Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Speaking Truth to Gibberish

This pretty much sounds like the definition of "awesome," no? The Sokal Hoax. Damn...the reading list just never stops growing, does it?

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Grow Your Own

Perhaps it's my science nut side speaking, but I think these are actually extremely cool, both artistically and experimentally: "Bone rings exchanged by couples."

Monday, December 11, 2006

Quizzie Time: These Boots Are Made for Rhapsodizing

How can a girl resist such a quiz, I ask you? Ha! Indeed she cannot...

You Are Bold Red Boots

You like to put your most outrageous foot forward!

Most outrageous foot forward? I dunno about that--what says the readership? But, hello, would you look at those boots! Seriously. Does not their marriage of refined lines with the spark of color cause flutterings of the heart, shortness of breath, and assorted other symptoms of infatuation? They have this air of, oh...exuberance and self-possession, of... je ne sais quoi. I confess I do own a pair of red boots--not supremely fabulous heeled ones like those above, but red boots nonetheless.

The Manolo, he would be most pleased. :P

And on the house:

You Are White Wine

Breezy and casual, you know how to have fun when you're drinking.
And even though you can kick back with a few drinks, you never let things get out of hand.
Alcohol is not a social lubricant for you... it just enhances your already sparkling personality.
You prefer to date a man who is optimistic, friendly, and funny.

Quite so. Gerwurtz or Riesling, please. Although, I have learned to not to drink and translate.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

"Bankers Do Models"

These are for the bankers out there who appreciate an inside joke, and for those who love them and take the inside jokes with an eye roll or two. My personal favorite is the "Suffer in Style" shirt.

Disclaimer: I make nothing from the plug. Although, *cough* I daresay it wouldn't hurt *cough*... ;)

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

"It would prevent much and complicated misery in the world..."

I could not help but be greatly amused by the following item (and also be somewhat reminded of this exchange):

"2874. There is no reason why the passion of love should be wrapped up in mystery. It would prevent much and complicated misery in the world, if all young persons understood it."

-from Inquire Within for Anything You Want to Know, or Over Three Thousand Seven Hundred Facts Worth Knowing (New York: Dick and Fitzgerald, 1856), excerpted at greater length here and here.

Oh, well, if you put it like that...!

In all seriousness, the excerpts are a charming read. If only today's society would reinstitute an expectation of gentlemanliness and respectability!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Monday, Monday

It's Monday, it's cold, finals are looming all too near...time for some puppy tongue.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006


According to the handy dandy Weather Channel temperature thingamajig on my computer, it is currently 9--no, wait, now it's 10--degrees outside in Minneapolis. Visual analysis indicates there is indeed ice on the inside of my windows. Taken together, this evidence can mean only one thing: winter has officially arrived and as soon as we pull out the down jackets and fur mittens (yay!) the region may be referred to as the "Frozen Taiga of the North," and the Little Bro may now call to let me know how warm it is in California. Just thought I'd share :)

The upside? "It's always summer in the fishroom!"TM

Hot chocolate, anyone?

Tempest... the Mondale Teapot.

Monday, November 27, 2006

I'm sure I've said this before, but...

The next time I think it's a good idea to leave something until the very last minute, please, well, please DO something drastic! (I once requested to be threatened with beets and it worked reasonably well.)

Will I never learn?

Thursday, November 16, 2006


RIP, Milton Freedman.

Monday, November 13, 2006


Yes, it's true!

Some folks at Claremont McKenna have taken political junkyism to a Whole New Level with the creation of...Fantasy Congress! (Does Pomona wish they'd thought of it first?) The Nomad Little Bro, a proud CMC alum and government (and finance) junkie, mentioned this brilliant new development recently, and a scroll through the Corner just now reminded me of it. Very awesome.

I have a hunch at least a few friends out there could get very excited about Fantasy Congress ;) Maybe more than a few, even.

Now if only they'd add a "Bury that bill!" t-shirt, or perhaps "Step away from the purse strings!"...

Hey, Little Bro, have Pitney, Kesler, & Co. formed teams too? Oh, and Bernard Lewis is speaking at the Ath next Tuesday! Pity you're not still there. And yes, I *heart* my Claremont Review of Books, even though it didn't come until, like, October.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

All Astonishment!

Go Tigers: it's a bonfire year!

8-1 on the year? Goodness, gents! I am pleasantly shocked indeed. And to everyone who can attend the bonfire, enjoy!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006


Oy. Sigh. I am but one little lass with one little vote, which I did wield, albeit to no avail; nor have I anything to say at the moment, for there's been quite a bit of worthwhile chattering by others recently. Do, however, remind me not to leave funding applications until the last minute: I'm not yet fully qualified as a professional mendicant, so writing this bloody stuff is going to take a while yet. Plus, I hate filling out applications in general. What I would like to say is:

"Hi! I'm cute (for a baby scientist, anyway) and bouncy and I love biology, especially the really cool biology our lab is doing. In fact, I love it so much I enlisted for a PhD, which will be totally awesome, I'm sure, but now I need money. Please fund me! Thanks!" ("Vote for Elle!")

Don't you think that would work?

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Sunday, October 29, 2006


While reading an assigned paper for my grant writing class, I ran across this sentence: "Thus, in addition to reduced levels of intracellular p55Gag processing, rodent cells diplay a significant defect in viral egress."

I've been feeling particularly nostalgic of late for the Good Old Days, so you can imagine my pausing for a little amusement. Egress, by Jove! Why, I do believe that's the only other use of egress I've ever seen. Viral egress, eh? Quick, fine the little suckers! :)

Quizzie Time: Narnia and Hogwarts

Just the thing for a Sunday morning...

As Jill, you are confident, respectful, and a little bit bossy! You have an acquired taste for adventure, and love any challenge that you have to face.

As Minerva McGonagall, your strict facade is complimented by a warm heart, and you always do what is for the greater good.

Alas, I suspect that the greater good is probably well served by my shuffling off to do work...

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

There can be only one...

