Mike Beversluis

Friday, September 30, 2005

The world is an interesting place

Just check out this article on the weird and wonderful vocabulary of different languages. I do wonder if some of them aren't made up, so if you can independently verify the following, shoot me an email saying so:

GRILAGEM Brazilian Portuguese
The practice of putting a live cricket into a box of newly faked documents, until the insect's excrement makes the paper look convincingly old.

REJAM Malay
To execute by pressing into mud.

LATAH Indonesian
Uncontrollable habit of saying embarrassing things.

MAHJ Persian
Looking beautiful after having a disease.


Finally, and somehow pertinent to this post, there is:

FUCHA Portuguese

To use company time and resources for one's own purposes.


As the article points out, and as most people who have linked to it mention, it's interesting to see cultural fascinations and insights that pop out from the number of words that show up for a certain topic, but what I find weird is that these concepts really exist at all, let alone the need to condense them into a single word. I'm trying to think of American equivalents, but my cultural blinders make that bit of self-examination difficult.

For Alex, Everything you would want to know about the Chrysler Town & Country Minivan

Alex came to the US in 2000 and since then he has bought two minivans. But now he's moving back to France and - I'm going out on a limb here - he might not be able to find or afford a vehicle as nice as a Chrysler Town & Country Minivan. (h/t Jalopnik)

Metro life 19

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Thursday, September 29, 2005

Now I've gone too far

Optical illusions.

(A) There is a cool sculpture of a house, which looks like something that a kid would draw, in the NGA sculpture garden that is amazing to walk by. They inverted the concavity of the house, so that the roof corner which should be closest to you is the furthest away. When you walk by it, the geometry does a really odd shift manuever, which as you might already gather, is a lot better seen than described. (it's kinda like this)

(B) I've wondered about subliminally including optical illusions into scientific figures just as a little Easter Egg. I guess the page above would be a place to start looking for ideas.

Three chords

Yet more hillarity from the brother in law (no, it hasn't been a productive day)




I'm not sure if it matters which three chords or not. Judging from MTV2, not.

The Shining

Check out this recut and rescored trailer. Four thumbs up. Kubric is spinning, rapidly, in his grave.

Roberts

Just curious, but again, what's it going to take to get Alec Baldwin to move to Canada?

Brrrnnnnnttt.

Eddie Izzard was right, all the macho guys in Rome are riding around, looking sideways and going "Ciao." Also,

In the '30s, Hitler: Czechoslovakia, Poland, France, Second World War... Russian front not a good idea... Hitler never played Risk when he was a kid. Cause, you know, playing Risk, you could never hold on to Asia. That Asian-Eastern European area, you could never hold it, could you? Seven extra men at the beginning of every go, but you couldn't fucking hold it. Australasia, that was the one. Australasia. All the purples. Get everyone on Papua New Guinea and just build up and build up...

South America isn't quite as easy, but works too. Which would explain the Boys from Brazil, now, wouldn't it?

My Dinner with Andre

Well, more like an Interview with Andre. (h/t Medienkritik)

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Metro life 18

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Wings

The explanation is a little handwavey, but apparently sound waves can be used to break up laminar flow on airplane wings and thereby increase lift by as much as 20%. That said, airline travel already sucks enough without turning the whole airframe into a sonicator, but you'd think the military would be interested. On the other hand, wing deicing isn't an issue anymore.

I wonder if this would work for sails and propellers as well? By adding small resonators (whistles is the technical term, I think) on a foil, the surface could vibrate itself, which could make windmills more efficient. Thus enabling Holland to pump itself dry faster.

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François La Rochefoucauld

From Quote of the Day comes:
"We confess our little faults to persuade people that we have no large ones."
Written by François La Rochefoucauld. Cherry picking from among his other quotes:

Few are agreeable in conversation, because each thinks of what he intends to say than of what others are saying, and listens no more when he himself has a chance to speak.

Jealousy feeds upon suspicion, and it turns into fury or it ends as soon as we pass from suspicion to certainty.

We should often be ashamed of our finest actions if the world understood our motives.

