I probably shouldn't be allowed these things...


So today, in the midst of all the town stuff, my darling husband and my metamour clearly went to a second-hand store of some kind. I stayed home, so I'm not entirely sure where. One thing they got was a couple of sets of drawers, for which I am very glad.There's still lots of clothes that need sorting among the various boxes, and the lack of home for them has given my nesting a serious stumbling block, which has in turn made me antsy.

Now we just need bookshelves. Lots and lots of bookshelves.

What they also found and grabbed while they were there, however, is this:

Yes, the photo sucks. It's really hard to take photos with your webcam. Someone should totally send me a digital camera.
The idea was that it would be a great activity for me to share with baby as he got older, and that in the meantime, I might enjoy it myself. Certainly not an idea without merit; genetics is of great interest to me, and science and biological sciences too in a slightly broader sense. I originally went for the course to become a veterinarian at uni; when I didn't quite make the entrance cut, I fell back on genetics as a major.

If anything, the biggest flaw in this plan would be that I might get a little... too interested.

The set includes a simple light microscope, a magnifying glass, a (rather poor) pocket telescope, two collecting vials, a 'hatchery' thing, 8 blank slides, 2 prepared slides, spatula, tweezers, stirring rod and a small  plastic box with labels, slide covers and cover glasses. Sadly missing is the petri dish with what looks, on the picture, to be a magnifying lid. Probably the best of all the equipment for the kind of things most kids are likely to want to look at; really, a dissecting microscope is probably better than a light microscope.

Immediately, my mind sets into gear considering possibilities for actual usage. The prepared slides are definitely an awesome touch, but the novelty of looking at a bee's wing and what appears to be a bee's leg (the second slide is unlabeled for some reason) can only last so long.

Firstly, any kind of regular usage is going to mean getting new cover slips, especially as about half of the original twelve appear to have been used already. Fortunately, that's unlikely to be too expensive at a guess, given the enormous volume of usage they see in labs. Certainly the containers at uni tended to come in groups of 100 or more; they're small, single-use items, and kind of fragile to boot. Slides get washed, but every single successful and failed slide both means a cover slip disposed.

Then of course, there's the fact that like all low-end light microscopes, it doesn't have its own light source. So a desk lamp is probably a good idea at some point, because natural light is notoriously unreliable and makes actually using the things a bit of a nightmare.

Then there's the problem of the ideal things for light microscopes to look at... even of the fairly easily obtained samples, practically all of them require more precise tools than the cheap mostly-plastic ones provided, and many of them require stains to be properly viewed too...

Um. You can see where I might be inclined to get carried away, no? Actually, the tools problem is fairly easily solved... but that solution probably supports the point all the more. Namely, I'm fairly sure I know which box my dissection kit from animal bio is in.

Certainly I am sure, if my son displays any interest in science, that things will be very interesting.

I think perhaps my husband's attempts to restrain me from creating a small laboratory in a suitable corner of the house in the process might be more interesting, though...

Post a Comment