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Author: Disgruntled Julie | Views: 609 | Comments: 6
Last by ck on Nov 28, 2010, 7:29pm
...and also for caring. By donating to a LabSpaces Donor's Choose campaign, you're doing just that -- showing you care.

So to sweeten the deal a bit, I'll throw in some cookies.

I don't have my own Donor's Choose campaign set up, but plenty of other LabSpace bloggers do! Head on over here to see the full list of participating bloggers and the projects they are trying to fund, and donate to one (or more than one!). Email me the receipt showing that you have donated (if you are attempting to stay anonymous, feel free to digitally erase your name), and you'll be entered for a chance to receive a batch of homemade cookies of your choice. The more donations, the more chances to win -- for every $500 total donated to the combined LabSpaces efforts, I'll draw one name. $2000 donations total? Four people get cookies, and so on and so forth.

The type of cookies are up to you (provided they can be shipped)... some of the favorites I have made include pinwheel cookies, lemon drops, my most-requested pudding chocolate chip, chocolate chip oatmeal, pumpkin spice, banana-stuffed peanut butter, triple choc . . . More
Author: Neil Losin | Views: 519 | Comments: 0
At some point in your life, you’ve probably missed out on something great because your timing was off. Maybe you waited too long to ask a cute friend on a date, and she ended up going out with some d-bag instead of you. Maybe you bought a Version 1 iPad last week, just days before they announced the new, clearly-superior-in-every-way edition. Regardless of the specifics, at some point each of us has learned the hard way that timing is critical. Good timing is crucial in nature too, and recent research on birds gives us a vivid illustration why.

You’d be yawning, too, if you completed a migration like that of the Ruddy Turnstone (Arenaria interpres). Scientists satellite-tracked one bird on a 27,000km round-trip migration around the Pacific – a flight that included three non-stop flights of 7600km, 6200km, and 5000km!It’s hard to imagine a group of animals for whom timing is more critical than migratory birds. If they arrive too early on the breeding grounds, they might encounter frigid temperatures and inadequate food. If they arrive too late, and all the best territories might already be occupied. Migration itself is such a costly activity that birds can . . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 535 | Comments: 5
Last by Alchemystress on Mar 04, 2011, 7:15am
Mark Bittman at the NY Times has a great opinion piece up on the current food system in the United States. I read this thanks to the ever wonderful Maryn McKenna, who tweeted about Mark's piece. Now food legislation in the United States is tricky. On the one hand, there are the people who support better food as a means to better health. On the other hand, there are those, like Anthony Bourdain, who feel that our priority should be cheaper food for the poor. Sustainable agriculture works, but it is incredibly expensive, and out of reach for those hovering around the poverty level.

Bittman's idea is to tackle the argument at both ends. First by eliminating or severly reducing the subsidies to corn and soy. Corn and soy are two wonderful ingredients, but they're no longer used the way we think they are used. Both are turned into a raw material for processing into feed or plastics or fuel. Very little of the corn grown is the sweet corn we eat. Slightly more soy is turned into something edible for human consump . . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 486 | Comments: 3
Last by JaySeeDub on Mar 23, 2011, 4:03am
Ketchup. A condiment ubiquitous to the American household. I don't think any condiment evokes more flavor memories for Americans. Nor does any condiment have as many rules. Ketchup with fries? Check. Ketchup on a hot dog? Not in NYC, OK on the West Coast. You can put it on a burger, but I will stab you if I ever see you put it on a steak I've made for you. And in 1981 the USDA, under the Reagan Administration, proposed classifying it as a vegetable for the school lunch program. It didn't happen.

School lunches are hit or miss. I remember pre-made, mass produced crap. Chicken nuggets. "Enchiladas." "French bread" "pizzas." Grey green beans. Neon orange carrots. Spongy, soft, sweet rolls. These are not flavors or memories I cherish. I was the kid with the "weird" food. I grew up in a Filipino household. My best friend's mom worked the line at a high end restaurant in SF, and her dad was the sous chef at another Italian restaurant. The flavors I remember best growing up were of sardines in oil alongside eggs at breakfast; fresh avocado everywhere; fresh fish prepared whole in a number of ways (the eyes are still one of my favorites); s . . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 582 | Comments: 5
Last by Lab Mom on Feb 02, 2011, 11:26pm
It was a warm July day in 2008. The temperature was hovering somewhere between pleasant and stifling. For those that could retreat into air conditioned tasting rooms, shaded verandas and terraces or tipple cold, cold Sauvignon or Fume Blanc it was pleasant. Lounging and loafing around speaking to the attendants in tasting rooms and caves. Yet one more pour of the latest release. The dry texture and salty taste of crackers to cleanse visitor palates. A swig of water to keep hydrated for the tourists. Winery staff almost always used the spit buckets exclusively. For those working outside, it was hell.

