Tagged: science

American Dad’s chemistry

Yesterday I was watching an old episode of American Dad and part of the story was set in a chemistry class…. Are the writer of American Dad as scientifically good as the one of the Simpsons or Futurama? The episode is the 11×05 “now and Gwen”.

american dad chemistryClassic periodic table but weird molecules poster… And why the hell there is a world globe in a chemistry class????

american dad chemistry

Sexual joke while cleaning the test tube. Pretty accurate I would say :D

american dad chemistry

Quenching a fire with organic solvent…. not a brilliant idea (but I saw it happen once).

american dad chemistry

Uhm… a couple of protons missing?

american dad chemistryApparently they solved it few seconds later. Part of the periodic table is also correct.

Not that much chemistry, but it’s still fun to see chemistry in pop culture :)





Videogames and science #2 “Dying Light”

Second post from the series “Videogames and Science”. First one here.

After finishing Far Cry 4 and The Walking Dead Season 2 (no science in both of them) I’m on Dying Light, an amazing free roaming zombie video game from the same people that did Dead Island (another zombie game that I loved). As most of the zombie games you need to do some quest while brutally slaughtering zombies here and there. Without saying that the game is pretty amazing and extremely fun to play let’s see how “science” is depicted in this videogame:

In one of the main quest you will go in a school looking for some “anti zombie drugs”. Here the science class:



Like in “The Last of Us” science is primarily identified as microscopes…. Microscopes, microscopes everywhere… Then we have an Erlenmeyer flask and a huge Bunsen burner. And yes, I’m using a two hands ass-kicking head-removal axe.

IMG_7009Some other stuff: What looks like a separator funnel and a thermostat.

IMG_6999Very important safety flyers all over the room and….


…. some safety guidelines.

IMG_7016 2

A classic periodic table…. Wait a minute…. Do you notice something weird? Yes, indeed, the colors! What happened to the colors? Which kind of weird periodic table is it? After a little research I discover that this is a wikipedia-made “periodic table by value“. Some programmer at Techland probably remembered that there were colors in the periodic table but didn’t know where….. Wikipedia keeps track of the change of everything, and the exact periodic table that is in the game is the version of July 2012.

IMG_7013Oh, look at that, some properly drawn chemical structures…. Even the reactions are correct…. And in fact they (probably) came from masterorganicchemisry.org. Interestingly, the masterorganichemistry.org article was also written in July 2012. The game was released in 2015…..


Another (almost) well drawn chemical structure (there is a H missing on that nitrogen). But what’s that? Caffeine? Theobromine? I would have expected a caffeine molecule, but it is not. That molecule is a theophylline…. Now, someone badly drawn the caffeine molecule or was drawn on purpose? No one knows……



The Pi, down to I don’t know which decimal…..

IMG_7022And last but not the least…. The Sierpinski triangle…. Almost in perfect time with the amazing Nature Chemistry paper on molecular Sierpinski assembly.


For now that’s all, I think I’ll need another 20/30h for finishing the game, so, see you with the next game (probably Bloodborne or The Witcher III) if there will be some science inside.


15 reasons why NOT to date a chemist


Early this week I was reading this “dating advice” on 15 reasons why to date a chemist. Although most of their points are quite good there is always the other side of the coin…. So… 15 reasons why NOT to date a chemist:

1) We may be smelly. We are daily working with thiols, amines, tosyl chloride and so on and so on. We get used to the bad smell in few hours and we don’t care anymore. But the stink of amines stick on you for days giving you that “did you use cat’s pee as cologne” distinct smell.

2) We work 24/7/365. Even when we are not in the lab we are usually thinking about something chemistry related. We may seems interested in what you are telling us, but in all honesty, we are just thinking “maybe I should use less equivalents of X in my reaction”

3) We are stubborn. This sometimes is a good point, but most of the time it is not. We may spend days in trying to figure out why the dishwasher is not working. “Shall I call the technician?” – “No f. way, I’m on it, I have a PhD in chemistry I can do this”. It may take more than one month before calling the technician….

