I may write more about this later, but before the term ends and all the ducks are safely in a row, I should mention that Saturday night I finally attended the big, Bennington-style rager that had been implicitly promised to me all along.
All is well, and I was entirely well-behaved. Nonetheless, it was glorious excess; if in the future I donate money to the school, it may well be because of the sweaty half-naked people dancing inside and jumping into the kiddie pool outside, as much as it is because of the education. Then again, maybe this is the heart of the real education.
I saw my friends who live in that house for probably a total of ten minutes; they were clearly occupied with their own mini-dramas, but that was fine because it left me to talk with just about anyone and everyone. It warms my grizzled old heart to have such a wide array of people all give me the same comment: "you're the only Post-Bac I see around." Well, yes, I'm afraid that's largely true... but thanks for noticing and thanks for the warm reception, ya crazy kids. And meanwhile, in work-related news:
My experiment went well. What you're looking at is his-auxotrophic e. coli bacteria, growing on a minimal-medium agar that should make their presence impossible. The reason the little guys are so hardy is that the substance being tested, a solution soaking that little round filter paper disc, caused reverse mutations that brought them back to self-sufficiency. They're making their own histidine, just like regular e. coli do, and partying down Bennington-style like everyone else.
I'll say more about the details another time, but the practical upshot is to be careful with some of your "natural" or "herbal" remedies: they can cause some impressive stuff to happen on a cellular level. And just because I didn't go in the kiddie-pool with the naked kids doesn't mean I would want to know what the heck is growing in that thing now.