Wednesday, May 11, 2005

PCR = karmic payback time.

Well, I got a PCR product on Monday, did a little victory dance and set about the next few cloning steps. Everything seemed to work just like it was supposed to, blue-white screening and all that, picked the white colonies. I got one of my clones. The other one = NADA. So I went to try to purify the PCR product, but it was all degraded.

I'm trying not to cry, but I have just about had it for today. I started a new PCR to try to bootstrap from the one clone I did get. I transformed a vector I had almost run out of, which theoretically will get me to the same place...

I have a ton of microscope data I haven't had time to look at, among other things I think I thought I would do this week. Now I'm so far behind I can barely remember all the stuff I wanted to do.

Meanwhile, the publisher of my paper just sent me the same stupid copyright form for the 3rd time. I still haven't seen galley proofs. It's much clearer to me now that these people have no idea what they are doing. Or they just don't care.
***
News

The other night on the Daily Show I watched a clip of George Bush with the president of Latvia, who is a woman. Then I was reading in the Penn Gazette about the former president of Ireland, who was also a woman.

What really gets me is that Bush gives his standard, as Jon Stewart puts it, fridge-magnet speech about Freedom, yada yada, but I don't feel Free. If I were free, there would have been a black woman president by now. Or at least a black president. Or even a jewish president. God forbid, a woman president at all!

***
Lab funding

So one of my biggest pet peeves is people who waste lab supply money on things you can make yourself for pennies and only a little bit of work. I agree that really time-consuming things- like, say, pouring protein gels- that you do a lot, should be farmed out if you can afford it. But making competent bacteria, for example, is a royal waste of money in my book.

That said, you can imagine my reaction when I found out that a certain person who has been driving me nearly to violence with all her stupid questions told me that the reason she doesn't know how to do anything is because her old lab just bought all this stuff, from the most inane little sample loading buffer to any and all other things you can think of. What amazes me is that despite all this money, she doesn't have any protocols of her own, know how to conduct an experiment, how to design a way to test a hypothesis, how to look up different techniques that people use, how to choose controls, etc. She doesn't really know how to use pubmed.

And now for the kicker: she has her own lab. Yes, that's right. There are people like this who are employed as professors.

Some days I just want to go work at McDonald's, I swear. It just requires too much black humor to see how taxpayers are benefiting from this system. Or how a system that values and promotes someone like this would ever see any value in me- I'm the total opposite! Clearly having actual skills has nothing to do with success in this business.

6 Comments:

At 4:44 AM, Blogger GrrlScientist said...

You present yet another example of why this world is truly a fucked-up place. I have run into the same thing you just described .. I cannot find a job and in two months, I will be faced with applying for WELFARE of all things because I am "unemployable" and not even STARBUX or BARNES AND NOBLE will hire me so I can simply keep my apartment (I am not even asking for enough wages to feed myself or pay for my metro card), yet there are people out there who have GOOD JOBS in my field that are (1) convicted felons, (2) sexual harassers, (3) completely incompetent luzers who rely on everyone nearby to "carry them". I have been searching for a job for almost two years now and have been stymied by this gross, screaming unfairness again and again. Honestly, I am ready to give up. I hope your career trajectory turns out differently than mine.

Grrl"Scientist"

 
At 10:36 AM, Blogger BotanicalGirl said...

My current lab is of the kit-buying breed, however I realize that these things can be made by hand. In fact, the protocol from the French postdoc for RNA extraction works much better than the commercial reagent that costs $200 for 100mL. We were discussing how spoiled we are here in America, and the consensus was that I had better not ever try to work in Europe or I'd be stuck without my kits. While that's an exaggeration, it's mostly true.

 
At 6:41 PM, Blogger Adam Solomon said...

Well, in which election so far was there a black, Jewish, or woman candidate for president who won?

It doesn't matter what gender, sex, or religion the people you elect are--and I'm a Jew. What matters is the people you elect. If Hilary Clinton were to run in 2008, would you vote for her? And if so, why? Because you agree with her politics, or because she's a woman?

 
At 6:48 PM, Blogger Ms.PhD said...

Adam, you are totally missing the point. The point is, this is not a country where a minority has a fair shot at anything.

And yes, from your last name, I guessed that you are Jewish!

 
At 12:01 PM, Anonymous madbard said...

Lemme guess. How long is her publication list and what lab did she come out of? [/bias]

Having trained in a lab of almost nonexistant funding and we assembled almost every "kit" from hand. We had one guy we called "the Kit Master" because he could reverse engineer almost anything..... He rocked.

As is often the case, however, it is a balance of time, effort, and $$. For 4+ years I made my own RNA extraction buffers from DEPC water, phenol:chloroform, MOPS, etc. It cost ~50$ in raw materials and the extractions took 3 days (I tried to make it shorter but then the RNA was crap). Then I try Ambion RNAwiz. *Boom* I can do it all with a $100 bottle and 1 day. Doubled my productivity.

Still, to be frugal, I stretched out one bottle of RNAwiz to last 150-200 extractions.

Adam: I don't get your point either.

 
At 12:08 PM, Anonymous madbard said...

Lemme guess. How long is her publication list and what lab did she come out of? [/bias]

Having trained in a lab of almost nonexistant funding and we assembled almost every "kit" from hand. We had one guy we called "the Kit Master" because he could reverse engineer almost anything..... He rocked.

As is often the case, however, it is a balance of time, effort, and $$. For 4+ years I made my own RNA extraction buffers from DEPC water, phenol:chloroform, MOPS, etc. It cost ~50$ in raw materials and the extractions took 3 days (I tried to make it shorter but then the RNA was crap). Then I try Ambion RNAwiz. *Boom* I can do it all with a $100 bottle and 1 day. Doubled my productivity.

[Bgirl: were you using some Genstatblahblah non-phenol kit? Man, that one sucked. Good yield, lousy quality. Ambion: great for northerns, but need a little more clean up for enzymatic reactions afterward.]

Still, to be frugal, I stretched out one bottle of RNAwiz to last 150-200 extractions.

 

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