It was the kind of warm day I typically hate. My allergies were triggered and I was self medicating with some weird combination of Claritin and Zyrtec. Two, or three, Claritin and one and one half Zyrtec for the first 4 hours. Another two Claritin and another Zyrtec, plus the other half, at around 1pm to stave off the worst of my allergies. They never completely went away, but the drugs made it a little more bearable to be outside. I could not wear my contacts because my eyes would not stop watering. This meant I couldn’t wear sunglasses out in the bright Napa sun. My motto of “just pave it all” was close to being uttered. I was missing the salt air and fog of home, just . . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 509 | Comments: 5
Last by Hannah W on Dec 19, 2010, 9:15pm
Many families have Sunday Dinner, or its equivalent. That one meal, at least, you don't get to miss. The rest of the week may involve trekking back and forth between sports practice, band rehersal, late nights at the office (or in the lab), and who knows what else. For me these were sizeable get togethers of family – core, extended, friends and neighbors. These insane Filipino fetes that no one got to miss.

When I first moved out to Big Public SoCal School, I took that tradition of a big meal with friends with me. They didn’t fall on Sundays, but through necessity and logistics became Fridays. My criteria for these dinners were that it was cheap, filling, moderately difficult and could easily be timed. There was no wagyu beef, no black truffles or caviar making appearances. These meals also couldn’t be boxed or IQF either. It had to wow without being expensive. After graduation, the meals moved around as we all became busy. But to this day one of the dishes that still seems to delight is one that is incredibly simple – risotto. Rice cooked slowly with lots of liquid over a longer period of time, in relation to steamed rice. It fit all my criteria, and if you make it . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 461 | Comments: 4
Last by Thomas Joseph on Oct 12, 2010, 10:32am
Ok folks, I've thrown my hat in the ring and set up my Donor's Choose page a couple of days ahead of schedule (officially starts on 10/10/10). That means, of course, that we have a couple of extra days to raise money. I've got seven projects listed on my donor page, a few of which are very close to being completed. Let's try to get those knocked out folks, and then we can progress to the larger projects. I have a widget to my project on the right hand side (you may need to scroll down a bit) if you want easy access to my chosen projects. Give early, give often folks.

ETA: HP is going to match all donations up to a total of 50K. Kudos to them.

. . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 463 | Comments: 6
Last by Evie on Jan 11, 2011, 3:36pm
I thought I'd start a weekly series here, where I tackled quick fixes and ideas in the kitchen.  Partly because these are questions/ideas that deserve an answer, but are quick to answer.  Partly because some of the other posts I've got lined up are taking a while to get back from my technical editors (friends I've worked with on recipes/ideas).  Actually one post I've had on the back burner since I started may very well end up a book considering the amount of literature I've consulted to write it.  Seriously.  It's kind of insane.  I may need to chop it up into parts or talk to Dr. G at the Robert Mondavi Institute about finding a publisher.

First up - Sauces.

Who doesn't love sauces?  Whether it's a creamy mornay over macaroni (mac n cheese), ketchup with fries, or a cherry gastrique with braised pork belly.

Sauces serve two purposes.  They accentuate and enhance the food they're lusciously draped over.  And they help lube your mouth.  (For my more prurient readers, I'll allow you time to compose yourself.)  The acids and salts in sauces stimulate your salivary glands into producing more saliva, and if your sauce has any fats, even more lube!  Seriously, your mouth needs all the lube it can get, otherwise you'll choke.

A friend of mine wou . . . More
Author: Lab Mom | Views: 428 | Comments: 1
Last by Suzy on Jan 30, 2011, 11:27am
.. And don't piss on my door either.

I couldn't believe it when I read this.. it seems that a couple of math professors from Cal State Northridge are having a pissing match.. literally.

It reminded me of Scio10's "Don't piss on my carpet" civility debate**. Although we can all agree that pissing on a coworker's office door is nothing if not uncivilized. No need for debate.

