Saturday, September 23, 2006

What is a Lab Lemming?

A Lab Lemming is a creature which mindlessly follows its protocols over the precipice of understanding, to drown in the frigid sea of uncertainty. Everyone who has ever fallen into research over their head, and gulped down the icy brine of confusion is welcome here. Grab a couch by the fire, dry off, warm up, and tell the tale of how your scientific hubris led you astray.

To proclaim a purpose or theme for The Lounge would be to deny its empirical nature. This blog is basically a collection of thoughts about working in a scientific lab, with a focus on the nitty gritty details of collecting data that is scientifically useful.

In my opinion, mainstream scientific education and commentary often fall into a number of pitfalls that reduce their effectiveness. These include, but are not limited to: solemnity, condescension, formalism, frigidity, politeness, hero-worship, and generalization. Thus, I will try to make this blog as silly, challenging, relaxed, visceral, rude, irreverent, and specific as possible.

It may be that my jokes are so esoteric that only ten people on the planet understand them (and only two find them amusing). It may be that semi-erotic descriptions of the large ion lithophiles are not the most appropriate way to teach analytical techniques. But the heart of the scientific endeavour is experimentation. And if I don’t worship oysters and Bunsen burners, ponder mutant rats, defend Pluto, or collect rude mnemonics, who will?

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