Courtesy of Ben:
LogoThere are:
[other] people with my name in the U.S.A.
How many have your name?

Sweet! Sweet vidalia onions, even!

Assuming this result is in fact correct, the explanation is that although my familial name is not an uncommon one, our particular spelling is rather non-standard. When two of the most common spellings are used, the program indicates there are 25 or so other ladies out there pretending to be me. I’m told the non-standard spelling occurred on an ancestor’s army papers. Mind you, I have never in my 25 years of communicating my name to others had anyone manage to replicate that feat. But hey, who am I to argue?

And speaking of spelling…

Oh, and bonus points towards a Halo Pub tiny for spotting the reference…

Wednesday, October 18, 2006

The Ultimate Fan

You know, I can see how these could do rather well in Boston/Northern New England. But the real fans will be sure to get theirs autographed before they head to the great ballpark in the sky.

Thursday, October 12, 2006

"Googlian Monk"


I just love the word "smite." Alas, not unlike "gargantuan," one so rarely has the opportunity to use it in a sentence.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Quizzie Time: Seasons

You Belong in Fall

Intelligent, introspective, and quite expressive at times...
You appreciate the changes in color, climate, and mood that fall brings. Whether you're carving wacky pumpkins or taking long drives, autumn is a favorite time of year for you

Sunday, October 08, 2006

The New Lab Sport: Extreme Sequencing

Today's mild nerdiness:

A $10 million prize for cheap and rapid sequencing of the human genome was announced [Oct. 5th] by the X Prize Foundation of Santa Monica, Calif.

The terms of the prize require competitors to sequence 100 human genomes of their
choice within 10 days, and within six months those of a further 100 people
chosen by the foundation.

[...] The announcement of the prize brought together two former rivals, Drs. J.
Craig Venter
of the Venter Institute and Francis S. Collins, head of the National Human Genome Research Institute, which financed the government project to sequence, or decode, the genome.

The government and Dr. Venter sequenced draft versions of the genome. The cost of the version that the government completed in 2003 was probably around $500 million, though no precise figure has been given.

Some experts foresee a medical revolution if the cost of DNA sequencing can be brought low enough that a person’s genome could be decoded as part of routine treatment. Several companies have developed novel methods of sequencing, with the eventual goal of decoding a human genome for as little as $1,000.

The foundation has not determined a critical parameter, how complete the genomes need to be. The present “complete” human genome has many gaps and is only as complete as present technology can make it.

A worthy, if audacious goal. Perhaps the competitors would like to start by practicing on some model organisms, such as the zebrafish, for instance? Please? We're definitely in need of an improved genome build, and you all know that model organisms are crucial for research efforts to benefit humans. (Improved annotation would be lovely, too, thanks.)

Way to Go, Bro

I'd like to take advantage of this virtual soapbox to congratulate the Little Bro on his gainful re-employment: real I-banking just like he's wanted to do! Very soon he will be a denizen of San Fran, the land of Ghiradelli and shiny gold shorts, and a happy hedgehog co-owner! (All the while carrying out a torrid affair with Excel, no doubt ;)

Well done, bro, very well done, I'm really proud of you! I'm sure your soul will appreciate in value quickly...

Wait...isn't SF C.O. HQ? Now I'm jealous!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Middling to Mediocre

Up at NRO's higher ed blog this morning, more unfortunately unsurprising news regarding just how little we learn (entire post below):

"On the heels of the ISI report, which examined civic and historical knowledge, comes a report on skill levels of high school, two-year colleges, and four-year colleges by the Conference Board. The survey asked emplyers about the skills and knowledges important in the coming economy, then asked them how there recent applicants hires measured up. Here are a few results just in areas of reading and writing:

  • Only 3.4 percent of respondents rated high school graduates "Excellent" in reading comprehension. 38.4 percent rated them as "Deficient."
  • Only 4.2 percent rated two-year college graduates as reaching "Excellent" in reading, while 25.9 percent gave four-year college graduates "Excellent."
  • For two-year college grads, 12.8 percent gave them "Deficient" in reading, while 5.1 percent judged four-year college grads deficient.
  • A mere 0.8 percent of respondents gave high school grads "Excellent" in writing, while a whopping 72 percent rated them "Deficient."
  • For two-year college grads, 46.4 percent gave them "Deficient" in writing, while 26.2 percent of respondents gave four-year college grads "Deficient."

[But I'll bet you a sundae many of the students feel really good! -ed.]

The study also tabulated areas of "Humanities/Arts," foreign languages, science, and government/economics."

Oh dear. I'll try to read the report later, but that doesn't make it look terribly promising. I'll readily admit that I have a long way to go before I'd consider myself well-educated* according to any standard, and that after four years of college, two years of law school, and one-plus year of grad school my writing ability is but a shadow of its former self,** but still....!

* I absolutely stand by that.

** People persist in assuming I must be a good writer. I'd like to believe it, but sitting down to try to write anything coherent these days (say, for my grant writing class) forces me to question that assumption. I would like to lay the blame on the difficulty of trying clearly to express complex subject matter, but I think it falls much more heavily on Yours Truly.

Monday, October 02, 2006

A Little Humor Goes a Long Way?

Hmmm...I could be waaay behind the curve--not an infrequent occurrence, mind you--but if it's accurate, then this report is (1) reasonably funny, and (2) interesting, no? Shades of Florence* & Co., what?

*Florence of Arabia was probably my second-favorite book of the year, the first being Reading Lolita in Teheran.

Sculptural Science

You know it took all of one sentence to convince me I want to go stroll through this nifty-looking "Quark Park" installation! According to the website, it's only up through November--is this not an injustice to the out-of-towners?--so you'd better hurry over, if you're in the area. Enjoy!

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Front Row Seats

Yes indeed, just noticed that the GOP has selected my next-door neighbor for the 2008 convention venue. Way to go, guys! Who knows what the next two years will bring, but regardless, it will be fascinating to see the convention hoopla up close and personal-ish.

