I'm a serial blog-abandoner, but I'm generally good for eventually returning to them and reviving them again for a while. Consider this an update since the last post, in which time much has happened and more is expected soon.
The science gallery workshops went great, as far as I'm concerned. The (regrettably few) participants were great fun to work with, and I learned a lot about the unique requirements of a mobile or temporary lab. I'm getting there, slowly formulating a “protocol” for a rapid assembly minimum lab for synthetic biology work.
It's a pity that the timing of the workshops was so bad, though; more lessons learned there. Conflicts with visiting pop-idols meant that transport and accommodation was too expensive for some excellent people to make it, and there wasn't enough time to really spread word of what was happening; on the imaginary “hype curve” the workshops happened maybe halfway up the climb, too early for many enthusiasts to hear about it or make preparations to take part.
I'm hoping that for the next workshops I run I can offer more time, and be more flexible on the timing so I can entice as many inspiring souls to join me as possible. More on that soon.
Protocols and Informational Stuff
There's a whole section on the site here with supposed protocols, but no links to those protocols. Have had a few comments about that, and it's a minor private shame until it's done. The reason why those articles are listed but not linked was because I was planning to blitz through writing them in short order, but got interrupted repeatedly.
Also, I thought I could log in at home and write them in spare moments, but discovered an oddity; the craptop I use for work in my home can't handle Wordpress for some reason. Everything renders, but writing is impractical. The fact that it can handle Google Docs but not the text input of Wordpress puzzles me. Add to this a recent complete-device-failure of my desktop, and I'm hoping you can learn to forgive me for being late with those articles.****
They'll start appearing soon. I'm writing “How to set up your home lab”, and I have documents I can adapt easily enough for “Isolating bacteria X” or “Growing B.subtilis” or “Extracting plasmids from Yoghurt bacteria”.
EPA License - Check
Big news for me is that I'm now officially licensed for “Contained Use of Class 1 GMMs” by the EPA. I'm hoping to share a post soon on my experience in getting a license, subject to some omissions and tact, to show from a first-hand perspective how much of an uphill struggle it's going to be to help encourage citizen science in Europe. Ireland is one of the less hostile countries to modern biotechnology, and it's still difficult to get a license and to adhere to the conditions of it once received.
Suffice to say I'm still doing the paperwork and fulfilling the special requirements of my consent conditions, so work has not yet started. Somewhere between now and soon I'll start writing the process; both as a how-to and as a mildly disheartening look at the state of biotech regulation in Ireland.