Wednesday, June 17

Nerd Camp For Nerds

In my quest to rule microbiology with an iron fist, I am spending six weeks this summer in Woods Hole, MA in a microbial diversity course at the MBL (formally: Marine Biological Laboratories). This is awesome news for my future as a scientist - as it has been three days and already I've learned an amazing amount of material.

[It is kind of bad news because my fledgling relationship with Bombshell may be strained as the six weeks drag on. She also happens to be studying for a major grad school exam, further adding to her stress level. I have complete faith that everything will be fine - it would so suck otherwise - but she may come and visit over 4th of July *fingers crossed*]

Microbes are funny things to work with. You can't capture individuals like in classical ecology and studying how they grow is limited to the species we can grow in a lab - which is not a lot. Maybe about 1% of all species can be cultured with our current know how, which is really small considering there is more bacterial species on Earth than there are visible stars. But some of the ones we can grow are ridiculously awesome. Like this one:
These organisms are bioluminescent. When cell densities reach a certain threshold, all the neighboring cells begin to glow. This picture was taken with my regular camera in a dark room - no other light source. No UV light - this isn't like a black light poster. They are so bright you can actually read my writing on the Perti dish in the lower part of the picture (it's upside down).

I am not sure which species this is right now. We'll be identifying it using molecular/DNA techniques later this week. I'll keep you informed because I know you are on the edge of your seat.

Friday, June 12


Anyone who has been reading a while - I have been dating Bombshell for 7 weeks now. It's been AMAZING!

My muse!

I know it's been a while.

I have been lacking inspiration for some time. But this cheered me right up. I have been musing on how to fix the out of date economies of several big industries in this country (and the world) - the music monopoly and print publishers. The internet should be free (and hopefully always will be). And ads don't work because unlike the limited space of a newspaper (where real estate is limited) the internet has limitless space and the ability to link endlessly away from a page where the ads are situated. Not to mention we all ignore ads to begin with.

But still the old guard refuses to admit defeat and devise a new way to weasel money out of the general public. They demand protection from us evil citizens - who "rob" them blindly.

And then I saw this article about France's attempt to curtail piracy - Top French court rips heart out of Sarkozy internet law. *BOOM* Completely stopped in its tracks. Access to the internet is an unalienable right. Plus - the government has no right to track an individuals internet use. Nor can a administrative agency impose justice. Especially without giving an individual due process under the law to defend themselves.

Stop complaining about being a billion dollar industry, music companies. Come up with a new sustainable business plan and stop whining. (I do in fact feel bad for print media - they are getting a bum rap and should be paid for the time. they were never paid much to begin with)

any revolutionary business plans you want to share?

Tuesday, April 21

Besides science...

which I am doing all the time, it seems. There really isn't too much happening in my scene.

Spring kickball season started this past Sunday. I'm not sure I want to talk about it because we lost so terribly. It was a building game. We didn't have the whole team. The beer arrived late, so we had to plan sober and clean. We are great a making excuses! But it seems that now I have full understanding of our league's rules, I have become a rule-lawyer. Which every team needs, I guess, because last season we got lawyered by senior teams several times.

On a girl note (because I think that is all some of you come to read about):

1) things with Bombshell are more complicated than ever. I have been trying my best not to be drawn in and there are several (read: everyone) who are acting a solid foundations to prevent this. I am reminded of something a friend used to say in high school "When you like a girl, everything she does is a sign." Too many signs for them to be signs I think.

2) I think ShowBiz has given me the old heave-ho. Not sure for what reason, but I like to pride myself on being able to read people. And what I am reading is total disinterest (maybe disgust, repulsion, etc.). I am promising myself not to ask her why. For the off chance that I am reading it wrong, I am not writing her off all together, but the ball is her court now.

3) Ophir is definitely the most realistic, down-to-earth person I know. She made it very clear that things are not going to work because she is out of here in less then 2 months. And I whole-heartedly agree. Never doing long distance again. EVER. LA is bad enough with having to wait in traffic for hours at a time just to see someone in the city. Too bad I didn't say something back in October/November. Oh well. You snooze, you lose. And I snoozed, and lost.

Where are your independent news source suggestions!?!?!?!

Friday, April 17

Insightful Quote #2

Years of studies of patients who don't take their meds, grownups who have unsafe sex, and other flawed decision makers have chronicled the irrationality of Homo sapiens. Some of our foibles are quite specific, like overvaluing things we have, overeating food in larger containers and overestimating the probability of improbable events — the quirk that made the Meet Barack Obama fundraising lottery such a smart idea. But in general, we're ignorant, shortsighted and biased toward the status quo. We're not as smart as Larry Summers. We procrastinate. Our impulsive ids overwhelm our logical superegos. We plan to lose weight, but ooh — a cupcake! We're especially irrational about money; we'll pay more for the same thing if we can use a credit card, if we think it's on sale, if it's marketed with photos of attractive women. No wonder we apply for mortgages we can't afford. No wonder our bankers approve them.

Michael Grunwald, TIME Magazine

Insightful Quote

In fact, Obama is betting his presidency on our ability to change our behavior. His top priorities — the economy, health care and energy — all depend on it. We need to spend more money now to avert a short-term depression, then save more money later to secure our long-term economic future. We need to consume less energy in order to reduce our oil imports and carbon emissions as well as our household expenses. We need to quit smoking, lay off the Twinkies and avoid other risky behaviors that both damage our personal health and boost the costs of care that are ravaging the nation's fiscal health. Basically, we need to make better choices — about mortgages and credit cards, insurance and retirement plans — so we won't need bailouts down the road.
Michael Grunwald, TIME Magazine