Why is it that our memory is good enough to retain the least triviality that happens to us, and yet not good enough to recollect how often we have told it to the same person?

Since he was at court, somehow it reminds me of Ridicule, which is a good movie and exactly follows the French formula of dorky guys and smoking hot babes.

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Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Anachronism is A-Ok by me

OTOH, screw period-authenticity.

Ye Olde Time Waster

I got my focal field calculations to integrate in a reasonable amount of time - 1d Adaptive Gaussian-Lobotto Quadrature is much faster than the 2d version. But I digress from my digression, namely - I've been practicing my Elizabethan costume sketching, (eg->) , because it would be fun to illustrate something like this.

Also, I gather there was a Ren-Faire in VA this Sunday, but I didn't go myself. So let me guess, there was mead, lute playing, guys hitting each other with foam swords, and heaving bosoms, right?

Roll your own bike frame

Okay, so making your own carbon fiber mountain bike frame isn't impressive enough for you? How about bamboo?

Update: the only way this could be cooler is if it was chainless.

7"

Heh.

Monday, September 26, 2005

Husbandry for Dummies (Redundant!)

"How to Iron Your Own Damn Shirt: The Perfect Husband Handbook." (via Brothers Judd)

Snorks

For John

\begin{equation}
\lim_{funny\rightarrow 0} \frac{No Cars Are Ever Stolen}{No One Would Steal My Car} =
\lim_{funny\rightarrow 0} \frac{\partial{No Cars Are Ever Stolen}/\partial{funny}}{\partial{No One Would Steal My Car}/\partial{funny}}.
\end{equation}

Link from e

Go ahead, stock up on your nerd-shirts.

Sunday, September 25, 2005

Chuck Norris facts

Don't be fooled - get the Facts about Chuck Norris. Facts like:

If you paint one painting, that doesn't make you a painter. However, Chuck Norris baked one cake and now holds the record as The World's Greatest Baker.


Sadly, 99% of those facts are retarded and that's the best one. In hindsight, I probably shouldn't have linked to this, but I'm going to leave it up to spite myself.

(see instead the somewhat better Facts about Vin Diesel.)

Heh (Whew!)

Turning the key this morning, I noticed that the passenger window was rolled half way down. Which was odd, because I had left it [1] there over the weekend, which means it had been sitting out for two days with a window rolled down. From this I make two observations: One, car theft isn't a big problem there, and two, my car is emminently undesirable. I'd insert a l'Hopital's Rule joke here, but instead I'll concede that it's a total beater at this point. And the beat(er) goes on, or something.

1. Unlike the pacific human rights mobile, this one's refered to as my urban assault vehicle. [2]

2. You named your car too, right?

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Murals


I'll have to get the one of Marilyn Monroe later, but here's one from near Dupont circle. Please file this under Exploring DC on Foot which is a good book on out-of the way spots around DC.

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Friday, September 23, 2005

Metro life 17

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Like they say on Cribs,"And here's where the magic happens."

Quotes of the day

"Any reviewer who expresses rage and loathing for a novel is preposterous. He or she is like a person who has put on full armor and attacked a hot fudge sundae."
Kurt Vonnegut

"Asking a working writer what he thinks about critics is like asking a lamppost how it feels about dogs."
Christopher Hampton

"Honest criticism is hard to take, particularly from a relative, a friend, an acquaintance, or a stranger."
Franklin P. Jones

"One cannot review a bad book without showing off."
W. H. Auden

"People ask for criticism, but they only want praise."
W. Somerset Maugham

Thursday, September 22, 2005

"No tricks."

plus "and suddenly everything became clear to him," are two good quotes from Raymond Carver's essay on writing. Anything with 2+ quotes is worth linking, right?

I put their thing down, flip it and reverse it.

