jinian: (Carthamus)
1. NPR's How To Do Everything podcast continues to be delightful.

2. THIS POSTER, YOU GUYS. We have a paper copy in the lab and I had to call over another postdoc to marvel at it with him.

3. I made baked beans by accident?! Crock pot magic: cook them for-freakin'-ever and, even with no added sugar, starch breaks down into sweetness. I don't really like baked beans, but: science!
jinian: (birdsquee)
Taking off until Monday night or so to dig for plants in Malheur National Forest. Whee! I've been wanting to go to one of these for years! Camera batteries are charged and ready, and I have a new awesome trowel as well as my weeding fork.
jinian: (lucky cat)
Headaches for six of the last seven days, especially bad yesterday. Bursts of chainsaw noise starting at 8:15 today are Not Helping. They've now added a chipper, which at least reduces variation. (I already feel more awake than I ever managed yesterday; hopefully it'll last.)

Ooh, Bioblitz! I don't think I'm doing anything more important than that on May 21-22.

links

Apr. 20th, 2010 11:25 am
jinian: (dandy highwayman)
Waiting for the confocal sales reps to finish installing our new motorized stage! Can't really start anything until they're done. Hence, links:

New stuff:
Nawal El Saadawi is made of awesome. http://www.guardian.co.uk/lifeandstyle/2010/apr/15/nawal-el-saadawi-egyptian-feminist

Best friendsfriends find ever: http://bk1e.livejournal.com/259483.html
In which Peter Gabriel covers "Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa," including the "Peter Gabriel too" lyric -- sort of. If you're not familiar with the song, you will not have the uncontrollable hideous laughter response that I did, but you can hear the original at the bottom of the post. The videos are fun but they do help me see why people don't like Vampire Weekend; it's a lot easier to despise their corn-fed privilege when you can see them. I just listen and am anthropologically interested. Also, bouncy melodies go a long way with me. (Who is the redheaded woman who's a tennis player and a goth enchantress, I wonder?)

Match thread to fabric really well. http://blog.craftzine.com/archive/2010/04/custom_cmyk_sewing_machine_mat.html

Stuff from last month:
New Karate Kid trailer: From coffeeandink. Okay, he is clearly (and textually) learning kung fu, not karate, and a lot of the trailer is "ooh, look, pretty China" -- but there are NO WHITE PEOPLE in this entire 2 minutes 30.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxBQS_Qn5m8

From firecat. The Little Vulcan.
http://ayalesca.dreamwidth.org/1250.html

Badass woman secretary is king of a village in Ghana.
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/story/2010/03/09/ST2010030903477.html?sid=ST2010030903477

Cephalopods deceive predators with their ink. (But they look plenty smart!)
http://andrewducker.livejournal.com/1987051.html

Fantagraphics is bringing out wonderful manga!
http://www.fantagraphics.com/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=3956&Itemid=95
jinian: (chiyo)
Yesterday: I got a collaborator! She's very interested in an implication of my project that I hadn't even thought about, which is so cool. And today she presented in a definite, sweeping way that completely demolished the "women present more tentatively, perhaps because it works better for them" data set we had going. I wrote YOU GO [NAME] over her abstract in my program book. (She also called PI on forgetting her name. Awesome.)

Today: Massive science crushes! People are doing amazing work in mycorrhizal fungi. I am hoping to come up with something clever to say to one particular presenter before we all leave; if not I'll send email, but some people like to meet you in person. I've also gotten to talk to multiple editors, which is something else I'm potentially interested in eventually doing (though of course I am prioritizing my Women In Faculty agenda).

Had a great conversation with another grad student tonight at dinner. She's not very happy in her position, which is kind of the bad old "grad student as lab bitch" paradigm I keep hearing about, and is sweet and smart but not scrappy enough (calls her PI Dr [Lastname]!), so I, using all my [livejournal.com profile] marzipan_pig charming skills, encouraged her and let her vent. She seemed a lot happier by the time we fled the dining-room noise.

The catering folks are hitting desserts out of the park -- almost always a chocolate-free option, a variety of fruits and styles, really deliciously made. Breakfast is consistently the same but a large enough buffet that people can vary it themselves if they like. Dinner last night was Mexican, which was surprisingly easy to do without tomatoes, but they poisoned almost everything tonight (Italian). Mozzarella, green salad, green beans, and calamari were all I could eat, and I had to dodge tomatoes to obtain the mozzarella and beans. Sheesh. Tomorrow is non-buffet, but the omnivorous option is steak and shrimp, so hopefully no poisons will be unavoidably involved.

