Because the skills you learn as a scientist are valuable in every area of your life...

I was browsing my Facebook this morning when I came across an article from a friend/vendor. I'll save the whole hearted endorsement for the vendor bit later - the fact that I also consider her a friend should speak volumes, and if it doesn't, the fact that I'm currently citing her here should say something as well.

There are lots of smaller (read, not mass-marketed) brands of cosmetics and many pinterest recipes for do-it-yourself soaps, lotions, scrubs, or cosmetics. Hayley Croom, of Paintbox Soapworks, is not like many of them. She actually pays attention to the science and what she can and cannot claim about her product. For instance, when pinterest recipes for DIY sunscreen using coconut oil popped up, Croom quickly pointed out the dangers of this particular project - namely, that without proper regulation, there's no certainty in how protected you are, for how long, and the risks of not being protected include skin cancer. That's a big one, folks, and a known risk that's not to be casually ignored.

Today's article is a great lesson on how to read media in general. For those of you who are going into science, you absolutely must cultivate this skill. For the rest of the world? You really need to cultivate this skill. You have to learn to read past the clickbait title, dig for the actual sources, determine their validity (for instance, an article that says that crude oil does no harm to wildlife might be a little suspect if it's published by a petroleum company, especially if said company is under investigation for a recent spill, but an article that suggests that perhaps we've misunderstood the impact that crude oil has on the environment due to a previously understudied bacterial population may be less suspect if it comes from an environmental group or a university microbiologist), and then interpret what the actual study means - especially for you and the people with whom you interact.

Go read. See what it looks like when someone actually does what I'm talking about. And then, if you so choose, buy something. Because, no, really, Hayley makes some awesome soap. (Or, you know, don't. This article was not sponsored by Paintbox Soapworks or Hayley Croom. I just think she's the bees knees).

Gel Filtration - YouTube

If the first few slides here are confusing, remember, they're describing what the AKLecture explained. Feel free to pause and rewatch as needed, but this was the final piece I wanted to share. Certainly, in the Ars Technica article, on the industrial scale, the equipment you see in this video isn't what's being used. But the general idea is the same. So thanks to these videos and the Ars Technica article, you can now feel fairly confident that you have an idea what to do when you walk into the Biochem lab for protein purification. At the very least, you'll feel less overwhelmed by all the equipment, steps, and terms in front of you, now that you can comprehend the basic concept!