Prison population rises "despite" dramatic fall in crime. (Yes, I made little air-quote gestures when I said that, and yes, everyone's just talking past each other.)

porsche


Why yes, I do realize that a t-shirt with "I'm a dickless-yuppie" is cheaper, but I still want one (the Porsche)

Dofus and Galant crash tests

Hmm. (scroll) Safety seems more a function of engineering than bulk, in a the occupants aren't supposed to be the crumple zone way. (on the other hand, crashing VW's means you won't have to pay for their horrendous maintenance for the next 10 years)

Wednesday, September 21, 2005

metro life 16

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Robotic Sentry Guns

Yes, you can roll your own.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

The Aristocrats

As promised

The Aristocrats, by Paul Provenza (2005)

Just for updating those we didn't hear about it, it's a sort of documentary in which an obscene joke is analyzed in detail and above all told many times over and over; the trick is that the joke has a free-format body.

In short, some people present their act to a theatre agent: but their act is a string of obscenities (and here the comics that tells the joke can unbridle their fantasy); the agent at the end wants to know what is the name of the act and the answer is always the same: "The Aristocrats".

This said, a couple of thoughts: this is, demonstrably, the most obscene possible joke. The proof is the following: if a more obscene joke existed, it would be possible to take its content and treansfer it in "The Aristocrats", that would in this way be at least as obscene.

At any rate I have concluded that actors and comedians are divided into three categories:

- those who cannot say anything more obscene than I can say
- those who can say something more obscene than I can think of
- those who can really surprise me

All of the three cathegories have something that makes me laugh; and some of the people in the first and second cathegory are part of the third as well.
After a while the accumulation of obscenities is so large that one has to laugh to release it.

Moreover
- I found very nice the versions in which some character in the joke does something unexpected, which in this case is becoming suddenly polite.
- also very nice the non-verbal versions, for example there is one with playing cards.

But above all, in the soup of humour obscenity is never the main ingredient, not even when it appears to be.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Sketch 8


Yep.

The bathroom turned out to be a quiet place, a spot for meditation away from the hurlyburly of the house's many inhabitants

Personally, I'd go with gleaming white tile and fixtures, you know, something reminescent of the Applie iPod design, and then complement that with bleached birchwood for the timber frame construction.

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Better living through fluid dynamics

Ultrafast-pouring beer tap with breakthrough anti-foaming technology.

Finally, a tap that can keep up.

Individual throttle body setup

Day 2 of the genesis of my honda ratrod comes into focus, and it is good.

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Sketch 7

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Who you gonna call?

Porkbusters!

This is a far better use of coordinated pr pressure than taking down the mainstream media. Now, a linking post to Instapundit is defacto pointless, but a linking post which uses this bipartisan relief effort campaign as an occassion to stripmine IMDB for Ghost Buster quotes? That's something I'll hang my hat on:

Dr. Peter Venkman: We've been going about this all wrong, this Mr. Stay Puft's okay, he's a sailor, he's in New York, we get this guy laid, we won't have any trouble.

Dr. Egon Spengler: There's something very important I forgot to tell you.
Dr. Peter Venkman: What?
Dr. Egon Spengler: Don't cross the streams.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Why?
Dr. Egon Spengler: It would be bad.
Dr. Peter Venkman: I'm fuzzy on the whole good/bad thing. What do you mean, "bad?"
Dr. Egon Spengler: Try to imagine all life as you know it stopping instantaneously and every molecule in your body exploding at the speed of light.
Dr. Ray Stantz: Total protonic reversal.
Dr. Peter Venkman: Right. That's bad. Okay. All right. Important safety tip. Thanks, Egon.

Dr. Ray Stantz: Symmetrical book stacking. Just like the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947.
Dr. Peter Venkman: You're right, no human being would stack books like this.

Dr. Peter Venkman: Egon, this reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head. Remember that?
Dr. Egon Spengler: That would have worked if you hadn't stopped me.

Winston Zeddemore: I'm Winston Zeddmore, Your Honor. I've only been with the company for a couple of weeks, but these things are real. Since I joined these men, I've seen shit that'll turn you white.


Dr. Ray Stantz: Personally, I liked the university. They gave us money and facilities, and we didn't have to produce anything! You've never been out of college! You don't know what it's like out there! I've *worked* in the private sector. They expect *results*.