4) We are not big fan of chitchatting. Human relationship are not our favorite thing. If you want to talk about what someone did and why he/she acted in that way it’s kind of meaningless for us. Do you have data, proof, strong evidence of something, can you reproduce it? If yes, then we can analyze that, otherwise it’s just philosophy.

5) We have an analytical mind. We analyze the problem, dissect it into smaller problems and then we solve it. You may not like the solution, but trust us, most of times that’s the best solution.

6) We cannot stand non-scientifically educated person. In a party your best friend is “enlightening” other people on how toxic aspartame is and you see in our eyes the fire of “oh, for Finkelstein sake I’m going to destroy him/her”. Your significant other already told you million times to let it go, but it’s stronger than us bashing someone with some good chemistry.

7) We always have deadlines. Always. Now for a paper, now for a grant. Please do not disturb, I’m trying to write.

8) We are really picky on Tv shows. In CSI someone is storing a pipette upside down? Funk that show, I’ll never watch it again and I’m sending them a two pages long explanation on how to proper use a pipette.

9) We want acetone. Waiting for glasses to be dry is unacceptable, give me some acetone and I’ll take care of them.

10) We may be extremely annoying in the kitchen. “What are you doing? Did you put the steak before the pan was hot??? NOOOOOOOOOOO, for the sake of Maillard, why are you doing this to me? whyyyyyyy?”.

11) Sometimes we can lose a lot of time at the TSA in the airport. It may take a while to explain your research and why the residues on your computer triggered their alarm.

12) We have tons of chemistry books and printed literature around the house.

14) We are superstitious. We don’t believe in that, but if it works….. Having a green cap for your NMR tube is a good sign. Using balloons of different colors for different reaction because it worked with that specific color of ballon. Never change it!!!!

15) We know how to make drugs, bombs and how to kill you with thousand different chemicals.


This list is mainly for organic chemist (that’s because of my background), it may not apply to computational or physical chemists.
So, how many of you I pissed off with this list? Do you think I’m wrong?
Be honest with yourself and you will see that at least half of the points can be easily applied to yourself.



Few of my favorite:


And the winners are….

I’m naturally talking about the “unknown compound competition“. Let’s crunch some numbers first: the post was viewed c.a. 1000 times, 11 chemists participated in the competition and we now have 2 winners.

chemist competitionSo, what was the solution? A tricycle, of course :)




This research was mainly done by our (at that time) (A)Ma(zing)ster student Suzanne, and you can find our amazing Tetrahedron Letters paper here (it is not the final version yet, as we just received the proof).

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaand….. The winners areeeeee……… (drum roll)…………..

1st: Zach Reitz from the university of Santa Barbara

2nd: Manuel Ortuño, ex Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona.

Congratulations to the winners (we spent quite a lot of time (and NMR time) cracking the structure) and thanks to all the participants. It was fun to host this competition.

What did the guys won? A special Dutch pack composed of:

A pair of warm warm klomp for the cold days deciphering  spectra or writing papers in the office:


Dutch food…. When someone say that in the Netherlands the food is pretty bad….. well….. believe them…. But, somethings are pretty good, and as we could not ship herrings (dutch style) nor oliebollen, we opted for licorice and stroopwafels. The latter are pretty good stuff. You should get a hot cup of tea, put the stroopwaffels on top and wait 5 minutes, the syrup inside the waffles become warm and the cookie is amazing.


Some 3D printed stuff. I’ve got a 3D printer and I’m still learning how to use it properly. Here the silver metal with the Bohr electron shells.


Nice thing of this print is that, although printed in a single piece, is completely movable. Pretty funny. I would love to say that it is something I designed, but it’s not the case. You can find all the atoms on thingverse.


Once again, thanks to all the winners, participants, random readers and HR people. Enjoy chemistry and have fun!

EDIT: John Anderson (@NMRChemist) explains here how the LR-HSQMBC could have helped us in solving the structure. Thank you, once more, twitter and thank you John.

