Hario grinder drill modification

I’m not the first and will not be the last to modify the Hario Skerton grinder.  The Hario Skerton is a terrific manual, ceramic burr grinder with a following by coffee aficionados.

Unfortunately it takes a good deal of effort to grind enough coffee for 5 Aeropress scoops (yes, I plan ahead and grind more coffee than I need). To turn this fantastic, but slow grinder into a fast electric grinder you’ll need a few items.

This is a Japanese grinder and all the hardware is metric.  You’ll find metric hardware at an automotive parts supplier.  Don’t go to a hardware store like I did.

10 mm acorn nut
10 mm hexagonal ratchet socket
2x 5 mm washers
A drill bit ratchet adapter
A drill with variable speed

You’ll need to remove the screw and handle from the grinder.  This is as simple as removing the thumb screw and pulling off the handle.

Two washers and an acorn nut

Next stack and place the two washers the drive shaft.  Then place and tighten the acorn nut onto the drive shaft.

They spinnin’ !!

Finally use your socket and drill bit adapter to spin the acorn nut in place of manual labor.
The materials, excluding the drill (I had one already) were under $10 CA .

Finished product.

No. You’re not moving to Canada.

This is not an endorsement for one candidate or another.

I’m getting tired of seeing “I’m moving to Canada” moaning and whining.  You’re not going to do it. You don’t have the gumption to do so.   Because you couldn’t be bothered to do the simple task of voting for a candidate.  Voter turnout for 2016 is estimated 57%.  Surely this is a good turnout you say?  OECD countries have a voter turnout of approximately 70%, a number bested by only the state of Minnesota.   If you couldn’t be bothered to vote you certainly won’t go to the trouble of collecting necessary documents, filing various immigration checks and, coordinating with future Canadian employers to vouch for your Canadian employment status.

Your civic apathy has consequences.

Magnum publishing republishes my paper without my consent

This morning I found out that I am the author of a book available on Amazon.com.  The book republishes a paper I published with Drs. Ambrose and Wasteneys.  The research is from my Ph.D. with new experiments performed by me and Chris Ambrose.  The authors of this PLOS One manuscript had no idea that Magnum Publishing is selling the manuscript as a book for $169 US.

If you’ve published any academic materials, it is a good idea to check Google for unauthorized use of your intellectual property.

Agarose-free ‘gel excision’

Agarose-free ‘gel excision’

Sometimes the best way to avoid something is to … avoid it?

Thermofisher has something called clone-well. It is a product that has two sets of wells, uses Sybr Safe for efficient blue-light illumination and is expensive (~ $20 CA per gel as of writing).
The principle behind clone-well is simple. You load DNA in the wells closest to the black electrode and collect DNA from a second set of wells closest to the red electrode.
If you have a bluelight transilluminator such as the ‘Dark Reader’ and regularly make gels you’re set to duplicate the functionality of clone-well gels inexpensively.

Cast a gel with two sets of wells.

Here is a cartoon of the gel you’ll set up.
This gel will be 0.5–0.8% agarose. I use wide, thin  wells. Use 2X SybrSafe dye or equivalent. The gel will be in your gel box. Before loading the gel remember to place the gel box complete with gel and buffer ontop of the blue light transilluminator.
Load your DNA as per usual. Run the gel more slowly. With lithium borate/sodium borate electrophoresis buffers I use ~ 150–200 V for a 10 cm gel.
Once the lower dye front is in between points A and B (gel cartoon above), turn on the blue light and observe the position of your band. Because your gel rig will hoist the gel a few cm from direct contact with the blue light transilluminator, the extra SybrSafe dye comes in handy.
Check on the migration of the DNA. Once it arrives at point B use a 200 uL pipette to remove the DNA/buffer mixture from the wells at B.
The DNA collected in this way works for PCR with NEB Q5 and works well with the NEB Gibson HiFi Mix (I tried a three fragment assembly).

Farmers can’t reuse seeds … so what? A simplified explanation of Hybrid vigor.

The anti-science persons epousing views against genetic improvement of plants will claim that the companies from which a farmer purchases seeds make it impossible to re-use seeds. I’d like to explain why this is a non-starter. The argument is a akin to lamenting the absence of municipal policies curbing loitering in public spaces by tigers. It’s not necessary; it is not a problem.
Before all else a farmer is growing crops and/or raising livestock for money. The famer is hardworking, doing back breaking labor to generate food to sell at market prices. To this end, the farmer wishes to make money for their effort. They wish to have a livelihood for their work and sacrifice. This is not different from you or me. If the reader believes this is unethical, ‘corporate,’ or bourgeois, I happily invite them to do field work gratis and re-evaluate their position. Moreover, I’d happily connect them with people that do field work in an academic setting that would love free labor.
There are a few terms you have to make clear before you understand fully why farmers don’t want to reuse seeds. Parent 1 and 2 are mated to produce progeny or an F1 generation. When two unrelated individuals of the same species with different genetic backgrounds mate they may, but not always,impart to their progeny hybrid vigor. Hybrid vigor or heterosis is the incompletely understood phenomenon whereby the F1 generation displays more rapid growth, more strength (physical, resistance to pathogens) and have more progeny to name just a few benefits germane to this argument. More progeny is key because crop plants create progeny in the form of fruits, tubers, roots, and seeds (kernels of corn, sunflower seeds, canola seeds). When more progeny are had from the F1 plant, more value is earned for the farmer. When a single plant occupies 1 square meter and outputs X grainssaid plant is more valuable than a plant that outputs X/2 or X/3 in the same cultivation area.
So what? The ‘so what?’ moment occurs when one attempts to re-grow the F1 individuals expecting to see the same superb crops. They are not superb any longer. They may be as poor perfoming as the original parents. They may perform worse still. In fact as the F1 individuals are grown and their progeny is next grown and the progeny’s progeny is grown and so on, the physiological advantages of the hybrid disappear altogether.
Why does this happen? It isn’t completely known and a good number of private and academic labs are dedicated to unraveling heterosis and have been doing so since the early twentieth century.
The end result of diminishing hybrid vigor is that our farmer has seeds that aren’t as productive and therefore make a unit of land on his farm less profitable over time. This is bad news for the farmer because costs always go up. Diesel for farm equipment, tires for tractors, electricity, water and so forth. The farmer opts to purchase seeds from one or more of the big plant biotech firms. The biotech firms have the billions of dollars required to cultivate and bring to market the elite F1 progeny that display hybrid vigor and subsequently produce maximum output in a given area of land.
So it’s not so much a matter of ‘can’t re-grow’ plants from purchased seeds. The reality is that it is not in the farmer’s best interest and financial security.