Lab Meeting

My name is Edo and I conduct communications research.

Lab meetings are like Alcoholics Anonymous, except without anonymity, a 12-step program or a belief in a higher power (unless Annie Lang counts). It’s a support group for Telecom researchers, where faculty members and students present their research, seek advice, report progress and throw around acronyms like ASA, DSA, MAM and the dreaded NTR. The last one means “nothing to report”. You do not have the appropriate security clearance to know what the others mean.

ICR director Rob Potter is our sponsor. He’s the one to call at 2 a.m. when you’re on the brink of making a mistake you swore never to make again and which may cost you important relationships and your job – screwing up a study. On second thought, considering that he never mentioned anything about late-night distress calls, regular office hours might be a better option.

A reliable source in the department says that in previous years, cigars, alcohol and condoms were regularly brought to the lab meetings. Supposedly, these were used to choose pictures for a study. Even if that is true, one must wonder what happened to those items once the study was completed.

Nowadays, possibly as a result of a campus vice crackdown, things are different. Party favors are rarely distributed at the meetings. Korean markers and pumpkin flavored candy were a recent exception to the rule. Participants seemed very cheerful while chewing on the candy, so who knows what “pumpkin” really is. Of course, my perception of other people’s happiness could have been clouded by the fact that I was busy sniffing in marker fumes. Don’t try that at home.

Nowhere but at lab meetings will you be invited to a professor’s pool, have a chance to check out psychophysiological equipment even before it is purchased (and, one day, perhaps even before it is invented!), have a conference call with someone from Hawaii and her neighbor’s dogs, be ashamed of the fact that you don’t have ten projects going on at the same time and be prompted to tell a dozen other people what you’ve done this week to make yourself a valuable member of the social science community.

So, come to lab meetings – Thursdays at 2:30 in room 169. At least that’s when we meet during the fall semester. The time might change in January. Times and locations will be revealed through a series of cryptic messages which will be decipherable only by those truly committed to scientific inquiry. Or they’ll just send out an email.

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