So! Lots of stuff to talk about.
• As intimated in a couple of earlier posts, I now have job security! Starting on 2/22, I'll be joining a sequencing group at my current university. Life has apparently changed quite a bit in the sequencing world; instead of running a single reaction in a single lane (or capillary), I'll be doing Illumina-style library sequencing - hundreds and hundreds of little reactions, all in a single - very expensive - lane. (My current professor is a little sad at the cost of materials for the project I'm doing now - about $30K for the large amounts of the two most expensive components. It will take us about a month and a half to two months to go through those materials and complete the study. At my new job, when I've run two of these Illumina cartridges, with about eight "lanes" for each of them, I will have gone through a roughly equal cost in materials, and I bet I'll do that on my very first day.)
I'm excited, naturally; among other things, I'll be working with one of the people from my *last* position, at the Genome Center. But at the moment, the sequencing group is a little understaffed; I'll be employee #3 in the group. I'm also nervous, of course: with the cost of materials involved, I'm terrified of making mistakes. But it'll be neat to pick up a new set of skills. I know that I do pretty well with process work, so I think I'll be reasonably content. Wish me luck!
• I have a working hypothesis for the itchy spreading red area around my cat bite. I took off the bandage that the hospital had put over the bite to show my doctor Monday evening. He didn't have any of these fancy bandages, so gave me a different sort, which I took off later to shower. As the bite had pretty well closed up, I didn't bother putting a new bandage on. The redness mostly went away. A day or two later after I showered, I noticed that the remaining red area (inflamed a bit by the hot shower, and so more noticeable than previously) had an unusual shape to it that exactly followed the outline of the bandage. I'd forgotten that my mother, my brother, and I all have sensitive skin, but I would bet that I have a contact allergy to some component of Coverlet Adhesive Dressing, probably the adhesive. Oh, and doxycyclene is kinder to my system than clindamycin and sulfameth were. I'll still be glad to be done with antibiotics, but, well...
• Check out the videos at Nova's Making Stuff
miniseries site. David Pogue has been hosting a series of programs on materials science, and the third program aired this past week. Full episodes about making stuff stronger, smaller, and cleaner are available online, and making stuff smarter is next week. This week's episode on 'cleaner' had no fewer than three jaw-dropping moments for me (one each in new methods of car component production, plastic bag reuse, and fuel cell development), and is well worth your time.