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Author: Lab Mom | Views: 176 | 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
Author: Lab Mom | Views: 964 | Comments: 2
Last by JaySeeDub on Jan 05, 2011, 6:02pm
.. a magentic stir bar system for the stove top. You know.. a glorified hot plate. No more need to stir continuously, just use a stir bar and walk away. Granted, there was that small choking hazard issue, but I was going to work on that.

But now it looks like I'm too late. I've been scooped.

Meet the Robostir

Damn. There goes my shot at millions.

. . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 294 | 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: Lab Mom | Views: 1564 | Comments: 6
Last by Bryan on May 23, 2012, 12:14pm
Over on my personal blog I have been lamenting the fact I live in a 100 year old house and absolutely hate what a money pit it has become. To put in perspective how long ago 100 years really is, I looked up a few facts about life in 1905 (the year my money pit was built) .

"When this house was built Teddy Roosevelt was president, there were only 45 states in the Union, most people still drove a horse and buggy, and milk cost 14 cents per gallon. It was the age of the Victorians. Automobiles, the railroad, radio, the world series, airplanes and indoor plumbing were all in their infancy. Albert Einstein still hadn't finalized the theory of relativity, and William Bateson suggested the term "genetics" for the very first time. The average weekly salary was $12.98 and the average life expectancy was 47 years. Child labor and racial segregation were prevalent and women wouldn't be given the right to vote for another 15 . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 1351 | Comments: 12
Last by Thomas Joseph on Jan 12, 2011, 2:11pm


Coruscant - an ecumenopolis

What are sci-fi movies trying to tell us with images, and themes, like the above? The term ecumenopolis comes from the combination of the two Greek words ecumene and polis -- in other words, a city made of the whole world. It is featured in Star Wars (as an example) as the planet of Coruscant (pictured above). Watching the movie one may note that there is no visible greenery on the planet, no visible water, and even major landscapes are dwarfed or have been wiped out by buildings. It is a theme that has been mentioned numerous times in science fiction, and a listing can be found in Wikipedia. While it seems like a thing of fantasy, the view of North America from space at night suggests otherwise (see below).



An ecumenopolis in the making?

My thoughts turned to such notions as I was reading the following article, which is definitely worthy of a read. The article discusses the issue of mesopredator release, which is when small- to mid-sized predators are released from the pressures of their own predation by large-sized predators. Since they are no longer pre . . . More
Author: JaySeeDub | Views: 459 | 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: Lab Mom | Views: 153 | Comments: 0
As I approach my one year blogging anniversay (holy crap!) it is time to look back at 2010. I thought the easiest way to do that was jump on the "12 months of.." meme.

I am copying the guidelines from DrugMonkey, since I think that is the actual origin:
The rules for this blog meme are quite simple.
-Post the link and first sentence from the first blog entry for each month of the past year.



Jan (TTJYEL): There are lots of advantages to being a working mom in the biological sciences versus some boring office or retail gig. (Look at that! I was actually a working mom! It seems like a long long time ago.)

Feb ((TTJYEL): So it begins. 31 days until I have a better blog! (I was a brand spankin' new blogger. This was the first post in my 31 DBBB series)

March (TTJYEL): If you have recently joined a new lab, don't constantly start sentances with the phrase "In my old lab..." . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 1447 | Comments: 7
Last by Thomas Joseph on Dec 14, 2010, 10:50am
So, now that Thanksgiving is over I've had to start decorating for Christmas. If I had my druthers, I'd decorate ... never ... or possibly on the 23rd or 24th, but the decision is not mine to make alone. So up into the attic I went, and down came all the wreaths, ornaments, stockings and holders, holiday DVDs and CDs, garland, and lights ... and the big artificial tree. This tree has seen much better days and so this is probably the last year it'll be used, but it's gotten me to thinking (yah, scary thought). What is going to happen to that tree when I'm done with it, and what sort of environmental impact is it going to have?

