Monday, 1 July 2013

10:06 – Thanks to everyone who recommended add-ons to make Windows 8 usable. When I have a spare moment, I’ll install Classic Shell on Frances’ system. If that works as expected, I probably won’t have to install the Windows 8.1 fix once it becomes available.

One of the items on my to-do list is making up solutions for more biology and life science kits. One of those is eosin Y stain, and I’m debating with myself about what to do. Until now, we’ve been supplying a 1% aqueous solution made up with Winston-Salem tap water, which is very soft but does have some calcium ions. We use tap water because eosin Y actually works better when some calcium ions are present. We also add a tiny percentage (~ 0.05%) of glacial acetic acid, again because eosin works better in the presence of very dilute acetic acid.

By “works better” I mean “stains more intensely”, and that’s the problem. Eosin Y is a very subtle stain. When used properly, Eosin differentiates structure types by the intensity of the staining: eosinophilic structures are stained intensely red-orange; erythrocytes a bright pink-orange; muscle tissues a paler pink-orange; and collagen a light pinkish-orange. There are two ways to get this differentiation. First, by progressively staining with a dilute (0.1% to 0.5%) eosin solution. Second, by overstaining with a stronger (1% or greater) eosin solution followed by decolorizing in alcohol or another destaining agent.

The problem is that most (I am tempted to say “all”) beginners are prone to overstaining. They’ll add a drop of stain to the fixed slide, wait 30 seconds, and then decide they’d better wait a bit longer, just in case. After all, too much is always better than not enough, right? And they almost never decolorize. After all, again, why remove the stain you just added, right?

The formulation we’ve been supplying–1% eosin with both calcium ions and acetic acid–has a big advantage: it guarantees results, in the sense that the specimen will indeed be stained. But this concentrated formulation is what I’d use myself, and I’d decolorize after staining. So I’m thinking about changing to a 0.5% concentration in DI water. The downside to this is that it may not stain intensely enough to suit an experienced user, unless they stain for longer than they’re used to doing. The upside is that a typical beginner who uses this concentration will probably “overstain”, as usual, and as a result see some actual differentiation.

23 thoughts on “Monday, 1 July 2013”

  1. I think software redesign is taken from Detroit:
    Round the edges-sharpen the edges-round the edges…
    Put the chrome on-take the chrome off….

    Now I read that Ford is getting some criticism from the poor usability of the touch screen in dash…..son of Windows 8?

  2. I think software redesign is taken from Detroit:
    Round the edges-sharpen the edges-round the edges…
    Put the chrome on-take the chrome off….

    The fashion industry does the same. Changes colors every year. There are only so many colors to choose from. This year it may be browns, next year reds, year after greens, then back to browns. Enough time to sell (or throw out) your old stuff so you are forced to buy new stuff.

    I think my Nehru jackets and bell bottoms look just fine thank you very much.

  3. Besides the link from Miles_Teg in Oz there’s another one floating around for the last few days of the beheading of a Syrian Orthodox bishop and his two assistants in Syria by some of the wonderful muslim hadji pieces of shit that we support with our tax money and weapons. A jeering mob surrounds them, fighting each other to get the pics on their cell phones so they can upload them to the net for the other billion hadji bastards around the world, who either also shout exultantly or turn away in cowardly silence. From our lords temporal and the media here: silence.

    “I think my Nehru jackets and bell bottoms look just fine thank you very much.”

    Here in northern Nova Anglia, jeans and flannel shirts never go outta style. Favorite color: plaid.

  4. RBT, I think you should target your kits at the beginning user, not the experienced user. The experienced users will probably be 2% of the customer base, and that’s only by including retired chemistry teachers or chem guys who are advising the home schoolers.

    You might include appropriate notes on the makeup of the various chemicals on either the packing slip or somewhere on the web site, something like “The eosin Y stain contains calcium ions and glacial acetic acid. If you don’t know what this means, don’t worry about it.”

  5. Roger that, Ray. Neckties cycle between wide and narrow in order to keep Good Will and Salvation Army well stocked.

  6. What is this necktie that you speak of? Sounds like a torture device.

  7. At my current contract, a butt-in-seat gig at the client site, my manager* wants me to wear a necktie. “This is a business professional environment,” she says while wearing a light, short, sleeveless sundress and sandals because of the warm weather.**

    (I don’t wear neckties. Will not do so under any circumstances. I told them that when I first spoke to them.)

    * Meaning, she approves my timesheet and is supposed to but doesn’t take care of admin things like getting me an email account.

    ** Warm by upstate New York standards. I imagine folk in Houston and points west will not greatly sympathize.

  8. I have a Dell AIO (touchscreen) running Win8 that I get to play with for a few days. Actually, that OS works really well as a touchscreen. I am amazed, because I hate it with the mouse.

