Thursday, March 31, 2011

Do I look like a paint chemist to you?

From: Recruitment Consultant
To: Traxy
Subject: New Vacancy from Recruitment Agency - Paint Chemist- 22K
Date: Wed, 30 Mar 2011 13:52:16 +0100

My client based in Yorkshire - North are currently recruiting and I wondered if you might be interested in the position.

Paint Chemist- 22K (to £28000)
Industry: Science Sector:Chemistry - Process
Employment Type: Permanent

My client based are a paint manufacturer based in Yorkshire, they are currently looking for a chemist to join their team.

The suitable candidate should have experience with chemistry formulation and paint formulation. Experience with colour coatings or colour polymers will be strongly considered. The candidate should a minimum in a BSc in Chemistry or a related subject.

Skills Considered:

  • Paint Formulation
  • Paint Analysis
  • Colloid Formulation
  • Colloid Analysis
  • Polymer Analysis
  • Polymer Formulation
  • Coating Formulation
  • Coating Analysis
  • Colour Formulation
  • Colour Analysis.

If this position is of interest please send a copy of your CV in word MS format to Recruitment Consultant at Recruitment Agency.

From: Traxy
To: Recruitment Consultant
Subject: RE: New Vacancy from Recruitment Agency - Paint Chemist- 22K
Date: Thu, 31 Mar 2011 08:40:40 +0000

Hi Recruitment Consultant,

Thank you for your email.

The first time I was notified of this position, I was sitting scratching my head wondering how on earth anyone would think I'd be even remotely qualified for (or interested in) a position like that. Then suddenly I realised. If any of you had actually opened to read the CV instead of just searching it for keywords, you would have seen that the only chemistry reference in there is "Chemistry Digital", the name of a web development agency in Nottingham for whom I have done some contract work in HTML. You would've also seen that my employment record is lightweight web development, radio broadcasting, and IT support.

So please, if you have any positions in or around Nottingham that is to do with radio or HTML development (NOT IT support and/or callcentres) - feel free to contact me about vacant positions. Chemistry - well let's just say I haven't touched a litmus paper or a bunsen burner since I was 15 and I'm happy to keep it that way. ;)

Wishing you all the best for the weekend,


I'm not actually looking for a new job as I'm quite happy where I am (almost a year now and I still don't hate it, hooray!), so my CV was withdrawn from all the job hunting sites at least six months ago. Some agencies have it on file, so every now and then I still get emails with positions available - although I've yet to see one I'm actually qualified for.

With regards to the emails above, I didn't think it would be a good strategy to tell a recruitment agency to eff off, because if they did happen to find a radio job available in Nottingham, you know, not like I wouldn't be listening, and always good to keep your options open.

But seriously, this is at least the third time I've been notified about this position, and on two different email addresses as well, and they would be better off trying to target people who actually do have degrees in chemistry instead of just googling the CVs on file for keywords.

P.S. I also had a reply from the Recruitment Consultant. She was politely and professionally snarky back, pointing out just how many CVs and jobs they have on file and they can't always be right, but it's not half as amusing to read.

Correlation does not prove causation!

Seriously, what's up with this? There have been two different studies which has made me want to yell "Correlation does not prove causation!" true to my psychology training. Glad I learned something from that statistics course...

The first one is that chocolate has been linked with depression, which basically says people who eat chocolate regularly are more likely to be depressed. They do, on the other hand, admit that it needs more studying. Because people who are depressed eat more chocolate (correlation) doesn't mean that chocolate leads to depression (causation). As the BBC article points out, there could be a number of explanations for the correlation, such as comfort eating. How many of us turn to chocolate to cheer us up when we're down? While we might feel better if we eat chocolate (correlation) doesn't mean that chocolate contains some sort of chemical that actually is a mood enhancer (causation), because the article also says there is no evidence chocolate actually is a mood enhancer. (I thought it had been proven that theobromine actually was a mood-enhancer?)

So the "chocolate may cause depression" is a false assumption. They are linked, sure, but I'd rather say it's because we feel better from eating chocolate. If it's because of those lush cocoa chemicals or because we've been, if you like, Pavloved* from childhood to associate chocolate with happiness, who knows? Might be a bit of both. (*From Ivan Pavlov, who became famous for his classical conditioning experiments with dogs, making them associate a bell with food. Dog trainers and psychologists have rejoiced ever since.)

The second one is that too much TV for toddlers leads to unhealthiness at the age of ten. The more TV the toddlers watched, the worse they did in school at the age of ten, and the more unhealthy they were (correlation). "But of course, because they're watching TV and eating junk food rather than doing their homework!" (causation) you might say. Yes, that might be a part of the explanation, sure, but I don't think it's the whole explanation.

Think about it. If you're a child who has the TV as a babysitter instead of an actual person who takes their time with you, who is going to tell you to get up and play and move around? Who tells you to do your homework? Who challenges you and thereby aids your mental and intellectual development? Ben 10? Sponge-Bob? Thomas the Tank Engine? The Jonas Brothers? Hannah Montana? Teletubbies?! Seriously.

I understand that parents are busy and don't always have the time to spend quality time with their children – my own folks were pretty busy providing for the family when I was growing up – but even if it's just one day a week, like a Saturday or Sunday, spend some time with your kids. If you don't have time for children, why did you get them in the first place? To just place them in front of the TV is just an easy way out.

