Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Watching the returns

I'm probably going to stay up later than I should tonight watching the returns. Yep, I'm a junkie for the stuff -- it's just so exciting seeing history being made. The multitude have spoken, and now it is just time to watch.

However, I don't mean paying attention to my ex-governor and former first lady in a bipartite Midwestern state. I was a serious political junkie as a youth, but that has cooled -- not that it isn't important. No, these are the really important returns: new sequence data.

I've been involved with one project here for a long time, with a leading role. The project has been interesting -- as in the bittersweet toast "May you live in interesting times". Ups & downs, trials & tribulations, lights at the ends of tunnels that turned out to be oncoming freights. All sorts of traps I laid for myself & walked into.

But now, after all that, the thing is actually WORKING! Well, maybe. 'Cause the proof is in the pudding, and the pudding is made of BigDye. In Sanger we trust.

So, I have my little database query set up & every so often I ping for an update. Now, the great sequencing system runs autonomously & in batches, and I don't have the wherewithal from home to see where each of my precious plates is in the stacker (the only sure way is to examine the apparatus & we don't have a webcam installed), so an element of suspense is present. I know how many reads were called up for each clone, so I'll know when it's done.

So I sit here, trying to resist pinging again. It's unlikely that another plate has loaded & processed since the last ping. Just hold out one more minute. NOW! Nope, no new data. I can wait. Sure I can. Just another minute...

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