Thursday, July 22, 2010

the thing with PCRs... I don't fancy at the moment

If you forget to change the flourophore [spell check wants it to be froufrou now wouldn't that be more fun?] to the one you will use in the RT-PCR protocol that the machine uses as a default setting, it doesn't matter what you did because the whole thing is read wrong and no, it can not be changed afterwards.


That's when you redo things.... and then redo things... (because you forgot something else, or missed something small but since it is real time quantitative PCR it is sensitive... and yeah... sloppy you...) Just button up and redo it. Try not to shake when you pipette the small (minuscule) volumes and make 1000+ dilution series (OK, I might be over exaggerating just a bit).

I ended up designing new primers for sequencing... since it came back "wacko-we-don't-want-to-bind" last time again. Now, I have a new batch of purified fragments (just the idea that I am sequencing PCR fragments makes my tummy cringe but that's what they want....and truly, it makes it less impossible but still...) and should probably send them in with the "semi-old" primers anyway since it doesn't hurt to try - and hope is the last thing that dies, right?!

On the flip side I guess, I've been sort of the boss all this week since my boss is gone on vacation. It's interesting being the newest hire but being sort of in charge. Even if it doesn't increase my pay, or is visible in my job description... really, mostly it's about taking responsibility for things (and do more stuff for others), but it has felt a bit fun.

Now, time to leave soon. Just need to finish that sequence order...

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

How to drive (some) co-workers insane

Easy stuff…. Some of us are more sensitive than others…and this mostly revolves around open cube land… mostly…

When you step away from your desk to go to your lab or lunch or wherever you might go… please;
* Leave your pager (yes, the one you should wear on you since that is how people can get in touch with you) on your desk and let it have LOUD as signal

* Leave your cell phone with a LOUD ring signal and put it on the desk (not in a purse/desk/bag, although with certain loudnesses this might work too.)

* Never disable the “message repeat signal” so in case someone phones you and leaves a message, the phone can give a [by you preset] signal to remind you [if you were there this is] that “you have a message waiting”. Make sure that you put it on "remind me until I listen to the message, repeat every x mins"

If you are at your desk;
* Never lower your voice when you need to talk on the phone, especially not if you need to use a speaker phone (I mean, after all, it’s much more fun when you can listen to both sides of a conversation, right?) or if you are calling personal/private phone calls from work with some type of [private] comments (about friend/family/co-workers).

* Never reply to an email or a phone request when you were the one initiating the whole “we need to get this done yesterday”. Oh no, not you. Someone else can spend their whole day waiting for you to return something… and then, to further make it funny, please change your mind on what is priority number one and look surprised when this isn’t done. Because you didn’t do anything wrong… you had to run some personal stuff in the middle of the day…

* And as a kicker,(an old classic) if you take the last (second to, third to, anything less than 10 in an everyday item) vial/bottle/thing don’t bother letting anyone know that you did this since then [someone] could order more and actually not be out and having to run around like crazy looking for something vital to do experiments…. But if that meant that we could all go home and have the day off, sure…

Oh and one last thing…. If you can change an important file and save it in a magic place without telling people where you did this – then they might actually remake the file from scratch which will be funny once you tell them that “oh, but that information is already assembled in a file I saved over there in the magic cabinet without telling anyone”…

If you manage to do three out of these things, I know one person who would grow mildly irritated. If you did all of them in one day – yes, I know someone who’d go mental and be planning for an early leave since clearly she’d do more useful stuff at home than in the mad house with ring tones, bleeepings and loud noices.

(and no, head phones are not an option since where [some people] work over head calls are used to contact people when needed… since we don’t know where they are… light sedatives might be an option… maybe… ;) )

Friday, July 09, 2010

friday night rant about science and feminism

So, tonight I watched both "He's not just into you" and "Titanic" and read Scienceblogs. After that session I felt a bit over-thinking. Let's start with the simple.

The first movie is linked as a "girl movie". It started out OK, and let me put this right now - I like the genre, especially on a girly night - , and them it sort of all ends up with all "women want to get married whereas men don't need that confirmation" [yeah, don't think that all the time but certainly hope it's not true]. Apart from that, and all generalisation about men and women plus the fact that the girl who doesn't get it is a blond (Scarlet Johansen), it's a decent movie that made me think about the whole thing of looooove and that "when/if you really love her/him you'd d anything to keep them happy". [again, a simplified version about life ihmo.]

And then Titanic on top of that. This is where I started to think about science since Jack dies in the middle of the North Atlantic and freezes to death. I wondered if Rose actually would survive that much longer on top of that barge (spelling?) compared to Jack. (I also realize why Titanic was such a memorable moment for me since the worst ferry accident in Sweden happened a few years earlier from the movie, and the idea of being in +2C/34F water is quite scary if you have ever taken a bath in 32F/0C water.... since you know the freezing feeling of the brain, the movement of the body etc.)

And then it was the realization that before I moved to the USA, I had never actually seen a female professor give a lecture in a short, nice looking, (sort of sexy) dress. After I moved, there was all confusion in my head. Why? Because all my profs and the others told me was "look good in a [dress pants] suit and don't wear a skirt because this will put emphasis on you being a woman" and then I had all these women presenting in short skirts and tops. I didn't think too much about it until after the time I ended up presenting my conference paper in a nice top (not low cut) and a skirt and the comments I got afterwards was sort of in the like of this "wow, you look like a real women" and "wow, good looking legs" and things like that... but we did never talk about my research.... all my other talks and presentations were me dressed in a pants suit, or a pants and a nice top.

What I wonder is, is this just me? (Since I would love it to be only me and this particular moment.) Or is it the strange thing about being "female"/"womanly" and dress like that and then some scientists (men in this aspect as I am thinking about) are just going for gold?

Just lots of thoughts ... obviously..... a Friday night like this... and won't even go into the Angel episode I'm watching right now.... ;)