How Little Students Know

Unfortunately, this report is incredibly unsurprising.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Expression of the Day

"the great ganglions of history"

Snipped from
Francis Collins quoting C.S. Lewis in Collins' The Language of God, for which I splurged over the weekend and am not supposed to be reading until the assignment for my grant writing class is finished. Oops. I return to (re)writing anon.

On a completely unrelated note, Happy Shostakovich's 100th Birthday! Consequently, MPR has been featuring him all day, which not only makes for wonderfully interesting and provocative listening but also makes the listener mindful of the history of his time and place. In addition, Shostakovich is a welcome respite from the year-long Mozart 250th celebrations: one can have too much Mozart.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Tidings of Great Joy?

I have long lamented that my phenotype is one of straight brown hair with nary a freckle in view, rather than curly red hair with an abundance of freckles. (Just one of the reasons I love Weasleys, can you tell?) However, I do not envy the redheads everything, for both they and I have the pale skin plague. Is there yet hope for us persons of pallor?* I wonder whether or not we have the same allele, but I'll keep my fingers crossed. Much good all that would do in the Minnesota winter, of course!

* I don't know the original source of "persons of pallor," but as far as I know, it's borrowed from James Taranto. I give the expression points for being both delightfully cheeky and for allowing me succinctly to express the perennial disappointment of being sorely lacking in the melanin department.

Monday, September 18, 2006

The Mighty Zebrafish

As you, friends and readers, may well know, I love my lab. For that reason, I am pleased to note that a subset of our previous and current fish work has been featured today on the UMN website. After all, one can't have too much science (although I do have a good deal to do before I sleep).

**Disclaimer: the ideas, opinions, and other scribblings of this blogger are in no way affiliated with or representative of her laboratory--likely the opposite--and ought not be taken as such.**

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Just One of Those Things

I kind of hate to admit this, but I will probably never love opera. Who knows, someday I may be utterly blown away by one and change my mind, but I suspect the likelihood is rather small: there's just too much singing. The orchestral parts, mind you, can be lovely. But the singing...

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Nugget of the Day

Goes to Victor Davis Hansen for his pithy "immune to notions of deterrence." As with all things, it's best in context. RTWT.

Friday, September 08, 2006

A little Friday amusement, at least for the Mainers and Bean's devotees out there, at a New Yorker's expense:

Travelers in Maine have long flocked to L.L. Bean's mother-ship store in Freeport and been delighted to discover that it really is open 24/7 and buzzes with shoppers even at 3 a.m. But none was so surprised perhaps as Alex Kuczynski on a recent visit. "I've long been a customer of Bean's fleece jackets and flannel pajamas," she reported in yesterday's New York Times, "and it never occurred to me that the company makes much of its profits from hunting gear.
Wandering among the camouflage hunting outfits and Gerber Ripstop knives is like finding out your new beau is a member of the N.R.A., hates his mother and splits the check at dinner." The secret is out.

Hmmmmmmmmm. You don't say. In all fairness, the full article is here, in which Ms. Kuczynski demonstrates she is not entirely unaware of the origins of L.L. Bean and not completely insensitive. But I still get to poke fun at New Yorkers! ...If only they knew what chuckles they provide for the poor-relation blue staters, who, nevertheless, do appreciate the tourist dollars (even not always so appreciative of the tourists themselves).

Although, just to be on the safe side, I do suggest never showing her the
Cabela's catalog. (And no, I will never own that.)

FYI, the proper technical terms, at least in my household, are "Bean boots" and "Bean bags."

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Oh, and by the way...

...don't mind us, we'll be building another building or 47. Hmmm. I don't recall hearing about anything other than a new chemistry building and the walkways and whatnot. Then again, I've been pretty distracted this summer, so I'm willing to give the PTBs the benefit of the doubt. However, I request full disclosure of all further building plans for the next 30 years or so. In triplicate, on acid-free paper. Thanks.

Reminds me of a classmate's quip a few years back that when he was a rich alum, he'd give money to tear down a building and replant some grass. (I'm paraphrasing, but I think that's pretty close.) And you know, I may be a peniless young alum yet to really make her way in the world, but I shudder to think of how little green space may be left by the time my currently nonexistent children matriculate. (Yes, El Novio has been informed that is where my children will be going.) Oh well, I'll just be relieved it's not another Frank Gehry heap o' metal.

I should stop procrastinating, shouldn't I.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Sunday, September 03, 2006

Here's to you,

Mr. Political Blogger Guy. So funny, so true! [h/t TH]

What about Ms. Political Blogger? I guess she'll just have to settle for good beer ;)

Friday, September 01, 2006

That's "Dr." to you!

That pretty much says it all, doesn't it?

Ladies and Gents, Friends and Loved Ones, I am exceedingly pleased to announce that I received word just today that the admissions committee has unanimously approved my request to change from JD/MS to JD/PhD and the requisite paperwork is being processed.

This is thrilling news indeed, especially because it means I get to hang out in an academic lab for the next couple of years! (Yes, I'm still a starry-eyed grad student, not yet a bitter one.) And, honestly, it makes one's day to hear oneself called a "strong applicant," even if one personally doesn't feel that way.

And on that note, I wish you a wonderful long weekend! As for the future Dr. Nomad, well she's going to go sit in the Comfy Chair and attempt to simultaneously read for Patents and deny that classes begin on Tuesday...or just pester El Novio. We shall see.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Just that side of ordinary

This is for all those who are not the biggest fan of green apples--you know, those sweet-tart ones?--but yet inherited one from their roomate and didn't want it to go to waste. Plus, it's a Wednesday night, which needs a little spicing up.

Green apple roll-ups
Small tortillas
Smoked gouda with black peppercorns
Green apple, thinly sliced

Lay the gouda slices on tortilla and microwave ~30 seconds or so.
Add apple slices.
(Well, you try writing an highbrow methods section for this one.)

I know it sounds weird, but it worked surprisingly well. The apples and cheese complemented each other and the tortilla did alot to tone them down. In fact, I thought they were rather tasty. Trust me. If I had more apple, I'd make another one.

