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The 8008 1750


That reminds me of an amusing story from my undergraduate days. I was working on trying to find some reliable means of cutting serial sections of Argasid (soft bodied) tick eggs on a microtome to study the reproductive cycle using a light microscope. The problem was that the chitin shell was difficult to penetrate and the interior was a brittle fatty yolk that tended to shatter on contact with the knife.

I had tried all the most modern methods, using ultra low viscocity epoxy embedments and an ultramicrotome with a glbutt knife.

The 8008 1753
Well -- I have no clue who Tom Bearden is, but here is what I base my evidence on: Out in the back patio I...

Nothing seemed to work.

So, I went back to a century old technique, double embedding in nitrocellulose and paraffin. The problem was that I didn't have any nitrocellulose and the commercial lab grade stuff cost nearly a thousand dollars a pound, way out of my lab budget.

So, I set out to make some using a well washed linen sheet and some concentrated nitric and sulfuric acid. The problem was that I neglected the exothermic nature of the reaction. Upon pouring the acid mixture over a bunch of linen strips in a beaker the solution erupted violently, spraying acid all over the inside of the fume hood and turning the linen into charcoal.

The 8008 1751
So did I. Does 'grid leak detecter' ring a bell? And those kids are expected to...

Ironically, after spending a few hours cleaning up the mess, I noticed a bottle of collodion sitting on a high shelf. Collodion used to be used as a "liquid bandage" for first aid use and is a solution of nitrocellulose in alcohol and ether.

Since the collodion had approximately the final concentration called for by most protocols which started with pure nitrocellulose, I just used that instead.

Result was perhaps the first perfect serial sections of gravid Argasid tick oviducts ever made in human history.


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