Friday, March 31, 2006

The Seven Warning Signs of Bogus Science

"I began this list of warning signs to help federal judges detect scientific nonsense, but as I finished the list I realized that in our increasingly technological society spotting voodoo science is a skill that every citizen should develop."

I know I'm just blogging about artciles that I find interesting, but that is how this started, and gosh darnit its all I got right now :)

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Virtual Cell Biology may help create pet dragons, gryphons, and unicorns

GeneDupe's scientists can customise the result so that it belongs to a particular species, by loading it with a virtual copy of that animal's genome. Then, if the cell is also loaded with the right virtual molecules, it will behave like a fertilised egg, and start dividing and developingâ??first into an embryo, and ultimately into an adult.

Hot damn, virtual dragons eh? Perhaps this can act as a template for my army of minions...

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Monday, March 27, 2006

Move over bread maker, I need some more counter space...

Well then... This article to say the least is interesting. Imagine a world in which all the cattle ranching activities of Brokeback Mountain occurred on your counter, instead of Cowboy country. Now I don't mean culturally oppressed homosexuals discovering their inner truth, I mean growing meat (No that isn't a euphemism either, but it may be an attempt at a pop culture reference to drive website traffic *wink*.)

Erin has told me that animal cell cultures are difficult at best to work with, but that hasn't stopped the mad progress of science. Truly this is the work of Dr Frankenstein and the Iron Chief, IRONically mashed together into some Frankenstein like monster. These folks are proposing growing meat, not like a meat tree or anything so bizarre, no, a little counter top appliance that grows animal cells without the animal. I can't imagine the growth rate for the counter top version of this appliance could say, feed a family of four on prime rib every night. But an industrial "meat-factory" might.

I suppose this raises some ambiguity over the morals of eating meat that in fact an animal may never have been injured for (well perhaps a quick muscle core sample, but who hasn't had one of those before...)

Now you might argue that while no animals will have to die to make your meal, it may do away with the entire animal husbandry industry, except for 'renewable' animal products like eggs, and milk.

Now apparently this synth-meat is being prepared and eaten by scientists, and I really can't imagine that there would be anything wrong with it (taste wise,) it just raises a meaty issue, that leaves this carnivore with a funny taste in his mouth.

I suspect the commercialization of this is decades off, but environmentally it is a pretty huge deal. The beef and pork industries are pretty rough environmentally from the point of emissions, and waste. The veggie-folk have been arguing for years the amount of wasted plant energy required so that one can eat a steak. Never mind the wholesale deforestation of the rain forest. So if we can grow meat of equal, or better quality at home, or in a regional factory, I imagine it can be down with a lot more efficiency.

I think this also raises the possibility of reducing malnutrition in third world countries. If the land can't support cattle for example, it may be possible to support a meat factory. Which equals jobs, and a food source, in the third world countries.

Anyways this is all weird stuff, and I think it will make Erin happy, as one can imagine that grown meat will be devoid of 'squeakers.' Which I will leave for her to define.


More Tim Horton's News

Jenn put a link to this article in a comment. I gave it a read, and thought, hmmmm others should read this. So out to the front page it goes.

As always with Toronto Star articles, the links will after a time.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Tim Horton's

So Timmies has gone public, and as a staple of the Canadian diet, it has also become a staple of the Canadian news.

I got interviewed at lunch by CBC for some daily radio program about the sale. Hopefully I gave them a good sound bite.

Person: "What would do if you couldn't get your Tim Horton's?"
Me: "Riot " (alas that neither broadcasts nor blogs as well as in person, wish it was for the evening news instead.)


Well there were a number of things I mentioned way back here, that I really really meant to comment on. Some of them are drafts; some of them have not being started; and others I wrote in a righteous fury, only to find my fury was petulant, and my righteous was petty. So I may never get to them, or maybe I will, but I wanted to say something today...

Work, hey I said I wouldn't talk about work when I started this way back when, but I want to say that I have never been so busy in my life at work. I guess this is good and bad. Good because I find myself at the end of the day without even noticing it went by, bad because there is so much stuff to do I seriously consider, heaven forefend, staying late. . . Fortunately, such madness hasn't sunk in, yet.

