Career in the Microbio Sciences

Arthur Sowers arthures at
Wed Feb 16 21:37:51 EST 2000

On 17 Feb 2000, Joshua Halpern wrote:

> Russell Martin (russell.martin at wrote:
> : Arthur Sowers wrote:
> : > On Tue, 15 Feb 2000, Russell Martin wrote:
> : > > giner wrote:
> : > > snipped
> : > > >
> : > I though that's what he meant anyway. Live in your boxes, move in your
> : > boxes, live in them again. When I was a grad student, I lived in a
> : > trailer. A real cardboard box. I heard about a micro-b grad student who
> : > lived on nutrient agar, pilfered from the micro-b student lab stores,
> : > throughout his grad student days.
> I have some friend who were REALLY dirt poor as graduate students
> way back, to the point that one day for a special treat they 
> "borrowed" a lab rabbit and cooked it.  After throwing up, they 
> said that it had tasted just like the foul food that the lab used
> to feed the animals.  I never had the guts to ask how they knew what
> lab animal chow tasted like.
> josh halpern

My contact told me that his contact who supplied the story about the guy
who ate nutrient agar for food said it was the worst tasting stuff in the
world. However, it was "free" (in the sense that he pilfered it out of the
student lab stores). I also knew a student who, for food, went over to the
student union cafeteria and while reading books and doing homework, kept
a careful eye on everyone who was eating food that they bought. When they
finished and left, this student would get up, go over to the table and
look for unfinished portions of the food and eat them. 

There are also stories about the consumption of ethanol from chemistry
sources, but you have to know what you are drinking. Some ethanol is
"denatured" to make you sick if you drink it, and I understand one highly
pure (99% stuff) needs to be avoided because its purified by co-distilling
with methanol which is bad for you. I think its the 95% stuff you want
because its codistilled with water, which, as a contaminant, should not
hurt you. The "liquor labels" also don't tell you what is safe, just what
is legal according to the liquor laws in the state, city, etc. Personally,
I think its safest to get your booze from a liquor store or a bar and best
to pay for it. All that other stuff has too much conditions,
ands-ifs-or-buts to dare risking your life or health on it. Down in Texas,
where I went to grad school, they had this neat local beer called Shiners.
Small production runs. Bars ran out near the end of the month. In case
anyone forgot the name of the beer, the nickname of the beer was "horse
piss." So it went: "Hay, bahtendah, y'all got any horsepiss laft?"

I also heard that cat food in grocery stores has to be FDA inspected
because 30% or so of it is consumed by humans (mostly the poor elderly who
are on fixed incomes). Anybody got any better scuttlebut on that?


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