There are known knowns. These are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we don't know we don't know.The other day I watched a documentary about Donald Rumsfeld. I found him intriguing, and a bit scary at times. He didn't even remember the quote himself and I cannot blame him. It is a pretty insane tongue twister. None of this however, is as intriguing, scary and insane as suddenly finding out that all the things you thought you knew in the lab, turn out to be things you do not know. Does this qualify as unknown knowns or unknown unknowns?
Anyway... we were trying to order filter tips the other day. It took us four hours and multiple phone calls to Greiner and Fisher to find out what we wanted and what the correct ordering number was. At least, I hope so. We'll see it when they get there.
Not nearly as complicated though as trying to order a bottle of BSA. Did you know that Sigma sells about two dozen? I've used three in my PhD and postdoc years, as it turns out (I paid some attention to the BSA, but not that much, I just grabbed it from the fridge. Come on folks, it's hard enough as it is to get everything going, I don't have days to think about albumin. Although of course I did. Because the stuff is bloody expensive. After we finally made a decision, it turned out we might be using far less that we were actually planning in the near future, since it looks like it's giving me a helluva lot of background in my Western Blots since I recently switched to a Licor/Odyssey system.
So that was my week. Troubleshooting Westerns, ordering filter tips and freeze dried cow protein. They don't give you the PhD for nothing.
It all looks the same from up close.