January 2, 2016

Found this on the Facebooks. It seems appropriate for a science-careers audience:

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

11 Responses to “Aphorism”

  1. Krzysztof Sakrejda Says:

    It looses a little something with IP-protected corn being more common…


  2. Philapodia Says:

    Spreading your scientific pollen seems a little…. dirty.


  3. blatnoi Says:

    And… that’s how Americans got obese on high fructose corn syrup.


  4. Grumble Says:

    “Why don’t you two go and pollinate?” is my favorite line so far from the new Dr. Who. (Spoken to the good Dr. 5 billion years in the future, when he meets the female descendant of a tree, to whom he is obviously sexually attracted.)


  5. drugmonkey Says:

    Can we talk about how sharing methods or reagents or genetic models improves our own scientific output?



  6. Draino Says:

    On one hand, you are mostly preaching to the choir.

    On the other hand, the choir is full of wise asses.

    I like the aphorism. Very Carl Sagan of you to share.


  7. jmz4gtu Says:

    What about inviting people from other institutions to come learn techniques? That doesn’t seem to happen as often as it should. I had the opportunity once in grad school and my boss was suspicious of it unnecessarily, in my opinion. I’ve also seen a couple labs guard their techniques rather zealously.


  8. drugmonkey Says:

    Why would your boss be suspicious of an invitation from another lab? I can see someone not wanting to share but when the information flow comes your way…..?


  9. AcademicLurker Says:

    Why would your boss be suspicious of an invitation from another lab?

    It was obviously a trap. The other lab wanted to shut down competitors by inviting their most productive students/postdocs to visit and then arranging for them to meet with unfortunate “accidents”.


  10. jmz4 Says:

    “Why would your boss be suspicious of an invitation from another lab?”
    -I think he thought they were trying to figure out what we were up to and/or move in on his lab’s turf.


  11. The Other Dave Says:

    This is why Monsanto and Pioneer think you should convince all your neighbors to buy their seed too 😉


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