Videogames and science: “The Last of Us”

Since long time I wanted to do a post (or a series of posts) on videogames and science (the university journal talking about the project here.pdf). Recently I finished “The Last of Us” and I guess it’s perfect time for starting this kind of posts. (Note: if you think that videogames are only for kids, well, maybe you want to read this paper http://www.nature.com/mp/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/mp2013120a.html)

First of all “The Last of Us” is an amazing game, if you own a PS3 you should definitely play it. The developers (Naughty Dog) are the same guys that brought to you Crash Bandicoot and Uncharted. I love them and their attention to details they put in the games. 

The Last of Us is a clear example of game with those small details that make you smile while playing. Part of the adventure is based in the science department in the University of Eastern Colorado.

Aaaaand here we go:

A nice centrifuge:

IMG 2926

A nice microscope (in front of a window to make you blind):

IMG 2930

No one is cleaning glassware…. That looks like a real lab:

IMG 2933

To me it looks like a plasma cleaner… Any idea?

IMG 2936

Safety shower in the corner and not near the exit door? Nice…. Run for your life… in the corner, in the corner…..

IMG 2940

Something with two high pressure inlets? HPLC? Or some other purification stuff…. No idea

IMG 2945

A very nice TEM….. in a room with a lot of windows….

IMG 2948

IMG 2951


IMG 2954


And well, since I’m in the Netherlands I also started enjoying biking. This was pretty nice: 

IMG 2924

Correlation = Causation ?

This post started yesterday when I saw this tweet from @BlameRafa. Naturally my mind comes back at all the crazy correlation graphs that I memorized during my web wandering. 



The next one is history: The amazing correlation between numbers of pirates Vs. the average temperature. It’s history because this is when the “Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster” started its mission. If you don’t know what it is this amazing religion, you better read it here.


Naturally there is a strip on XKCD about that (and about almost everything).



This could actually make sense. I’m way less stressed when I’m not using Internet explorer…. 



Chocolate Consumption Vs. Nobel laureate per population…. No, I’m not kidding you. This is a research paper (Chocolate Consumption, Cognitive Function, and Nobel Laureates) on “the New England Journal of Medicine”.



And I discover that my blasphemy level increase with the increasing of the eluent polarity for the column chromatography, and so far reach the maximum when I use Alumina Basic as stationary phase… 



So, when your product is not coming out from your alumina column, even after 10L of eluent, who ya gonna call????




Twitter bird dead

Yesterday was the night of #sciencebands on Twitter. Here are some of the Scientific Bands created yesterday night:

From me @V_Saggiomo

Alice in Daisy Chains

Destiny’s Product

HeatGuns’ n’ Roses

@ReedRoberts for the postdocs i would use “Ol’ dirty bastards”

“Deep 450nm” and “620nm Floyd”

Regina Spectrum

Tenacious 2^H

The Colorless Stripes Because White is not a color… 

NMR Spin Doctors

The Cur(i)e

The Rolling Flasks

Ph.D. Dre


From Craig Campbell ‏@craigdc1983


Professor Greenhouse effect

Sugar X-Ray

Element Royale

LaboraTori Amos

ResoNancy Sinatra


From Reed Roberts ‏@ReedRoberts


Reagent added INXS


From John Michael Hammond ‏@MrHammondChem

Lord Kelvin and the Absolute Zeroes

Fluorine and the Machine


From Raj Mukhopadhyay ‏@RajMukhop

The Yeasty Boys

The Bleach Boys


From Alex Wild ‏@Myrmecos


Rage Against the Reviewers


From Michele Banks ‏@artologica

Polly Merase and the Chain Reaction

Ace of Base


Lead Zeppelin – Andrew ‏@_byronmiller 

Suicidal TLCs – Seb Spain ‏@sebspain 

Fe maiden – gotham_knowledge ‏@gothamknowledge

“All You Need is Gold” – Raphael Levy ‏@raphavisses 

 it’s not mine, but I just love “Run TLC”  “fur an furan”. Souixsie and the ring-strain release – Rob Stockman ‏@robstockman

