This category contains 11 posts

Our Herbal Irritant

Here at MOI Labs, we’re trying to find better, greener alternatives to the way things are done now.  One biggie is the use of very strong herbicides, some persistant and get into your garden compost, some that kill bees and other beneficial insects. There is a recipe floating around the internet, which is mostly vinegar, … Continue reading

An Ogre’s Guide to Quality Systems

Found this old gem in my archives: MISSING  OCTAVE  INSIGHTS,  INC. Newsletter 1/24/07 © 2007, All Rights Reserved http://www.MissingOctave.com An Ogre’s Guide to Quality Systems To misquote a famous green ogre, Quality Systems “are like onions.  They have layers.” We’ve all seen management try to force-fit a one-size-fits-all quality system on a business or product, … Continue reading

Socially Responsible Supply

Here is the latest vision of what we are doing with MOI Labs, a spin-off of Missing Octave Insights.  A worm’s eye view is that we are going to sell janitorial cleaning supplies and floor finishes, but the vision is so much more of that. We are going to be the science nerds who evaluate … Continue reading

Patenting Medications

In the bad old days, inventions sometimes died with their inventors, since innovation was a closely guarded secret.  The US government recognized that to grow stronger industry, this loss had to be stopped.  They hit on the idea of a quid-pro-quo — inventors who disclosed and taught their inventions to the world would get a … Continue reading

Analytical Laboratory

Our MOI Labs facility was set up to service W2Fuel, nominally a biodiesel company.  We spent 2 years developing expertise, procedures, and getting ready for certification.  With their abrupt cessation of support, due to their inability to make any money off biodiesel (long story), they are taking back custody of the capital investment (i.e., the … Continue reading

Mutagenic Chemicals: The Ames Test

Dr. Ames invented a test to determine how mutagenic any given chemical was.  He introduced it to a bacteria culture and looked for upsets.  This is almost the same as looking for carcinogens, except that our metabolism changes one chemical into one or more others, and the bacteria don’t mimic this.  But it is a … Continue reading

The Same but Better

        We are often asked to make something “just like that, but better” in some regards.  In formulating, there is no free lunch, so you must always trade off one property against another, and such requests drive us crazy. In analytical work, the paradox is that improving a method does not always … Continue reading

Impure Solvent Media

Sometimes you find yourself stymied because the thing you are looking for in an analytical test is already present in the solvent you would use to prepare a series of standards.  An example might be calcium background in your tap water supply, or a trace of organic A in your organic B solvent. The way … Continue reading

Internal vs. External Standards

         In most situations, we use “external standards” whereby the unknown is in one bottle, the standard is in another bottle, we run both through a test, and compare them. Internal standards are used when you’re not sure that the AMOUNT of sample and standard solutions can be controlled precisely enough. For … Continue reading

Choosing Dilution Factor

         Always you are faced with whether to run an unknown sample at full strength, or whether to dilute it before analyzing it.  You might do that because too strong a response/signal could either put your readings off-scale, or make a test run an inordinatly long amount of time.  You might also … Continue reading

Detection Limits

         Whenever you get an analytical result, it should be accompanied by a qualification of how precise the result is.  This is usually implied by how many significant digits you report.  Ideally you should run a standard sample enough times to get good statistical measures of both the average value, and the … Continue reading