Don’t call me doctor, and other oddities

If you are in Germany and have a PhD, you can be charged with a criminal offence for calling yourself "doctor", according to The Great Beyond. Apparently seven scientists from the country’s most prestigious academic organisation, the Max Planck Society, are facing charges of impersonation. As Daniel Cressey, Great Beyond blogger, points out, Italians planning to holiday in Germany should exercise special caution, as there, the title "Dottore" is frequently given to people who hold mere undergraduate degrees.

Via Frank Wilson at Books, Inq., here is a hilarious account of Karen Heller’s terrible life. "My story is especially compelling as a former gang member, not only of the Bloods in Los Angeles…but also Baader-Meinhof in West Germany and Shining Path in Peru. Name a group of thugs, I ran with them. Against my will, mind you, but I ran." Read on, read on. As Frank writes, to think he sat next to Karen for so many years, and never knew a thing.

John Battelle (king of search) links to a TV download of The True Story of the Internet, a documentary by John Heileman. The series is "about a revolution — the technological, cultural, commercial and social revolution that has radically changed our lives. And for the first time on television, we hear how it happened from the men and women who made it possible." If you prefer book form, I can recommend A Brief History of the Internet: Origins of the Future, by John Naughton, whose approach is probably more historical than the TV programme (which I haven’t seen).

And finally, for this post, how many hours a week do you work? Female Science Professor asks how "we accomplish anything (or, at least, enough) in a job that could take infinite time, even if we didn’t do anything else"? Among other points, she writes about her "family system (instituted when the offspring appeared) in which I get 3 nights/week to do whatever I want (work, not work, do errands, sit in a cafe and compose haiku, make cat videos for posting on YouTube etc.), and my husband gets 3 nights/week to do whatever he wants (work)." 

Write about science books for World Book Day

Via Scott Keir on Nature Network:
Today (Thursday 6 March 2008) is World Book Day in the UK. Elsewhere in the world, the day falls on 23 April, traditionally held to be the anniversary of Shakespeare’s birth and death — but on this later date, the target audience of school students is usually on vacation in the UK.
Scott suggests that scientists with blogs, on Nature Network or elsewhere, write today about science books. And wearing his hat as manager for science book prizes at the Royal Society, Scott is offering to give a book to five people who write about science books on their blogs today. Henry Gee, on his Network blog End of the Pier Show, has followed suit by offering copies of his book Jacob’s Ladder: The History of the Human Genome, to the first few people who drop him a comment.
Scott has started the process of writing about books with an entertaining story about science books that have changed his life on his Network blog Mixed miscellanies. And Brian Clegg, on his Network blog PopSci, writes about how SF stimulated his interest in science.

(Cross-posted at Nautilus.)