Thankful for

Nov 26 2010 Published by under [Etc]

It's the day after Thanksgiving, and I'm fortunately no longer resembling the beached whale that my husband had to roll through our front door last night. Impaired mobility with unstable glucose levels is no way to begin the holiday season.

Since my body is now capable of directing bloodflow to my brain instead of to my digestive tract, I'd like to coherently tell you about some of the things that make me feel good. Scicurious had the nice idea of writing about an item, a person, and an idea that makes us feel thankful.

An Item: For me, this is a no-brainer. Multi-channel pipets. These puppies have cumulatively saved years of my life, and have enabled me to test thousands and thousands of mango extractions instead of hundreds. These tools make my research possible. Now, I am a connesieur of multi-channel pipets. So let me tell you about my favorite varieties.

  • The Vanilla: 12-channel multi-channel pipet. Twelve dispenses for every stroke! Oh, you are my foundation.
  • The Chocolate: 8-channel adjustable-spacer. This pipet is seriously my hero. Imagine making 200 samples in microcentrifuge tubes. Oh, you want those in 96-well plates, do you? Without this god-send, you will be transferring those into your 96-well plate one-by-fucking-one. Want to test your samples in quadruplicate? Ha! That is 800 strokes. But with this puppy, you're down to 100 strokes- you spread out your tips, suck up from the microcentrifuge tubes, then condense your tips, and dispense into 96-well plates. Lalalala!!!!
  • The Rocky Road: 8-channel electronic adjustable spacer. Turns those 100 strokes into 20. Now this is bad-ass. Increases my pipetting throughput 40-fold, and drastically reduces errors.

A Person: There is another postdoc in my lab- let's call him Jake- who is pretty much the best colleague ever (for me, at least). He is competent, insightful, super-smart, responsible, supportive, and an absolute pleasure to be around. We come from vastly different backgrounds, but we have found ways to collaborate. Through these collaborations, he has helped me to broaden my experimental skillset tremendously.

Jake is the kind of person that I can approach with anything. I am depressed about research and need support? Jake is there for me. I'm having trouble with a colleague? Jake gives advice, with a touch of humor. Something has gone well? Jake always wants to hear about it (or at least pretends to want to hear about it), and he is always happy for me. He helps to make the challenges of work bearable, and he helps to make the successes all the better.

An Idea: Entropy. Specifically, from the second and third laws of thermodynamics, that, when a system does work, entropy increases with time. Or, in other words, when I do work, the disorder in my life will increase with time. This idea great reassures me that, indeed, I am not a fuck-up, and that I am simple conforming to the laws of thermodynamics. Now, if I could only get this point across to my husband...

Happy late Thanksgiving to my readers (US or elsewhere)! I am thankful for all of you, too. It's nice to have a space where I can come to share my life with you, scientific and otherwise, and to have conversations about the related challenges. I hope you all had a wonderful holiday (or a wonderful Thursday), and had the chance to spend time with family, friends, and too much pie.

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