rolling stoneflies – Jennifer Gillett ‏@JGillettKaufman

Ion Maiden – Natalia El-Sherif ‏@nataliaels 

The Crash Test Tube Dummies – Paul Bernal ‏@PaulbernalUK 

Marilyn Bunsen – Adrian ‏@Adrian_Specs 

Pipette Shop Boys – Raj S ‏@XYZRaj 

Flu Fighters – Oliver L Brady ‏@diewithscars 

Ramanstein – Free Radical ‏@Free_Radical1 

The Ramohms – Callum Mill ‏@fridgeytown 

Lady Geiger – Sean Jones ‏@seanjones11kbw 

 the rolling clones? – James Talbot ‏@JT1zzle 

N’Zinc – Mr. Warren ‏@MC_ScienceGuyBW 

Neanderthalica – Peter Z ‏@ptezu



#overlyhonestmethods – day 4

Twitter bird dead

And that’s the third and last part of #overlyhonestmethods (I love trilogies): (go to part one, and two)
The winners of day 4 are:

Our parsimony analysis was in total disagreement with the Bayesian analysis but who cares anymore 


Leftover liquid nitrogen was disposed of by freezing everything for our entertainment. 


Image recognition software was coded by my housemate ’cause I knew asking would distract him from his loud girlfriend


Room temperature was maintained at 26 degrees celsius, as the research assistant acclimatised to British weather 


Our laser source was 650 nM, 250 mW because that’s what we found on eBay. 


Prior to euthanasia, each animal was thanked and kissed goodbye. Then I cried 


Frames were recorded every 5ps but analyzed every 100ps. It’s a long simulation and I ran out of RAM. 


surveys for nocturnal birds were not included as they would have compromised our nightly schedule of drinking and cards


The OD600 was taken at 0, 2, 4, 6, and 18 hours because I started the culture too late and fell asleep at my bench. 


We used a hierarchical Bayesian analysis in the hope it would intimidate and confuse reviewers. 


My advisor added 14 words to the title of my paper so that the university would think I had done something important. 


3 replicates were used because 3 is the magical number that makes all results true 


I actually already have more precise data, but I’d like to squeeze more than one paper out of this 


Variance in dye performance was likely due to 30 year age difference between vials.


We microseeded protein crystal trays using hair from a postdoc who left 8 years ago.


We used a thesaurus to adapt the introduction from our last 4 papers to a non-plagiarized format 


Stimuli for this experiment were inspired by a Monty Python sketch…they worked so I  stuck with it 


Samples were conditioned for an extra 12 hours because the lab staff discovered Minecraft. 


We used this method of DNA extraction because it meant we got to use a robot.


We’re citing Jones et al. because their crap results make ours look good.


Limitations: You will never get this particular set of variables to happen again, and we’re not even going to try. 


PCR was performed by first praying to the PCR voodoo doll my labmate had fashioned out of pipette tips. 


Interrater reliability was 0.95. This really shocked 3rd author, as 1st & 2nd authors can’t even agree on paint colors. 


NMR spectra were obtained in deuterated DMF to obscure the residual solvent in the sample. 


After heating sealed reaction flask, product was isolated from lab bench surface via paper towel extraction. 


Advisor suggested a qualitative approach because “I just can’t handle any more math right now.”


We watched a Youtube video on how to calculate the Spearman Rank Correlation for our results.


Optimal yields were obtained by weighing in flasks whose exteriors weren’t completely dry after coming off the rotovap.


Three ways to get ideal simulation curves: 1. Change input data; 2. Improve platform configuration; 3. Photoshop. 


We submitted to this journal because our collaborator is  on the editorial board


This is a great idea- it was even better when it was first published in 1968. 


By laboratory I mean my kitchen table.


Coffee did more for this project than the Principal Investigator. 


Ran out of ethanol while in the field. Used cheap vodka instead. 


Recruited grad student subjects by putting free pizza in the conference room then locking the door when they came in. 


buy your friendly statatician lots of whisky and hand over the data 


What we lack in meaningful results we make up for with a witty pun in our title. 


Further experiments are out of the scope of this study because I can’t stand my supervisor anymore 


phenol-chloroform extraction was used to purify DNA because WE ARE MORE HARDCORE THAN THOU! 


“Janitor is listed as co-author for pointing out simple math errors. Cleaning lady contributor for lending bleach.” 


