No Dinosaurs on a Farm

***formerly known as "Cold & Calculating"

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Thursday, May 10, 2007

More tag tutorial

With your cursor in the position indicated by the arrow, click on the icon circled in red (or press Alt + Shift + t). This will insert the code to show only what precedes on the front page of the blog. See images below (same image; higher magnification at bottom).

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

O, Remember!

Here's a tee shirt I'm planning to make. What do you think?

Monday, May 08, 2006

Get Yourself a Bioreactor

Here’s some trivia you can recite next time (i.e. in five minutes) you want to sound really cool:

Q. How many eukaryotic membrane proteins have been crystallized from bacteria?

A. Zero.

After those in your audience have recovered from that staggering statistic, they will undoubtedly be so amazed by your ostensibly infinite knowledge that they will be ready to listen to anything you say. And that’s the best time to treat them to another morsel:

Q. How many high-resolution structures of G protein-coupled receptors (GPCRs) have been solved?

A. One: rhodopsin.

Depending on your delivery, your listeners will be
- A) stunned speechless (again)
- B) enraged
- C) contacting their Congressmen within the hour
And regardless of your delivery, they will want more. So you will give them more:

Q. Where does rhodopsin come off being so structurally solvable?

A. Because the rod cells in your eye make like a ton of it so it’s really easy to purify.

Then one of your newly won acolytes is bound to complain:

C. But that’s not fair to the other GPCRs: they’re all expressed in such low concentrations.

To which you will reply:

R. Exactly, it’s not fair, Little One, but there is hope.

And then you will read to them the graphic novel you prepared for this occasion, where you show how Li Zhang from Novasite Pharmaceuticals developed a method to make rod cells generate any GPCR in just as high a concentration as rhodopsin–GPCR bioreactors!

(At this point, I recommended you give them some time to take it all in. They’ll sleep well knowing that somewhere there’s a mouse with eyes jam-packed with human GPCRs.)

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

The American Red (double)Cross

If you have ever given blood, then I have some very unsettling information. I recommend that you call a loved one to your side--now, before reading further--so that you will have some emotional support as you read.

The information you are about to read could be very upsetting.

I gave blood a few days ago. I have several reasons for doing this on a regular basis, all of which essentially fall into two categories:

The Minor Reasons: I love the brownies they serve, I love that they just keep putting them in front of me, and I especially love that the more I eat the more pleased they seem to be.

The Major Reasons: I love to help others, especially those that are in such dire need. Giving my time or money is one thing, but giving my actual blood is literally giving of myself; I leave some of me behind for someone else, and it becomes part of them. That's a powerful emotion--and motivation.

Which is why I am so furious with what the American Red Cross actually does with my blood. All this time, I thought that when they said it was going to "people in need," they meant that it was going to America's top athletes in order to boost performance to beyond-peak levels. An extra unit of red blood cells can increase endurance significantly, so I thought this was my way of preserving American dominance in sport.

When I watch the Olympics, for example, I like trying to guess which of America's hopefuls is sprinting along with a little of me in his veins. When they win, I feel like I am there, part of the Olympic moment, part of history, part of something real. We call them "heroes," and when I give blood, they call me a "hero" too.

As it turns out, the American Red Cross doesn't give the blood to sports stars at all. Instead, they give it to sick people--often people who have never even been in a race or on tv. So if you are thinking of giving blood, consider this: Rather than use the blood for something glorious like sports, it only gets used for people who need it to stay alive.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Feeling Alone

My wife and two daughters left a few days ago to visit my wife's sister. They will be gone for two weeks.

I dropped them off at the airport, then went to work. When I got home, I didn't yet feel lonely--diddn't miss them. You may think this is callous, but consider this: I spend the bulk of almost every day away from them, so I am used to it. Occasionally, I will come home from work and they will be out shopping or at the playground, so an empty house doesn't phase me.

But there was something that night that made me feel very alone. What was it?

Was it eating alone? No big deal.

Was it having no one to talk to? Naw.

Was it my daughter's empty room at bedtime? No.

Was it climbing into a bed by myself, no wife by my side? Nope.

Okay, what was it?

It was my toothbrush, sitting all by itself in the family toothbrush cup. Not very sentimental, I know, but it looked like a symbol of me. I couldn't see myself eating alone, I couldn't see myself sleeping alone, but I could see my toothbrush alone, without the other three that typically sit with it. I looked at it and thought to myself, "That's what you are: a fancy blue toothbrush sitting all alone in a big, empty cup."

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

What's in a Name?

My blogging interests have expanded and so I decided to start up an additional blog . In its creation, the new blog got to steal the name "Cold & Calculating", hence the name change for the blog you are currently reading. This blog will still function as an online journal, outlet for creative writing, and place where I can be flippant with the things you hold dear. Please continue to visit!