  9. “…she says while wearing a light, short, sleeveless sundress and sandals because of the warm weather.”

    Women manglers want their men haltered with neckties and preferably clean-shaven and all spiffed up, has been my experience. They are themselves, of course, exempt from whatever requirements they impose on others. How does she expect women subordinates to dress there? If they did like her during warm weather would that be OK? What if they’re hotter than she is? I mean in the sense you think I mean.

    I will say this, and let the chips fall where they may; over the decades, in various positions, including IT, I’ve had a number of female bosses. Every single one has been a royal PITA, without exception. I’m sure I am partly to blame, but man, I tried to behave right and do the right thing with them all, to no avail. We had them at my last gig, but they were at least three levels above me and I never saw them or had any contact with them. Thankfully. I could tell just by looking at their pictures in the corporate Blue Pages what they were probably like.

  10. “…while wearing a light, short, sleeveless sundress and sandals because of the warm weather.”

    What’s the male equivalent of that type of dress? A wife-beater, cargo shorts, and flip-flops?

  11. Apparently the male equivalent is suit pants, a long-sleeved button-down shirt, a tie, and leather shoes. It’s “business professional” attire, remember.

    OFD, I’m not quite prepared to say every one of my female supervisors was an incompetent PITA, but I will say that I can’t think of any exceptions. I can think of one female manager who was competent and forceful without being a sexist PITA, and she got promoted out six months after she took the position. Note that this is in the engineering and programming fields, where women are rare and competent women are very rare and where incompetent women tend to get promoted “out of the trenches” to positions where they supervise men whose work they don’t understand. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but in practice I very rarely see a such a woman who’s worth a crap as an administrator a project leader or whatever. I’ve also seen the entire technically-competent part of a team — about five men — leave after a junior member got promoted over them all. “She’s going to be my boss? Hell, no!”

    It is, of course, treason to suggest that sexism and affirmative action play any role in any of this.

  12. SteveF wrote:

    ‘At my current contract, a butt-in-seat gig at the client site, my manager* wants me to wear a necktie. “This is a business professional environment…”’

    I thought American workplaces were really casual. Sun employees who come down here for a while find they have to buy a suit, no one told them. EDS were the same.

    ‘…she says while wearing a light, short, sleeveless sundress and sandals…’

    Are you complaining?

  13. This may come as a news flash to someone who thinks the Heroine of Tripoli is Teh Hawtness, but not all female bodies should be displayed to the maximum extent allowed by law.

  14. I think it is often easiest to have a boss of the same gender – this both for guys and gals – just because it keeps irrelevancies to a minimum. Mix the genders, and personal chemistry plays a bigger role than it really ought to.

  15. Hmm. So what you’re saying is that every organization should be unisex, top to bottom? No, wait, it gets worse. That means that the US government, for example, could employ only men or only women, as could all state and local governments. And that only women could own stock in a woman-only public corporation, and vice-versa.

    That reminds me of an interview I saw on TV many years ago. At the time, Pennsylvania and Ohio had different laws about making a right turn on red. The interviewer was questioning an advocate of rationalizing right-turn-on-red laws, and said something like, “So what you’re pushing for is that all states should have identical right-turn-on-red laws? The interviewee responded, “No, but we think the laws should be the same in all adjoining states.” I started laughing, and my girlfriend asked me what was so funny. I told her that only Alaska and Hawaii could go their own ways.

  16. Germany is (or was when I left 4 years ago) business suit dress for work place. Except for software people and tradesmen. The folks at Deutsche Telekom in software were totally casual with jeans and t-shirts (except for the sales people), whereas the accounting folks at The Chemical Company were dressed to the nines—including the IT types. Shorts are not a big thing there, but guys wear knicker-length, just-below-the-knee pants a lot—especially teen guys and younger. That looks SO much better than the completely idiotic ‘big pants’ teen guys wear here. They truly look like mental cases who were allowed to dress themselves in diapers. Americans have no sense of style whatsoever.

    I do miss Britney Spears midriff, however.

  17. I don’t like it, either, and the adult men who dress like that look like overgrown schoolboys, and sloppy as all get-out. So yeah, it’s bad. But I hate neckties with a passion so there’s that. i.e., those are bad, too.

  18. In Oz knickers are brief women’s underwear, so I was wondering what the hell sort of bars Chuck was visiting in Germany… 🙂

  19. Actually, knickers are—I believe—an American thing. But they resemble the style and cut of Liederhosen. In looking for images, illustrations seem to show off the particulars of the style better than pictures.

    The boy here is in knickers. What my dad wore every day of his life until well into high school.

    Oops. Wrong image. But looks like summertime in Berlin: no bra.

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