Why I work late

Oy. Tonight was a long one. Deadlines aren’t always as flexible as one might hope, and science sometimes does not play by human clocks. But it’s all worth it for a chance to piss off the anti-science, pro-God set. One of my secret atheist coworker friends (we have a secret handshake okay no we do not but I’d totally learn one because who doesn’t want to be part of a club that has secret handshakes), gave this to me today:

2014-07-29 13.15.51

Text on a small scrap of paper says: “SCIENCE: The study and investigation of phenomena based on rigorous study and experiment, conducted solely for the purpose of pissing off those who think God did it all.”

Yup. As Fox News has known for years, science-ing is actually part of the Atheist Agenda. I do what I can. You’re welcome.

Goodbye, Dear Samples.

When in the Course of sample shelf life stability, it becomes necessary for one person to dissolve the emotional bands which have connected her with these samples, and to assume among the powers of industry science, the separate and equal station to which the Laws of Finance and of Peer-Reviewed Literature entitle her, a decent respect to the opinions of Her Project Manager requires that she should declare the causes which impel her to the separation.

They were old and the integrity of the proteins could no longer be trusted. That’s pretty much it.

*sniff*

I was hired in 2006 to conduct a month-long blood draw that produced thousands of aliquots. I participated as a phlebotomist, a sample processor, and I helped test them and analyze the data that they provided. My successful participation in this project has developed into a happy and fruitful career. Across eight years, numerous projects and the periodic mandated freezer cleanup (the bane of many a laboratory scientist) I have managed to save these characterized samples in the hope that someone, someday would be able to use them. But the end has come: All of the analytes within the serum that might be of use to us have likely degraded. So it was with a heavy heart that this afternoon – on the 26th day of March in the 2014th year of our calendar – I discarded them all.

Goodbye, dear samples. I will remember you fondly.

Eleven freezer canes, filled with sample freezer boxes

Most of these eleven freezer canes contain twelve freezer boxes, each of which contain somewhere between 40 and 80 1mL sample aliquots. That’s about 8,000 vials that were discarded.

Christmas Is Not Your Birthday

Today’s photo was submitted by Louise Kellar.

In a message designed to speak out against the crass commercialism of the holiday season, Smith Valley United Methodist Church in Indiana would like to remind you that Christmas is not your birthday. It would have added an extra layer of meaningfulismness if they had written “Christmas is not your birthday”, but maybe they couldn’t find italicized sign letters. That’s cool. No judgment. We work with what we have, as I and Sigourney Weaver always say.

But if they had italicized “your”, they’d be implying that Christmas is Jesus’s birthday, which would, of course, be taking HUGE historical license because everyone knows that if Jesus existed he was not born on December 25th, which is – I’m going to assume – the date that Smith Valley United Methodist Church assigns to Christmas.

I do have two mortal, non-supernatural entity friends who were born on December 25th and who both bitch about having their birthdays on Christmas, so I hope they never see this sign because I’d hate for them to get confused.

The Jellyfish Tragedy

This is a post by guest blogger Ellen Bulger, written during the cold and long winter of December 2010.

Winsor Locks, CT

In a rarely-seen or photographed event, thousands of hapless jellyfish on their way to spawn were stranded and frozen along the shores of the Connecticut River last week. The gelatinous creatures are not uncommon, but usually go unnoticed because they are a cold water species. But the necessities of reproduction bring them together in great numbers this time of year, as they return to their traditional spawning grounds. A freakish combination of weather conditions allowed lucky and observant onlookers to enjoy this serendipitous spectacle.

High and Dry and Frozen © Ellen Bulger

“As a rule, we don’t even notice them.” explained Caleb Shoeworthy, whose family have fished these waters for shad for five generations. “The thing is, you just can’t see them in the river. They have no color. You could have half a dozen of them in that bucket and you’d swear there was nothing but water. Even the big ones are pretty much invisible.”

[Read more...]

I Blame Adam Huber

What follows is a mostly true accounting of this evening’s events.

I’m a huge fan of Adam Huber’s webcomic, Bug. I’m such a fan, in fact, that tonight I went to his website looking for a merch page. I didn’t see any merch, but I did find some wallpapers. I hadn’t put a wallpaper on my laptop yet. I liked the simplicity of this one and it looked good with the way I like to configure my icons… So I thought, what the heck? and downloaded it:

It looks better when not filtered through a screen and a camera lens.

Not a full minute after I was done admiring the new wallpaper, I heard a buzz by my ear. I brushed my hair away from my face and as I turned my head slightly, I noticed my cat staring intently at the ceiling. Visions of Dr. Horrible flashed through my brain, and I thought “Thaaat’s….not…good.” as I slowly raised my eyes upward in the direction of the cat’s gaze.

[Read more...]

6 O’Clock BS: Kitteh Film Festival

Oh yes. This is happening. The world-famous, dare I say hallowedWalker Art Center will be hosting an outdoor Internet Cat Video Film Festival this August 30th in Minneapolis. From the Walker Blog:

Walker Open Field welcomes cat lovers (and challenges haters – c’mon, you know who you are)* to openly release your cat-video-induced giggles and emotions that are otherwise muffled by computer screens and constrained by cubicles. [...] Let’s transform this singular small screen viewing experience into a shared celebration with the larger-than-life projection of these silly clips out on the Open Field.

Also borrowed from the Walker Blog

What’s your favorite cat video – classic or new? Post the link below so we can share in the kitteh mania. Mine’s below. At almost seven minutes, it’s longer than any kitteh video should have a right to be, but An Engineer’s Guide to Cats is no ordinary cat video.

*They mean Crommunist.