Dr. Peter Venkman: You're gonna endanger us. You're gonna endanger our client. The nice woman who paid us in advance, before she became a dog.

granola-quiz

I did better than I expected to on this here tree-hugger quiz, in part because the Potomac Watershed yearly report came in the mail a few weeks ago, which I had read because when I was a kid I was involved in a group that made water quality measurements (Seki discs anyone?) and mucked around in marshes. However, now I live in an apartment so I have little connection with growing things or living things or things in general. (Honestly, I would only have a vague idea otherwise.)

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Home school books

Been there, done that. To me, the upshot is taking an active interest and reading to your kids.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Sketch 6

Body language is mostly subconscious and so it says lots, ie, actions may speak louder than words, but the unthinking ones are more telling.

Note: I'm not sure why the link doesn't work, but I'll fix it when I can.

Zap!

40kV! (You'll see what I mean)

sketch 5 (?)


(?) because I've kinda lost track of these numbers, so let's go with 5.

Thursday, September 15, 2005

A modest proposal

cough.

Marketing's interesting

Robert Farago' GM Death Watch 19. Quote:

In a recent email, Ries said that he’d heard that there were only eight types of vehicles: pickup, SUV, sedan, sports car, etc. He suggested that GM’s eight brands should all make one type of vehicle apiece. Now THAT'S what I call radical.

Note: GM's eight brands might end up selling one vehicle apiece before this happens. Also, somehow "Death Watch" makes me think of "Death Wish," which cues Charles Bronson recollections, which makes me think of "The Mechanic," and now we're back to cars and the circle of life ne death is complete.

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Yet more deep thinking

Joe Biden: Shelve the phrase "Kabuki-dance" if you want to, just once, be on the pre-shark-jump side of the cultural zeitgeist, but what do I know?

Also, it looks like Bork 2.0's, or Bork Vista or whatever, is just not working out your way, huh? So please take the hint and don't run in 2008, which is what your particular Kabuki dancer seems to be feinting towards.

Also the second, I heard yesterday that Biden's kid was at Georgetown back when he dropped out of the '88 race, um, due to the lack of MLA referencing of his speechs, which it turns out were taken largely verbatim from others. So everytime the kid turned in a paper, his profs were like, "Are you sure you wrote this?" HAW HAW HAW. To which, I guess, he could reply that, well, did they think his dad was writing them for him? But I imagine the eighteenth time through the routine feels a little stale. Jeeze, wouldn't it be weird to be a standup comic and not do new jokes each time? Just the same ones over and over and over? Apparently it's brutal in an old testament punishing those who hate me to the third and fourth generation sorta way. Plus, Biden's kid had a hard time of it too.

elephant treadmill

If low carbs won't do it, get an elephant treadmill.

Insert Michael Moore weight loss joke here.

metro life 16


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Wednesday, September 14, 2005

So you think you can dance

Deep thought for tonight: So you think you can dance = Solid Gold * Strictly Ballroom * Craig and Arianna.

Oddly enough, Paula Abdul's no where to be seen.

update: raise that to the gap-comercial power and take the apple iPod-comercial root.

metro life 15

Sipowicz's waiting in the rain

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sketching continues unabated



Would it surprise you to know that he's the director of an advanced research program?

Good, cause he's not.

Gotta pay your dues if you want to sing the blues,etc etc

I'm not going to follow this train of thought too far, but it's clear that I instill a desire in people around me to tell me all about all of the things I'm doing wrong. I have a "Mentor Me" sticker on my back. Number one with a bullet is that I'm arrogant, e.g., my sister will tell me, "You're so arrogant." Or friends will say, "Hey, pass the salt, and by the way, you're an egomaniac."

But let's ignore them talking about me for the moment and let me talk about other people. Which I guess is arrogant - Perfect! Arrogance is a widespread character trait among my colleagues. So why do so many scientists, and in particular, physicists think so highly of themselves? It may seem counter-intuitive, but let me suggest that it's because we fail at almost everything we try, almost all of the time.

By "almost all the time," I mean 99% of the time. If this sound like an exaggeration, consider this: If their graduate work ever comes up, and somehow it always does, experimentalists will tell you that out of their 6 years toil in grad school (or whatever), all of the data for their thesis dissertation was collected in a week or two. Every single one of them will say this.

