Tagged: twitter


First try of twitter in real time for a good cause….. AcademicAprilFools:



Few of my favorite:


Twitter for Chemists

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This is a special post for Chains 2014, the biggest chemistry conference in the Netherlands. You can see the 2011 videos here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PNBkSEYSPT4&list=PL1249D16AE757DEE0 

There I will give a short workshop on “dare to communicate” hosted by Harm Ikink (@harmikink) focussing mainly of Twitter for chemists. 
The main question is “why should I use twitter?”. I’m afraid there is no simple answer to this question. I’m using it mainly for fun, interaction, and outreach. It is like being in a conference with thousand of chemists easily reachable with a single 140 characters tweet. Each of them with different backgrounds, working in different fields and with different expertise, grouped all together because, at the end of the day, we are all chemists.  

But let’s go with some order, and first things first, the history of Twitter:

Then, what is twitter and how to use it, a crash course by @MCeeP http://errantscience.com/blog/2014/10/22/what-is-twitter-a-crash-course/

Ok, now you have your fresh and shiny Twitter account, what’s next? Start following some chemists of course:

20 Chemists worth following on Twitter (C&N): http://cen.acs.org/articles/92/i39/20-Chemists-Worth-Following-Twitter.html

100 Chemists on Twitter (a list from @stuartcantrill ): http://stuartcantrill.com/2014/09/22/100-chemists-on-twitter/ (the same guy that brought to life this memorable Nature Chemistry Twitter editorial: http://www.nature.com/nchem/journal/v5/n4/full/nchem.1608.html)


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Done with the followers? Now we can start with the hashtags then. I prefer using a program for twitter rather then the web interface. With program such as TweetDeck you can easily follow hashtags in separate columns, and this will simplify your life.  

The one that should be always on your Twitter client is, without any doubt, #Realtimechem (http://doctorgalacticandthelabcoatcowboy.com/realtimechem-faq/). #Realtimechem is an awesome resource for connecting chemists on twitter.

10 Twitter hashtags for scientists: http://sylvaindeville.net/2014/10/24/top-10-twitter-hashtags-for-scientists/

The hashtag of the conference you are going to (in this case #Chains2014).

The news hashtag, for example #ChemNobel a couple of weeks before the nobel announcement. 

And whatever other hashtag you may find interesting :)


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What should you write? That’s up to you, something nice happening in the lab, nice pictures, weird results, commenting some paper and so on. Please, please and please do not use twitter as news feed, writing only about your new paper, your new grant, new students and so on is not really useful for interaction and we already use a RSS feed for that. Unfortunately many chemistry journals and university are doing it, this is simply useless.

And always follow the rule number 1 of using social media, comments and general interaction of internet: don’t be a dick. Blaming on twitter a journal editor because he didn’t accepted your paper, or shaming your competitors is not very nice and possibly counter-productive: 

Now go out there and have fun with Twitter. I’m @V_Saggiomo and I approve this message.

* The picture of this blogpost are coming from http://www.theguardian.com/science/brain-flapping/2014/jul/21/famous-science-history-twitter-humour 



Another glorious day on twitter….

#RealTimeChem 2014

Twitter bird dead

Another year, another #realtimechem week. If you don’t have a twitter account, this is the proper time of the year for getting in touch with many many chemtweeps.

Here you can find the FAQ, infos, prices and so on: http://doctorgalacticandthelabcoatcowboy.com

Here the fun part of the last two years of #realtimechem by your lovely labsolutey:
Realtimechem 2012
Realtimechem 2013 aperitif
Realtimechem 2013 the top something 

Remember that Jess is also hosting the #realtimechemcarniva, so if you have a chem blog, start using the # as well. http://theorganicsolution.wordpress.com/2014/06/04/realtimechem-blog-carnival/

For example:
Have you ever wonder how long is detectable in you urine that nice drug you took for breakfast this morning?
Or how does a day in a chem lab in South Africa looks like?

I’m quite busy lately (as you can check from the date of my last blogpost), but I’ll  tweet some random chem pictures from my ol’ good days till one week ago.

Good tweeting to all of you, may the stupidest/funny tweet enlighten our day in the lab.


Twitter bird dead

Another funny day with twitter. One rule: six words for the title of your paper….
Here my top something, in no particular order: 

#sciconfessions – confess your lab sins

Twitter bird dead


Another day, another funny “scientific” hashtag. It’s time to confess your lab sins. Last time was #overlyhonestmethods, now it’s the #sciconfessions moment.