Before I go any further though, I have to say that one of my favorite parts of last evening was breaking open my favorite Christmas CD of all time "Favorite Carols of Christmas" and listening to it. I've just completed ripping and adding it to my iPod, so I won't get stuck listening to all the cruddy Christmas music out there on the radio.



At any rate, I've gone around looking for information on the environmental impacts of artificial Christmas trees and come across a f . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 347 | 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: 8181 | Comments: 5
Last by Evie on Nov 27, 2010, 2:12pm
Plants never quite held an interest to me. I understood their vital roles in the ecosystem, I admired their beauty and their survival in the harshest of climates, and I spent a long time learning how they grow, evolve and reproduce.

But, they never were able to keep my interest compared to animals, which is why I studied zoology and not botany.

However, there are a few species of plants that I do like, and here they are:

Sundew



From the family Droseraceae, these plants look and act in an interesting way. At first glance, they appear to have some dew on the ends of their long leaves. But, like most plants, looks can be deceiving - they are true killers.

The droplets of dew are not dew at all, but a sticky substance known as mucilage that will trap any unlucky insect that happens to be attracted to the glistening globs.

Once the insect touches down to sample the fake dew, the true marvel of the Sundew is revealed. The plant then contorts its tentacles to the centre of the leaf, and traps the insect with a barrage of sticky globs of mucilage.

Once the insect is cornered, there is no escape.

It is survival of the fittest at its best.

*This entry conta . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 229 | 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

Ingredients

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)



Instructions

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: David Manly | Views: 337 | 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: Psycasm | Views: 10029 | Comments: 41
Last by mamta on Feb 08, 2011, 5:14am
Editor's Selection Icon

I consider myself a skeptic, and I've often wondered how I can tie my skeptical bent with my interest in Psychology, while remaining true to the format of this blog. I don't like to sit here and write essays, nor do I like to sit here and push a particular agenda. I do like to sit down, ask a question, find an answer, and try to apply it.

And so, when last musing upon this topic, I realized that I'm in the field most capable of debunking such woo. Perhaps information, in and of itself, is useful - should you be confronted by one afflicted with an 'open mind' . Furthermore I'm on the side of light - Science! and so have special +1 debunking abilities. While the purveyors of Woo also lay claim to domain on the brain and mental abilities, we have replicability and statistical analysis.

Initially I thought this post would be a bit of fun. Poke around the old journals and find some acid-trip hypotheses and from the '7o's. Naturally I checked the 'peer review' box when searching...

Oh. Em. Gee.

I found this gem from the Journal of Alternative and Complementary Medicine:

Over decades, consciousness research has a . . . More
Author: Thomas Joseph | Views: 232 | 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: 233 | 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: Disgruntled Julie | Views: 477 | 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: Thomas Joseph | Views: 421 | 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: genegeek | Views: 315 | 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 time...so 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: Thomas Joseph | Views: 1316 | Comments: 11
Last by Cricket42 on Oct 13, 2010, 1:56pm
I remember the first time I was asked, in an official capacity*, to review a manuscript. I was excited because I had finally been asked by my peers to partake in one of the essential elements of publishable science ... the peer review. I was also extremely nervous. Would I review the manuscript with the same attention to detail as the other reviewers? Would I miss critical elements? Would I make a fool out of myself and recommend acceptance of a paper which was clearly junk (or vice versa)?

Fears aside, I proceeded with the review, which given all my anxiety took far longer than it needed to. In the end, I think I handed in a good review**, and I've been following a similar pattern of reviewing ever since then. Since I'm fresh off my latest review (a rejection, unfortunately) I figured now is a pretty good time to put my thoughts down on paper (the intertubez).

1. The first issues to consider will come when you get the email asking you whether or not you'd be able to do the review. First, do you have the time? IIRC, the typical reviewer reviews about seven papers and change a year (I'll have to find the data on that, but it was blogged about recently), which comes out to less than one a month. When I accept a review, I figure that it'll take me about an afternoo . . . More
Author: Lab Mom | Views: 233 | 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
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