26 June, 2007

Necropsy Practice

This is a rather smelly organ. I managed to puncture one today while practicing necropsies on mice and it oozed out of the too-deep cut I'd made into the peritoneum, sloshed down the side of the mouse and pooled in the Petri dish beneath. I've observed dissections of pathogen infected mice, and it seems that Vibrio cholerae kind of turns it into a watery, even fouler-smelling mush.

Enjoy your dinner.

23 June, 2007


I wish there were more robots in science. Growing up, I was inundated with tales of robots sealed in sterile rooms doing dangerous science experiments hundreds of times faster than a human could do. Multi-pipetting robot arms. Media making thingamazoos and other cool machines. But, working in science as an apprentice mad scientist, I find myself disappointed. Where are all the big shiny robots, just anthropomorphic enough to remind us of our own fragility? Where are all the fancy humming machines with levers and swirly-gigs and doo-dads, lights and pinging noises and lots and lots of brightly colored, even backlit, buttons?

Simply put, what is it about the commercial nature of science today that standardizes it so much that scientists don't get to feel as special and smrt?

More on this later...

22 June, 2007

Terminology Bastards #1&2

1) Shiga toxin
Make up your minds, microbiologists!  First you're calling it Shiga toxin and abbreviating it Stx.  That was fine.  So was the classification of Stx-1 and Stx-2.  These are structurally different, and as such, that's cool with me.  But then came along such terms as verotoxin, which is apparently the same thing, and SLTs.  SLTs are Shiga-like toxins, but when these terms are used, the scientists writing these invariably fail to adequately differentiate them from Stx.

2) APC
Here's one that the whole world needs to agree on.  APC stands for WAY too many things.  Antigen presenting cell.  Adenomatous polyposis coli.  Anaphase promoting complex.  Activated protein C.  Armed Proletarians for Communism.  A Perfect Cirlce.  Association for Progressive Communications.  American Plastics Council.  American Pie Council.  Attoparsec.  Automatic performance control. Adaptive predictive coding. Advanced process control. Alternative PHP cache.  Armored personnel carrier.  Average propensity to consume.

21 June, 2007

Funny Word #1

Avail is a funny word. So is aardvark.


OK, forget about it. This is the point at which I am abandoning the old template of this blog. I could write lots and lots of molecular bioanthropomorphisms, but at some point they'd all begin to start sounding the same. This is only to be expected, and in retrospect, I should have seen it coming, because the principles governing life at a molecular level are few, basic, and more or less universal. There're just millions upon millions of alterations to an over-arching and evolutionary-conserved rubrics.
So, this now becomes a blog about other stuff. Most likely thoughts and rantings about science in general, but we shall see as time progresses whether or not that remains true. However, it is safest to assume that the null hypothesis is true.