"Yes, yes," you say impatiently, "Why another fridge post when there is so much else of real concern in the world?" Because, friends, sometimes I am frustrated with those concerns here (whatever it is, just stop it) and abroad (yes, Ahmenawhatsit and his cronies are nasty pieces of work and no, they ain't gonna like you whatever you do 'cuz they don't want to be your friends). Sometimes, I want to cross my arms and frown at the rest of the world and say "Why don't you get back to me when you're done screwing around?" Sometimes, I want to do some laundry and miss El Novio and mix together the mismatched contents of my fridge in creative ways in the relative quiet of my own wee bachelorette pad.

Then, having overindulged in bread and queso, I want to go to the gym--for which activity I think I still have a little bit of time. After all, if a girl gets to dress up on Friday, she should make a little bit of effort, no?

Friday, August 18, 2006

And then sometimes...

...I'm just plain ol' puzzled. Why is there a feather in my strawberries?

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

Quizzie Time

Because I don't feel like getting ready to go to work just yet...

Your Linguistic Profile:
50% General American English
30% Yankee
15% Upper Midwestern
0% Dixie
0% Midwestern

Ok, now I do.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Welcome, Sibling!

***News Flash***

Ladies and Gentlemen, your attention please!

It gives me great pleasure to present the newest member of the Blogosphere, the Armchair Nomad's one and only Little Brother*! You may find him, styling himself "a cosmopolitan stag" at A Stag's Mental Leap, wherein he shall take up keyboard and pixel whenever the inspiration (or vexation, as the case may be) strikes.

So, dear readers, please join me in raising your pints of blueberry beer in a warm Bienvenido! and an Evax! for not only having graduated as a proud member of the CMC Class of 2006 but also for having a Real Job! (Dude, I think you have me beat...)

* Note: he prefers Younger Brother, but I am loathe to part with Little. He may also be pleased to hear that I have recently subscribed to the Claremont Review of Books and eagerly await my first issue.

Monday, July 31, 2006


Data? What are these "data" of which you speak?

Monday, July 24, 2006

Saucy Adventures

Since it was suggested a while back that I "update [my] own darned blog," here 'tis...sort of...

It may happen that after a lass returns from a fabulous and relaxing lake weekend with El Novio, she finds herself very happy--albeit slightly water-bruised and sun-crisped, but all the better for the wear--but with fruit in the fridge that hasn't much longer to live. Whereupon, she, having no prior experience in creative berry usage but encouraged by previous positive responses to her culinary adventures by that sweetest and most supportive of Novios, decides to make--all by herself!--a raspberry sauce for an as yet undetermined future use. Or rather, a raspberry-plus sauce.


Clean-Out-Your-Fridge Berry Sauce Protocol*
Raspberries--handful (or more)
Blueberries--handful (or more)
Yellow cherries--handful, diced
1 dried apricot, sliced
1 blackberry (or more)
Some sort of sugar
Crystalized ginger, diced

To small saucepan add more than enough water to cover the bottom. Note that the yield of actual sauce liquid will be less than this amount, so adjust accordingly.

Boil. Add berries, diced cherries, and sliced apricot to boiling water; bring to medium/medium boil and stir. In order to avoid burning anything, I further reduced the heat closer to simmer as it continued and the berries broke apart, but I have no idea if that's actually necessary.

When liquid is nice and dark, stir in Sugar in the Raw (or your preferred type of sugar) and diced crystalized ginger, both to taste; simmer a bit more.

Strain out berry remains. Return sauce liquid to pot. Again on low-ish heat, add cornstarch to thicken (if desired). Add back in some of berry remains, if desired. Final sweetening/ ginger to taste. I went easy on both, but you might like yours sweet and/or with more than a hint of ginger.

Judged yummy in initial taste test (n = me).
Feeds: No idea; probably varies.

Happy Boyfriend Rating (HBR): data not yet available.

*Disclosures: This follows the general outline of sauce recipes available via Google search, but the additional ingredients add, IMNSHO, a dash of creativity and balance out the raspberries.

Monday, July 10, 2006


...from a lovely weekend. Not exactly Petersburg, I know, but a good time was still had...

(Other pictures may go up later if I aquire them.)

Friday, June 02, 2006

Turning the Page

New chapters begin so abruptly...

I know there are words there, but I can't decipher them just yet. Perhaps it begins "Frei aber einsam..."

Thursday, June 01, 2006

"I Won't Revise"

Nicked from a friend finishing up exams 'cross the Pond...(you don't mind, do you, KBee?)

'I won't Revise' (to the tune of 'I will Survive')

At first I was afraid, I was petrified!
Kept thinking I could never pass with no revision guide,
But then I spent so many nights, getting all the questions wrong,
And I grew strong,
And I learned I could scrape along,

I won't look back, to any place,
When I can swallow 15 shots and get completely off my face,
I would have revised by the clock,
I would have had no spare time free,
If I'd thought for just one second my exams would bother me...

So all my notes, are on the floor,
Don't even matter... that there's no rock night anymore...
Weren't you the one who tried to get me to revise?
You think I'd crumble?
You think I'd work towards the skies?

Oh no, not I!
I won't revise!
Unless I die of beer stains, I know I'll stay alive,
Though my money's at an end,
I've my overdraft to spend,
I won't revise,
I won't revise!!

Hey, hey

It took all the strength I had, not to act the part,
But in the end my real revision didn't even start.
I used to sit at home at night, feeling guilty to myself,
I used to try, but now I hold my head up high ..

And you see me! Somebody new!
I'm not that mixed up weird girl who wants a good 2:2
So if you feel like dropping in,chances are that I'll be free,
Coz I've done sod all revision,and I'm failing my degree ...

So all my notes are on the floor,
Don't even matter... that there's no rock night anymore...
Weren't you the one who tried to get me to revise?
You think I'd crumble?
You think I'd work towards the skies?