Enjoy some of the funniest ones (as always, I removed the tweeps)


Once, while sterilising an inoculating loop, I nearly set the lab on fire. #sciconfessions

I have eaten an organism I couldn’t ID just to get rid of it #sciconfessions

I eat and drink in my lab. Even during dissection and microbiology practicals. #sciconfessions

The lab skeleton was called Steve. It took my mother, a retired radiographer, to point out Stephanie was more appropriate. 

I once MRI-scanned my colleagues kid’s fluffy bunny toy. Had to soak it in water first to get an image. #sciconfessions

Did an experiment horrifically wrong, just repeated it a few times and called it anomalous because i was to embarrassed  #sciconfessions

#sciconfessions Back in the deep past in Cambridge – corridor cricket with a glass measuring cylinder and a rubber bung

As an undergrad, I managed to melt laboratory glassware during practicals. Now I am doing bioinformatics. #sciconfessions

At my old lab, a bottle of acetone was kept “because it had always been there”. I.e. that bottle is probably as old as I am. 

PI wanted us to keep the lab “as clean as the radioactive lab”. He must have missed that we never had a radioactive lab 

I call myself a Neuroscientist because I still can’t pronounce ‘Immunology’ #Sciconfessions

#Sciconfessions “accidentally” left open bottle of b-mercaptoethanol to disguise a curry fart. Sorry!

I chose my current University for PhD because its logo is blue and it totally looked like Hogwarts. #sciconfessions

Have used experimental petrology lab equipment to fix a bike, a squash racquet, a pair of trainers and a phone. #Sciconfessions

Out of every dewar of liquid nitrogen I fill, 50% is for ‘science’ & 50% is for ‘fun’ #sciconfessions

A long time ago, I twisted my 1000 ml pipettman around to read 9999. I was young. #sciconfessions

I’ve licked many rocks and lived to tell the tale #sciconfessions

I once calculated the surface area of a gram of Ti nanoparticles to be larger than a house #sciconfessions

That smell of b-mercaptoethanol in the lab the other day, well, it wasn’t b-mercaptoethanol #sciconfessions

Fallen asleep on microscope while counting worms (who knew it’s just like counting sheep?) #sciconfessions

No sir, I cannot recreate my data… It’s been a year worth of trying… #sciconfessions

I own a dog speculum. #sciconfessions

I’ve never used the dog speculum on a dog #sciconfessions

We think Schrödinger should bring his cat to the vet. #sciconfessions

I use the textbook *Behavioral Issues and Autism* as a wedge to fix the noisy radiator in my apartment. Just the right size. #sciconfessions

I would set people’s pipettes to zero. #sciconfessions

I once set a 72 hour HPLC run on someone else machine just cos he annoyed me. #sciconfessions

I actually said to my director:”the problem with this paper is not that it will be rejected, it’s that it might be accepted” #sciconfessions

#sciconfessions Tried to distil an organic azide once. It blew up & shot a glass stopper across the lab like a missile!

I do more washing up in the lab than I do at home. #sciconfessions

Sometimes, I eat the popcorn I make for Tsunami the Orangutan. #sciconfessions

Forgive me! I once sabotaged a student’s PowerPoint by inserting “penis” into a slide and then he presented it to medics 

The last sentence on the last page of my PhD thesis says ‘Well that’s what I think anyway”. Nobody’s noticed yet. #Sciconfessions

I used to put Hello Kitty stickers on all my solvent squirt bottles so none of my (all male) labmates would steal them. #sciconfessions

I probably get more done in one hour of “thinking” than in two hours of meetings. #sciconfessions

I’m a physics major but hard math problems still make me feel like I’m dying. #sciconfessions #ughughugh

I am supposed to do some actual science, but I am tweeting bullshit. #sciconfessions

Had timer paused at 12 minutes permanently in lab coat pocket. Would set it running if called into boss’s office. #sciconfessions

I enjoy hearing my non-Dutch colleagues try to pronounce “professor Kouwenhoven” #sciconfessions

One PI i worked for, used to let us smoke in the lab. Knew it was OK when the safety office started joining us ! #sciconfessions

15 min incubation = time for coffee. 1 hr = lunch. 18 hr = screw it, went home and slept. 48 hrs = took a weekend off. #sciconfessions

Spend more time taking photos from the pigeons outside the lab than photographing my samples, the pigeons were cuter! #sciconfessions

#sciconfessions When your chemistry teacher hands you lemons to extract limonene from, make lemonade…

Science in Social Media

Today it was my last literature update here in Groningen, so I decided to do “something completely different”(cit). In 10 minutes I tried to show the good points of using social media for science communication and other reason. 

