Monday, February 26, 2007

Little Known Facts #1

Pop quiz time! (Don't you hate when you get a pop quiz on Monday? Blah. I hate myself for doing this to you.)

But this is going to be easy. One question only! I guess that makes it pass/fail.

1. In high school, I was: (A) an English and art student who ended up a lawyer because it seemed to be a fairly decent job or (B) a science freak who planned to become a doctor or die, but burned out somewhere along the way.

If you answered B, take a bow!


Okay, you want proof. Well, I can tell you what I was doing the evening of November 11, 1986. I was staining and mounting skin cells taken from the inside of my cheek. Mind you, this was with my own equipment and supplies and on my own time. !!FOR FUN!! Holy crap.

I know, not normal at all for a 16 year old. I'm surprised my parents didn't plant me in therapy.

Oooh. Oooh. But wait! Look at this one! Oooh, yeah. Kickin' cool!

Yep, that's my blood. And I even snagged a couple white blood cells by the center. Note the lovely contrast between the nuclei (blue) and the cytoplasm (pink). That wasn't easy to achieve, my friends. Just the right staining technique. (You can laugh, really. I won't hate you. Much.)

My science teachers were great supporters. They let me order stuff to culture bacteria, stain specimens, and mount them on slides. They let me hang out with them in the back room when I had study hall.

Part of me feels like I let them down.

Wait, you say you're not happy with your grade? How about another question for extra credit. One of my teachers gave me a box of old slides from a local hospital. This one is intestinal tissue. Whoever leaves a comment correctly identifying the structures marked with the black arrows gets five bonus points! Woo hoo!

No peeking at the comments! (Hint: this isn't as hard as it might seem.)

UPDATE: A medical expert/Ph.D. friend of mine pointed out that this is clearly not healthy intestinal tissue. It appears to be a section of a tumor or polyp, likely cancerous. However, that doesn't change our little quiz!

(By the way, don't ask me about the pictures. I won't tell you that I took them last night. I don't want to admit that the science freak is alive and well, just not as visible as the good old days.)


angel said...

fascinating dude- at least now i know damien is more or less normal... his grandad gave him a microscope for his birthday and he spent hours and hours slicing "bits" off himself with the disection kit i gave him!

Susan Abraham said...

Jason, don't know the answers. :-)
Are you describing life's offbeat journeys in general from the decent thing we're supposed to do...or am I off tangent?


anna said...

What an interesting guy! I think most interesting people are interested in lots of neat stuff.
that's what makes them interesting and writers of course should be among the most curious.

great photos as usual Jason!

Anne said...

What do you mean 'no cheating'? Not even when it's research?

Jaye Wells said...

Dude, I have no idea what those things are, but the concept of intestinal tissue made me gag a little bit.

Very interesting post. You're a complex man, Jason Evans.

Bev said...

ah yes, Jason the Renaissance Man! It will be interesting to learn what the answer to the question is .... me, I fainted in Biology class when we had to stick our fingers to look at our own blood!

(thanks for that little trip down memory lane)

Anonymous said...

aahhh... weird. but i do have a thing for geeks.

LiVEwiRe said...

Were those epithelial cells in the one slide? Very nice. As far as the intestinal tissue - if it were mine, the arrows would be pointing to acid secreting pumps that pool directly onto a huge ulcer. But that's just me. ;) Although isn't the acid like a 2.0 pH or something crazy like that? I think this part of you will be alive and kicking as long as you are. It's something to be proud of and something tells me you haven't completely put it on a shelf...

anne frasier said...

i chose B.
as far as the intestine goes -- i believe that's fortitude.

briliantdonkey said...

I guessed B, and will take a wild stab and say bacteria. No clue.


Joni said...

Jason, my man, you are so much like my big brother who made me do chemistry experiments with him when I was 8. I thought he was weird. He still is weird, but I love 'im.

I don't hold your dorkiness against you. :)

Anonymous said...

Angel, yes, definitely encourage him! (Well, not to dissect himself, though.) He will discover so many amazing things.

Susan, I'm not sure I see myself on a journey per se. More like the gradual evolution of my two equal halves. Strangely, one complements the other.

Anna, thanks, my friend. :) Yeah, I'm happy with how the photos came out.

Anne, well, no peeking at the comments, at least. Although, as of the time I type this, no one is even close.

Jaye, I take that as a high compliment. Thanks. :)

Bev, wow, that sounds like quite a trip down memory lane. :D I'll give the answer tomorrow!

Kate, hmmm, I guess that's a compliment, lol!

Livewire, yes, those are epithelial cells! As for stomach acid pH, yeah, it's pretty nasty. I thought for sure you would get this one! Well, I have a reader who's a physician. She must, must get this! It's really not hard. You have to think 3D and what a slice would show.

Anne, fortitude..... You know, I think you've got it! Unfortunately, this fortitude didn't work out so well for the owner. Congrats on the ace for question 1!

BD, bacteria would be smaller. This is only 100x magnification. Good try, though!

Joni, don't be hating on the chemistry experiments, now! I sure hope you dissolved some stuff. It's not chemistry until you can dissolve some stuff. With extra bubbles.

Wilf said...

This is really interesting - when I was 15 I subscribed to New Scientist and was mad keen on becoming an astronomer until I found out my maths was rubbish. I still hanker after that a bit...
Nothing to stop you experimenting still, is there? Go on, you know you want to.

Shameless said...

you've got me all twisting and blinking here , jason! i was never good with blood and gunk! :)

Anonymous said...

Wilf, do I see a kick-butt telescope in your future? You could always build a shed in your back yard to house it. ;)

Shameless, blood looks a bit different on this level, don't you think? Kind of fun. Like you want to go tromping around. Squish, squish, squish. :D

Anonymous said...


Well, I guess no one gets extra credit. That's okay. ;)

The structures on the slide are capillaries (blood vessels) in cross section. The red material inside is a little blood that was caught in the slice.

apprentice said...

Yes I too guessed B.

I think a fascination for every aspect of life is a very healthy thing, I bet it makes you a good lawyer too.

A person with such interests/skills would make a great character for a book, especially if they were on the wrong side of the law, but had great insight into it and medicine - might make profiling them rather easy though :)

Anonymous said...

Apprentice, I think a fascination for every aspect of life is a very healthy thing. Thank you! That sentiment is not widely shared, but it describes me well. :)