Oh no, not I!
I won't revise,I think that I may scrape a third,
But I could be telling lies!
Let the lecturers all scorn,
My bed's far too nice and warm,
I won't revise,
I won't revise!!!

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

Rising Star

It's always heartwarming to see good things happen to people you know, whether it is someone you know well and love dearly, or one you knew only fleetingly.

Many years ago, I auditioned for Bay Chamber Concerts' summer chamber music camp for the first time, and received in return a part for a four-violin piece (by Telemann?). Upon our arrival at the first rehearsal, we discovered that the first violinist was not from Maine but from Chicago--a nice little girl named Tai, who was already quite good. Somewhere is the picture I had in my case for a long time: four little girls in concert clothes standing in front of the Rockport Opera House stage and smiling in the afternoon sunlight.

As it turns out, Tai is not so little anymore, and is doing well, as per an article the Nomad Mom sent along just this morning:

Violinist Tai Murray, a 23-year-old from Chicago who spent two years getting her artist's diploma, is also among the lucky ones. She had a budding career before she got to Juilliard, starting with solo concerts when she was 9. She now has a New York manager and a CD on the way, and she lives in her own Manhattan apartment on money earned playing concerts.

"For me, Juilliard was a haven. It gave me a base to hold on to in the bigness of New York," said Murray, who recently returned from an appearance with an orchestra in Denmark.

So, congratulations, Tai, whatever notes you're playing at the moment--here's to your passion, your talent, and to what I hope is your continuing success! You may never see this, but...Make beautiful music, and I hope to hear you play someday!

Friday, May 19, 2006

Yet another quizzie: Intuition

Very Well-Rounded

You have:
The graph on the right represents your place in Intuition 2-Space. As you can see, you scored above average on emotional intuition and above average on scientific intuition. (Weirdly, your emotional and scientific intuitions are equally strong.)

Your Emotional Intuition score is a measure of how well you understand people, especially their unspoken needs and sympathies. A high score score usually indicates social grace and persuasiveness. A low score usually means you're good at Quake.

Your Scientific Intuition score tells you how in tune you are with the world around you; how well you understand your physical and intellectual environment. People with high scores here are apt to succeed in business and, of course, the sciences.

Try my other test!
The 3 Variable Funny Test
It rules.

My test tracked 2 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Scientific

free online datingfree online dating
You scored higher than 99% on Interpersonal
The 2-Variable Intuition Test

Thursday, May 11, 2006


Today the Joint Degree Program sent the current members an end-of-year email, including a list of those who will be entering the program this fall and what their other degree will be. There are not one, but TWO brave souls signed up for JD/MD.


I bow. Seriously. That's hard core.

(That, and I lived in mortal fear of the MCAT and had no intention of taking it, so I applaud those who did.)

Monday, May 08, 2006

Be the gene

Be the gene...

Repeat ad infinitum.

One Red Paperclip

Has the last good idea been taken? I don't know, but it's crazy and creative...and I wish I'd thought of it first!! Although I don't think I'd trade for a house just yet--probably couldn't afford the property taxes. Of course, if someone out there wants to make an offer for a binder clip (small or large) or a GOP elephant Beanie Baby, I won't stop you... (Although, the elephant is kinda cute; might require a particularly good offer to part with it.)

An interesting study in valuation, Little Bro?

(h/t Table of Malcontents)

Friday, May 05, 2006

Fearfully and Wonderfully Made

Body Works arrives in Minnesota...I have secured a ticket for later this month and am eager to attend!

[Disclaimer: You may find the pictures available through those links shocking or disturbing--please don't feel compelled to look, but I hope you do browse! These exhibits are not without inherent controversy, although the official program publicly maintains that all bodies have been ethically obtained. I don't think I see anything in those promotional materials of previous exhibits that I would term vulgar or disrespectful to the real persons who lived in those bodies, and hope to find the actual exhibit consistent with that theme. I hope it is a way for all of us to better appreciate and understand the marvel of the body.]

Monday, May 01, 2006

Making Sense of History

A brief perusal of the news this morning before turning to the last day to work on the paper (not a good thing--there is yet much to be done) yielded this warm tribute by Fouad Ajami to Bernard Lewis, full of deepest respect for Lewis as a gifted and perceptive historian. The following four paragraphs struck me particularly, further brightening the proverbial light bulb. (Any emphasis added is mine.)

The rage of Islam was no mystery to Mr. Lewis. To no great surprise, it issued out of his respect for the Muslim logic of things. For 14 centuries, he wrote, Islam and Christendom had feuded and fought across a bloody and shifting frontier, their enmity a "series of attacks and counterattacks, jihads and crusades, conquests and reconquests." For nearly a millennium, Islam had the upper hand. The new faith conquered Syria, Palestine, Egypt and North Africa--old Christian lands, it should be recalled. It struck into Europe, established dominions in Sicily, Spain, Portugal and in parts of France. Before the tide turned, there had been panic in Europe that Christendom was doomed. In a series of letters written from Constantinople between 1555 and 1560, Ogier Ghiselin de Busbecq, imperial ambassador to the court of Suleyman the Magnificent, anguished over Europe's fate; he was sure that the Turks were about to "fly at our throats, supported by the might of the whole East." Europe, he worried, was squandering its wealth, "seeking the Indies and the Antipodes across vast fields of ocean, in search of gold."

But Busbecq, we know, had it wrong. The threat of Islam was turned back. The wealth brought back from the New World helped turn the terms of trade against Islam. Europe's confidence soared. The great turning point came in 1683, when a Turkish siege of Vienna ended in failure and defeat. With the Turks on the run, the terms of engagement between Europe and Islam were transformed. Russia overthrew the Tatar yoke; there was the Reconquista in the Iberian Peninsula. Instead of winning every war, Mr. Lewis observes, the Muslims were losing every war. Britain, France, the Netherlands and Russia all soon spilled into Islamic lands. "Europe and her daughters" now disposed of the fate of Muslim domains. Americans and Europeans may regard this new arrangement of power as natural. But Mr. Lewis has been relentless in his admonition that Muslims were under no obligation to accept the new order of things.

