The Babylonians believed that what a person did on the first day of the New Year (which they celebrated in March) had an effect throughout the year. New Year's resolutions, the modern translation of the Babylonian tradition, are optimistic aspirations for the upcoming year. Resolutions represent the quick-fix intended to absolve or correct disappointments or failures of the past.
The Babylonians believed that what a person did on the first day of the New Year (which they celebrated in March) had an effect throughout the year. New Year's resolutions, the modern translation of the Babylonian tradition, are optimistic aspirations for the upcoming year. Resolutions represent the quick-fix intended to absolve or correct disappointments or failures of the past. Unfortunately, this custom tends to gloss over the important work of failure. In medical research it is a cornerstone that few acknowledge - failure means something was tried, action taken; it is also the basis of success. In this issue:Patrice Galvin
The struggle to fund and conduct biomedical research must embrace failure. This does not mean active pursuit but an understanding that failure is not the ugly stepsister of success but the formative or teenage years that all advancements must go through. As of this writing, medical research, and therefore advances, are in peril due to funding cuts. This puts more and more emphasis on success and profitable discovery which in the end cut into the heart of innovation. In the world of medical advancement, there are many diseases that merit research funding but that have little return on investment.
No one wants to invest in a failure. These are not the goals of any serious medical research. Certainly when a failure occurs, there are many questions to answer and reviews that must take place. However, innovators should receive the opportunity to fail and fail again. When a sound investigation seems to have reached an inconclusive end or has not lead to the expected results, all is not lost. Carver Mead, inventor and professor emeritus at the California Institute of Technology, said, "Any specific prediction we make about upcoming inventions is bound to be wrong - even if we are talking about our own work. Our predictions are really just our aspirations. As we learn more and follow our heart and our instincts, our aspirations change. Eventually our work leads us to a place we may never have imagined. But it's usually completely different from anything we ever predicted. And much better, always much better."
No one resolves to fail but the opportunity to fail and fail again is a critical element in letting the work lead the researcher to places they may have not seen in the beginning.
Developing a phasing strategy is a vital component during a renovation project. In his article "Vivarium Construction Phasing and Scheduling," Carl Wendell offers a practical and easy-to-use set of checklists to help reduce the power of the unexpected and increase the success of a project.
Many BSL-3 facilities currently do not have provisions for decontaminating liquid wastes simply because small quantities of waste are involved. However, the use of laboratory animals creates the potential for large quantities of liquids to be generated making a central decontamination system a necessity. Carl Schultz discusses the basics in his article, "Liquid Waste Decontamination Systems."
Dressing for success in the lab requires an understanding of the choices available in materials for lab coats, coveralls, and other personal protective equipment. Written by Dean Kirk, "Choosing the Right Fabric for Laboratory Disposables" will help guide the selection process.
It's not always easy to find a window to stare out of in a vivarium. A new trend in laboratory settings has administrators looking to the walls for a respite from the bland interiors of many facilities. Author Kelly Moore writes a case study about "Bringing Art into the Lab."