The house, wow the house is an exciting place these days, and by the house, I hope it's clear I mean my house. Erin and I went a little paint crazy, mostly because RONA had such a great sale (buy three get one free.) One of my few complaints I have had about this house is the builder paint. I suppose when the builders are 99% good, you have to let them slide now and again. The builder paint is shit, problems with the builder paint include it being super absorbent, and non-washable. You can imagine the predicament when you are making pasta sauce and the sauce blortches (you know makes a sort of boiling geyser of molten hot tomato.) This leads to little red splatter on the wall, in a moment of urgency, one attempts to clean the sauce, What happens instead is a three step scrubbing process of escalating mess.
1. Sauce spreads
2. Dye from what ever you are cleaning with, including pure white bleached paper towel, leaches into the wall.
3. paint is stripped from the wall revealing scummy dry wall.

I imagine there is a forth step in which continued scrubbing results in fists sized holes in said drywall, but we have been lucky enough as to avoid those.

Now the kitchen is the king of this sort of mess, and the wall looked awful, but in honesty we have/had no idea what style we wanted to do the kitchen in, so we started with the main bathroom, since water / humidity cause's similar issues.

So we have since painted the bathroom what turned out to be a great colour, as it is an off white -> tope it's hard to describe, but it looks great, and matches the boarder we wanted to put in the downstairs bathroom, but couldn't because we picked the wrong colour (oops. :) The walls themselves look reborn, smooth and silky, and coated in a high quality, mould resistant, washable latex paint. We were so pleased with the colour, that we decided, what the heck, and painted the kitchen with it too.

Now in the kitchen we painted the problem spot behind the counter as we didn't have enough for the whole room. It was intended as an interim solution until we install a backsplash, but it looks pretty great for now.

Moving on in the paint madness is the master bedroom. We decided to do something a little crazy in there, so we are painting three of the walls one colour (again a non-threatening, but coordinating tope) and the last wall we are painting RED! Not "red.", but "RED!". The colour itself is a rich, deep red, something a King might drape about his shoulders when leading his troops into battle from the back of his noble warhorse, while bedecked in his resplendent plate mail. We actually haven't pained the wall this colour yet, but we got a two ounce sample of paint and test painted a square of wall, and I must say it looks exciting. So exciting I may just arm myself with a sword while painting, just in case I need do battle. We are going to start the bedroom Saturday morning, which means bedroom cleanup, and taping are tonight!

Speaking of battle, takes me to the ye olde Xbox 360.

I've recently added two titles to my collection of games, the first was Ghost Recon 3: Advanced Warfighter, or as the cool kids call in GRAW. GRAW takes you into the near future (2013) where you represent a non-GMO super soldier. To replace the typical super solider mutations you have technology.
Light weight armour
High tech on board tactical Intel, including a HUD, and thermalesque vision
R/C Recon Drones
And a similarly equip squad of soldiers to command.

You also get the occasional support of ground combat vehicles, or air support. The game story isn't the most enthralling, but it is sufficient to motivate the game play, and that is what is amazing. Your command over your character, your squad and you toys allows unprecedented immersion into the environment. The levels are huge and open, but you don't get lost. The experience is quite enjoyable, and the level of difficulty makes it a challenge without being frustrating. I'm sure the leet kiddies play the game on its hardest difficulty, but those days are behind me.

Next up in the game department, hot on the heels of one great game, came Oblivion, no it's not the end of the world, it is the latest instalment in the Elder Scrolls series. This game deserves a lot more then I am willing to put into it right now, so I will just say that I am very impressed, immersed, and addicted to this game! PC users who just got amazing upgrades so their wives could finish their term papers, and who sometimes have some free time may consider playing it, but only after negotiations with said wife have yielded a mutual agreeable terms of game usage and house tidyage (You know who you are!)

Well that's all for now folks just ran out of train time, and battery life.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Thought For The Day: There Is No I In Internet

There is no 'I' in internet, that is to say, the internet, or internet should never have a capital 'i' except when presented in title case, at the beginning of a sentence, or when typed CrAzYmAn style (an alternative for print media is when cut from news paper headlines, a printer layout style which may see a resurgence with an increase in the printers who put identifying marks on pages.) Some may argue that 'internet' is a proper noun, but I argue, there is nothing proper about the internet.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Update, sort of

Well I blogged something :) Maybe I will write something good next week, Jenn is starting to make me look bad.