Tonight Amanda and I are saying the hell with social hour and finally going to the hot tub. It's dark out, but I'll try for the demanded photos. (oink.)
jinian: (real scientist)
Last night I volunteered as a Real Scientist at an elementary school science fair in a nearby suburb. The organizer had written to several departments at the U and obtained graduate students, who were motivated by the prospect of official acclaim (see icon). It was incredibly fun, even though at the last minute my year-mate C couldn't make it. Some of the kids were really impressed with us, and it was great fun to ask them the next question implied by their projects.

Loads of images within. )
jinian: (algae)
Yesterday our culture curator brought me a present -- my very own bottled algae culture. She says it was in thanks for doing a good job teaching last quarter, but I think she also likes to make these. They survive pretty much indefinitely in their little bottles, and most labs in the building seem to have at least one bottle hanging around.

Do you think I'll catch on as a science model?

The feathery guys are Batophora, each of which is a single cell. (Crazy talk, but apparently true.) The little bulbs are Ventricaria, also single cells but multinucleate. Biology yay!
jinian: (fan-gee the dracukey!)
Tomorrow morning: talks on our current/thesis research, so we all know what everyone is doing. The nice part will be having the day off after around 11:15; the 8:30am part is not so nice, though cinnamon rolls are promised at breakfast. [For the afternoon: farmer's market, maybe sculpture park, probably missing Labs lunch, oh well.)

Dinner today was pizza, and I was all set to have PB&J as none of the pizzas available was tomato-free. The PB&J was not set out. A bunch of Caesar salad, cottage cheese, and a boiled egg made a decent meal, but I've felt cold all day and that didn't help a bit. The cafeteria folk expressed distress at my not eating the entree, so I put myself forward dreadfully by adding my food problem to their very short list.

I think people are adjusting to my Relentless Uncoolness. I'm social at meals once in a while, and perfectly friendly in class, so the fact that I am usually buried in a book or trying to hide from humans for a while doesn't seem to be worrying people any more. Although:

. One of the instructors tried to say reassuringly yesterday that it's okay I'm quiet. Yes, I know it is. I think my puzzled look was adequate.

. "That must be a good book! You've been reading it all day." Yes, it's pretty good so far (Miss Pym Disposes, now finished; downbeat and not a surprise to my suspicious mind but excellent), but if it weren't... I'd be reading a different book. And for heaven's sake, the "all day" I'd been reading it was while ten people tried to do DNA extractions with two centrifuges, taking twenty times as long. What else was there to do? Silly person. (Also it was the second book today, which I pointed out, ha ha.)

Possibly I am a little bit on the goofy side due to tiredness. Having fun, though. Fed dissected bivalves to our prawn friends, and learned about the creepy-awesome pedicellariae on the backs of starfish and sea urchins. And saw them! And goaded them to bite the poking instrument!
jinian: (Thalictrum uchiyamai)
European centaury, which is adorable and (since non-native) potentially kidnappable to garden by me.

Harvest brodiaea, a shocking spot of blue-violet on the path to an instructor's apartment.

Pink honeysuckle is supposed to be hairy, and this isn't, but there are really no other pink options. The leaves are also a little off. Hmm.

Yerba buena, which grows all over campus and smells deliciously of lemon cough drops.

Good thing the library here had an unclaimed copy of Pojar & Mackinnon.

In animal news, many fine swimming isopods were acquired today, as well as a mighty crab and some cool chitons. Worms, of course, should be inferred.
jinian: (Carthamus)
Low-tide trip to False Bay this morning -- found many MANY polychaete worms, some nemertean worms, and a couple of hemichordates. Also the more accessible hermit crabs and tiny eels, who like to hide under big pieces of algae. Later in the lab, I successfully identified the larvae in a jellylike egg mass as some kind of gastropod -- not bad for knows-nothing girl. And bryozoans are very cool.
[no photo links due to likely gross-out, esp. on polychaetes for m-pig]

After the interminable hour of talklets from all the researchers here, which were supposed to be limited to 2 minutes but were not, I had to recharge somehow. Here in the absence of privacy, that apparently means connecting with nature in some way, preferably by eating it. I managed to find not only some salmonberries (one was good omg) and dewberries (fabulous as always) but a maple-leafed currant bush, which has the best currants I've ever had. Am now trying to plot propagation.

