine.

Nine little test tubes left out to shake,
one flew away and then there were Eight.

Eight little test tubes filled up with leaven,
one didn’t rise and then there were Seven.

Seven little test tubes growing blastocysts,
one got lost during screening and then there were Six.

Six little test tubes were taken outside,
one dove to the floor and then there were Five.

Five little test tubes chilled to the core,
one formed a crack and then there were Four.

Four little test tubes gone to Chemistry,
one felt the extremes and then there were Three.   

Three little test tubes placed in a queue,
one was mislabelled and then there were Two.

Two little test tubes paired up to run,
one couldn’t keep up and then there was One. 

One little test tube left all alone,
he recycled himself and then there were None*. 

 

*He later reunited with his glassware friends.  

3 minute thesis

Published on:
April 28, 2017

Explaining our PhD research is as essential as conducting the research in the first place. And it's already difficult to explain the research to other scientists in the field, but to present it to a non-science audience, in 3 minutes, now that's the actual challenge!  

It's training us to make fast and quick impact points.  But, training us for what exactly?  It's like pitching a business idea to a panel who will interview hundreds in a day. The real question is how to be unique and credible  in 3 minutes.  What's the real message that we are trying to say about science?

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Science Communication | Science | Challenges

Impact -Spawn Theory

Machines
re-building C4 photosynthesis.

Published on:
February 21, 2017

Energy conversion in eukaryotes is strictly regulated.  In C4 plants, solar energy is converted to chemical energy, driving the carbon fixation engine of C4 photosynthesis—a complex network of finely tuned biochemical reactions, tightly regulated transport networks and underlying regulatory mechanisms [1].  It evolved from the classical C3 pathway, which solely uses ribulose-1,5-bisphosphate carboxylase/oxygenase (Rubisco) as the primary carboxylase for CO2 fixation [2].  Rubisco’s affinity towards CO2 becomes unfavourable when concentrations of intracellular O2 increase, resulting in an increase of photorespiration, which shadows and inhibits photosynthesis.  During C4 photosynthesis (Fig. 1), CO2 is initially fixed by phosphoenolpyruvate carboxylase (PEPC) in mesophyll cells producing a four-carbon compound that is subsequently transported and decarboxylated in bundle sheath cells, concentrating CO2 around Rubisco, thus maintaining a favourable concentration of CO2 for supressing rates of photorespiration [3]

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Photosynthesis | Bioengineering | Computational Biology 

Blueprints

The Wasp's Dismay

Published on:
September 13, 2016

Do you ever the feeling that you’re being watched?  Judged?  Isn’t that what we scientists do most of the time?  We selfishly study areas that intrigue us, searching for new problems and explanations so that we feel that we reach understanding.   We take a living thing, like a plant or a cute rodent, and destroy it; break cells open so that we can study what’s inside.   We play with reason and rationale to justify our methods, and for what?  To write a paper that may or may not be published?   To build libraries of information which are never reviewed? 

Perhaps not. 

As scientists we must find the right balance between the usable degree of invasive techniques and the data that can be collected.  In research that depends greatly on animal models, the stringency of experimental freedom placed on by other scientists or the self-proclaimed ethics committee hinders research, by a combination of time and resources spent to gain approval for a study, finding the proper personnel with just the right training, and sorting out licences and permits.  However, it’s a scientific decree laid down by scientists, to maintain a level of scientific discipline, but also respect for the tools, in this case animal models, used in biological research.

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Scientific misconduct | Lies | Self-awareness | Faults in science

Ink Studio - Deep Within

Published on:
July 14, 2016

As students, we are constantly being tested.  We can be assessed by the way we approach a task, complete a task or report the information we have gained from a study.  Our hard work is rewarded by high marks, but sometimes it’s also about the reward of completing the assignment.   Institutions, universities and companies need a measurement that indicates how competent a candidate research student, academic researcher or potential employee is for a given position.   As a scientist, we are also being assessed, but in a different way.  While we are given more freedom in our research and how we get to answer a research question, we are expected to be able to present our data to an audience and make the effort to ensure that the research will move on forward, be funded and go beyond what was originally planned.   At the core of it, it’s ticking boxes of small accomplishments during the duration of a long term project and providing sufficient evidence of progress being made.  We aren’t necessarily being graded, but instead pushed forward by supervisors, the university or our own uninhibited desire to do more research.   

