May the destroyers of our world rain their cosmic force upon you! Seriously speaking, this is a place from which I get to both curse and praise the world without actually affecting it in any physical way.


Back from IMCB

IMCB was fun. A great 3-day period of slacking off. With the additional benefit of finding out what scientists actually do in research centres. Take as an example the zebrafish handlers. They work in a room a quarter the size of a whole Biopolis floor, which is filled with about twenty shelves of tanks. In total, there are 8000 tanks, each containing 25-40 fishes each. A lot of little lives in that area, and a lot of maintenance for the small crew of 8 there.
On the other hand, take one of our teachers, Ronnie. After taking care of the students that arrive weekly for the projects, he sits at his computer at around 5 pm and stays there. Surfing the net. A real amazing thing to do where he is.
Of course, this is not likely to be a reliable account, being only a visitor, but it seems pretty neat that there can be such contrasts, like the technicians we see staying in one lab the whole time we were there to the music blasting away in another lab.
As for the zebrafish themselves, they are also quite interesting in themselves. A normal pair can produce 200-1000 eggs per week, each egg containing a cell which, in 24 hours, will divide into thousands of cells that differentiate into the main organs. In other words, a tiny replica of the adult is formed in only a full day. In fact, if they are released from their eggshell, the babies swim around. 5 days after conception, the babies are ready for solid food, and by 90 days the life cycle starts again.
It was with this knowledge that I killed one of the babies on the last day. Sure, I had impaled 5 or 6 egg yolks before, causing death by the next day (and oddly enough, disappearance in half a day, though with reluctance I suspect the peculiar tiny oval bundles of circles that swam in the same solution as the babies). But I never killed one deliberately. So I killed my first one as quickly as possible: by beheading it. I botched up halfway, sadly, poking its egg yolk (or was that my reason for killing it?) and tearing only the flesh before I could separate the notochord in the neck.
I did not have the stomach to repeat it. I still mourn it, even though it would have died anyway by being dunked in bleach.

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