A pain afflicts modern Islam--the loss of power. And Mr. Lewis has a keen sense of the Muslim redeemers and would-be avengers who promise to alter Islam's place in the world. This pain, the historian tells us, derives from Islam's early success, from the very triumph of the prophet Muhammad. Moses was not allowed to enter the promised land; he had led his people through wilderness. Jesus had been crucified. But Muhammad had prevailed and had governed. The faith he would bequeath his followers would forever insist on the oneness of religion and politics. Where Christians are enjoined in their scripture to "render unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's and unto God the things which are God's," no such demarcation would be drawn in the theory and practice of Islam.

It was vintage Lewis--reading the sources, in this case a marginal Arabic newspaper published out of London, Al-Quds Al-Arabi, in February of 1998--to come across a declaration of war on the United States by a self-designated holy warrior he had "never heard of," Osama bin Laden. In one of those essays that reveal the historian's eye for things that matter, "A License to Kill," Mr. Lewis would render into sublime English prose the declaration of bin Laden and would give it its exegesis. The historian might have never heard of bin Laden, but the terrorist from Arabia practically walks out of the pages of Mr. Lewis's own histories. Consider this passage from the Arabian plotter: "Since God laid down the Arabian Peninsula, created its desert, and surrounded it with seas, no calamity has ever befallen it like these crusader hosts that have spread in it like locusts, eating its fruits and destroying its verdure; and this at a time when the nations contend against Muslims like diners jostling around a bowl of food. . . . By God's leave, we call on every Muslim who believes in God and hopes for reward to obey God's command to kill the Americans and plunder their possessions whenever he finds them and whenever he can."

Mr. Ajami's full article is here, do give it a read. (I wouldn't be surprised if TigerHawk comments on the same thing when he's out from under the weather. But consider this recommendation for now.)

Saturday, April 29, 2006

"Cornelia’s opinion was not recorded"

[Snicker Alert]

Present-day developmental biology is indebted to both the tremendous efforts of centuries past and also to those fascinating cells, the gametes, without which there would be no new embryonic organisms to awe and intrigue us.

That said, OxBlog has ever so kindly provided the teaser for today's history of science interlude, a review with the delightful opening paragraphs:

Not for Antoni van Leeuwenhoek the post-coital cigarette that day in 1677. No sooner had he finished making love to his wife Cornelia than he was up at his home-made microscope, discovering in his semen a “vast number of living animalcules”, little wriggling creatures with rounded bodies and long, vigorous tails. The Dutch draper and microscopist had confirmed, for the first time, the existence of spermatozoa.

Van Leeuwenhoek’s discovery is the climax of Cobb’s lively if sometimes uneven account of the endeavours of 17th-century scholars to understand the reproductive process in man and other animals. It was a period of remarkable process. In 1650, knowledge had hardly advanced beyond the misguided imaginings of the Ancient Greeks - Aristotle believed the embryo originated from the union of semen and menstrual blood. Yet by the early years of the new century, the roles of the human egg and sperm had been established and a reasonably accurate account of embryonic development published.

Grins aside--I saw that--I think this will probably be going on the to-read list.

Egregious Procrastination...

...does yield interesting items. Among them, Likelihood of Confusion's mention (under the catchy title "No More Star Chamber Rulings") of a new ruling handed down from On High: starting next year, lawyers in federal courts may cite unpublished opinions. (The non-lawyers or non-law students out there may in fact have been unaware that there are such things as unpublished opinions--yes, there are, and there are lots of them.)

This move is, I think, correct--to my mind the continued existence of unpublished opinions is an uncomfortable concept of questionable constitutionality--and am therefore in agreement with Mr. Coleman's comments:

"The issue of non-citability and “not precedential” rulings in the federal courts is a troubling one, because it goes square against the idea of the common law and statutory interpretations as being based on accretions of precedent. There is usually no way for the mortal to know why one decision is regarded as worthy of being deemed precedential and others are not, nor to understand why, if it is not good enough for precedent, the ratio decidendi (if you will!) of a given opinion was good enough for that case. Judge Kozinski takes a shot at explaining why citation to unpublished opinions is not allowed here, essentially arguing from the not-too-principled position that they’re not written all that well, but this still leaves us with the question of published TTAB decisions not being citable."

...Back to work...

Thursday, April 27, 2006


Ah miss mah fishies...

Only a few more days--the project approaches its end, whether I like it or not. As usual, when searching for answers in the realm of muddly legal problems (and I maintain this is a pretty muddy, if entirely futile, one), I am inevitably frustrated at being unable to dice up the collected materials and run them out on a gel; or I lean towards dropping the whole thing in a huff, picking up a pipet, and running a therapeutic PCR or two. On the other hand, an approaching deadline means I'll stop whining soon. Exciting, no?

<Oh my Lord, she'll find something else to talk about! Cheers from the peanut gallery!!>

Ha! Careful what you wish for, or you may find yourself stuck with a "Fun Transposon Fact of the Day" feature or some such thing. Actually, that's not a half-bad idea...

Unfortunately, methinks I may have to take multiple law classes next semester due to some technical requirements on the part of the law school. On the up side, Patents is being offered at a reasonable hour (read, afternoon), and the Lottery kindly gave me both the Patent Prosecution seminar and the IP Transactions seminar, of which I would take one. At this point, I'm unclear as to which that would be, although I lean toward the prosecution one.

However, I inwardly echo a lab mate's sentiments: enough with the classes, already! They take time away from research!

On a non-personal--and therefore more interesting--note, Christina Hoff Summers' review of Harvey Mansfield's Manliness book is here. While tempted to make comment, I shall not do so until after I've read the book. I remain intrigued to read his work. (But I must say, if the relative big-screen depictions of Achilles and Hector were remotely faithful The Iliad, which I admit to not yet having read, then my vote for the most manly is for Hector all the way--no, not just because of Eric Bana, although that certainly doesn't hurt.) [h/t Corner, of course]

And if you're looking to read beautiful thoughts exquisitely expressed, run to Think Denk.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Fanfare for the College Senior

I believe some congratulations are in order... my Little Brother for completing his thesis! I believe it was on something econ-y ;-)
I'm proud of you, Little Bro! And someday, after you've graduated and moved on, you may even look back (almost) fondly.

