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A First Interview for a Would-Be Test Subject

A First Interview for a Would-Be Test Subject

Posted by on Jul 5, 2013 in Medicine | 0 comments

Lately, I’ve been going to a lot of job fairs. At a few of them, I’ve spotted an unusual booth. It looks like most of the other medical-focused booths, but they’re not looking for employees; they’re looking for test subjects. Or, as they say in the vernacular, human guinea pigs. The first time or two, I looked at these booths, politely interacted, but didn’t go any further. At one job fair, they sought people with particular medical conditions; they even had a list of conditions. I didn’t have any of the conditions listed…but something made me take the next step of making an appointment. I think it was the idea of getting paid for my time, and free medical treatment. Hey, I’m not proud. So, late last month, armed with an appointment card, my natural curiosity, and a bit of trepidation, I made my way to Orlando. That’s where Clinical Neuroscience Solutions, Inc. is located. (By the way, a quick web search showed that they apparently have branches in West Palm Beach and Jacksonville, that they’ve been around since 1996, and they seem to have no reviews, good or bad). I took a short elevator ride to the second floor, where I saw a beautiful print of Da Vinci’s “The Measure of Man” (quite appropriate) on my way to their suite. I found my way into a waiting room that looked just like every other doctor’s waiting room I’d ever been in. After signing in, I filled out a medical history form, just as any new patient of a doctor would. This one seemed a bit more extensive than usual, but not onerously so. And then I waited. I didn’t wait long. After perhaps ten minutes, I heard my name, and was greeted by Letitia Griffin, a registered nurse. Rather than going with her into an examination room, however, she took me into an office. Here, she went over my medical history, asked me some questions to see if I was a good candidate for any of their studies, and let me ask a few of my own. She seemed to be both genuinely interested in me, and to...

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Biology Specimen Kit in an Altoids Tin

Biology Specimen Kit in an Altoids Tin

Posted by on Jun 18, 2013 in Science | 0 comments

It happens all the time: you’re out on a nature walk, and you see a tiny, pretty leaf or a dead bug or interesting rock or something else that you want to take back with you and investigate. But alas, you’re unprepared to transport your new discovery! Fear not. With a little planning and a handy Altoids tin, you could be prepared for all of your amateur scientist experiments. Let me start this with the disclaimer that I’m not a scientist, though I do love science. What I’m suggesting here is a collection of items that should be easy enough to carry around in a tin that fits in most people’s pockets. If you’re teaching your kids about science, you may want to customize it for what they can safely handle, leaving out some elements, and perhaps including others. You’ll also want to customize based on what you plan to do with your specimens when you bring them to your secret lab. You should be able to find many of these items around the house. If not, try a dollar store. Either way, I’d recommend that you bring along your Altoids tin, or whatever container you plan to use, to make sure the items you’re considering will all fit. You might need to cut a few things down to size, if possible, or make some substitutions if you can’t. Start with the tin. While lots of people like Altoids tins, I prefer the kind that Sucrets used to come in. I’ve seen some metal tins that feature a tin held in place by pressure where the lid comes off completely, as opposed to the kind with a hinged lid that closes securely. Personally, I prefer a hinged lid; it’s easier to open and close. The outside measurements of my tin, when closed, are 2.5 inches wide by 3.25 inches long by 0.75 inches tall. As you fill your tin, make sure you can still close it securely! We’ll start with tiny plastic bags, the kind that are two inches square and press securely closed. Most people who have beads or make jewelry have plenty of these. You’ll want four...

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