Does your home come with preinstalled cat ledges?

Also known as windows...

Here fishy fishy fishy

"Eh, I'm busy here leave me alone"

Aslan flouncing about

I'm not totally sure on the definition of flounce, but I am certain that Az is a skilled master of it.

Kitty No Legs

Some times she her legs disaperate, they always return, but one wonders, where are those legs, and what are they doing?

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Kitty Pictures

In response to the call for kitty pictures, I have about half a hundred blurs I could post, but otherwise I can't get Azi to stand still long enough. We even tried once with the camera turned to its fastest shutter speed and still blur. I'm afraid she is to fast. She even sleeps fast! But I shall try again.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Another author? Who can it be?

Hi all, just wanted to say, no I didn't hang out at cool seminars in Guelph today, instead I coaxed my lovely wife into joining the team here in Araska blogging away.


-The Proprietor

Science is better under the sea!

Today I decided to join in on The Marcel Naseer Ali Memorial Lecture in Aquatic Biology - a Seminar series that is jointly supported by the Axelrod Institute of Ichthyology and College of Biological Science at the University of Guelph.

Generally, I decide on whether or not to go to such seminars using a 3-step process:
1. Are refreshments provided?
2. What time is it? Do I have to stay late?
3. Who else is going?

This time I had the best support from (3), since some other folks from my lab were interested. Also (2) was lunch time and (1) was YES, so I was sold. Also, I later decided to check what the seminar was about, and it was entitled "Deep Sea Explorations: Vents, Volcanoes and VENUS".

So we set off to see the talk by Dr. Verena Tunnicliffe, Canada Research Chair in Deep Ocean Research, Professor & Director of the VENUS Project, from University of Victoria in British Columbia. Her videos and anecdotes were really amazing! Apparently Canada built and began research with a remote-controlled submersible before any other country, although other nations use the technology now. She spoke of navigating the sub into the open ...ummm... spout (my word not hers) of an undersea volcano, and watching the billowing clouds emerging from within. We watched the video of the escaping sulfur gas - apparently it caused quite a problem when they realized that all the sulfur was reacting to form sulfuric acid, which began to eat away at the surface of the sub and then etched all the lenses on the camera! Later, exploring another vent, molten sulfur was splashed on the sub during a mild eruption, and later again there was another acid bath due to the release of carbonic acid! The sub puts up with a lot of abuse!

Keep in mind I suffer from scientific jealously every time that anyone else manages to publish anything, but that she had also gotten to dive to the sea floor and operate ROBOTS - I am distraught with envy!

Luckily it turns out that we can all take part in such adventures through the new VENUS project, which offers a web-enabled and operated underwater station. It's available free of charge to the public, to check out what is happening on the sea floor, and also to scientists who can contact the VENUS group and get any equipment they like wired up to the giant "hub" at their two sites near Vancouver. It's a great idea for Universities like Guelph to take part in, since Marine Biology is offered at many land-locked institutions. Equipment like cameras can then be operated using the internet and data delivered back to researchers in the same way.

Now I just need to design a project for our Pseudomonas underwater!

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Shocking New Colourful $10 USD Bill

Parents get your children and flee, the colour it is overwhelming! Sorry I just can't help but poke fun at American currency. I don't think the $10 is causing as much ado as the first 'colourized' bills but you can hardly call these bills blinding with new shades and hues. Personally I think they are just down right boring. I for one love the variety of bills that we get up here North of the boarder. The colour really helps to liven up our barren and desolate frozen wasteland, whose uniform horizon is only marred by up thrust igloos, sled teams and Tim Horton's.

*Images of Canadian Currency curtsey of the Bank of Canada.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Breathtaking Aurora Photos

Here are 10 photos of breathtaking aurora photos. An aurora is a atmospheric phenomenon where bands of light are displayed from the charged solar particles.

Digg'n this so my mom will see it, mom, look at this!

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