As a young postdoc, I accidentally stumbled upon the secret to getting my protein preps to work; unfortunately, my solution is unpublishable. It's an unnamed, hand-sized, stuffed purple dragon with a fuzzy mane and shiny wings. I got it at a museum gift shop on a particularly bad protein-prep day. Something, I have no clue what, told me to buy it. When I returned to the lab, magic started happening. I had thought all my protein had precipitated, but it was back in solution. My column, which I had jerry-rigged so that it would run overnight, ran perfectly, and without leaks.

Hmmm. Could I attribute success to my additional experience with protein prep? After all, this was the third attempt. Could it be that all the ingredients were fresh this time? Normally, I salvage and steal from my labmates. Nope, I concluded without shame or scientific scrutiny, it has...

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