April 27 - another dull one

The whole week's been weird. I guess all the days off we got in the last 3 weeks really worked a lazy mood on me. I'm still dealing with ordering chemicals for my lab. Turns out that to buy acetone or ammonia I have to acquire special permission from a police force similar to that of the FBI. I guess it's a valid point, since a person could build a meth lab or make bombs with that stuff. And our dear govt doesnt want to have people with bomb making materials.


Chemistry guy requested chemicals weighed in and 10% sulfuric acid made to demo oscillating reactions. KBrO3, MnSO4, malonic acid and H2SO4. Blunderful. I didn't have much malonic acid, and he wanted to do the demo 3 times. The demo required 9g of malonic acid pero trial and I only had a 25g bottle, so we decided to cut everything in half in hopes of saving up on our little bit of malonic acid.

While weighing in the chemicals i discovered something's wrong with my brain. I had to make 4 sets of labels for the stupid chemicals because i kept screwing up. In the end I got it and delivered it. He also wanted a 1M solution of cobalt II chloride, didn't know what for and didn't car much either.

Anyway, the whole point of oscillating reactions is that the ratio of one product to the other varies for a while until the end product stabilizes. In this case, the mixing of the 3 chemicals in the acid will make a red product that will last for about 5 minutes, then turn to clear again for 2 minutes, red for 3 minutes, clear 3 minutes, red 1 minute, clear forever. It'd be more fun to watch if it happened a bit faster... but it's still alright.

Yesterday I bought a fish for the biology fishtank and today I went to visit it: a tiger striped plecostomus, and a pretty one at that i must say. Everybody should have these in their tanks, it'll reduce the workload on your filter making it last longer, plecostomus eat algae, tons of it.

I entertained myself today with the centrifuges and the spectrophotometers. I had a few enzymes left over in my fridge from an old lab and figured I could separate them with fractionation and then measure the absorbance of the stuff... i did this last time in 2002, the details were a bit foggy but it turned out ok. I mixed, centrifuged and voila! BSA galore. Spectrophotometers, specs, are cool in what they do. Yet they can be quite boring if you already know what you'll get... sigh. Then I took out my gameboy and played mario for a while more, until I sat at the computer and finished the car article and started this one.

Later I will clean up the chemistry demos and then go home to prepare for my grandmother's birthday which will be at my house. She's turning 86, now that's an achievement. She still drives, plays bridge 4 times a week and goes to the beach almost every weekend. I wish to be like that when i'm her age.