It would make no sense talking about social media and then not sharing the slides online (downloadable and with creative commons):

Science in social media from vsaggiomo

Naturally 10 minutes are a short time for explaining and showing more interesting stuff, and I have the feeling that too many good things were left outside the presentation. Anyway, If you check the links in this blog you will find many great blogs to read :)

A nice paper about twitter and science is “The role of twitter in the life cycle of a scientific publication”
The infographic about this paper is here: http://www.katiephd.com/twitter-and-science-publications/ 

As always, I’m happy for random comments, bad remarks, general blasphemy and so on: @V_Saggiomo

#RealTimeChem week 2013 – the top something

Twitter bird dead

Or at least my personal “top something”. In the full spirit of LabSolutely, I selected only the funny/non common/crazy ones (check for example my last year RealTimeChem blogpost. This time there were too many tweets that it was almost impossible to check them all, so forgive me if I miss some one):


I had to remove three postcards from my fumehood because of “safety” issue. This fumehood is well…. :

Continue reading

#RealTimeChemCarnival Tuesday Musing

@JessTheChemist set the kick off for #RealTimeChemCarnival yesterday with her Monday Musing. I would like to put pictures of my favorite glassware…. but they will be mainly columns…. I’m sorry but it’s stronger than me, I love column chromatography.

I can do something different. So here the things that are with me since long time: 

fea1) The Bible, with me since my Master Thesis. 

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2) The badge of my first international conference (and the first of the ISMSC series). Fear and loathing in Las Vegas.

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3) My TLC holder. I simply love it. with me since 2008 (Bought in Japan town – San Francisco)

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3) My lovely postcards, they used to be attached on my fumehood since ages. Last week I had to remove them because they where a “safety issue”.  
“I hate everyone” – good for mondays and/or hard days
“Shit Happens” –  It’s self explanatory, we work in chemistry…
“I do not seek, I find” – well…. 

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My two favorite badges. Depending by the city, I decide to use one or the other.

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And naturally all (most) the other badges.

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the Mass of Everything


Another one for #ChemMovieCarnival hosted by See Arr Oh (more information about this movie carnival on his blog here), and the two previous round are here http://justlikecooking.blogspot.se/2013/04/chemmoviecarnival-aaaand-action.htmland http://justlikecooking.blogspot.se/2013/04/chemmoviecarnival-take-two.html

I should thank Petra (material scientist/Tv series addict/muffin magician) for showing me this NCIS episode on liquid nitrogen.

The episode is the 7×05 “Code of Conduct”. One man died for ingesting nitrogen, and that’s ok. I mean scientifically correct.

The fun part (as in most of the Tv series) is the Mass Spec. I’m usually quite blaspheme when I have to run/read/understand the mass… While they can find whatever they want…. Even (liquid) NITROGEN… Yes you read it correctly, they have a peak for Nitrogen….

Screenshot (minute 15.52):


and transcript:
“There’s more. Sample from our dead Marine’s stomach. I expected to find liquid nitrogen, of course, but I did not expect to find acetone and benzene in his flesh.”

So, she even EXPECT the peak of nitrogen… “Benzine” is also quite funny…. And naturally a single peak for the “Turpentine”….

Moreover, I’m quite sure that my Spectrometer doesn’t label the peaks for what they are… Where I can buy one of those?

So, remember NCIS stands for “Non Chemist Ion Spectrometer”

#RealTimeChem 2013 aperitif

Twitter bird dead

#RealTimeChem week is going to start tomorrow. If you don’t know what it ism you can check the FAQ on Doctor Galactic blog. If you don’t have a twitter account, this is the perfect moment for join in and have fun with thousandth of other chemists around the world. 


My plan for the week?

1- As always working in the lab (that nowadays is getting transformed into “writing stuff”). I’ll try to post more picture/short movies than my usual baseline. 

2- Writing one (or more) posts about my favorite funny/interesting/non-banal/creative tweets of the week like I did last year (#RealTimeChem 2012). You will find more serious thoughts on the realtimechem week in other serious blogs. You are warned: This is NOT a serious blog.

3- Writing an (outreach) post on the relationship between Videogames and Science (this is something I wanted to do since ages).

4- Making another video in the lab. The idea is already in my/our head/s but I don’t know if it is physically possible to do it. We will see… we will see….


