Wednesday, March 09, 2005

I don't normally blog from work, but when it's after 6:30 PM and I'm alone in the lab with at least a 45-minute wait to see what's going to pop out of the gel, the guilt level drops to nil.

I'm starting to really enjoy myself here, in a nice parallel with the experience so recently mentioned by Maribeth. I really did have the option of heading out earlier through the freezing parking lot to my car and putting off the gel run until tomorrow morning. But I happen to be doing something that no one has done before. No matter what the results are, they will not rock anyone's world -- it's merely a routine genetic screening that just hasn't been done on this fly species before. It might not even work. But I have the lab facilities all to myself right now, and I really want to see the results before I go home for the night.

Anyway, I got a chance to do something even more fun earlier today. Part of the grant involves a high-school outreach project, so I had a chance to sit in on part of an insect-ID demo with two faculty members, a high-school teacher, and several students. The really fun part was that the insect collections used for the demo came from the South American tropics.

Wow. The bugs. The bugs! They were big ("Julie-rific"), they were colorful -- they were an exercise in legal psychedelia. There were shiny little tortoise beetles, spindly spiders with huge fangs, colorful true bugs, and at least three subfamilies of ants (including a winged virgin queen). The only thing that would have made it even better would have been if they were all alive.

Note to self: Must travel to the tropics.


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