Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

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From Skellig Michael.

Of all the things and places I saw in Ireland, Skellig Michael was my most important quest.

You can read more about it this post I wrote last year, but basically I overcame some massive anxiety about a long, rough boat ride to get out to this remote island, which is a very important place to me because of its religious history, the biodiversity of its birds, and (last but not least) because it was the filming site for the end scene of Star Wars: The Force Awakens.

There were a lot of stairs to climb!  I failed in my quest to make it to the top, but I was just happy that I made it there.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Quest

Banned Books Week 2016

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It’s Banned Books Week!  This event, which takes place this year from September 25-October 1, celebrates our freedom to read and brings attention to the harms of censorship.

Last year, the American Library Association’s Office for Intellectual Freedom recorded 275 challenges to literature around the country (down from 311 in 2014).  Here’s the list of the top ten most challenged books last year.

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Of the top ten list, I have only read the Bible (not the whole thing; I’m Catholic ~_^).  I love the note that someone challenged it because it was “illegal.”  I must assume that this was in a public school.  I would still support the critical study of the Bible as literature in a public school setting, along with other religious texts, in a pertinent class.

This week, I am reading the graphic novel V for Vendetta.  To my knowledge this book has not been banned (thought China did not allow the release of the 2006 movie adaptation), but it is still very appropriate because of its condemnation of government censorship.  While we here in the US are lucky to have our freedoms protected by the First Amendment, we must still be careful  before allowing other citizens to decide what it okay for us and our children to read.  That decision is best left in the hands of the reader, or their guardians.

Knowledge, like air, is vital to life.  Like air, no one should be denied it.

There’s no flesh or blood within this cloak to kill.  There’s only an idea.  Ideas are bulletproof.

–V (Alan Moore, V for Vendetta)

Have you read any of these books?  Which is your favorite?  Are you reading any banned books this week?

Even Scientists Get Bored Sometimes: Pipette Tip Art

Most lab scientists know that we can be divided into two groups, shown in this meme:

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Now, normally, I’m the person on the right.  I tried to take my own images of the above, and it was actively difficult to use the tips randomly instead of in straight rows.

But then there are the days when I’m running two large rounds of PCR or something, which involves so much pipetting my shoulder starts to hurt and I go through several boxes of tips.  Doing nothing but pipetting for hours will slowly drive you insane, so I have to do something to keep myself entertained.

I start making designs with the pipette tips.

Sometimes they’re basic, like diagonal lines.  As I keep using tips, the patterns change.  Wide diagonals get thinner.

The designs get more intricate.

And sometimes I just make pretty pictures.

wp_20160810_10_35_35_proI’ve tried doing words occasionally, but they never turn out right.  I’ll stick with geometric patterns instead of leaving messages for my coworkers.

Some of my coworkers actively do the same, or try to keep my patterns going if they borrow tips.  I think the rest of them either don’t notice, or think I’m crazy.  Considering they already put up with my K-pop music in the lab, I think we can safely say it’s the latter.

Clearing the Stacks

If there’s one thing I never have enough of, it’s bookshelves.  And eventually you run out of room for those as well.  B and I finally got tired of the stacks of books all over our office and decided to weed out the ones we didn’t really want for donation.  Our local public library has a periodic book sale, so we packed them all up and dropped them off for the next one.

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This isn’t even all of them.

 

My criteria was to get rid of anything I didn’t realistically think I would read in the future, whether I’d read it before or not.  That may sound totally obvious, but I am such a completionist and have such a long to-read list that it’s really really hard for me to not be like, oh, but I might read that in the future because it sounds interesting or whatever.  Some books were textbooks from college we’d kept for reference.  Some were gifts.  Some were duplicates.  Some were books we’d gotten at previous library book sales!

wp_20160910_14_16_24_proI’d been meaning to do this for ages, and I actually thought it would be harder than it was.  I was pretty ruthless about what was going, even taking some off my personal bookshelf in my bedroom.  (I still didn’t touch any Star Wars books, though..even the bad ones.)

All of our books now fit on our bookshelves, and the office is much tidier (which was really my main goal, since that’s where I tend to write).  I’m sure at some point we’ll need to purge again, and hopefully I will have gotten through a few more of our recent additions before then.  Unfortunately the to-be-read books on our shelves keep getting put on the back burner because I keep checking out library books that I have to read in two weeks and return.

Such are the problems of a nerdy girl.

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As you can see, Jolee was super helpful with this process.