The previous postdoc used magic to interpret the results which is why mine are different 


inter-rater reliability was .95 because we all had the same tequila-induced hangover. 


We have cited a paper that cited another paper that cited another,that cited the original method-we’ve never read it 


“Ethanol had to be replaced by methanol due to stress-induced temptation to drink it all.” 


We did a netnography of Facebook & Twitter so we could justify our extensive use of social media to the faculty IT team 


This algorithm is called like this because we really wanted it to have a funny acronym.


It started off as a double blind study. But hey who can keep secrets?!


“This result may have several important implications, but we removed those so reviewer #2 would stop arguing.” 


The width of our nanodevice is 1500nm because nano sounds cooler than micro. 


We chose to study how crickets jump because we wanted to play with the high speed camera…


he study was extended while we begged our relatives to wire money to the helicopter company so we could get back.


We chose #6, of our 10 working examples, for a detailed qualitative study, because the rest of ’em are bloody boring.


We used the low power setting on the sonicator to disperse because the dodgy button wouldn’t turn any higher 


The constant mass peak on ms/ms is attributed to volatiles present while the institute’s hallways were being painted. 


We thought that “random” and “chance” didn’t sound so good, so “Monte Carlo simulation” it is then 


The data were deemed unreliable as 20% of the experimenters were potentially unknowingly under the influence of 


We arbitarily increased the errors by 10% because we didn’t believe they could really be that small


The terms ‘biodiversity’ and ‘birds’ are used interchangeably throughout this manuscript.


The spectrometer was made by a company which no longer exists, in a country which also, no longer exists 


a realistic model is too difficult to work with so here’s twenty papers playing with a toy model.


In this paper we used pseudo random numbers for the data and pseudy random words for the prose 


“quantification was performed blind” I handed my undergrad my images and made him count stuff unrelated to his project 


I used students as subjects because rats are expensive and you get too attached to them 


This statistical test was chosen because it had the most Greek letters and therefore Science! 


The bacterial samples, my lab coat, the bench, my hands, and the floor, were Gram-stained.


Expedited ethics review was sought due to impending divorce between primary and secondary supervisors


I did the experiment but the PI is a control freak and wrote the paper. I can’t even translate it for you.


The dilution fridge can provide temperatures as low as 0.03 degrees above absolute zero. It works primarily by magic.


Samples were taken every hour for 72 hr because I live in the lab 


The experiment was randomised because I realised I had forgotten to label anything halfway through


Alignment was performed by the most sober person in the lab. 


Despite not understanding Spanish, I cited this paper based on a Google translate of the abstract


the diastereomers are readily separable by chromatography, so long as you use 1kg of silica gel and load at 0.1%. 

#overlyhonestmethods – day 3

Twitter bird dead

day 3 (If you don’t know what I’m talking about, you should check the part 1 here, or If you know it, you are maybe want to go to part 3 here)
The selection of the day:


 We don’t know how results were obtained. The postdoc who did all the work has since left to start a bakery.  

The active catalyst was unknown (but the reaction doesn’t work in new glassware)


Prior to adding the 2º antibody, Drosophila ovaries were poured on the floor & sucked back up w/ a pipette.


Incubation was performed in my bra while biking to collaborators lab, therefore about 37C for 15min


The boss puts 3 technicians as co-authors to reduce the impact of the work of the postdoc he hates 


You know that meticulous thing I needed to do with all the bacteria cultures? Yeah, I did that like once, just for show 


Calculations were performed using the following parameters, because the software crashed when we tried anything else.


By “the equipment was modified” we mean “it broke and we used two rolls of duct tape and some aluminum foil.” 


We repeated the experiment because the first time I forgot to use an ethanol resistant pen to label the tubes. 


PCR is pretty much magic. I wore a hat and yelled at the thermocycler throughout the program


You have to sing to the cells, or the transfection won’t work. They like Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and 80’s pop. 


“data not shown” = You do NOT want to see that, and we don’t want to show it! 


We’re surprised it worked. The effect of saying ‘touch wood’ during the final step cannot be overestimated 


We barely understand what we did. You have no chance, this section is a formality.


Time points were spaced sporadically because the PI kept interrupting me. 


