Monday, November 16, 2020

Going into business as "Tainted Chemicals Wholesaler: Supplying Mad Scientists with Irreproducible Results since 1993". BRB

When chemical reagents expire with the passage of time, or are contaminated with other unidentified salts or replaced by them somewhere along the supply chain, the results of experiments using the mystery impurity are spectacular though non-replicable. This always happens: it must be a tradition, or an old charter or something. Add Sasidharan (2012) to the list of victims of reagent contamination:
Unfortunately, since becoming aware of this, we have been unable to characterize the original sample, now used up, and we have been unable to obtain a verified equivalent one from the local commercial supplier we used. In light of these facts, since we can no longer associate with any confidence our experimental results with the compound lantadene A, we would like to withdraw our paper until such a time that we can obtain a new sample, check its identity and redo the work.
Their unfortunate experience fills a gap between Dr Jeckyll's retraction of his initially promising results in 18--...
My provision of the salt, which had never been renewed since the date of the first experiment, began to run low. I sent out for a fresh supply, and mixed the draught; the ebullition followed, and the first change of colour, not the second; I drank it and it was without efficiency.
... and the 'Expired Curcumin Retraction' of Jaio et al. (2017).
the corresponding author ... notified the editorial office that the curcumin used in this study was expired at the time of use. The authors expressed concern that this may have affected the results of the MTT assays and microarray expression experiments reported in the article; they are unable to repeat the experiments at this time. Due to concerns about the validity of the data and results reported in this work, the authors and the PLOS ONE Editors retract this article.
Another link in this chain, forged from 24-carat Narrativium, is the enigmatic 'white powder' of the Leicester Case.
There seems no reason to doubt the truth of the man's tale; he no doubt got, as he says, the rather uncommon salt you prescribed from the wholesale chemist's, and it has probably remained on his shelf for twenty years, or perhaps longer. Here what we call chance and coincidence begin to work; during all these years the salt in the bottle was exposed to certain recurring variations of temperature, variations probably ranging from 40° to 80°.
What I'm saying is not to expect such spectacular effects from this year's Riddled Christmas Ale as happened last year.

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