Day 569 – Experiments gone disastrously wrong

If you’ve been in science for any length of time, you’ll have had plenty of these. They’re sometimes expected, often annoying, and occasionally soul-destroying, but it’s all part of the learning experience. I tried two experiments yesterday. One of them was documented in some detail here, and the other one was simply enjoying a small bottle of Castle Milk Stout with dinner.

Both were fun experiments to do, and both seemed like really good ideas at the time. But in retrospect, neither of them have gone particularly well. I woke up last night at 3am with a towering hangover of note, and despite the best efforts of a combination of paracetamol, ibuprofen and codeine, I then woke up at a more reasonable time this morning with a collection of symptoms best described as “being completely broken”. Head, joints, muscles…
And my brain is not working again. Argh.

Let’s get the learning process going, then. No more alcohol experiments for a while. Not even a little CMS. And that’s disappointing. Not because I need the alcohol, but more because I like the taste (now that I can again). Sure, there are the well-advertised 0.0% alternatives (although thankfully(?) not for Milk Stout), but they are often very disappointing in the taste department.

Which brings us to the elephant in the room. The one which seemingly rolled over me in bed last night. Because in 11 days time, I have to go back to the rock and do three days of stuff, back to back. Based on the results from yesterday, this is is going to be very difficult. And that’s got me very worried. The first rule of Parents Assisting With School Visits To Robben Island Club is that you do not talk about Parents Assisting With School Visits To Robben Island Club, but I generally ignore that one. However, the second rule of Parents Assisting With School Visits To Robben Island Club is that you need to actually assist with the school visit to Robben Island, rather than being a liability.

And honestly, this morning, I would be a liability.

Crap it all. To use a well-used South African phrase: What must happen now?*

* The use of the phrase “What must happen now?” often then followed by an awkward silence, purposefully shifts the burden of the decision-making process – and therefore all responsibility for any negative outcomes resulting from that process – onto someone else, immediately absolving the protagonist of any blame, guilt or accountability.
I am fully aware of the implications of using it here, and despite that, I am still using it here.

Almost desperately.

Sundaze

The good news is that we survived yesterday. And in actual fact, the whole thing was a huge success. A hot, sweaty, dusty success, but a success nevertheless.

The slightly worse news is that today is very nearly almost as warm. For the most part, I’ve been hiding inside next to a panting beagle, but parental duties called and thus I find myself writing this from a local trampoline park warehouse. This is essentially just a big metal box in the sun, full of people physically exerting themselves, and their air-con maintenance leaves a lot to be desired.

It’s basically just like a huge public sauna with neon rubber rugs and a hefty deep house soundtrack.

Kinky.

That comparison having been made, it should be noted that my favourite thing to do when I get out of a sauna is have a massive bottle of Milk Stout.

Or two.

And I see no reason to change things just because there’s not a copious amount of pine or a guy called Lars involved here.

Now we’re DOOMed

LOL. See what I did there?

No, of course not, not yet anyway.

wastesometimem

But:

The widely-used insect repellent Deet appears to be losing its effectiveness against mosquitoes, scientists say.

Researchers from the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine say mosquitoes are first deterred by the substance, but then later ignore it.

This explains a lot. Despite my best efforts, I am still regularly attacked in my bedroom late at night (please note that no links to current bail hearings are implied here). And while I’ve tried many different repellents, I’ve never been able to get hold of any N,N-diethyl-meta-toluamide. Just as well, it turns out, since, like antibiotics,  it doesn’t work anymore.

But how did it even work in the first place?

For many years, it was not clear exactly how the chemical worked, but recent research suggests that insects simply do not like the smell.

So whoever came up with Deet obviously never had to change a nappy then. Because you have to become resistant and immune to that nasty smell as well. You can overcome it. As can mosquitoes with Deet, it seems.

So we need something else. Some way of “Deet”erring these vicious bloodsuckers. And there’s definitely money to be made here.

I’m still working on my Castle Milk Stout ingestion method. As yet, there appears to be no discernible effect on the insects, but the research has been fun and probably deserves a whole lot more investigation.