Tomorrow: out on a boat to dredge up more invertebrates!
jinian: (emasculating)
Today I dissected siliques (maybe 2mm x 12mm) and seeds (about 50 of them fit in previous)
of Arabidopsis. Fun stuff, actually, though one does get a little disoriented after
looking through binocular microscopes for hours on end. (Interspersing games of spider
solitaire helps.)

I hadn't seen plant embryos in person before, so I thought I'd share some of my photos.
None of these actually shows what I want to observe, which is the activity of a particular
transgene, but they're good illustrations of the developmental progression. Also, if you
have ever been twelve, you will snicker at the last one.

Plant porn! )

Also, the Dirt Empire in the front yard expanded southward today, driving the heathen grass
before it! (That is a botany joke. HA HA.) Photos soon, I hope.
jinian: (algae)
On vacation. Sick. Ugh. The illness was either brought on by sudden relaxation after the end of the quarter or by my possession of a great many fine YA novels right now.

(Girl Overboard: OH NOES I AM TOO RICH makes me a little grouchy, but otherwise this was excellent.
Suite Scarlett: Adorable, and I see a movie adaptation in its future.
House of Many Ways: A sequel, but an appealing one.
Skin Hunger: Amazing, and I would totally recommend it except that I am about to go mad; it's book one and there's no sign of any others yet.)

I did go last night to see Avenue Q, which was hilarious, and I just watched a marvelous video explaining abiogenesis. Other than that, I really need to go take care of my garden, but I'm not sure how much of my miserable snot-filled head is due to grass pollen, so it's hard to convince myself to actually do it. Much safer to play computer games and nibble cherries.
jinian: (learning kyo)
"Big Boggle" is the same as "Boggle Master" is the same as "Boggle Deluxe".

Scientific proof published in the 1950s and unrefuted since says that flossing every 30 hours is the thing that prevents cavities (or, in my arguably luckier case, gum badness). Brushing is not relevant to cavities, though it is relevant to other humans wanting to be around you.

Not one but four species of ants live on the African acacia trees that give them nectar and hollow-thorn houses in exchange for biting tall grazers, and without the grazers around the entire balance of power shifts.

Pai Tig x Fab Rid -> Mys Wee

Animals are all the time turning food into fat and back, like, even between having breakfast and biking to school. Growth hormone is important to the process of taking it back out again.

Sock Dreams is dangerous.

Working in different labs is different in some unexpected ways, but playing with sequence alignments all morning is fun any time.

organizing

Jan. 9th, 2008 11:34 pm
jinian: (Winry kicks ass)
Bought stuff for organizing my papers at my new lab rotation today. I did wind up coming to the lab where Amy, the one I met with over ginger apple cider, works. She's in Jordan at the moment because you're not allowed to fly for a while after doing major scuba diving, which apparently was her winter break. Anyway, binder! Clipboard! Making little tabs out of lab tape!

Tacks to put more stuff on my office corkboard.

The book of David Quammen essays for $5 does not help organization per se, but was a find nonetheless.

In the bead department, creative chaos is good. Putting things next to each other that otherwise wouldn't have been is a fine idea. It becomes hindering-type chaos when I can't find any of my fucking findings because they're in three different bins of awkwardly shaped containers and wire spools. Now all the findings and wire and such are in the astonishing Murano glass bowl that's on indefinite loan from Wim's stepmom. Much better. But where do I put the bowl so that cats don't try to eat the stringly objects?
jinian: (emasculating)
I thought I was mostly done with this paper weeks ago. Nope. My sketchy first draft was a pale shadow of what it needs to be. At that point, I had read n other papers, so I knew what I was going to say in my paper and had written a shortish version without references. Then I went to fill that out -- putting in the citations should be easy, right? Ha. I had to read approximately n more papers for each section of the paper to figure out whom to cite where (and why). And then I went to the paragraph level and found that I had to read n papers for each of those! Maybe this is different if you have read the important papers in a field for years and years. Anyway, I am still working at paragraph level but I feel safe in saying that this fractality bottoms out at sentence level, where the largest number of papers I've had to read per unit has been three.

