Monday, May 31, 2010

What about handjobs?!

This is brill:

"In an open letter, the girlfriends of more than 40 priests have called for a relaxation of the church's stance on celibacy to allow a limited range of sexual practices, including the reverse Dutch Steamboat, the Stockholm Slip'n'Slide and the Sorcerer's Apprentice."

and the perfect end:

"But a Vatican source insisted: "The Pope is not totally unsympathetic - he's seen Barbarella for Christ's sake - but he simply does not understand why a fully trained priest would seek comfort in the arms of a woman when he's surrounded by rows and rows of freshly packed boymeat."

The end.

Massive numbers for humans studies=awesome

This is cool; a group of people, Kaiser Permanente Members, are donating saliva samples for a massive genome wide association study at the University of California, San Francisco's National Institute on Aging (or here - unsure)- 130,000 of them.

Kaiser Permanente is a managed care organisation, which means they have health plans which include a variety of techniques intended to reduce the cost of providing health benefits - things like "economic incentives for physicians and patients to select less costly forms of care; programs for reviewing the medical necessity of specific services; increased beneficiary cost sharing; controls on inpatient admissions and lengths of stay; the establishment of cost-sharing incentives for outpatient surgery; selective contracting with health care providers; and the intensive management of high-cost health care cases."
None if this I knew, but ultimately sounds like not much at all.

Anyhoo - a quick piece about the study can be found in the New York Times science section here, containing such lovely soundbites like this: "[members]volunteered to have their DNA scanned by robotic, high-speed gene-reading machines"

Oooo Robots!! Better and bettera.

Managed Care
Kaiser Permanente


I knew it, I know it, I should do it. But urgh - its like drinking wheat grass shots everyday - you know it would be good for you, and you always *mean* to do it, you just...

I wish I was

more of a T shirt person, but I'm just not. However, these make me want to convert:

Jesus vs. T Rex:

and that's just from the Evo list. Generic 'geekery' shirts go above and beyond.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Oh oil spill, how you taunt us

There is a brill fake twitter account re. BP Global here. Its pretty funny.

Also, a nice interview with Terry here. Good stuff.

Best find of the day

This just made me laugh. I didn't know you could hack into them!

Thursday, May 27, 2010

God's middle name is Craig

Like normal, I began this last Friday, got distracted, and the week flew by faster than the laws of physics should rightly allow. Its Friday tomorrow, seriously - what the frack happened?!

Anyways- 'Ol Jay Dot Craig had press releases all over the show last week. Looks like they've been having fun mixing shit up. First they created a synthetic bacteriophage, then transformed an entire nucleus of one bacterium into another - and had it grow. Now they have played god and created life. *gasp*!

That is Synthia, isn't she pretty?!

To get from the initial sequencing of organisms genes/genomes back in 1991 ish - through to the new work with synthetic genomes, the current paper took some 15 years in amongst there apparently, and I wonder how many of the poor plebs in the middle of the author list did all of the actual work?

For a quick summary - they synthesised the genome, shoved it all up in there - found it didn't work 'cause 1 base was out, re-did it - and presto, "synthetic life". (don't be lazy - go read the damn paper)

Figure from Gibson, D. G., J. I. Glass, et al. 2010. Creation of a bacterial cell controlled by a chemically synthesized genome. Science, Published online May 20 2010.

What I am finding exciting - is the fall out. Some lovely soundbites for example:

"synthesize a 1.08 million base pair Mycoplasma mycoides genome, constructed from four bottles of chemicals that make up DNA."

"The idea is to use the four chemical constituents of DNA — named A, T, C and G — to put together a synthetic genome."


eh hem, sorry. (just brilliant!)

The paper itself reads a wee bit like a paper written for the public, and the last paragraph in the paper addresses the existence of ethical implications and the 'raise(ing of) philosophical issues' of which the authors go into no detail, but do 'encourage the continued discourse'. How lovely, they give us permission to debate their work?! Neato!

Coverage here, and here. Official press release here, and NZ SciBlogs account here.
Scandalous patent issues here, and wackjob accounts here, here, and their comments here. If you have to read only one - read this one. Just awesome. Cant wait till 'Synthia' is running Parliament.

This is a brilliant link into the fact that people are already tooting the 'End of the world horn' - going too far, creating life, super microbes - ohmygod super-killer-synthetic-bacterial-humanoid-ROBOTS!!!!

How long till the B rated movie version of events comes out do you think?

Gibson, D.G. et al. (2010) Creation of a Bacterial Cell Controlled by a Chemically Synthesised Genome. Sceincexpress

Gorgeous Boy

Grabbed the GO camera again (Mwahaha); with subject, this time, from this awesome chick. (also with a blog here).

