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November 26th, 2008:

California Gas

What you are seeing is real. A gas station on my drive home from PGEC was selling gas at a 1.99 a gallon… in California! This depression/recession/economic ennui/whatever-else-you-want-to-call-it is not going to do good things for renewable fuels. (Though it may be good for the short term financial solvency of grad students on stipends.)

If you can do PCR, you can bake…

I’ve heard the reverse statement plenty of times in labs I’ve worked it. “If you can bake (/cook) you can do PCR.” I even used it once myself when I was training a girl at the Danforth Center. And it’s true. Today I performed rtPCR which required mixing a lot of different chemicals in little tubes, heating them to very specific temperatures for very specific lengths of time, and siting around bored while biology happened.

Today I also made the dough for my father’s thanksgiving rolls. I was fortunate in that he had the recipe written up in terms designed to make sense to molecular biologists (“reoil lightly, cover with plastic wrap and store in the 4°” <– what lab rat’s call a refrigerator). Once more, the process consisted of mixing ingredients in bowls*, storing at approximate temperatures, and feeling bored while yeast biology happened.

It looks like I might actually manage to pull these rolls off and they, along with Senator Russell Sweet Potatoes are my personal vital thanksgiving foods.

 Thanksgiving Roll Dough

*A cooking pot can stand in for a mixing bowl when all of my (1) bowls are already in use, as can the removable bowl of a rice cooker. My next fallback was going to be the crock pot, and I still may need to call it into service if the dough rises as much as the recipe suggests it will.