**here, here, here, here, here, here... etc.

. . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 413 | Comments: 10
Last by Thomas Joseph on Dec 02, 2010, 3:17pm
Black out to phantom power, and like there's nothing on. - Something On.

No, I'm not talking about one of the best albums ever made (by The Tragically Hip), but rather the phenomenon known as phantom (also known as standby or vampiric) power. Phantom power is when a machine draws an electrical current even when it is in the "off" position, when technically it's in the "standby" position. This can run you upwards of $10 a month! And if you're a cheap SOB like myself, that's a lot of money that can be saved.

So, this Christmas, buy yourself a present. Get a few . . . More
Author: David Manly | Views: 363 | Comments: 2
Last by Kenny on Nov 12, 2010, 12:07pm

To begin this post, I want to talk about the worst teacher I ever had. The reason is because this teacher almost ruined my love of science.

I was always a science kid, who would rather study the ants on the soccer field than run after the ball. I would rather go to the museum or read about animals than play T-ball.

But in grade 10, I had a science teacher (who we will call Mr. L) who was a very competent teacher, but was not the most encouraging person on the planet. He would ask questions on tests that were never covered, as well as ask questions in the most complicated way possible. If you asked him a question in class, he would just shrug it off and tell you to figure it out yourself.

But there is one incident involving a lab report that made me question pursuing science as a career.

The lab report was done in groups, and one of the people in my group had all the data. But, the day before the lab was due, his grandmother in Vancouver passed away, so he flew there with his family immediately. However, he took the lab stuff with him, so there was no way we could get it back.

When we tried to explain the situation to Mr. L, he wouldn’t have it.

He failed all of us on the lab, and wouldn’t even accept it a few days later when . . . More
Author: Lab Mom | Views: 326 | Comments: 3
Last by Suzy on Mar 18, 2011, 10:22pm
In honor of St. Patty's I present you with this:

. . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 340 | Comments: 11
Last by Evie on Jan 05, 2011, 4:44pm
Was reading a HuffPo article this morning and choked on my beverage (after reading this article I need something a bit stronger) when I came across the following line ...

"A dollar more per gallon isn't that much – probably about $750 more per year for each motorist, but there's a psychological aspect to gas prices," he said. "People are going to be up in arms about this."

Only $750 more per year? Only? ONLY? Excuse me, but lets see how far $750 could go. $750 could ...

1) Pay my car insurance for the entire year,

2) It's a brand new 42" LCD television (with stand),

3) It's a movie night for two each week of the year (if you lay off the soda and popcorn),

4) It's what I typically set aside for two and a half months of groceries (including food for my two dogs),

5) It's over a year and a half of gym membership dues (for me at my gym at any rate).

Yah, $750 can go a long way ... and I'll readily admit that I'm fairly well off. And lets not forget that thats ON TOP of what we're already paying out for the year on gas as it is. But what about those people who are not as well . . . More
Author: genegeek | Views: 333 | Comments: 13
Last by genegeek on Oct 06, 2010, 11:14pm
*I know that some people were hoping for an interesting review of pinball machines and I'm sorry to disappoint.

So we are all answering the question: What would I do if I wasn't doing my science? Well, I just quit my day job so am figuring out the question for real!

Some would argue that I haven't been doing 'science' for some time now. I teach 'foundations of medicine' at UBC medical school, focusing on genetics but also other parts of biology and clinical skills - and I am still working there. I just quit the job running an outreach program in genetics and it took most of my what to do now?

I'm not that freaked out by the lack of direction in my current situation. I've never followed a straight path and have been lucky to:

travel around the world for a year (and continue to travel to fun places) work as a counsellor for children with special needs and their families work as a paramedic (cool job but I'm too little to meet some of the physical requirements) do a PhD (avoid 'real life' - no, I loved my project) dabble in music industry (got enough exposure to realize that it isn't for me) teach at universities and high schools... (super fun, more at end of post^) . . . More
Author: Lab Mom | Views: 260 | Comments: 6
Last by GMP on Aug 20, 2010, 8:11pm
The lovely Dr. O tagged me in this meme that is making it's way around the blogosphere, and so (in typical LabMom style) I am going to do the bare minimum.

Here are the instructions for this meme:
1. Sum up your blogging motivation, philosophy and experience in exactly 10 words.
2. Tag 10 other blogs to perpetuate the meme.

Task 1:
WTF am I doing? I can't believe you're reading! Thanks!

