Friday, January 25, 2008

Trials (Now With More Tribulations)

Micromanipulation is a fun and exciting way to move tiny things around. With a little microscope and, usually, a force transducer, you can do all kinds of things to cells/ bits of things/ small structures. You can poke it with a stick, or inject it with a needle, or move it around, or cut out little bits, or stick on a tiny, tiny voltmeter.

A good micromanipulator is a breeze to use. It is as simple as cutting a piece of paper or picking up a penny. (Well, realistically it's more like taking a splinter out of your hand...) The [micromanipulator bit] immediately does what you ask of it, removing that section with ease or transporting that cell as on a breeze.

A bad micromanipulator is like picking up dandelion fluff with a tweezers, using only your teeth.

Our micromanipulator ran out of [microminipulator bit] which I needed to pick tiny bits of brick up and move them around for further analysis. This being my lab, nobody ordered more. I tried to use [old bit]. It works like your great-grandpa's rusted together iron tweezers. Nobody knows where [bit] came from. Apparently it can only be purchased in a) lots of ten costing 1000 times as much as making it ourselves or b) in quantities 100,000 times what we need.

This is why big labs need lab managers.