Saturday, April 22, 2006

What Would Beethoven Think?

It is well known that Yours Truly has great affection for nerdiness &/or geekiness in their various incarnations, is terribly proud of her "nerd's dream girl" title, and herself aspires to be a supreme nerd of zebrafish development and transposon biology--and possibly of IP law as well, but that remains to be seen. She, however, was previously unaware that scanners could play music. No, really.

Does this explain my long-dead printer that insisted on printing a page with a solitary happy face when it was turned on?

{quasi-h/t Sandmonkey}

Travel Bleg

Hi y'all...a travel bleg on behalf of a friend...this is the sort of thing I should know, but as I've been shamefully bad at keeping in touch...which '03s are in or around London?? (I can only think of one at the moment; to all the rest, I apologize.)

Please email me if you think of some names!! Grazie!


Monday, April 17, 2006

Ghosts of Congresses Past

Since the theme of late is the Paper of Doom...The Legislative Branch: Resistance is futile?

"The 3 percent federal telephone excise tax was a temporary funding tool for the Spanish-American War. The U.S. defeated Spain on December 10, 1898, yet this "temporary" tax creeps into its third century. Enough." The entire article is here.

I'll acknowlege that the Court's position, which in my reading more or less leaves the door open for Congress to act under the guise of "necessity" due to a war's "rise and progress" even after said war is "over," is not specious (not entirely). However, it is precisely this sort of power creep, this metastasis, to which I strenuously object. Sigh. Maybe I should just capitulate; maybe the dream of legislative responsibility is an impossible dream...

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

What better way to celebrate Easter than by listening to Symphony of Psalms? And, of course, the Hallelujah Chorus!

Happy Easter!

Saturday, April 08, 2006


I know, I said I wouldn't be blogging, but given the sheer enormity of the task before me, this won't kill me.

Behold, the excerpt whose import is of some concern:

"...the war power includes the power 'to remedy the evils which have arisen from its rise and progress' and continues for the duration of that emergency. Whatever may be the consequences when war is officially terminated, the war power does not necessarily end with the cessation of hostilities. is adequate to support the proservation of rights created by wartime legislation."

Your task, should you choose to play, is to guess at the author. I did leave out some identifying bits, but the substance is pretty much there.

The above excerpt encapsulates my problem, which I don't yet know how to tackle. Is that really constitutional? If yes, how the heck do you transition out of a wartime legal regime?

Friday, April 07, 2006

The Usual Suspect

Es yo.* Mea culpa, as per usual. Although I've always lived more or less "on the back of the beat," there was a time in my life when I was fairly good about getting things done and not leaving them until the very lastest of minutes. I'm a little foggy as to when exactly that was but I do know it existed. Such capabilities also seem utterly to have vanished.

Case in point: it's been a long week filled with frantic studying and the two exams are now complete, the final take-home portion having been turned in today. But will it be an enjoyable weekend filled with delightful activities like a lecture, a friend's little gathering, and otherwise savoring the sunshine, chirpy birds, and warm(ing) air marking the beginning (more or less) of Spring? Oh no, no it will not. It will be spent indoors on the clock, reading, noting, highlighting, and frantically typing away--with no TV or movies or cybergoofing.** This evening marks the beginning of the effort to gather more material and sit down and produce the paper draft due Monday. All I have to say is thank God it's a draft. It's a difficult and complex subject that I should have started on a long time ago. It will be a rather drafty sort of draft, at that. I know the error can be remedied and a respectable, upstanding paper produced by making it the primary focus of my existence until the end of April, but it won't be anywhere near that by Monday. However, at the end of Monday, something will exist at least. Pretty, no; something, yes.

Therefore, the Nomad commences an "Imitation of Reading Period" in...5...4...3...2...1...Now!

*Soy yo? I've never been entirely clear on the grammatically perfect way to say "It is I" in Spanish.
** Even more poor timing on my part, for I very much want to see Take the Lead.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Shameless Plug

Special Seminar
University of Minnesota
Candidate for Director of the Stem Cell Institute
"Engineering the Zebrafish for the 21st Century Biologist"
Wednesday, March 22
I'm assuming this means I don't have to keep it under wraps any longer.
It's always nice to see good things happen for your PI!

Thursday, March 16, 2006


You know how dearly I love DNA. Is it not a serious contender for Most Fabulous Molecule? (For the record, RNA is pretty hot, too.) You may also know that despite my typically vehement disapproval of yellow, I love smiley faces. Ergo, you can only imagine how happy this makes me.

A map of the Americas measuring just a few hundred nanometres across has been created out of meticulously folded strands of DNA, using a new technique for manipulating molecules dubbed "DNA origami".

The nanoscale map, which sketches out both North and South America at a staggering 200-trillionths of their actual size, aims to demonstrate the precision and complexity with which DNA can be manipulated using the approach.

...It is not the first time DNA has been used to make structures - the idea was originally developed by Nadrian Seeman at New York University, US - Rothemund's approach takes things to a new level of complexity.

Although Rothemund has only made 2D shapes there is nothing to prevent the technique being applied to make complex 3D structures, he says. These could serve as disposable scaffolds to help molecules and carbon nanotubes self assemble.

Other examples "DNA artwork", creating using the same technique, include "smiley-faces", complex geometric shapes and a picture of a double helix with the letters "DNA" running above it.

Seriously--just look at the little guy

Now, if you will excuse me, I have sequencing data to look at, which may someday prove plenty thrilling in their own right. Alas, however, I am currently unable to make happy faces with transposons. That may have to go onto the to-do list.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Into the Fireswamp

Your humble Nomad here admits that she has a small problem, one she's known about for years (as have you): she has a tendency to bite off more than she can chew. Occasionally quite a lot more.

