Benefits of being a hoarder

20 07 2014

“Keep EVERYTHING” is Jamie‘s top research advice. There are weird characteristics that make for a successful graduate student. Obviously you need to be clever, and good with working 50+ hours a week. Then you need to be resilient, for when experiments go belly up (as they will). That’s probably obvious too. But loving hardware stores is also a bonus, so you can creatively and cheaply solve practical problems (check out Mike’s duct-taped alarm clock to give a video time stamp, Maria’s ‘feed this one today’ markers made of cable ties, Carole’s elegant place preference apparatus from Canadian Tire, and the bevvy of eccentric clutter that accumulated in the lab over the last few years). And then being a crazy hoarder can really pay off too….

So, this is Jamie on his balcony digging through old ID cards from his 2012 mink litters, to type in the precise locations of their cages which he’d noted on the cards as he took them down (just in case…) He got through one whole bag (just over half the cards) in about an hour. When he stored these, at the time he didn’t realise how bizarrely unreplicable would be his results, nor how utterly invaluable this location info. could be for sorting out why. Comment from his wife Liana: “You’re SO lucky, the number of times I almost put that bag in the trash. I mean, a bag full of little chips of paper? Come on!”

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