You may remember a few days ago I posted a link to the list of Obsolete skills (the links were to this post, this wiki and this wiki). The growing list is certainly fun to read and check off your own skills against it. Archy adds some more.
But, what I really liked, especially since this is a science blog, was this comment by Barn Owl, suggesting we list our science-related and laboratory skills that are either useless outside of the lab or now obsolete even in a science lab.
Well, I can use, if you wake me up in the middle of the night, the 1982 program called Circadia. It is to this day the best software for analysis of circadian data, but the latest Mac OS’s cannot run it as it is so old. It is Open Source now and I would love to see someone do an upgrade on it and make it more modern.
I hope I never have to do an RPA (RNase Protection Assay) again – it takes back-breaking 3-5 days to do three of those in parallel for just a few data-points. There are better techniques these days.
The way IACUCs are going these days, I doubt I will ever again be allowed to put my surgical skills to use – if you want your quail’s ovaries or pineals removed, optic nerves severed, or radiotransmitters implanted, I can do it, but only if you get the IACUC approval for it first.
Some of the old melatonin radioimmunoassays are a pain in the behind. I hope someone’s developed something simpler and more reliable lately.
Catching a runaway quail in a pitch-dark isolation room using sound only.
Changing food, water and paper in complete darkness.
Giving i/m injections into the birds’ breastmeat in complete darkness.
Taking blood samples from miniature wing-veins of quail using military infrared goggles.
OK, your turn: what are some of the lab skills that are either useless outside of the lab or so outdated to be useless in the lab today?