Mentoring maundering )

My awesome news for the day is this: I found a begonia with grouped but functional stomata! Yes!! (A book has a photo of groups of 3-4 stomata that are still functional, but the credit was just Begonia and I need to take original photos for this article. I've been on an epidermal scavenger hunt since, and because there are a zillion kinds of begonia and the book's author died recently, I wasn't at all sure I'd find this.) PI was preoccupied, but I showed both postdocs and then PI came and admired it too. Yay! The problem now is that the epidermis is very bumpy so hard to photograph, but I can cope with that one way or another.

The big winner: Rex begonia "Roberta" (looks similar to "Shamus")

Now, if you will excuse me, I am going to make a celebratory apple pie with clustered steam-vents.
jinian: (algae)
First the bad news:
I scored well below the class average on the first o-chem exam. I didn't think I'd done that poorly, but I was wrong.

Next the good-then-bad news:
Today I found a mutant line containing multiple plants (means it's more likely to be genetic than random screwy development) with a no-stomata phenotype (rare, cool, and how we recently got a paper in Nature). They even have a good number of siblings (likely heterozygotes; where you get more mutants if your mutants aren't fertile). It's likely that this is another allele of Mute, which is a gene we already know about, and that allele could be fairly uninteresting or extremely cool depending on how the gene is screwed up. My first step: sequence the Mute gene in these putative mutants. But I so do not have time to do that!

My mighty response to the above:
I wrote email to PI saying ZOMG I am ded of teh busy and asking for help prioritizing (while also mentioning a couple of times that I really want to do the fun sequencing). Really I should've asked for help scaling back two quarters ago, but at least I finally did it.

Other mighty action:
Scanned "This Fair Gift" for [livejournal.com profile] pameladean (and thus for Technopeasant festivities). The Acrobat OCR on the study-area computer wasn't working, though, so I don't have text quite yet. Tomorrow I have two things to try, at least one of which ought to work.

Reward for ruling:
Mint-flavored Newman-Os and milk. Yum.

Conspicuous by its absence:
Studying o-chem. La la.
jinian: (tomoyo)
Clear peachy red (my favorite)
Light translucent ruby
Pale garnet

Shades of tan, brown, dull wine under oaks when dry;
Shining gold and bronze, precisely edged, after rain.

Drifts of yellow leaves under birches mostly green.

Ametrine trees with peridot centers in Wallingford, wow.
(One of them is short, broken off a couple of years ago, and has much larger leaflets than the tall ones, though it comes in exactly the same colors. Normal for saplings, or a stress response?)

Embarrassingly, I know the species of only a few of these trees. I know the crayon-yellow male ginkgos, but they haven't turned yet. (Our ginkgos are not as venerable as these Hiroshima survivors.)

The dark red leaves of the flowering cherries are going to clear red at the tree tops, because the chloroplasts are dying out there. The green leaves of the maples are going to dark red at the tree edges, because the red is coming in while the chloroplasts are still well.

Inevitable geekery: Mechanisms of fall color -- but why make anthocyanins? The parasite rationale at the link isn't that great, since parasites will also want to choose healthy trees so their offspring get more food. It could just be an artifact of senescence in high-sugar species, but it's pretty widespread. The main scientific idea seems to be that
anthocyanins protect cellular components from light damage as the leaves die, letting trees reclaim them. (In tropical trees they may not be photoprotective.) Presumably in my local trees chlorophyll does this job when it's there.
jinian: (snape)
Fox News gets it right for a change:
ID proponents say they do not deny that evolution is true, only that scientists should not rule out the possibility of supernatural intervention.

But scientists do not share doubts over evolution. They argue it is one of the most well tested theories around, supported by countless tests done in many different scientific fields.


Emphasis is mine and points out the correct characterization of each side.

Unfortunately, the article is about how the U.S. falls behind every country surveyed but Turkey on belief in evolution. We've lost some ground. I still think we'll eventually get to the point where people understand scientific facts, but the way some religious people are being exploited by the Republican party is messing things up pretty good. Maybe I should become a science teacher after all, but I still think it would make me nuts; exposing kids to a really mad scientist might not have my intended effect.

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