We're a little crazy, about science!

Return of the long experiment

It’s been awhile! Things have been busy so I’ve had to prioritize what I wanted to get done to avoid the crash I had after the DARPA event at the end of last year. So there’s a lot of updates coming, obviously. I still want to blog and I hope to get back into the daily routine soon enough, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it didn’t happen this week, because this week it’s the return of the long experiment. So let’s break it down a bit and talk about why this round will be different than the previous versions. Well as much as I can talk about anything I’ve been doing anyway.

So first, school updates are coming, I promise. I know I’ve neglected things around here, but it was for a good reason. I really needed some self care, mostly because everything is happening all at once these days and it feels overwhelming just to get out of bed. Okay, that’s a slight exaggeration, but it still feels pretty intense. Thankfully the end is coming and I will give a bit of a teaser in that I had my update for Aim 1 in the lab the other day and it went very well, so now it’s off to the races to finish aims 2 and 3 (which are related frankly so hopefully it goes quickly). A longer (winded) update will be coming soon with luck.

Now, long experiment updates. Long experiment was last discussed here, it’s basically like it sounds, it’s a very, very long experiment. How long you ask? Long enough that last time I started setting up for it the day before, didn’t sleep, and ended the next day at ~7pm for a total of ~36 hours worth of work between prep and actual experiment. The experiment itself lasts for roughly 13-14 hours between setup for it and clean up afterwards and we only get one shot each time we do it and there’s a lot of collaboration involved so we can’t screw it up (much, experiment gremlins are a thing).

This will be the … third? Maybe fourth attempt at it. Actually yeah fourth, this will be four. See stream of consciousness style writing. Each time we do it, like anything really, we get better at it. This time will be very different from previous attempts however. I’ve got a whole bunch of new equipment and I’m excited to try it out, but it’s also made a lot of work for me because there’s a lot of stuff I need to do to get it ready to use. The typical things, like testing it to make sure it actually works and we didn’t get something that was broken for one.

The big one is all the equipment I need to build for the experiment, because of course with new equipment I have new things that I can do with it. That’s just how it goes these days, the stuff want to do needs specialized equipment, equipment that doesn’t exist, so I’m stuck making it. It’s not a huge deal, but we’ve been planning to do this experiment for months and on my end I’ve been getting the stuff made for it since we ordered the equipment (about a month ago) and I’m still not finished. Did I mention the experiment is at the end of the week? Because it is.

Most of the equipment is made, most of it at this point is just making the odds and ends, getting it all organized, and of course extensive testing. Since the hardware we ordered came in at the end of last week, there wasn’t any way for me to check to make sure everything was functioning the way I expected it to outside of ensuring that the connections I’m making are solid, it’s a hurry up and wait kind of thing. Now it’s a rush to get it all checked out kind of thing, which of course is the theme of research in general (as repeatedly demonstrated by the blog…).

So what’s next? Well tomorrow the plan is to finish construction on the remaining stuff I need to build. The goal is to put the last few touches on some of it, which is 98% done, but not 100% done partly because I wanted to verify a few things with the new equipment we ordered before I tacked on the last little bits to what I’m making and partly because I’m lazy and didn’t want to risk having to talk it all apart and redo it if I got it wrong. I prefer the one and done approach. Which is why I’m somewhat rushed now. Again, nothing to worry about… yet, but I do feel some pressure and there will be a few busy days ahead until the big event.

Thankfully this time I am not (hopefully) going to have to pull an all-nighter. I should have plenty of time between now and Friday to get everything ready, mostly. There will be a lot of work to do the night before and since the equipment we’ll be using (aside from my super fancy, super expensive new equipment) will be used between now and the big day, I need to wait until the evening before to set it up. Lab problems, am I right? Sadly the equipment isn’t just for me!

But yeah, the year is turning out to be busy, I’ve got two papers I’m working on for work, one for the school side of things and that’s the the three I can think of off hand (I’m sure I’m missing something). Actually, now I recall one other paper that we’re in the process of finishing/submitting so four right there not including the two to three that will come out of the “long experiments.” Which I’m sure helps explain a little bit about why I’ve been so absent lately. I do have a few topics that are outside of the usual (school, work, pandemic) that I want to tackle, but for now let’s just say that I have a lot on my plate and I promise to write more soon, hopefully I’ll get back into the daily routine once this week is over, maybe I will even write more tomorrow, but no promises!

Thanks to everyone for checking in on me, I had a lot of emails, DM’s, etc. asking how I was doing and it means the world to me to know that people (1) actually read my blog and look forward to it and (2) care enough to wonder what happened to me when I stop. So thank you, truely. I look forward to writing about the stuff ahead because this is the final year of this project and I WILL be graduating one way or another!


4 responses

  1. Awesome, good to know you’re OK. I’m excited to be working on a Stellate Ganglia Block for PTSD.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 6, 2023 at 10:01 pm

    • Oh that sounds really cool! They are lucky to have you (I know I said it before, but it’s true) and thank you for helping take better care of Veterans. We need more people like you who actually care in the VA system.

      Liked by 1 person

      February 7, 2023 at 7:54 pm

  2. Debbie

    Welcome back. You’ve been missed.

    Liked by 1 person

    February 7, 2023 at 10:31 am

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