Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Three down, one to go


Well, first of all THANK YOU everybody - Tattoo Queen and Harpy and pansarknitting and Double Helix (yes, I keep thinking "yarn" when the molecular prof talks about twist of supercoiled DNA) and Lorena and Lucia and secrethandshake - the bulk of the horror is now behind me.

Molecular was pretty hairy. The course is offered for graduate credit and undergrad credit, and there's a few people in it who actually do DNA analysis for a living, so (ahem) a few of us are more well-prepared for random anything to do with DNA than others. The horrendous three-page question this evening began with a 180-base pair sequence, and we were given a short sequence that was a restriction enzyme recognition site. We had to state from the sample sequence given what a 23-base pair primer sequence would be, and do some fiddly things with it once we had it. (There were two more pages of stuff we had to do, too, which I won't go into) (and aren't you glad? aren't I just the most generous-hearted crazed weasel ever?) Okay - except the recognition sequence didn't match anyplace on the sample sequence.


The plus side was that I think I did pretty well with figuring things out from gel electrophoresis results. I also figured out what to do with some other data and made up convincing reasons for why what I said made sense. I could not remember loads of things, like exactly which things are unique to each of the three topoisomerases IA, IB, and II. Other than the two I's cleave single strands and the II cleaves double strands. And I might have written some more stuff that was correct, or not.


My study partners were totally freaked out at the end - poor lab partner dude, cute though he is and probably pulled off an A on the bio midterm yesterday (and I just might have, too - it went pretty well, unlike Japanese history, which was moderately disastrous owing to my inability to recall the name of almost any figure from Japanese history) - well, he thought he might have scored 25 points out of 200. Which would sort of screw up medical school applications big time. So he might drop the course.


So, onward to biostatistics, which on the whole is kind of fun. The exam is next week, and I still have to hear back from a TF to arrange an alternate time to take it as the scheduled time conflicts with the killer bio course that I do not dare miss.

And I should do my homework.

And I should also read the assigned reading. And probably start working on my history paper. And who knows what else.

But first - a story. Once there was a crazed weasel with a brilliant child who was applying to college. The colleges all took a Common Application, and oh the filling out of stuff and finding of other stuff and checking off of boxes - well, it took days and days. The weasel and her spawn were quite worn out, but managed to mail all the bits of paper to all the places where bits of paper go. One spring day, Monday, in fact, the crazed weasel was looking through the copies of the form she'd saved (because she is a *thorough* crazed weasel), and she noticed that she'd checked off a tiny little box, way down near the bottom of the form. The box said, "yes." The question attached to the box, she noticed, was "has the applicant been convicted of a felony, misdemeanor, or other crime?"

Well, goodness gracious, but didn't the fur fly. Phone calls, and much scurrying; weasels simply hate phone calls, so this was obviously quite a serious matter indeed. Many college admissions staffers laughed their heads off. The weasel had a moment of pride when one college said that this particular mistake was, for them, a first. The weasel sent out faxed, signed letters to all the colleges affirming that she had, indeed, put a tiny mark in this box by mistake, and that her brilliant, National Merit Scholarship Finalist child was not after all a convicted criminal. Not even a little bit. Not even for securities fraud.

So now the weasel and the younger, more agile (but not quite as wily) mammal wait and see what happens, and hope for the best, and trust to the capricious hand of an absent-minded fate. I seem to have discovered a corollary to Murphy's Law - let's call it Weasel's Law, shall we? oh, yes, let's! The new law: Whatever can go wrong, will go wrong, especially if it will be really, really funny.

Back to biostatistics, and two-sample confidence intervals. You may insert here a joke of your choice about confidence and intervals.

Good evening to all.


Blogger Carole Knits said...

Just be thankful you saw that mistake when you did and not when the rejection letters started rolling in!

6:58 AM  
Blogger Lucia said...

Calloo, callay... all right, I'll try to keep it down.

If she comes up with any good, lucrative and undetectable securities fraud, for heaven's sake let me know.

(Have you read my blog today? It seems one of my movie quotes was much harder than I meant it to be. You might know it.)

6:02 PM  

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