Friday, February 25, 2011

"You know you've worked in the lab too long when..."

I got a fascinating list - titled as above - that I could just nod my head to - from my dear wife, who collected it from an emailed newsletter she received from a professional body (N.B. PDF here, open at Page 22, if you are reaaaaally interested. Else, it's all below).

As a matter of habit, I started looking for the source; I searched Google with the title. And lo! And Behold! What jumps up but my Nature Blogs colleague Linda Lin's brilliant post with the same title and photos and all, posted early last year! I felt so sad for not having discovered that gem sooner. To assuage my grief, I promptly (of course!) joined the Facebook group that she mentioned in her post.

I also fondly recollected how much fun I had, dropping various microliter volumes of water onto the remaining liquid nitrogen in an ice bucket, to watch the water freeze instantly into globules of ice. Another perennial favorite has been to pour some dry ice in the sink and turn the water on, to make white, cold, billowy smoke. Sigh!

But I understand. We are busy scientists, and can't go running to find every little thing, can we? So here is a definitive list, compiled from above-mentioned, multiple sources, for your kind perusal and enjoyment.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Fiddling with our CR-48 some more - Part 1 of ?

Two weeks since receiving the CR-48, I am trying out a few things on it today. The CR-48 performance has really degraded, especially with multiple tabs open. I am looking for solutions to improve the performance, but so far have found none. The CR-48 help forum, with its 1000+ posts, is formidable to navigate; it is filled with a lot of chatter from those that haven't received a CR-48 yet, and the search function for specific posts simply doesn't work.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

What's the harm?

In my last post on Homeopathy, a commentor, Mike Fowler, mentioned an interesting fact:

Here in Spain, "Homeopathy" basically means something different. Many "Homeopathico" preparations sold in pharmacies here contain trace and greater concentrations of the active ingredient, so they are probably more like "herbal" remedies.

Spain notwithstanding (I agreed with Mike when he further said that it might be a cultural or linguistic issue here), there is an important distinction to be made - not just by the proponents of science- and evidence-based medicine, but also, it would appear, by regulatory agencies. Because it transpires that ignoring this distinction can be... detrimental, quite detrimental. Read on for details.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Almost reaching the fortnight mark with our CR-48

By now, you will have read all about the early days of my rocky romance with our now-fortnight-old CR-48. Perhaps you have even shed a tear or two at my travails, although I suspect that most of you have been wracking yourselves with loud guffaws and howls of schadenfreude.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Rudeness? Rudeness my arse!

First things first. Last year, by sheer chance I came across a new magazine in India, called Open, and was quite impressed by it. The issue that I had at hand was a well-written issue, very modern and up-to-date in its outlook, covering a wide variety of notable items, and in clear, conversational English - a pleasure to read. Folks in India may wish to look it up.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Two days with CR-48 - Part Deux

When the excitement at being proud owners of a new CR-48 settled down somewhat, I fired up the device and started working on it, tinkering here and there, testing out the capabilities, poking and prodding - as is my wont. I am going to give away my big surprise finding - having used the CR-48 for two straight days, I was not a happy camper. Comparison with Macbooks (especially the MBA, Macbook Air) was probably inevitable, and several times I had to throw up my hands in frustration (details below). Following is my list of gripes, accumulated over a period of two days. Let me know if you agree with me or not.

One in which I ponder social ethics

This post is going to be a deviation from my usual rants. It is going to reflect a rare moment of self-doubt (Ahem!) and I invite discussions from my readers and colleagues - IOW (N.B. In Other Words, for the text-messagingly-challenged amongst us), let me know if I am wrong, somewhat wrong or totally wrong, wrong in the narrow context of the US or wrong globally.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Two days with CR-48 - Part Un

On our way to work yesterday, S and I stopped at our housing office to retrieve a package UPS left there the previous day. We were a bit surprised, because neither of us had ordered anything online for a while. The size of the package wasn't revealing either - a midsized box, fairly nondescript. So when S cut open the box, none of us were quite expecting what was waiting for us inside.