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Science competition | Grants | Research

Inkwell Blog

Blinded Science Episode 1

Published on:
November 30, 2016

Often times, we don't get a chance to explain ourselves.  Ironically, when we do get ample time to explain ourselves, we don't exactly know when to stop.  I know, I often run into those moments when my partner in conversation is grinning at me, with a look of confusion on their face.  Or when explaining an idea to a colleague, that I should have rehearsed beforehand, but thought I could explain it well.  When asked by a job interviewer "why do you want to work here", those unprepared  would have a hard time finding an answer to such a broad question.  Even if prepared, getting all the thoughts together, so to sound natural, can be as difficult.  

But what if you weren't allowed to speak naturally?  Anyone who has presented their research or interests to somebody with no prior knowledge about it, has surely wondered how much detail should be said or just talked until the other person started to think about anything else but what is being explained.   Surely, as scientists, as good presenters, we know that not everyone will have the same training or background for a particular subject.  Therefore, to get our word across, we must adapt to our audience.  

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Communication | Presentation skills | Challenges

Impact -Science Challenge

Shaping the Future

Published on:
July 28, 2016

There is a special relationship between art and technology that has impacted the way that we live, think and envision what the future may bring.  Pioneer science fiction writers such as Jules Verne, H. G. Wells, and Isaac Asimov, to name a few, introduced ideas that were well beyond their time, fuelled by their experience, passion for science and ability to artistically link fact to fiction.  Although science fiction writers often paint scenarios that go beyond the reachable scope of science in a given era, their works are written like dreams of scientific capabilities and adventures.   Film adaptations bring these novels to life and artistic interpretation takes the fiction into a new dimension.  The curiosity of exploring an idea through science fiction writing, takes the writer into creating solutions to imaginary problems.  Much like Sir Isaac Newton inventing the mathematics he needed to solve the problem he had.   If solutions are drafted using logic and basic scientific principles, but include an individualism-factor, they can be omitted from scientific articles in order to maintain the notion of scientific credibility.  It is therefore not surprising that a clear division is made between science fiction and science writing.

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Technology | Aviation | Aerospace | Origami | Science & Art

Applied Sciences - Aerospace

Watch Dogs:  
behind the game

Published on:
July 12, 2016

In today’s day and age technology is all around us.  We depend on it for our work, communication, transportation and health among other things.  From the first computer that filled up a single room, technology has stretched through our lives such that we would have several pieces of tech around the house, on our desks, nightstands, kitchens and even bathrooms.  For most of us, the use of technology is key in our work, we use it create documents, presentations, keep in contact with colleagues and store information.  The transport of information has increased as the number of personal computers and the use of them increased.  We know about the risks of viruses that jump around from infected computers to healthy computers and protect our devices by using anti-malware software.  We protect our technology with passwords when we can and that is practically it.  As far as we are concerned, we trust the technology because we have to.  It makes our lives easier, more entertaining and keeps us connected with practically every corner of the world.

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Category

Watch Dogs | Hacking | Spyware | Video Games | Security

Video Games

Pursuing a career in science

Published on:
July 06, 2016

Communicating science amongst researchers and university students is something that we are aiming to improve.  But there is another age group that we must not forget.  Anyone who has taken biology during early school years can remember how different it was from any other class, that is if you allow me to not call physical education or lunch, a class.  Sometimes even referred to as the fun class, or is it just me?   Well anyway, the reason why I recall it being more fun than another subject was because of the opportunities to do hands-on experimental work.  Not every school has a Large Hadron-Collider to aid in the teaching of physics and young children and volatile chemicals don’t mix well—literally.  But never mind these extreme cases; biology had the fairest range of experiments that were safe, fun and interesting.   It makes sense that several universities have acknowledged this and organise activities with schools, creating engagement opportunities for schoolchildren, to increase the awareness of science research.    I have been interested in what drives post-graduate students to continue in academia.  I myself am struggling to decide whether a career as an academic suits my personality the best, both in the short and long term.

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Education | University | Post-graduate degrees | Research

Inkwell Blog

The Future of Science Communication

 

Every story needs a beginning, but I am not sure where my story begins. I guess we can trace it back to my early days when I was diagnosed with a case of attention deficit disorder, after showing interest in several toys during a psychological assessment.  A toy was given to me every five minutes and apparently it would have been normal to finish playing with one toy before moving on to the next.  I have always argued that if the doctor handed me a toy to look at, I would look at it, regardless if I already had one to play with.  I felt that they rushed their diagnosis and defined me into a category.  Medication was prescribed, but my parents were and have always been against it.  Over the years however I started to notice that I would start an activity after activity without focusing on a single one.  But where is the line drawn between disorder and enthusiasm for intellectual nurturing? 

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Science | Communication | Research 

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