The PI is last author because they were the last person to read the manuscript before submitting. 


python code available on request, but blue screen of death every time I attempt to run it. beware.


slides were not coded for blinding before assessing, because I was all alone in the lab. So very, very alone.


The first author didn’t write this Methods section and doesn’t understand half of it. 


This work was made possible by EPSRC Grant #1234 & eBay from where we scrounged parts to repair our ancient apparatus 


Washed with 5 litres of water & extracted with 3 x 200 mL ethyl acetate… because the flask fell off in rotovap bath 


Statistical analysis on the data was performed in Excel, as clicking random buttons in SPSS did not work out. 


The artifacts in the confocal microscope image in Fig3 are due to sample noise and definitely not a thumbprint 


There is a gap in the lightcurve at 2am because the telescope operator looked at porn sites and I was sort of asleep. 


Unexpectedly, nicotine was observed in the sample spectrum *cos the postdoc was sneaking a crafty fag next to the GCMS


To subtract the background we simply took away the number we first thought of 


We used method A because the previous postdoc’s ex PI went to a conference and overheard someone mention it in a bar 


If I read the 345 articles I’m citing in my review ? Are you kidding me ? 


We chose to pursue the synthesis of macrobicycle 1 because all our other ideas proved un-synthesiseable 


Further study is necessary to fully understand the unexpected results shown here. We have sought the help of a priest. 


The contribution of Author No.4 is, frankly, a mystery to us; but he’s best mates with the PI, so there he is 


To avoid another expt, we counter-argued with referee citing papers from sociology, mediaeval ceramics & wrestling 


We modified the standard protocol so that the samples were temporarily transferred to the floor.


A combinatorial library was designed based upon what we happened to have in stock… and wasn’t out of date 


We’d been drinking when we performed the thought experiment. 


Author 1 performed the experiments and wrote the manuscript, Author 2 did some stats, and Author 3 paid for the beer. 


We performed a monte carlo simulation as we are big fans of formula 1


The completely irrelevant Figure 2 was included to satisfy the reviewer who obviously didn’t understand the paper. 


Participants were recruited through coercion 


To confirm the findings, we decided to repeat the same experiments in our collaborator’s lab. In Hawaii 


A thorough literature search’ = the 1st 5 pages of google results 


In-house Perl scripts were generated using my trusty D20 and a table of ASCII codes 


The figures were made using paint. 


Recrystallizations were done only because I just love using the phrase “mother liquor” as often as possible <hic>


Disputes about the tagging of video data were resolved by wrestling rules.


Every step in the method was performed ‘like a ninja’ to be sure of extra sciencey awesomeness 


Analyzing the results of this $50M grant rests on the shoulders of 1 creepy dude in our basement who knows SQL.


My supervisor was too busy to review your paper, so he passed it to me. So I’m doing it. After a night at the pub. 


I can’t send you the original data because I don’t remember what my excel file names mean anymore


physicists: “We present the solution for the two-electron case; if we cared about more, we’d be chemists instead.

#overlyhonestmethods – day 2

Twitter bird dead

Yesterday night a new hashtag was baptize on twitter: #overlyhonestmethods.
Since then, more than 1800 tweets have been appeared. Mostly funny, some embarrassing, other just scary…
Thousand of scientists were now free to write what they always wanted to write in their publications… the TRUTH… (and some jokes I hope). 
Here a fine selection of my favorites of the first two days (tweeps and hashtags have been removed):
Day 3 online here and 4 here


we did experiment 2 because we didn’t know what the fuck to make of experiment 1 


incubation lasted three days because this is how long the undergrad forgot the experiment in the fridge 


Slices were left in a formaldehyde bath for over 48 hours, because I put them in on Friday and refuse to work weekends. 


This project was started to prove someone wrong. They were not. Dammit. 


We do it this way bc grad student was trained by a postdoc trained by a grad student who claimed they knew how to do it 


This dye was selected because the bottle was within reach 


 We kept pushing buttons in our favorite stats software until all our results has stars next to them


500 kW laser pulses were employed BECAUSE LASERS. Pew pew. 