Granted, the work accomplished in this golden moment usually depended on much of the prior work, at least for knowledge about what experiments don't work. So allow me some hemming and hawing room there. Plus, they always say this with a wry look of nostalgia in their eye, so part of its bragging about... I'm not sure quite what, but besides that, what they say implies that, over the course of six years, the total profitable time spent in the lab was about a week. That's ~1 day per year, ~0.274% of the total time, or 0.4% of the working year. So actually, stipulating a 1% success rate is a somewhat Polyanna viewpoint.

This is a phenomenal amount of failing to endure. Many times a lot of work can go into a project, only to have it totally abandoned after 3 or 6 months. Because of this constant experience of walking uphill into a sideways blowing sleet and shoveling coal with your bare hands after your father shoots you to wake you up at 3 in the morning after you worked until 4, it's really helpful to have a unshakable certainty that you're headed towards a worthwhile destination.

Getting there is besides the point, because you always immediately start on towards the next project. Really there's never this moment of exultation. Just feed another log into the fire, another car into the crusher, etc. Lest I sound self-pitying, I'm not - it's just seems like a plausible explanation for where I've ended up and how I'm like those already there. The process is self-selecting, and so it tends to concentrate the field around these sorts of people.

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"The iPod design looks clean because it resembles a toilet"

I'm paraphrasing here, so by all means, go read the full Frog Design article on Gizmodo. Notice how I left the "o" out of that link? That was intentional. Discuss.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2005

metro life 14

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Its like Connect-Four and the NYT crossword's retarded lovechild

FYI, heads up, and I know you'll be glad to hear: I am totally addicted to playing Sudoko on the morning train.

update: Go! vs Scrabble?

update2: Stratego vs Boggle? - yo, "I get 11 points for the word quagmire"

metro life 13


Throwing dice.

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My dear John ...

A little excerpt of poetry from 1800. A little bit more will follow.


Nanneddu meu

su mundu est gai,

a sicut erat

non torrat mai ...


My dear John

the world is made this way,

that it never goes back

to how it was ...

compulsive editing revealed

In case you're wondering how your tax dollars are being spent - I'm babysitting a microscope while it takes a 8 hour sequence of images. Yes, I could do something more productive then too, but I'll do that half the time, m'kay?

metro life 12

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Monday, September 12, 2005

Ross Lake and the North Cascades


[Ross Lake, 1991]

When I was a kid I went on a few canoe trips up and down Ross Lake, which is in the North Cascades. Several such lakes were formed by dams put up by the public works projects back in the twenties and thirties. If you have a chance, the dams are worth a tour - they are filled with Art Deco touches like tile mosaic floors and brass hardware - much like the Panama Canal contol houses. I guess it represents lagress at the public teat, but they're good looking none the less.

Anyway, we would go canoe up and down this lake, which was about 30 miles long, over the course of 9 days. Canoeing is my favorite sort of outdoor travel because you can go to remote places, get away from everyone, and yet you can carry things like coolers and extra thick inflatable air mattreses, which makes for a nice isolation/comfort ratio.

On one trip, the weather was basically not nice, and so we spent the first 4 days canoeing into the wind and a 2 foot chop, which is no fun with 12 inch gunwales. At the bottom of the lake, we goofed off for a day and then headed back up the lake, at which point the wind and rain promptly turned around and we had to canoe uphill on the way back too. Somehow, this is a metaphore for life.

metro life 11

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metro life 10


The negative space version of people on the train.

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The Japanese are not like you or me (unless you're Japanese)

Paper robots. This is amazing and bizarrely obsessive, all at the same time, ie, it's Japanese.

(h/t Eric, who may be Turning Japanese.)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Why wasn't I informed!

Cleary I suck, because I didn't even know about the Lebowski fest.

metro life 9



Coming back from church.

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metro life 8


Cowboy boots in the city.

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Saturday, September 10, 2005

I admit it, I got nothing today

"Here's a good bar game: try to make someone laugh without saying anything. Drooling isn't funny. Drinking all your drink in a lot of sips without taking a break might be, if you do it well."

