This week's staff picks

ASBMB Today Staff
By ASBMB Today Staff
May 9, 2020

Every week, the ASBMB staff shares what we’ve been reading, listening to, watching and doing. As we all weather the COVID-19 pandemic and our new normal of social distancing, we look for ways to cope, connect and entertain ourselves. 

How to Fix a Drug Scandal  (Netflix)

This fascinating four-episode series looks at the scandals in Massachusetts’ two drug-testing labs. It deals with addiction, the criminal justice system and prosecutorial misconduct. Multiple times watching this made my jaw drop in disbelief! The center of the story is society’s tendency to see science as an infallible deus ex machina that impartially resolves our disputes, rather than a human enterprise conducted by talented, complicated human beings.

— Renee Collins, executive assistant

You’ve got a friend (London City Voices, YouTube)

I love this rendition of the Carole King classic, sung by the London City Voices choir, as part of a fundraising campaign for Women’s Aid, a grassroots group in the UK working against domestic violence. As the YouTube notes say, “Do you have a friend who is calling out your name? We all need friends at this difficult time.”

— Barbara Gordon, executive director

The lonely islands (Sarah Miller, Curbed)

A kitchen island can be "a sign that one has arrived and a glimmering impossibility, unreflective of the dirt and toil of everyday life."

Ah, kitchen islands, archipelagos of aspiration for space-constrained urban- and suburbanites alike. Last summer, my partner and I decided we'd become the kind of people who move into a trendy, amenity-laden apartment in the Petworth neighborhood of Washington, D.C., despite those types of developments being anchoring points of gentrification. While social distancing has made a mockery of our vanity — what good are a game room, gym, center courtyard and expansive, grill-replete balcony when you can't access them? — each unit still boasts a standalone counter with weight both sufficient for a strong lean and reasonable enough to be rearranged with moderate exertion. 

Over the past two months, our kitchen island has become home to both my DIY standing desk and the ironing board essential for the cotton facemasks we've been putting together for friends and loved ones.

But enough self-roasting: As friends of Sarah Miller at Curbed assert, the promise and pornography of kitchen islands, as powerfully embodied in the interiors Nancy Meyers featured in 2003 in "Something's Gotta Give" and more recently on her Instagram, can be both personal talisman and prideful signifier, a sign that one has arrived and a glimmering impossibility, unreflective of the dirt and toil of everyday life. 

— John Arnst, staff writer 

Girls (Lena Dunham, HBO)

This TV series follows a group of friends as they navigate their post-college lives in New York City. Millennials that we are, my best friend and I loved this show because the characters reminded us of ourselves.  We lived in Minneapolis instead of NYC, but we were about the same age as Hannah, Marnie, Jessa and Shoshanna and at the same place personally and professionally. I recently rewatched the series from beginning to end. I was surprised at the intensity of the nostalgia I felt for the mid-2010s and how fondly I remember the aimlessness and uncertainty of that time in our lives now that we're past it.

— Joanna Kotloski, marketing associate

Helium (Rudy Francisco, Button Poetry)

Rudy Francisco is one of my favorite poets. “Helium” is a beautiful collection of poems. One that seemed fitting for summer arriving soon is “Drive.” Here’s an excerpt: “Let the sky turn the windshield into a stage. Watch it dance like the scenery is auditioning to be a part of our story.”

P.S. Rudy Francisco also performs his poems. I got to see him live in New York City once, and it’s one of my favorite memories. Here’s the “Best of Rudy Francisco” from Button Poetry’s YouTube channel.

— Ally Frick, multimedia and social media content manager

ASBMB Today Staff
ASBMB Today Staff

This article was written by a member or members of the ASBMB Today staff.

Related articles

Reimagining STEM workforce development as a braided river
Rebecca L. Batchelor, Hendratta Ali, Kathryn G. Gardner-Vandy, Anne U. Gold, Jennifer A. MacKinnon & Pranoti M. Asher

Join the ASBMB Today mailing list

Sign up to get updates on articles, interviews and events.

Latest in Opinions

Opinions highlights or most popular articles

How I realized that LGBT+ scientists like me can inspire others in their field

How I realized that LGBT+ scientists like me can inspire others in their field

June 12, 2021

Far too many LGBT+ scientists still report fear in their workplaces, but I have hope for change.

Reimagining STEM workforce development as a braided river

Reimagining STEM workforce development as a braided river

June 11, 2021

A contemporary approach to today’s science careers looks less like a structured pipeline and more like a collection of paths that change and adapt to the needs of the individual.

Rethinking the NIH review system

Rethinking the NIH review system

June 10, 2021

Proposals for change include a tiered grant funding system, tweaks to scoring and criteria, internal reviews and a continuous submission system.

What does a scientist look like?

What does a scientist look like?

June 5, 2021

After the program, more students drew pictures of scientists as themselves or people of color, demonstrating that they are internalizing an identity of becoming a scientist.

Giving students tools to forge a new path

Giving students tools to forge a new path

June 4, 2021

"At every level of education, we need a system that is student-centric and that provides opportunities for all to pursue degrees that will allow them to become what they want to be."

Save the microbes!

Save the microbes!

May 22, 2021

Recent data suggest that microbial diversity is under threat — which puts the entire planet at risk