He's a beautiful Drone, and after the modelling session - escaped to wreak havoc in the lab. Lovely. (I say 'after' as though I stopped and he then escaped - in reality, he woke up fully, flew in our faces and we let him go; ending the session for us.)

I wonder what he thought of the camera shoved in his face? It must have registered on those wonderful big eyes.

I really should take a look at the real insects - my Dros. will be getting jealous.

Ooo! Octopus ring!

If you imagine hard enough while wearing it, there's a wee shark head trapped in your fist, and the baby Sharktopus is trying to get out.

Etsy, you torture me so.

Again with the wanting!

Zombie ice cubes! If I buy them, I bet I could make brain cupcakes!

iPhone universal remote! Such a freaking good idea! Only one remote for *everything* and not a million-button-brick-of-a-thing. (and think how many appliance you could muck with at work or at friends places - "You listen to Britney at night? Really?!")

Marshmallow gun! Ooo the fun!

This one is a bit odd - who cares what breeds make up their mongrel?!

And this one I actually really, really want: Cakewich!!

Its lucky online shopping doesn't require talking aye?! Though I do wish ThinkGeek had less awesome. So. Hard. To. Resist.

So famous right now!

Page 5 of the ODT! Wow, we are like, so much more famous than cats right now!

Shhhh - its like a library in here.

Today is our first day of silence for charity.

Its hard.

And its only 30min in.

Oh woe is me. You don't realise how much you bloody talk, or how instinctual it is, till you can't (or aren't supposed) to do it.

I have had to take preventative measures:

If you haven't donated money yet - do it!

This is hard.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Ooooooo! BacSoap!

How cool is this?! Disgusting, but coooool.

Its soap! Go check out the pretty colours!

Makes *me* want to put up 'special' posters

Awesome lost pet posters. Some I have seen before - like the possum one. (bloody possums). Sometimes, people have a good sense of humour.

My back yard is growing a swimming pool!

Look at my poor pots!

Its about 12cm at the deepest point. Any higher and it will just spill over into the garden, so I'm not worried...



So that day when Google changed its logo to Pac-Man for the 30th anniversary of the game?

It wasted 5 million work hours.

And that's only from an estimated 25% of people who saw it, and realised you could play the logo.


Oh wow. Ew, wow.

This is hilarious - and disturbing. Mug shots from arrested people in the 'States. Go have a look at the awesomeness. (failness?!)

Thanks urlesque.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Well, the cat has taken refuge from the rain - on my woolly Nana jersey, at the foot of my bed. He has wound up into such a tight ball, either it is colder than I thought - or he is trying to block out my awesome, awesome music.

Such a cute cat-ball...







*po-[scratched face]

Lets sell some stuff

So I've been making little Pipette tip and PCR tube necklaces and earrings for over a year now and I am about to get my shit together and post some up on TradeMe for Internet sales, so watch this space.

However, I believe Etsy is the place to be for all geekery, but - they charge per listing, and charge a sale fee. In USD. That's just not feasible for me with my little New Zealand Dollars.

So Globalisation shall have to wait. Or, more likely, someone will steal my massively awesome ideas and make/sell them in the States.

How depressing. I could [insert unsayable word here] my PhD, and go off to do all number of creative things, make a million trillion dollars, nay - pounds; and be happy forever.


Mud fight!!

Its going to be one of those days.

Its pouring with rain today - my back yard is flooding in the corner. However, I got up like normal and made it all the way in to town without incident. Parked the car, whipped out my umbrella and started the trek across North Ground when I fell into the best mud skid of my life.

Cold, wet mud up my legs, on my shoes, in my socks, across my bum and the backs of my arms. Instant cold, wet penetration. Thick, clingy, sticky mud; so not only a wet bum,- but a wet, muddy bum. No blotting that shit out in the women's bathrooms.

(no one wants to see my rear - feel free to imagine my muddy bum)

I was momentarily stunned. It was such a graceful descent I didn't realise what had happened. Then the cold registered, and then the gloopy mud between my fingers that had been foolishly thrown out to halt my progress.

And then I had the insane urge to roll around in it a bit. Such beautiful mud. The perfect consistency that mud should be. Pure mud - no clay, no sand, just mud.

Its probably lucky I was on my own, else a lump would have been picked up and thrown.

So I giggled, picked myself up, turned on the spot to decide if I could pull of work in such clothes, realised I was soaked and mud-covered, rotated and headed straight back to the car. Dug a towel out from under the seat (thank you Dad for instilling such a handy habit) to protect my car from my muddy rear, and drove off.

