Monday, 1 December 2014

The Consequences of Sciencing

As some of you might know, if you paid attention to my finished-WIP celebratory post, that I am currently in Argentina participating in a science comp. In light of the occasion, I'm sharing some of the consequences of a fifteen-month-long training courses which have eaten up my Saturdays.

Note: the "we" in this post refers to my fellow teammates going to this comp, and there's a post featuring them soon.

1. I shall never eat potatoes again.

We were doing this experiment where we were boring strips of potatoes -- it's a pretty standard bio experiment, but for those non-science people, here's a picture I grabbed off the Internet:

How the potato ended up. Mine was a bit messier, of course. (Source)
Basically we were trying to get potato strips out to test the plant cells. But so much potato juice and potato bits ended up on my hands and clothes, and we were all so sick of the taste. Not even French fries, ever again.

2. Scratch that, I won't be eating anything without biology thoughts.

We had a chapter on carbos and proteins and stuff, and now I can't eat my vegetables without thinking "cellulose" or my meat thinking "lipid". I swear, this is traumatising. I literally can't eat anything now. I mean, we bake bread using living sacrifices of yeast. How the heck am I supposed to eat that lump of corpses.

3. Taking the train.

So I'm standing there, and there's the announcement for the next station, and my mind automatically starts calculating vectors to avoid me tripping over, so I spend ten seconds muttering to myself about Newton's laws of motions and momentum. And everyone's staring at me. And I still fall over.

4. Going on Tumblr without demanding a source.

Basically one of the most important things I've learned to ask is how do you know. Not how does it work or how can I make this better, because those questions are in the future and to paraphrase one of the awesomest scientists ever, those we find those out on the shoulders of giants. But first we have to find the giants and climb on their shoulders. How do you know is the best question a science student can ask.

Predictably, this leads to several difficulties on social media sites, especially Tumblr. I mean, it's cool to see all these animal pictures and facts floating around, and they are awesome, but without a source I just can't click reblog. This results in much longer time on Tumblr as I frequently stop and go look for a source. (By source I don't mean "the original person who took the photo", I mean "a scientific paper which actually confirms and explains this".)

5. Being terrified of flu-like symptoms.

Apparently when you're initially infected with HIV, you'll have flu-like symptoms for a week. Cue extreme horror whenever I sneeze/cough/feel a bit overheated.

6. As I mentioned, no Saturdays.

It's a 9 am to 5 pm weekly training session in a university, so basically I don't have that extra crucial day for homework or whatever. It's so draining that sometimes it takes the fun out of the science — but not today. Not that, you know, I don't look forward to getting my Saturdays back.

Despite all these consequences, I'll close with a gif which adequately expresses my feelings for life:

Originally reblogged here.
That's it for today: please do leave a comment whether you laughed to death, were shocked by my ridiculous comments, or simply awesome enough to make my day by saying hi :D And don't forget to subscribe for more random morbid insanity!

P.S.: Bonus very short post tomorrow — if you follow me on Twitter, you'll know why. Otherwise, sit tight and wait for it!


  1. Very recently I did something similar to your potato experiment, but with a cucumber. To measure the... thing... the... DIFFUSION RATE (yes, I am an AP Bio student, how did you know?) of sugar into the cucumber. But I don't like cucumbers anyway and so it wasn't that hard to play Spanish Inquisition.

    And I know what you mean about eating with biology thoughts. Just today at lunch we were talking about casein, because of our our products is free of it, and so I was like, "it feels like it should be a protein but it doesn't have an -ase" at the end so it might not be like a protein protein but something else and I read about it on Wikipedia—it's a phosphoprotein! And you can put it in glue and paint and cheese! AND I DIDN'T GET CONFUSED READING IT!

    The moral of that story is that biology is very intrusive into one's life once ya start learning about it.

    Lovely GIF, by the way. I would enjoy being a science mermaid.

    1. Spanish Inquisition, heh. I don't like cucumbers either, but we didn't try that -- we did do beetroot the other week though. I looked like I had murdered someone (and felt like it too!) Congratulations on the correct guess (sorry, hypothesis) on casein! Interesting, I thought the proteins which ended with 'ase' were typically enzymes, a la "lipase", "protease", "peptidase", "ATPase". Didn't know it extended to all proteins.

      I think I would too, yes. Except the concept of a mermaid isn't very scientific, hmm?

    2. Ooh, beetroot. That must have been fun. And you're right, because it is about enzymes, but in my classes we haven't really talked about lots of proteins outside of enzymes so I wouldn't know what to think about or look for.

      I am pretty sure that the rule is, as stated by the movie Thor, science is just magic we don't understand yet. :D

    3. Fun, yes, but even messier than potatoes. Ah, that is a good point about proteins -- in fact, we didn't even have a section on proteins, just a footnote in the section enzymes that "enzymes are proteins in nature".

      Hmm, that would be an interesting science project -- "The investigation and synthesis of deep-sea humanoid beings with tails." Wonder if I'd get a grant for that?

  2. I'm not a huge science person--and by that I mean that while I find it interesting, I don't devote a whole lot of my free time to it and I don't intend to make any sort of a career out of it. However! That is SO awesome that you get to take a science-y trip to Argentina, and I hope we'll get to hear all about it when you get back! Also, the anecdote about your inability to eat without biology thoughts was fairly hilarious, and I feel similarly about the Tumblr source thing. I don't feel right sharing cool facts unless I've confirmed them somewhere else! (And you're not alone--when I first learned about HIV/AIDS and what it was, I was totally freaked out. Not so much now, but still.)

    Anyway! I hope you have a wonderful trip (or had, I suppose, by the time you read this) and we back here in the interwebs will await your return to the online community! :)

    1. It's still great that you find science interesting as a subject, though; pretty sure half the people in my chemistry class don't care enough to try to pass. Thanks so much for the well wishes, I did indeed have a great time (as you know via Twitter already)!


IMPORTANT: Please use Name/URL instead of Wordpress/OpenID to comment, otherwise Blogger hobbits will eat your words. So sorry about this. Thanks!

I respond to all comments and would love to check out your blog if you leave a link :D Unless it's spam. Then I'll delete the comment and put you on the takeout blacklist, what a shame!