Kids need support growing up, and that support might just be as simple as spending ten minutes with their mum and/or dad every night, so that they feel seen and supported. If I ever have children, I want to actually have time for them. Otherwise, I don't see the point. Surely, you get children because you want to spend time with them and have a family, not just because of some weird biological urge to procreate?

Money is debt - why does that strike everyone as a good idea?

Money As Debt, possibly the most important thing you can watch right now.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

Part 5

Keep your dodgy SEO tactics to yourself!

I love it when I know someone's job better than they do themselves, and they're trying to "sell" me something. If it's a genuine thing, fine. If it's dodgy or they don't know what they're doing and try to mis-sell it or they're trying to cheat at SEO (Search Engine Optimisation), they've got another thing coming. Then I'm not going to play nice with them, because they're likely to cause other people real issues more than they're trying to help. And I'm not cool with that.

So here are a couple of warning examples:

From: Person
To: Traxy
Subject: Link exchange request with [URL]
Date: Sat, February 12, 2011 12:34


I am an seo consultant for

We would like to exchange links with good quality web sites such as yours at [film review on a different blog]

First of all we create a new dedicated page for your site link with a thumb image of your web site home page
Plus we also add your site link to a category page (no more than 25 sites per page) related to your site so your site is in good company
We then submit both these pages to Google for indexing using site maps each day
We also RSS feed all links to RSS aggregators for even more back links for your site

We will link to your site first, and if you accept this free reciprocal link exchange offer, please click this link as we have already prepared your details. You will see you link on our site.

You will then automatically receive an email confirming your link details and our link details to be added to your site - also see our web site details below

If you wish to exchange 3 waylinks, or exchange links manually by email. Just reply to this email with your web site details; title, description, url
We can exchange reciprocal links, 3way links and deep links

Our site details:
Title (anchor text): pushchairs
Description: shop online for pushchairs prams and buggies at low internet prices and fast home delivery service -

With best Regards

SEO Link Building Team

From: Traxy
To: Person
Subject: Re: Link exchange request with [URL]
Date: Wed, March 30, 2011 17:00

Hi Person,

Thanks for your email - sorry for the delay in getting back to you.

As an SEO consultant, I would've thought you'd be aware of how page ranking actually works.

For sites sharing links, Google places a high value on sites of similar topics. A baby accessories ecommerce site and a movie review blog post (that doesn't even mention the word "pushchairs" anywhere, nor is it about babies) are not similar content useful for users of both sites and will therefore not be of any particular page ranking value for either of us.

If I had been blogging about babies and children in general, yes, it would be another matter, but the blog in question is about Arts & Entertainment.

Your link exchange page ( looks more like a link farm than anything else, and as the only purpose of it is to boost search engine ratings, you're likely to get penalised by Google sooner or later.

A better way for you to optimise so that search engines can find it would be to look more into the copy of the site itself and the meta keywords and descriptions listed, as they need improving.

Another thing, which I'm wondering about as a user, is that when you click "Blog", you get transported to the URL /reviews/ but there are no reviews. There are other people's blog posts, taken from other people's sites. And you've not taken the whole posts, you can't click to read more and you've not had the courtesy to link back to the original post.

So, all in all, the site needs a lot of work but instead, you're trying to cheat at SEO - and for that reason, as the Dragons would say, I'm out.

Good luck with the site and I wish you a nice day,

Traxy @ Blog
(who, in real life, works with online marketing)

This was a lot like when we got phoned up at work by someone wanting to sell us something that would get us on top of Google. The call was passed on to me, because I actually knew what he was on about, which admin didn't.

The bloke I spoke to was very shady with his explanations on exactly how this service would work and he assured me it was "not SEO", nor would the website coding need to be touched. Err, what? He also spoke about them having "Google technicians" and all manner of things and we could try them out for free for a month. It was something to do with analysing the text on our website and from that, find unique key phrases that our competitors don't use. Which is what SEO is about anyway, so he lied, and you'd still need to put those keywords in meta tags or something on the page to make it work which means the "no coding required" bit is also a lie.

I really should've noted down where he was calling from so I could make it publicly available that they're more or less a scam. People who don't know about online marketing or SEO would likely be impressed and buy the service off them, and that would be sad, because they'd be paying for a big fat lie. He couldn't fool me, though. Not when I knew more about what he was trying to sell than he seemed to do himself. So there.

Monday, March 21, 2011

I'm an introvert - who'd a-thought it?

After reading the excellent blog post by IfByMe entitled I am Introvert, hear me speak in a reasonable tone of voice!, to which I agree wholeheartedly, I followed one of the links to do a test about Extroversion/Introversion. Lo and behold the results:

Your result for The Introversion/Extroversion Test... You are an introvert!

73 Introverted, 7 Extroverted and 21 Balanced!

You are the philosopher, the scientist, the architect. You love to analyze and draw conclusions just for the sake of knowledge. You seek information and stimulation for your own mind. You are unconventional, innovative, and have a vivid imagination.

Because you are so involved with your own ventures, however, you may tend to forget about others around you. Keep in mind that there is a world beyond your own thoughts, but don't abandon your brilliant mind.

Take The Introversion/Extroversion Test at HelloQuizzy

Why am I not in the least surprised by this result?