Thursday, October 29, 2009

What have I, what have I, what have I done to deserve this?

When your electrophysiology rig has only a single BNC cable connecting the patch clamp output to the digitizer, you know things aren't good.

Especially when there's still a little 60 Hz ripple visible.

And when you still haven't solved the periodic pipette vibration that makes getting seals hard.

[Then after you write some schlock like this, you worry about what PLS thinks about it.]

In other news, I have discovered a couple things:

When there is 0.5 pA RMS noise on a well shielded headstage, cleaning where the holder attaches can do wonders. Isopropanol + canned air = 0.05 pA RMS.

When ultrasonic cleaners are used correctly, they kick total ass. If you have one, try the glass slide test. HOLYMOLYCOWTHATISCOOLANDSADLYMIGHTBETHEWEEK'SHIGHLIGHT!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

InaDWriMo2009 - do it, do it now!

As if it weren't patently obvious, I'm still swamped under the combination of multiple projects, multiple collaborations, and multiple offspring. I just haven't hit upon a way to incorporate much blogging.

One of the other things languishing is a couple of projects in different stages of writing. One is a manuscript revision that has been in periodic hibernation since I left my thesis lab. (Ok, it is embarrassing to write that. The reasons for such a state might be both understandable and inexcusable, but at this point, who cares? It's time to get it done). This requires a substantial rewrite of the Discussion section, as well as the Introduction. This also requires some time with the literature, which I have been only peripherally following once this project came off the front burner.

Another writing project is a draft of a short manuscript, on some old results that started fast and then got stuck in neutral. While this project isn't completed, I think I know enough of the general story to at least start a draft. Writing that will make it much more obvious what needs to be done in order to publish it.

To help motivate me, I've decided to join up with the InaDWriMo2009 that Dr. Brazen Hussy is hosting. It's derived from a dissertation specific "fork" of the NaNoWriMo, that has been extended to all sorts of academic writing projects.

I figure that combined, the both of these will require something on the order of 5000 words. My goal is to complete them during the month of November. Watch the side bar for progress.

And, who else is in? The motivation is contagious. Sorta like H1N1, but with mental pain rather than physical.