Task 2:
I'm going to tackle this part on my personal blog, and send this meme out into the mommyblog sphere. They have a little more free time on their hands for tasks like this. (Shhh.. don't tell them I said that! *Ducks flying sippy cups*)
. . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 284 | Comments: 0
Received the following in my email today, thought I would pass it on.

Dear Thomas,

Over the last several days, we've received many calls and emails from UCS members and supporters asking about the current crisis involving several of Japan's nuclear power reactors. Like most of you, we are deeply saddened by the terrible tragedy of last week's earthquake and tsunami, and our hearts go out to the many victims.

For more than 40 years, UCS has served as a nuclear safety watchdog and a reliable, independent source of information on nuclear power technology and its risks. UCS technical experts are working hard to provide timely, updated analysis of what is happening at the stricken facilities and what the implications may be.

You can find regular updates on our blog "All Things Nuclear" and learn about why events have unfolded in the way they have, where the situation may be headed, and what it may mean for the people around the facilities and the environment.

We are also being called on frequently by a wide range of media outlets to provide independent, unbiased information and analysis about the rapidly changin . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 269 | Comments: 2
Last by Thomas Joseph on Oct 26, 2010, 3:41pm
For those of you who are attending the ASA-CSSA-SSSA International Annual Meeting in Long Beach, CA this year (October 31 through November 4), there will be several Early Career Programs. I think all of them are considerably worth the time to attend.

They can be found here.

From granting writing, to interviewing, to how to write manuscripts. They also have an hour-long anti-#k3rn3d session called "Balancing Career and Home".

Brianna Blaser, Science Careers/AAAS, will talk about what work/life balance means in today's world while succeeding in your career. She will show you how to assess your time management needs, and make the most of your time at work and home.

So, if you are attending this years tri-society, and are a relatively new career scientist, I'd give these sessions some serious thought. I know I'll be attending several. I intend on independently blogging the conference too, in case people can't attend but would like to hear about the parts of the meeting I personally attended.

. . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 273 | Comments: 10
Last by Thomas Joseph on Oct 15, 2010, 6:07pm
I've been thinking long and hard about this, and about what makes a suitable bribe to generate interest in getting people to donate to my Donor's Choose page. To be honest, while it'd be nice to see people fund projects on my page, even if they throw a few dollars somewhere else, I'd be happy. With that said however, I will offer something to "sweeten the pot" for people to donate through me.

Now, I don't knit. I can't beat you to a pulp. I've never been a bartender. I don't do cartwheels.

But oh, I can certainly cook.

I learned young, watching my grandma, my aunt, and my mom cook. I would help prep and I would watch over the sauces. I knew I had become a man when my grandma or m . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 264 | Comments: 0
I finally have some time to pay up on my Donor's Choose challenge. I made payment for Jade's generous donations to the cause, and then I went on a self-inflicted hiatus when Genomic Repairman was kind enough to donate his winnings to my kiddies as well. Thanks GR (and Brian who issued the challenge). In your honor, here are two more recipes.

Recipe #3 (TJ's Comfort Food)

Nacho Chicken Casserole


6 boneless chicken breasts, skinned, and excess fat removed

Bag of Doritos (a big bag)

Chili powder

Can of Cream of Chicken (15 ounces) *Can use Cream of Mushroom instead*

1 bag (8 ounces) Fiesta Blend Shredded Cheese *Any multi-cheese mix will do, preferrably spicy*

Onion, Paprika, Cumin (all optional)


1a. Grill the chicken breasts and cut into bite sized chunks (or shred).

1b. Cut a small slit into the Doritos bag to let air out. Then crush all the nachos into small bits.

2. Place a layer of nachos into the bottom of a 2 quart casserole dish.

3. Sprinkle some chili powder onto crushed nachos (can also put cumin or paprika and/or onion).

4. Lay a third of the chicken onto nachos.

5. Lay a third of the cream of chicken soup on chicken.

6 . . . More
Author: Lab Mom | Views: 211 | Comments: 1
Last by Suzy on Jan 09, 2011, 1:13pm
I must have been under a rock (and clearly not paying attention to my Twitter feed) because I just realized that the list of finalists for Open Lab 2010 are posted.

There are so many great sci bloggers out there.. and so many fun reads. Too bad there aren't more hours in the day. If you have more time on your hands then I do, you can also check out all 900+ nominees.

. . . More