"The memory is stil with me - the most sickly and sweetish smell of rancid gasoline combined with rotten water melons, with undertones of stale sweat, pig carcass, a hint of garlic, moldy oranges, russian-made aftershave and a cheap household air freshener… its a whole package, and rather sweet one – like isonitriles or cyclopentadiene but magnified thousand times. A whiff of that thing and you feel that your nose just suffered a stroke and will hopefully die and peal off so that you never smell that thing again." A young lab tech, whose absent-mindedness in the lab gets him nicknamed "“Bořivoj” (”the one who tears down the places”), meets PhePHMe, the worst-smelling compound in the world. Things happen.
Thousands of drug-related convictions in Massachusetts may be challenged as investigators learn more about improper evidence handling and testing at a Department of Public Health laboratory. Over 50,000 samples related to 34,000 convictions were tested by a single chemist at the lab, who is alleged to have violated multiple laboratory protocols. Governor Deval Patrick's office has identified 1,141 inmates currently serving time in Massachusetts whose convictions may be affected by the investigation. [more inside]
Philadelphia's Fox 29 News does an undercover investigation on the possible terrorist threat posed by unguarded chemicals in labs. Mistakes are made.
That's the drawback of the modern lab mouse. It's cheap, efficient, and highly standardized—all of which qualities have made it the favorite tool of large-scale biomedical research. But as Mattson points out, there's a danger to taking so much of our knowledge straight from the animal assembly line. The inbred, factory-farmed rodents in use today—raised by the millions in germ-free barrier rooms, overfed and understimulated and in some cases pumped through with antibiotics—may be placing unseen constraints on what we know and learn.Slate has just finished a three part series on the pitfalls and promises of laboratory animals. (Part 1, Part 2, Part 3) [more inside]
The structure functions as a living and working environment, solar powered, and able to support 3 people for up to 40 days. Avowedly utopian in its objectives, the insulation/isolation strategy aims to achieve total independence from social conditions in order to create a reflective space. [more inside]
Last August, six Harvard scientists went to the hospital after drinking coffee laced with sodium azide, in what appears to be a delibarate posioning. Previous laboratory-related poisonings have occured at other prestigious institutions, although radioactivity is generally the method of choice. [more inside]
Electronic Masks and Calculated Movements are two early computer animation projects featured at EVLTube, the YouTube channel for UIC's Electronic Visualization Laboratory. In additon to the video archive, the EVL website also features a trove of interesting current EV projects like snstncntnrs and Unfolding Space, not to mention extensive notes on the fascinating research conducted and devices used at the facility. [more inside]
Venter made an artificial chromosome and may have already created artificial life in his lab. Is it a solution for global warming, or a plot for world domination? Anyway, it's a lot to think about and discuss.
Think meat is murder? Grow it in a lab! Anyone for test-tube t-bone?
How to Build Your Own Scientific Laboratory For Free: Parts One, Two, and Three. (Though I suppose if you have a bit of cash and happen to live in Boston, you can always check out the MIT Swap Meet to pick up those endless piles of oscillators or half-functioning VAX computers you almost certainly need...)