"Also, if you're a man and you have to go into a dark hallway or a scary basement or an abandoned alley, always say you almost got raped and murdered when you get back. That never stops being funny."

-Amie Barrodale

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Friday, September 09, 2005

metro life 7



In case you're curious, these doodles have become as much a thing for me to do on the train as they are about the people on the train. Once again, the process overtakes the product. Insert a comment about blogging here.

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Yet another head for cover shot

I totally forgot where I got this from.

metro life 6



Going to school.

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Thursday, September 08, 2005

genius


It's a heavy cross to bear.

The human-rights-mobile


Yesterday, I walked out the door to find a late 80's Honda Wagovan parked there. Besides featuring a fugly name to go with its fugly looks, this is the car model I and Laura drove around Walla Walla for awhile. As aluminum head/iron block combos are want to do, it blew a head gasket at +200k [miles] and so we set it on fire and drove it into a river. Actually, have you ever seen The Blues Brothers and how their car self destructs at the end? It was like that. Reflecting back on it, I really, really, really wish I had bought an Accord wagon instead of a coupe afterwards.

The odd wrap-around rear quarter panel windows lead to our calling it "aquarium car," which joined the Beversluis Honda Civic menagerie which included "flamemobile","blue honda", and "blue honda" (one name for two cars, but contextually specific). My folks enjoy naming their cars, as they are currently driving around Darth Burban, however, Laura's friends trumped aquarium car with Human Rights-mobile. This name found its genesis, so to speak, in Laura's pro-life stickers and the fact that, after Volvo 240's or Mercedes 300D's, Wagovans are exactly the kind of car you find at Ammenesty International meetings. I like to think of the Toyota Prius as the wagovan's spiritual heir, ie, No effin way I'm buying one.

Update: My parents, the whitest people ever (except that logic would dictate that I, their progeny would somehow be whiter, but I would argue that regression towards the mean must necessarily occur via random genetic mutation), no longer call their all black suburban with black interior "Darth Burban." They call it "Shaft." I have $20 that says they have never seen Shaft, in either of its iterations.

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metro life 5

Mike's clothing and posture provided by Bad on Purpose.

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I spent, like, 3 hours on the shading




Of course, now they go and spiff them up even more

Meet Ze Monster


This is what I walk talking about - I found this picture on the Seattle Times's website, but I'm sorry I can't be more specific about credit.

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

The odometer turns

1

I hate writing - ironic that I should post this then, no?

I spent the day writing a manuscript draft, which for me, is like pulling teeth. And not the fun ha ha pulling other people's teeth, but like, pulling my own teeth. Ow! I literally had disallow myself from the internet until I had finished a first pass in afternoon.

BTW, I totally caved and read this.

BTW2, did you ever see that horror movie about the dentist? I think it was called, "The Dentist." Pretty much what you would imagine. Grrross. Lots of plaque.

BTW3, my sisters hated me because I never got cavities when I was a kid, and they had a couple. I didn't get my first one until I was 17. They were pleased. Schadenfruede strikes again.

picture the next

Freehand photoshop from back in the day, way back when 24-bit color and smudge tools were bleeding edge. Dinosaurs and pilgrims walked the earth back then.

Also, just a random note, and I'm wavering on whether to mention this because of my no-listing-of-music-I-like hunger strike, but PJ Harvey had just come out with To Bring You My Love, whose krunky sound came courtesy Flood's lofi production, and I made this while thinking of making a video for Meet Ze Monster, wherein an animated tanker ship would sail into a storm and get tossed about. I never got further than this.

So, 1: I think of Meet Ze Monster whenever I run across this in a folder I like to call My Dumbness, and 2: I have no idea why I painted a giant flame shooting up into a night sky as part of these plans. Look, if you have ever read this blog before, or maybe met me for more than 10 seconds, you know that my thought process can be nonlinear, and here's an example made bmp.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Arm Injuries

Derek Zumsteg posts a meticulously researched article on USS Mariner regarding the high incidence of arm-injuries suffered by Seattle Mariners pitching prospects.

Note: Girl curls? Not even mentioned.