She realized this evening, as she sat down to begin--all right, all right, first she watched NCIS and The Unit--the putative proposal/tentative outline for her Lincoln seminar paper, that this would probably qualify as one of those "quite a lot more" occasions. I'm not going to release the topic just yet, but the current working title is Exit Strategy (not quite as good as Out-Lincolned?, I admit), and is actually intended as a full-length treatment of a short paper topic I wrote on previously. (In fact, said short paper turned out heinously badly; but it's such an intriguing and relevant topic I just can't shake it and have determined instead to wade back into the morass.)

The difficulty? Ah, yes. I've realized, whilst starting on a rough layout of matters that must be addressed, that 1) my answer remains "I don't know", which won't fill 25 - 50 pages; and 2) there's very likely a wealth of detail I ought to treat. At the very least, everyone else's papers promise to make for awesome work, especially given that several folks are writing on opposing angles of similar issues. Should our prof manage to get them published as a special issue or some such thing, a compilation should make for great reading.

Where is the Dread Pirate Roberts when a girl needs him?

Sunday, March 05, 2006

A Rose by Any Other Name

Why certainly--you can call it C. elegans; but at the end of the day, it's still a worm.

All right, all right; yes, the lowly nematode will tell you all sorts of things about genes, cells, and development--which is cool. But...the whole wormy thing... Guess I reveal myself as pro-vertebrate ;)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Necessity and the Constitution

Good morning!

And it's another day that has thus far and will continue to be spent catching up on things due today, rather in lab being mildly useful. Of course, with such a paucity of actual experience, "useful" is a relative term. For example, I realized this morning that I completely screwed up an entire injection batch by calibrating the dosage wrong. When I go in to clean up and evaluate the embryos today, they will all be dead, just you wait and see. Note to self--if when you're injecting and you think "gee, that seems like an awful lot of solution being injected," for goodness' sake, STOP, woman, STOP!! Stop and think very carefully for a minute. Ah well, asi es la vida.

So, I thought I'd try something different today: just to prove that as much as I like pretty shoes and being silly, I do sometimes have a quasi-substantive thought. Occasionally. I just don't always write them down. Ergo, below are some of them. It is, in fact, this week's 2-page paper for my Lincoln seminar. It's not great, but I thought it maybe wasn't completely horrible. Although I could be wrong, you never know.

Yes, there are a number of incomplete and underdeveloped positions in it. One, it's a rough product; Two, we're only allowed two pages, dagnabbit--you're not exactly looking at the next Sowell, you know. And yes, I am completely incapable of writing decent conclusions. Always have been, probably always will be. Deal :)

Does the Constitution Allow Interpreters to Entertain the Idea of Necessity?
Lincoln’s Argument in the Letter to Erastus Corning and Others, the Letter to James Conkling, and the Letter to Albert Hodges

While the argument Lincoln advances in the Corning letter is an argument about the constitution, once it passes from the realm of suspension of the writ of habeas corpus it is ultimately an argument from necessity. Despite Lincoln’s remarkable ability to express himself and his constitutional positions as President both clearly and persuasively, his argument in the letter to
Erastus Corning and others simply is not constitutionally sound. He is unfortunately quite wrong—not necessarily inherently so by including necessity in his argument, but in the substance of his argument as compared to the very text of the constitution.

His error is in claiming that the language of the writ suspension clause can be extrapolated to cover any action regarding any wartime situation in which “disloyalty to the Union” is suspected. That argument from necessity is constitutionally unsound and incorrect. While I might agree or be persuaded to agree that powers may be a little broader in wartime, his argument oversteps
constitutional limits outright in employing the writ suspension language to defend other actions not obviously connected to writ suspension itself, such as the heavy-handed treatment of or silencing of newspapers. Rather than so blatantly stretching that clause, he must seek support from elsewhere in the document, if it can be found. However, in the Conklin and Hodges letters, his argument from necessity for the Emancipation Proclamation is much more constitutionally sound.

Therefore, we see that an argument from necessity can be a constitutional argument. Put perhaps more completely, such an argument is not necessarily anti-constitutional in and of itself, nor is it one the mere consideration of which automatically risks grievous injury to the constitution. There is nothing in the constitution itself to indicate that necessity cannot be a consideration under at least some circumstances. In fact, the document itself entertains the concept of necessity, albeit on a far more mundane scale, in the Necessary and Proper clause; more importantly, the constitution considers necessity as a valid factor in what are all essentially situations of dire emergency.

Harboring great concern, even innate suspicion of an argument from necessity is valid, defensible, and highly compatible with our need to be jealous guardians of liberty. It is not, however, valid as a final pronouncement. As the constitution itself hints, the question is one of limits. Again, the
constitution does not rule out necessity entirely. The words of the writ suspension clause clearly indicate that the Founders understood that there will indeed be instances of severe national emergency, and that in such situations, certain actions taken out of necessity are entirely valid and justified. (Or that there could be such instances: ideas, attitudes, and reactions of our own
times as to whether or not nation-threatening situations actually exist or can truly exist line up remarkably well with those expressed in Lincoln’s.)

Whether an argument from necessity is a constitutional argument depends on what action or position is being argued, as well as the constitutional provision(s) at issue; there is no one-size-fits-all answer to that question, as demonstrated by the letters to Corning, Conklin, and Hodges. Lincoln instinctively understood this, and the concept of constitutional constraints, as evidenced by his
statement in the letter to Hodges:

I am naturally anti-slavery. If slavery is not wrong, nothing is wrong. …And yet I have never understood that the Presidency conferred upon me an unrestricted right to act officially upon this judgment and feeling. …I understood, too, that in ordinary civil administration this oath even forbade me to practically indulge my primary abstract judgment on the moral question of slavery.

But in the argument espoused in the Corning letter, he ignored this principle. Therefore, an argument from necessity is not inherently an unconstitutional one; there are times when necessity may be a valid constitutional argument.

Update 3.7.06: Marked "V. good!" With an exclamation point, no less!