The tissue was incubated in the haematoxylin bath for 4 mins (or how long our students might need to go for a smoke). 


All ultra pure water was passed through 200 micron filters by a reluctant undergraduate project student 


PCR conditions are detailed in supp table 1, including optimised underwear colour and superstitious ritual  


Experiment was performed as described in X. But that paper isn’t online and I don’t care about you .


Our original sample size was 13, but the superstitious lab head made us discard one so we wouldn’t jinx the experiment 


A dilution was made somewhere between 1:2000 and 1:500 because our 1ul pipettor is crap 


either a 5 minute (RT) or 18 hour (16 degree) ligation protocol was followed, depending on whether I’d eaten that day 


Centrifuge until photocopying is done and then incubate for one grande latte’s time 


All buffer recipes were obtained by Googling. 


Data was replicated after we found out that the student in charge was coming into the lab high the first time around. 


the first draft of this manuscript was written in comic sans 


Samples were left in the thermocycler at 4°C for 48 hours because I was too hungover to come in. 


pH of buffer B was adjusted with HCl… then back a bit with NaOH… then a bit more HCl…  


We thank reviewer 3 for suggesting this alternative analysis, but we really don’t mean it. 


Software X was run using standard parameters as we have no clue what those flags actually do. 


RNA was chilled on ice for 30-minutes because big bang theory was on. 


The reaction was complete when the compound changed to green & the crazy Russian postdoc said it tasted ‘OK’ 


Statistical analysis performed was a generalised linear mixed effects model because it’s hard and makes us look smart. 

…the chemicals were combined & stirred by hand for 2 hours by our project students as they were getting on our nerves 


 Blood samples were spun at 1500rpm because the centrifuge made a scary noise at higher speeds. 


Prob is there is an element of truth in every joke…I’m now worried about all the data of  everyone contributing to 


“We chose this field site because we’ve got friends in the town and there’s quite a nice pub” 


At this point in the protocol I dropped the sample on the floor, but it looked all right so I carried on anyway 


“The computer said it, I believe it, that settles it” 


We highlighted the chicken’s vascular structure by injecting the femoral artery with PVA, because it amused the prof. 


We added glucose to acetaldehyde, for reasons I missed whilst learning japanese numbers from the cute exchange student 


An absolutely true  in a protocol someone gave me once: “We added 888 uL because it’s a lucky number in China.”


Reagents were mixed in the first vaguely clean looking glass beaker-type thing I could get my hands on 


We used a support vector machine because, really, what biologist is going to know what that is? 


We decided to use Technique Y because it’s new and sexy, plus hot and cool. And because we could. 


Before measurement, samples were kept free from contamination & if we dropped any we totally followed the 5 second rule 


It’s wrong. We know it’s wrong. The literature says it’s wrong, but our PI told us to do it so we’re doing it anyway 


The sample was diluted in water in a 1:1000 ratio, because the flask fell off the Rotavap  


The article was written in passive voice because the PI went through and changed all the active back to passive. 


Once PI was banned from lab due to her bad technology-karma, the method and equipment worked without incident 


Fig4 is included in the manuscript because it took *ages* to make and it looks really pretty don’t you think? 


We’re only citing this paper because one of the authors has a rude/funny last name 


Author Contributions. X.Y.Z. provided reagents and was so annoying we had to put him on the paper for his plasmid. 


 I didn’t label the tubes, but by looking at the results, I’m pretty sure this one is the control 


This experiment followed the method as set out in ref[3], which isn’t available digitally. And is written in Russian. 


If a paper’s title is a phrased as a question then the answer is usually no 


Glassware was thoroughly cleaned with piranha solution, apart from the top rim as the PhD student was a chicken 


Overnight incubations ran for 12-20 hours, depending on how many pubs I hit that evening. 


Crystals were obtained by the “I forgot the flask in the fume hood” technique. 


Samples 3, 15 and 23 through 41 were discarded due to suspected taco sauce contamination. 


We used jargon instead of plain English to prove that a decade of grad school and postdoc made us smart. 

We counted out 2,500 of each snail species. Well, the undergrad did, anyway. Can you believe those guys?  

Day 3 online here and 4 here