Day: October 17, 2018

You Can’t Win, and You Can’t Quit the Game

There are Things of Import occurring at the human female’s workplace.  There are Omens. There are Portents of Change.  Sooner or later, there will no doubt be wailing and gnashing of teeth.

What’s afoot?  Not much, only the wholesale replacement of every single first-year majors Biology lab exercise.  You know—the human female’s job.

This new vision calls for two-hour labs rather than three, with much less teaching and less in-depth but more high-tech and “sexy” experiments, with much “cooler” equipment.  The new exercises will appear with the new semester, which is coming up fast.  Is the human female ready? Will the new labs be less trouble to prep?  Of course not!

She doesn’t have a lot of information, but she does know a bit about the new Cellular Respiration exercise.  The students have recently conducted the current incarnation of the exercise.  It’s my favorite exercise, because it involves lots of spilled sugar, sticky-foamy yeast slurries, breakable reaction vials, toxic chemicals, and various and sundry items that should never see heat becoming far too intimate with a toasty hotplate.  The lab rooms are always left a sticky, stinking mess, and I get the best belly-laughs messing with yeast packet totals, randomly making packets of yeast not work, crunching reaction vials, jamming test tubes in the spectrophotometers, and spitting in the bromothymol blue solution so that it turns yellow waaaay ahead of time.

Next semester, it will all be different.  The students will be using  a Very Scientific Apparatus called a respirometer.  The Lecturer whose brainchild the innovations are ordered fifty-some-odd of them.

They came in in dribbles and drabbles.  A few here, a few there, poorly packed, and quite a few in pieces. Here is a squadron of the intact ones.


There are twenty-seven ways of picking up one of these gadgets.  Twenty-six are wrong.  They’re designed in such a way that the glass tubing is held tightly in the plastic frame and sticks up above it, just begging to be snapped off.

As you can see on the instrument on the left:


I think thirteen of them came that way, and a multitude of others didn’t have the rubbery tubing.  There have been Pithy Emails to and from the vendor flying back and forth, and though the human female is not part of the bickering dialogue, she’s still had the fun of figuring out where these things are going to live in the lab rooms.  How can something as delicate as a spider’s fart be safely stored?

Turns out, you can pack these little nuisances quite nicely into the boxes that the new spectrophotometers came in—and even use some of the internal packaging as well!

Something is always going on around here.  Honestly (ha! Loki being honest?!), it’s just like that pleasant Midgardian game, Whack-A-Mole.  Just when one problem is dealt with, another pops up.


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