Stem cells just aren't what they used to be

From Nature this morning:
Embryonic stem cells that are cultured in the lab accumulate an alarming array of genetic changes, including mutations known to be linked to cancer. The finding throws into question whether such cells could eventually be used for therapy, unless they can be kept fresh and checked for mutations before use.

Researchers think that stem cells, which can be programmed to grow into any kind of cell, could one day be used to regenerate or replace cells and organs damaged by disease. But growing these cells has proven problematic.

In January, researchers announced that most human embryonic stem-cell lines, including ones approved by the US government for use in federally funded studies, have been contaminated by animal cells used as a growth medium in lab dishes. Any cell containing such foreign proteins would presumably trigger a damaging immune response if transplanted into a human patient. Researchers realized they would have to grow their cells differently in order to use them for therapy.

Now another difficulty has come to light. The longer the cells are kept, and the more they divide, the more errors they build up in their genetic code. "These mutations we are finding are a much bigger problem," says Aravinda Chakravarti of the Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland.

Next generations

All DNA tends to accumulate mutations as it divides, because each step in the copying process can introduce errors. But previous, smaller studies of stem cells had not found problematic levels of mutations.

Chakravarti and his colleagues decided to take a closer look, examining nine of the human embryonic stem-cell lines that have federal approval. They compared frozen, archived cells with 'daughter' generations that had been created from these.

Many of the archived cells seemed normal, although some had already divided tens of times to build up cell numbers into the billions. But errors began to appear after further divisions. Out of nine cell lines, eight developed one or more genetic changes commonly observed in human cancers, the team reports in Nature Genetics1.

Changing state of play

The finding undermines a general assumption that stem cells remain unblemished until they are programmed to become a certain type of cell. "This is not good news. It suggests that the biological properties of the cells before and after replicating could be different," says Chakravarti.

Note, they will lobby for new cell lines, but just keep in mind that most promises that scientists make are wildly overstated in the hope of getting research funding before the dream fades away.

Metro Life 4


Just someone I saw on the platform the other day, but somehow this ended up looking like a Virginia Slims ad.

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Monday, September 05, 2005

With cat-like tread, upon the wavey sea


Hey, here's a kitten to, you know, lighten the mood.

Little Men (Metro Life 3)

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Sunday, September 04, 2005

Saturn's rings


From APOD

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Saturday, September 03, 2005

Vice excerpt

Nothing makes it easier to pound the keys with authority than bile, and nothing boils the blood quicker than pretentious bands that suck. Here then, are excerpts from Vice's list. I'd link, but then again, no I won't.

BANDS YOU’VE NEVER HEARD

If you don’t agree with this list, if you’re saying to yourself, “Aw that’s not cool. I love The Jesus Lizard,” just ask yourself, honestly, “When was the last time I actually listened to them?” That’s right. You never did.

6-9, [not funny enough to quote]

5 Slayer
... Great to play at a bar to show how badass you are. But try to name one song by them. You can blare them with your friends when you’re getting ready to go out but I’ll give you ten bucks if you ever put them on when you get back home. They are a T-shirt band. Like Motörhead. A band you want to be known to love but are secretly bored shitless by.

4 The Beatles
Without exception, every “Greatest Bands of All Time” ends with The Beatles. [...] What about “Rocky Raccoon”? What about that “will you still love me, when I’m 65” song? That sounds like an ad for Almond Joy. John Lennon sucks too. He “Imagines” a world with no possessions and then dies with $275 million...

3 The Fall
Great band, right? “Mr. Pharmacist” is the jam, right? What about the other 99.9% of their songs? Have you ever heard that album they made up on the spot? The one where he goes, “I am curious orange, curious oh-rawnge”? What the fuck is that? Those guys suck. They’re one of those bands your big brother totes because nobody’s ever heard them before and they seem like some heavy shit. Like Brian Eno. Or Roxy Music. How gay are they? All these groundbreaking bands like The Residents or Throbbing Gristle or Captain Beefheart or Pere Ubu or Cabaret Voltaire are essentially nonexistent. Music critics always cite them as a huge influence but nobody’s ever heard them play a note.

