Lab Notes

End procrastination

Recently I wrote about the difficulties I had in the last months to get to the bottom of things. Coincidentally, I’ve read an article about a small software designed to help getting this done: Pomotroid. The very first use of Pomotroid have been so successful that I happily tweeted about it (see at the very end).

Pomotroid is based on the Pomodoro Method. The name comes from the tomato-shaped timer that Francesco Cirillo used in the 80s to manage his working time; pomodoro being the Italian word for tomato. The method is fairly simple: work for 25 minutes on a task, then have a 5 minutes break. That’s one pomodoro. After four pomodori, take a longer break (usually 15 minutes), then repeat.

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File format and reproducibility

Science is more about limiting doubts than creating certainties. To limit doubt, the reproduction of the same experiment should lead to draw the same conclusions, again and again. This is called the reproducibility, and it is a big deal in science. Actually, this is what makes scientific findings valid. This topic has received an increasing attention in the last years:

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The transition achievement

It’s been nearly a year that I haven’t written anything here. The power of procrastination is terrible. Well, it is not only procrastination. Or procrastination with excuse. I use a todo app to keep tracks of my tasks, and I’ve been keeping on postponing this Write-something-on-my-blog-todo as I couldn’t quickly see a nice topic to write about. Let’s be honest, I probably haven’t tried that hard neither.

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Hello, world!

Hi there! Testing Twitter integration 🙂

Edit: it works!

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Dexterology

Just a picture today to illustrate a somehow scary fact.

Is it blood from my victims?

In the last years, I filled a dozen of such boxes, each containing a hundred slides. This is around a thousand pollen samples analysed! I should make the sum one day. A bit or R code should do it 😀

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How to prepare clean (pollen) slides

I prepared my first pollen slides during my Master studies, in 2009. I have been introduced how to pipette a portion of the sample and mount it between a slide and cover slide. Some colleagues don’t necessarily seal their slides before analysis, but I personally like to seal them to prevent any leak. This is important to me since I mount pollen samples in glycerine, and it is difficult to get rid of it completely if it ever touched the optic of the microscope.

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Should you update your reference collection classification?

Palynologists count on reference collections. These are hundreds of slides from modern samples. Flowers were collected and pollen mounted on slide, for long-term storage. In case of any doubt when identifying a pollen grain, these reference slides can help. Of course, it works when you already have an idea about this pollen grain, but you’re just not quite sure. Such collections are organised in families.

The many slide plates, organised by families, containing the many slides of the reference collection of the Institute of Botany of the University of Innsbruck.
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Global Raisins Survey

Science can be everywhere. Scientific questions, and, hopefully, scientific answers. Regularly at the university’s cantine, the salad bar offers nice options, but – in my opinion – ruins them with raisins. When I shared this taste of mine with my colleagues, only a few people answered that they like them. We therefore questioned the abundance of raisins. It started as a joke, but as practical scientists, we now want evidence.

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