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February (2)

PSA: It's cold, buy a Carbon Monoxide Detector.
Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cold Fusion
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
January (2)

Going back
Thursday, January 27, 2011

Fun with Jackass
Wednesday, January 26, 2011
2010 (33)
December (4)

The 12 days of (Lab) Christmas
Friday, December 24, 2010

I really hope there isn't a number 3
Thursday, December 9, 2010

So why don't you have more papers?
Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Picking a project
Thursday, December 2, 2010
November (2)October (7)

As promised: Geeka and A Cow
Saturday, October 23, 2010

Finishing something
Saturday, October 23, 2010

A cartwheeling Geeka
Monday, October 18, 2010

Some Classroom got funded, I get embarrassed.
Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Bounty for Donor's Choose
Wednesday, October 6, 2010

If I couldn't be a scientist
Tuesday, October 5, 2010

That's not the shape of his head.
Friday, October 1, 2010
September (6)

Glutton for Punishment
Saturday, September 25, 2010

I talk to machines.
Friday, September 24, 2010

World's worst Journal Club.
Monday, September 20, 2010

The IACUC Chair
Thursday, September 16, 2010

Hell, I did know then, I just didn't know it until it hit me.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Stuff Geeka Likes: The Toys Edition
Wednesday, September 1, 2010
August (9)

How I ended up a scientist.
Saturday, August 28, 2010

Monday morning crapped on my head.
Monday, August 23, 2010

Naming your equipment
Thursday, August 19, 2010

Stuff Geeka Likes: Inaugural edition
Thursday, August 12, 2010

Silent Squee
Wednesday, August 11, 2010

In which I come clean
Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Having a bad day
Monday, August 9, 2010

My blogging philosophy
Friday, August 6, 2010

Balance? We don't need no stinking balance.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
July (5)
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Hi! I'm Geeka. I've been a scientist for, I don't know, it seems like forever, I guess since I started college, so, like 15 years? Anyhow, this is where I'm going to give my take on a bunch of stuff. I'm usually a little bit out there (that is, I don't see the obvious at the outset), which means that you are probably going to have to deal with reading such topics as: Interpersonal relationship training for scientists, my lab pet peeves, how to get along in business when you just came straight out of academia, trying to deal with having a life and being a scientist, really odd topics for a paper, random stuff I found on the internet that made me shoot coffee out of my nose, you know, (ab)normal Geeka. Why the title? Because at the very heart of me, I'm a virologist, and while I don't necessarily do that now, it's how I view the scientific world.

My posts are presented as opinion and commentary and do not represent the views of LabSpaces Productions, LLC, my employer, or my educational institution.

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Friday, September 24, 2010

There’s this one piece of machinery that I use for virtually everything. We make it, and my job is to use this thing for everything, to prove that it can be used for everything. This week has been hard. There was a power outage during a storm, in which all of these machines were being used, and they all crashed. Of the 3 that we use on a regular basis, 2 are out of commission for different reasons related to the power. So we have one. This particular one, decided that it was just not going to do what it wanted for so long, that it ruined my experiment the other day.


I set up a different experiment yesterday. It was long, and hard, and it basically doesn’t want to work for me for no explainable reason (well, that’s not true, one of our multichannel pipets has a self forming gradient which is seriously making me lose it). So after all this set up, I signed up to use this machine today. This is essentially how it goes:


G: Good morning, machine, I hope you had a restful night. You are going to work for me today, right? (I caress the top of the machine with my hand).


I know that you’ve been working really hard this week, and that you are picking up the slack for the others. But I really, really need you to work today, ok?


(I’m logging onto the computer now.) So here’s the deal, if you don’t spit out my experiment today, and give me useful data, I’ll go use the other machines on a more regular basis, cause I know that I’ve been abusing you. (Now I’m rubbing front of machine).


So, please, can you do a really good job focusing and exposing today?


What is it that you need? Do you need calibrated? Do you want your panel back on? Do you want a nickname?



Then I started my experiment. I know that I’m crazy for talking to the lab equipment, but I spend a lot of time with this particular machine.

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Blog Comments

Washington University School of Medicine
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I've done that too! Sometimes all a machine needs is to know it's loved.

Thomas Joseph
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I know that I’m crazy for talking to the lab equipment, but I spend a lot of time with this particular machine.

In my own experiences, the last half of the sentence usually explains the first half. I was on a first name basis with several machines as I was finishing up my PhD. :P

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Its the people that don't talk to their instruments that I find strange.

Brian Krueger, PhD
Columbia University Medical Center
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When I talk to machines it usually involves kicking and spitting.

Dr Becca, Ph.D.
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It's when they start talking back that you need to worry.

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I talk to my neurons as I record from them... nicely asking them to just hang in there and spit out a little more data before blowing up and spilling their contents all over the place.

biochem belle
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What's wrong with talking to machines? I also talk to samples and experiments. And Brian, you have to learn that scare tactics and abuse only work on rare occasions. Machines need to know that they're cared for.

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I've certainly pleaded with machines to work before and threatened them with violence.

Dub C Med School
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I talk to the machines, the samples, and if I've been in there too long, the room itself. It may or may not work in keeping people from approaching me when I'm in the weeds.

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Brian: when things go really bad, I usually threaten them with "I have my own set of tools, I know how you work, I will take out your power supply and go Office Space on you!"

Thomas Joseph
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Brian Krueger, PhD said: When I talk to machines it usually involves kicking ...

"Percussive repair" has worked many times for me as well.

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Yeah, I usually assume that they can read my mind, so I don't actually talk to them

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Hey, whatever works. If I found hardware worked better when I talked to it, or sang to it, or did a dance, I would do it. Every time.
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