Picked up my computer because unfortunately the odds of me getting home, changed and back again, and still being able to find a park -were minimal. Got home thinking I could maybe get the bus (forgetting the long trek to the bus stop, and then the second trek from the octagon to campus - in the heavy rain) found a severe lack of pants, choose jimjams (and awesome purple socks) and put the washing on.

I'm now ensconced in my warm bed, feeling ready to do some good bioinformatics from my pillows. The dog is happy being out of the rain, and I am super cozy in my jimjams.

Of course, my mother had to ring and give her opinion that my house will be the first to be evacuated due to flooding...

Monday, May 24, 2010

Typical males

Some cool Antelope research, talked about here and here; though I cannot find it actually published anywhere - perhaps the paper is still coming.

Male's apparently, when an ovulating female looks to be wandering away from the herd, will stare off into the distance, snort, and portray the behaviours typical with predator threat detection. Thus the silly wee girly is fooled into thinking that staying with the herd is safer for the moment, and I guess the idea to wander and perhaps join a new herd is temporarily forgotten about.

This behaviour on the part of the male increases his chance at mating with that particular female and equals a win for the herd.

This research, led by Dr Jakob Bro-Jorgensen at the University of Liverpool and Wiline Pangle at Michigan State University, is cool because it shows that the males are smart - and the females smarter. They have to evaluate the number of false danger calls compared with protection from actual threats, and decide whether the herd is still worth hanging about with.

Who would have thought Antelopes were smart enough to pull off such a ruse?!

Image to the credit of Dr Jakob Bro-Jorgensen.

UPDATE: Great minds - I swear I hadn't read PZ's post on the same when I found or wrote about this research.

Eee He He!

Got my hands on the flash GO camera (with Macro lens...) for the first time - didn't want to give it back.

One of the other PhD students in the lab has been growing honey bees in the lab - very difficult stuff, the bees are fussy buggers. This is one of the bees that managed to make it to completion - and looks the most like a queen out of any raised in vitro so far.

Plus cute-n-fluffies:

Dros. next! Though setup will be a bit tougher. I will ponder the situation...
(and some focusing practice)

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Family photo!

Feeding Friday for Frogs (whoop!)

This is the first time I have been able to see all (suspected) 4 frogs in the same place at the same time. We did start with 6, but 2 'disappeared' very quickly. I imagine they reappeared as frog-poop pretty soon after, however.

So definitely 4 left then! (for the moment...)


Slightly earlier in the evening:

I love it when they stop playing psycho long enough to be cute!

Uh oh...

This will most likely end badly.

Despite Trouble not wanting to actually *sleep* on the bed, he does sleep on the nana-blankie every night. Now it looks like Logan appreciates the bed and the blankie...

If he makes a move towards the toy box we will really be in a war zone.

I think the only solution is to have their Nana knit Logan his own blankie!

Self portrait

Cool, but slightly wired...


Bread shark!

Why can't all of our packaged products be this cool?!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

That's dedication

A massive amount of people gathered, dressed up like zombies, and marched down the street. I bet it felt like a party.

Go look through the gallery, some amazing makeup and attention to detail. I am in awe.

Whoop! Lets make one for Dros. Geneticists!

Thanks again Boing Boing.

Photoshop, you break my heart

Along with many others it appears. This is a lovely collection of Problem Descriptions that have been sent to Adobe upon Photoshop crashing. Just awesome.

Awwww - he's going to get *all* the ladies

Such a cutie. And Ukulele skills I am in awe of.

I wish I was a wizard

A couple of days ago I was walking Trouble and we passed a wee group of kids playing on the sidewalk.

Two boys and a girl - one of the boys stole the girls hair tie, and upon her protesting he shouted:


At which point the girl knew she was defeated and ran inside to seek a higher power. ("Muuuuuuuumm! He stole my hair tie!")

I walked on thinking: "Silly kids, she should have just dodged the Expelliarmus and called Accio, then finished up with Bat-Boogey Hex to teach the little tyke a lesson."

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Awwww - spooning bananas!

They look so comfortable!

And goddamn zombie potatoes! Leave my tomatoes alone!

I have a book, Food Play, that does something similar and is a hilarious coffee-table-book - only, Bent Objects is unique with regards to the use of wire.

I love it.

I am ashamed

First found Allie's blog 'cause I suck and write allot (or even alot because 'allot' looked wrong), a lot.

This is an alot. And it is better than you at everything.

Aside from that though, the girl draws like a gladiator and has a knack for tickling my awesome and funny bones.

For example - a better pain rating scale, and her dissection of it - go and read the commentary. I dare you.