(edit) I almost forgot: If you don’t have a blog, but you want to write something (stupid, in line with the labsolutely mentality), I’ll be happy to host your writing 

For now, just check the Trailer…. Because what we do in the lab is like an Opera:


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



Twitter bird dead

The story:
The 7th of November was the birthday of Marie Skłodowska (Curie) and the chemistry twitter community decided to honor the day using the hashtag #RealTimeChem. It was mainly organized by @Doctor_Galactic and you can find more about it on the nice blog Doctor Galactic & The Lab Coat Cowboy (and here his post about the day). I was excited about this one day of chemistry on twitter. Can you imagine how many chemists on line in the same place? twitting interesting/stupid-funny/hilarious stuff? how many funny stories from the fume hoods/benches/meeting rooms? I was already seeing myself eating pop corn and drinking cola in front of the refreshing hashtag, laughing every two tweets. Would have been legen…. wait for it…..wait for it…. no, it was not.

After a couple of hours I was already disappointed. People posting thousand pictures of columns, fantabillion images of out-of-focus round bottom flasks, instagrammed pictures of dirty fume hoods, weird NMR and HPLC traces, coffee like rain. Nothing about funny stuff yet. And I was keeping refreshing the page. Refresh, column, refresh, column, refresh, a 1:1 sand/silica column, refresh, another column. Actually it remembers me of the chatroulette south park episode: “this is the way the world works, if you want to find some nice tweets, you have to wade through the columns first”. I was almost giving up: “it’s done, we are doomed by boring people” when finally I saw some sparks in the dark.

Here is the collection of my favorite funny/interesting/non-banal/creative tweets. These are the chemist to follow on twitter, the ones that can made your day in a single tweet:


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So true, most of the the instruments in the lab are just waiting that you go out of the room for stop working. You have always to cuddle the instrument you are using for a proper analysis. In the experimental part of the paper you usually read something like “the analysis was performed using XXXXX from XXXX”, while the truth is “the experiment was performed while I was hugging XXXX instrument, gently pushing the solvent tubing while caressing the monitor with the other hand and saying sweets words to the main unit.”


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That’s the procrastination spirit I was looking for. Keep on.


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When I saw this picture I was instantaneity turning to check my fume hood… Crap everywhere, TLC like confetti, uncleanable flasks, decaying carcass and so on…. Maybe my desk is cleaner… no way… a wall of books and papers that could have stopped the barbarian invasion of Rome. Honestly I was quite depressed. But then few hours later she posted this:

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Great, my fume hood self confidence was back.


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…and about a clean fumehood.


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Welcome in the synthetic labs.


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The moment in which you want to kill some of your colleagues. Unfortunately sometimes you have to be in the lab till really late for stealing that three necks bottom flask you were always dreaming when you were a kid.


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Reactions… what can I say more? The last pictures is one of the pictures you will never find in a paper…


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Honestly… no idea… but give me carrots and onions and I know what I would do.


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I was going to jump from my window when I saw this “lab” picture. When I open the window it was too cold, windy and rainy even for jumping. And I step back to my desk.


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It has become one of my favorite apparatus when I discover that you can easily kick you colleague when they are using it. Safety first: you should check if they are handling something inside. If not, go on, kick them. But you should be sure that you are not going to use it in the next future. Otherwise you can back fire yourself…


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You are going in the good direction, but 15 seconds are not enough for an amateur. Only a pro can make jokes in 15 seconds. Keep on training.


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Good question, no answer yet.


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This is true office space sharing. OverOverOver crowded offices. This is what is really going on in many of the chemistry offices all around the world. Just one girl was brave enough to tell it.



And now my favorite two:


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This guy is a genius, a true genius. Easter eggs are everywhere, why don’t put them in the paper as well? This will give me some extra motivation in writing papers. Since now on I will never read a paper without checking for ABBA lyrics in it. GENIUS!


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I removed the name of the guy that posted this one, I’m a sarcastic bastard, but I do have limits. This could have been embarrassing. This guy (a phd in chemistry) thought that the ice in the picture was frozen DCM…. in the lab….at room temperature. I know it because I asked him if he really thought so. And this was the highest point of #realtimechem. The absurd thing is that this picture was retweeted two times, one of which from the organizer of the day. Retweeted without even thinking, without even a little bit of critical think. Retweeted for the sake of retweeting. Science is about asking questions, and my first question when I saw this picture + retweet was: WTF?



ending with the evergreen:

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If someone of you is using twitter, I’m on there as @V_Saggiomo