I don’t really want to start another post with the theme of exhaustion, but here it is.
My Phd has mostly revolved around a huge systems-biology project, which looks at time-resolved greening of leaves. Basically, we still don’t know that much about photosynthesis (you know, besides the whole ‘it’s a process that plants use to take sunlight and make sugars’ thing). By tracking greening, we’re hoping to ‘watch’ the plants develop their photosynthetic apparatus, and hopefully catch some of the intermediate processes that are involved.
Kinda like seeing an Ikea product being made, step by step, instead of just being given a picture of the final shelf-desk hybrid.
Except, you know, much more complicated, even than Ikea furniture.
I’m very pro ‘pure research’, which means that I think that increased knowlege about our world (particularly about photosynthesis, which, by the way, provides pretty much all of our oxygen, food, shelter and clothing) is generally good.
But if that whole LITERALLY ALL OF THE THING WE NEED TO SURVIVE argument didn’t sway you, here’s some more reasoning. The world’s population is increasing, arable land is decreasing, and we therefore need to increase crop yield if we want to feed everyone. This ‘yield’ is made up of three components. How much light plants can get from the sun, how much of that light is turned into energy by photosynthetic processes, and how much of that energy is put into the seed (or whatever bit we want to eat). In the 50’s we had a ‘Green Revolution’, which bred a whole lot of plants with great traits. In fact our plants these days are pretty much perfect at point 1 (getting light from the sun) and point 3 (putting the energy into the grain/fruit).
Which only leaves point 2- ‘improving photosynthesis’. Luckily, it looks like photosynthesis is a fairly imperfect process, so there might be some wiggle room. Regardless of how you feel about genetic engineering, one thing is clear- we can’t improve a process until we understand it.
Which is what I, in my tiny miniscule way, am trying to do with time-resolved greening experiment.
Problem, is, that ‘time-resolved’ part means that I have to take samples over many, many hours. On Monday I was at work at 3 am. I worked until about 5 pm, went to have a nap, and came back again to work from 11:30 pm to 1:30 am. Tuesday was 7 am until 7 pm, and then 11:30 pm- 2 am. So far, today was 8 am to 6 pm, with another midnight harvesting.
Wednesday Tegan is exhausted.
So let’s forget about her, and cut back to Last-Weekend Tegan.
Last weekend Tegan went to Modulor, pretty much the best stationary/arts/craft store in Berlin, and bought some paper.
Some extremely beautiful, textured Japanese paper, that I then covered in wax (melted from a candle) and then sewed together with a zip, to make a little pencil-case/makeup case/ tampon holder/whatever you want for a work friend.
That’s all folks,