Saturday, 28 January 2012

By on January 28th, 2012 in science kits, writing

10:41 – All of the chapters are complete and off to the editors except the Introduction, which is in progress now. This weekend, we need to shoot some images to replace placeholders in the text. We also need to build the gel electrophoresis apparatus and run a gel or two.

Monday, I start going through the manuscript chapters to build a list of what’s to be included in the biology kit, including amounts. Once I have that, I can start generating purchase orders for the materials and start actually making up chemicals, printing labels, filling and labeling bottles, and so on.

I’ve also decided to offer two options with the biology kit. First, a simple hand microtome. Second, a core set of maybe 20 to 25 prepared microscope slides. For those, I’ll focus on slides that are particularly important, hard to find elsewhere (particularly in standard sets), and difficult to prepare yourself (sections, special staining, and so on rather than simple whole mounts of common things). I’ll also focus on double- and triple-purpose slides. For example, a lot of slide sets include cross-sections of monocot and dicot roots, stems, and leaves, along with slides showing skeletal, smooth, and cardiac muscle. That’s nine separate slides, but I can do the same thing with only four slides: monocot and dicot roots on one slide, monocot and dicot stems on one slide, monocot and dicot leaves on one slide, and three types of muscle on one slide. The individual combined slides are usually a bit more expensive than single-specimen slides, but nowhere near twice as much.

One of the wholesalers I’ll probably buy some of those slides from packages them in boxes of 50 of the same slide, so I’ll put 50 sets together initially. I have no idea what percentage of people who order the biology kit will want the optional prepared slides, but I suspect 50 slide sets will suffice for the first 60 kits, if not many more. Delivery time on the slides is typically 60 days ARO, so we may have some juggling to do. That delivery time means I also need to get the slides on order no later than mid-February if I want to have them available by mid- to late April.

12 Comments and discussion on "Saturday, 28 January 2012"

  1. Dave B. says:

    I’m looking at temperatures of various components in my computer using Speedfan, and I’m wondering what are safe operating temperatures for an ATI Radeon 4850HD, an Intel Core 2 Quad CPU and a typical 7200 RPM hard drive.

  2. Steve says:

    My 5-year old PC (8800GTX, Q6600) shows 75 Celsius for the GPU and 68 Celsius for the CPU in Speedfan.

    Hard drives (WD2002FAEX and WD2001FASS, about a year or two old, both WD 7200rpm 2TB) run at 38 degrees. Room temp 26 Celsius. Everything at idle.

    Since it ran this way for years, I’d say these temps are pretty safe. I’ve had only 5 or 6 blue screens in all this time, and it’s usually an nVidia driver thing, not hardware.

    I’ve got a Silverstone TJ-09 with five 120mm fans running at 1200rpm and a Scythe Ninja with one 120mm fan.

    Your HD4850 is about as powerful as my 8800GTX – they’re extremely close in benchmarks. If you get similar temps it’s probably OK.

  3. Dave B. says:

    My CPU is about the same, and the GPU is about the same temperature. The GPU gets a lot hotter when I play a game though. I think I should have built the machine in a larger case with more fans.

    I don’t have time to do that right now, so I guess I’ll stop playing games for now.

  4. Chuck Waggoner says:

    There’s always water cooling.

  5. Dave B. says:

    There’s always water cooling.

    At the moment, my priorities are on things other than computers. Besides, it would be my luck that the water cooling system would spring a leak.

  6. OFD says:

    Speaking of water cooling, I was on-site and assisted in the installation of water-cooling doors for eight new racks of CentOS servers last Monday at work. Quite an operation, and the guy doing it got two-grand for each rack. I watched closely and took notes accordingly, while my young AIX colleague surreptitiously recorded it on his cell.

  7. Chuck Waggoner says:

    Two grand? Wow. That surely included the equipment. I have seen refrigerated racks before. Had them in seemingly random places at one of the places I worked. They had glass doors, so you could see inside without opening them.

    My brother worked in data processing for AT&T before the break-up, and they had Bell Labs working on processors that could operate in pretty hot temps. Their objective was to eliminate the need for all air-conditioning in equipment buildings. The workers were pretty worried. They feared that they would have to come to work in swim trunks to survive. This was back during the first oil crisis. They had already raised the summer temps inside all their buildings, making no one happy.

    Fortunately, TV was RICH in that day, and there was no financial need to cut back on air-conditioning. It was so frigid in the control rooms, that women always wore sweaters in summers.

  8. BGrigg says:

    The last print shop I worked at had one for the server room. I have to admit, it keep the server nice and cool, and totally dust free. I worked there for 11 years, and never found dust on the inside.

    Kept beer nice and cold, too!

  9. ech says:

    I worked on a custom system (not a computer, but did digital processing on custom hardware made of discrete ECL parts and gate arrays) that was built in a standard 19 inch rack. We pulled chilled air from below the floor at a very high volume and pushed it out the top. The air was about 70 degrees F hotter at the top than at the bottom. The mechanical engineers had to work with the EEs to put the most heat sensitive parts at the bottom of the boards and lay them out to allow sufficient airflow. The design was complicated by needing to be Tempest certified, so the air path had bends and screens in it.

    The total system had a bunch of these cabinets along with a number of tape drives, mini computers, and a disk farm. The office part of the building was heated in winter in part by pulling the air from the integration floor and circulating it.

  10. Miles_Teg says:

    “It was so frigid in the control rooms, that women always wore sweaters in summers.”

    Don’t ya hate that? 🙂

    “Kept beer nice and cold, too!”

    Glad to see you have your priorities right.

  11. OFD says:

    The two grand was only for setting up the hoses and actually running the water into the doors, whole deal took about four hours. We’d hung the doors the previous Friday afternoon in a separate operation. They’re pretty similar to vehicle radiators and like them, we wonder when one will spring a leak someday. And this is in addition to the big AC units throughout the raised-floor data center.

    Colleague and I decided we can hang doors and pump water for a grand per door.

  12. Chuck Waggoner says:

    “Colleague and I decided we can hang doors and pump water for a grand per door.”

    Good old American competition.

    The TV station where I worked in Minneapolis had studios and control rooms located in the basement level. We had only air-conditioning there. I am not an engineer, but contributed the idea of having the racks form a wall. There was a central corridor with racks for one studio on one side and the other studio on the other side. The maintenance guys were always thanking me, because usually racks are put along walls, with only enough clearance to open the back door. They often had to take the back doors off to do maintenance. But with a corridor to work in, they were never cramped. Heat from the racks was ducted to provide heat. Back in those days, a lot of equipment still had tubes in them, so heat generation was pretty stiff.

    One time, somebody cooled a control room too much and we had to wear coats for days, while it slowly warmed up. They put locked cages over the thermostats after that.

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