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!