Monday, August 11, 2008

Various Lab Stupidities

Or, Lessons Learned in Flammability, Hazard, and Bad Smells

  • Chloroform dissolves floor wax.
  • But it is not flammable.
  • Stupid techs are stupid in so, so many ways.
  • To wit: Do not put your bare finger in the acrylamide.
  • A skull-and-crossbones is not informative enough for some people. Including stupid techs.
  • Never store the TCA sideways.
  • Is that smell beta-mercaptoethanol or a skunk? (AKA: Use the damn hood already.)
  • Aqua regia with too much acetone... makes metal-corroding fumes. And is very dangerous.
  • Never wash the LiH syringe in the isopropanol/NaOH bath.
  • Especially never do it twice.*
  • Never let biologists** organize the fume hood. Because ethanol plus nitric acid goes BOOM.
  • Never clean out the radiation room. You will, inevitably, not like what you find.
  • Chicken Incidents always smell really, really, really bad.
*True story. Why yes, it did catch fire! Both times!
**e.g.: my lab. Unless said biologists know that strong acid plus volatile solvent is BAD, of course.