2 Sonic Youth
When a girl is into some weird indie hardcore band like The Jesus Lizard or Slint her boyfriends’ buddies start using words like “wife material.” Too bad all those bands are as boring as talking about cats. Sonic Youth are the worst

1 The Talking Heads
...Why are a bunch of art students with funny suits mentioned in every single “history of punk” article? Just because they played a local dive called CBGB’s? Ooooh “psycho killer, qu-est que ce?” I’m so scared. What are you going to kill me with, Mr. Oversized Guitar? Pretentiousness?

Somewhat ironic, though, is that this article then goes on to attemp to list "10 bands that everyone listens to, but doesn't admit" sorta, except, THEY ARE EXACTLY THE SAME SORT OF NAME-DROPPING PRETENTIOUS BANDS THAT THEY JUST FINISHED SLAGING.

Which proves that awareness of a problem is in not the same as its solution. But really, admiting that you too have bopped your head to all of those bands that have sold 10 million records but are out like acid wash jeans is a little too personal to do anywhere in public.

(Jet city WOMAN, whoooaaa, it's a long way home...) Cough.

(BTW, refering to Seattle as Jet City makes about as much sense as calling CITY X a technically true but ill-fitting nickname for CITY X, eg, Toronto = urbane)

Also, Mea Culpa, I listen to Speaking in Toungues and Abbey Road all the time. That said, I will try to never talk about music collection again, becuase, nobody (!) cares what I (you) listen to.

Also, there's a guy who will purposefuly introduce best band conversations just so people will mention the Beatles and then he can get to make John Lennon head exploding jokes. Classy.

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Mene mene tekel parez

First and second order readings of the writing on the wall.

Friday, September 02, 2005

single molecules


Hey, I think I hit an LPU today and I'm writing a manuscript to send out next week. Here's a picture of single fluorescent molecules. A very clean coverslip is spin-coated with a very dilute fluorescent solution, so that on average, each molecule is separated by several hundred nanometers.

As a bit of terminology, single molecule is redundant, isn't it? Single compared to what? Married molecules or even molecules that are just "going together?" I see 5,5-DiI' and DioD isocyanine sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G...

The shape of the patterns depends on each molecule's dipole moment orientation and the polarization of different electric fields within the focused laser beam that is exciting the fluorescence.

Thursday, September 01, 2005

house plans


As long as there are meetings, I will doodle house plans.

UPDATE: Seriously, that is my promise, to you.

UPDATE2: Word is bond.

disaster

To the right: stop asking about foreign aid, it's crass. The US is far wealthier than Thailand and SE Asia. Just go help.

It's ridiculous to debate who should have done what. New Orleans should have never been built like this, however, nor should Seattle, San Fransisco, LA, etc. Right now there are debates about why people didn't leave early enough, but considering my own situation, I am in no position to cast stones.

It's extremely likely that there will be a major destructive event someday in Washington DC, where I live. Given the speed at which the veneer of civilization has been stripped, the thought frightens me. I have made no preparations for this, nor have the people around me. You can draw the same conclusions for NYC if you like, which despite 9/11, is as vulnerable as DC.

Then consider the possibility for earth quakes along the West Coast, or consider that besides this, Seattle lies in the shadow of an active volcano, and Tacoma lies directly in its path. When it explodes, much like St. Helens did two decades ago, it's glaciers will melt and mud slides will consume the populated valleys below on their 20 mile run to the Puget Sound.

Less the Midwest feel too secure, consider winter storms or tornados. I lived in Rochester for several years, and it only took one night for an ice storm to take down nearly every major power line in a hundred mile circle.

Besides that, there are super volcanoes like the one under Yellowstone, which could wipe out the entire North American continent and send the world into an ice age. Or the possibility of another asteroid impact, and so forth.

In short, all of these things will likely happen, maybe not for a long time in some of these examples. But on a less catastrophic scale, we are vulnerable to much more violence and loss than we would like to admit. We live and make promises as though everything will continue for years ahead, and so did they.

Eastern Washington, ne, Worshington


The Palouse can be very pretty, albeit lonely.

Staci

Staci was silly smart and had a risque mouth, but then she went to the Harvard of the South & has since dropped out of sight.