January 17, 2005

It was an absolutely enormous difference and I'm glad I didn't make THAT mistake.

For the last three days, I haven't made any progress, incremental or otherwise on the thesis. I have to come up with numbers for lots of plant processes, and one of them was the number of pollen grains per flower of rape/turnip. I had in my head from years ago when I used to measure the length of pollen grains and had read this paper where some poor technician had counted the grains in a flower and come up with the grand total of 1500. So I have been scanning likely papers and trying to find the reference. Today, I thought, I will ask a guru. I asked the internet. And the guru knew, even as the guru knows everything, and yea, it gives me the answers I need.

Some dude did it the sensible way with a haemocytometer and found the mean value of 34 500. Per flower. Good dude.

But wow, my memory was totally wrong dude. By a magnitude of lots. Must be getting pretty damn old. But at least I wasn't stupid enough to RELY on that dodgy memory of mine...

Posted by Toni at January 17, 2005 04:54 PM

Actually, it is conceivable that if the technician did count the grains by hand (s)he was out by that much! Especially if the count was done in situ... Sometimes papers using bad methodologies do get published, particularly if, say, most of the paper was molecular and they just threw in the pollen counts as an aside, so the reviewer was a molecular biologist...

Posted by: Karen at January 20, 2005 06:47 AM