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Labs and Casinos: Sisters from Another Mister

Posted in: Soft Skills and Tools
Lab Casino

Casinos and labs have absolutely nothing in common… or do they? While scientists often dedicate their life’s work to a specific mechanism/protein/etc., those that frequent casinos are also fueled by a desire to get that perfect hand dealt/Keno score/etc.

Curiously, several aspects of the laboratory and casino environments are eerily similar. I know, I was shocked, too! Could there be a Big Brother Overlord working to push both groups of people to greatness? Possibly. Or they could just be goofy coincidences. Either way, here are just a few of the environmental experiences that link these two groups.

What Time Is It?

Being able to keep track of the time is a crucial part to any scientist’s daily life. Between experimental timing and wondering when lunch is (the answer is always), we should all be gifted wristwatches upon entering the laboratory. But alas, we instead depend upon wall clocks and timers. Unfortunately, in my experience, most of these clocks either don’t work, or are not set to the correct time. As in “Oh, actually that clock works fine, it’s just 53.75 minutes behind.” Seriously?

Interestingly, it just so happens that casinos don’t have ANY clocks around. Nada. Go ahead, I’ll wait while you check… see? Crazy! While time issues in the lab usually amounts to no available batteries, no ladders that are tall enough to reach said clock, or no one available to perform Clock Master duties. The lack of timepieces in a casino is believed to make it easier for you to forget what time it is and, thus, hone your craft. If you’re in a pinch, you could always take a glance outside to get an idea of the time but….

And Where Is the Sun?

Casinos are notorious for not having any accessible windows! Again, an idea likely set up to provide patrons with an environment where they can focus on the task at hand. This also just happens to be a characteristic of some laboratories, particularly those in that are more centrally located or in older buildings. Hmmm…

Does This Place Ever Shut Down?

As one can expect, without any convenient way to tell what time it is, casinos are pretty busy regardless of the time of day. And, as we all know, labs are also known to house their own personnel at odd hours, particularly when waiting for a 12-hour time-point to roll along. Who can think about going home when perfection is on the line?!

Feed Me

Regardless of what time it is or how long you’ve been there, one of the high points of being in a casino is the food. Trust me—I have found some of the best food right past a “Wheel of Fortune” slot machine. Same goes for labs—if you’re around long enough, many times you can find free food either leftover from lab meetings or conferences (hello, turkey club), or brought in from a rep (#bagels4lyfe).

Where Is That Beeping Sound Coming From?

Casinos are pretty loud places. All the lights, whistles, and bells make it pretty hard to pay attention to whatever you’re working on. Have you heard this one before? Oh yes, the lab. With multiple experiments going on, either yours or your labmate’s, it seems as though there is always a timer going off or some machine run amok. Am I the only one who hears them???

So, the next time you’re spending an extra-long night in the lab, or are desperate to know what time it is, pull strength from the knowledge that your casino brothers- and sisters-in-arms are in the same predicament. For glory!

Are there any other places that remind you of labs, or vice versa? Comment below!

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Image Credit: Jim G
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