Thursday, July 8, 2010

Days 4 and 5 - No Science

So the science has died down a bit. I've been trying to get the DNA extraction to work, but it refuses to. I can see a white precipitate between the detergent/onion extraction mixture and the alcohol layer, but the pieces are too broken up to pick up. It could just be the general lack of a sterile atmosphere, but I think that having ice-cold ethanol (as the procedures dictate) would probably help. Ice, however, would probably have to be brought 30 km from Siddipet. I'm not going to make them bring ice when I don't even know whether that's really the reason it's not working.

This is probably the reason that most science nowadays is done in rich countries. Science in general doesn't work. The thing is, though, failure is almost the point, because you learn what is not true, but when your materials and time are limited, it can be frustrating. Seriously, science is something like 98% failure, 1% success, and 1% unexpected results. If you don't have the money to keep buying materials to keep trying, you can't really do it no matter how good your experimental design skills are.

At any rate, I've also been helping Nick come up with ideas for helping the teachers improve their English. We're making a lesson plan for them to follow for the next month. For my practice, I'm doing my hours. 4 hours a day times 30 days is the minimum 120 hours. I'm spending close to that much on the science stuff, trying out experiments, doing them with the classes, and talking to the teachers afterward. Plus there's all the hours I spent in researching experiments and how to teach science and alternate protocols with simpler materials (and writing up the lessons to go with the labs) even before I came to India. So I think I'm okay on that count.

Last but not least, I will have to respectfully disagree with Charles Schultz. Happiness is not a warm puppy. Happiness is ice-cold water.

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