Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Logo finalists for National Laboratory Week

Received an email asking me to vote on the final two logo choices for National Medical Laboratory Professionals Week. Here they are ...

I've voted for #2.

I hate patents ...

... they're a pain in the ass and a ton of work. Enough said.

Food labeling laws to soon take effect

On October 1st. It's called "Country of Origin Labeling", problem is ... not all foods will have it.
That’s because the regulations exclude a variety of foods that fall under the labeling requirement but are considered to be processed, including roasted peanuts, breaded chicken and bacon. The exemption for processed food also means that certain foods that are mixed together don’t have to be labeled, such as a bag of lettuce that includes both Romaine and iceberg, or a package of frozen peas and carrots.
Well, it's a start I suppose.

Of course, retailers have an additional 6 months to fall into compliance ... so I wouldn't exactly look for these labels on October 1.

If Jim Marshall were my House Rep ...

... he'd lose my vote for approving the bail out. This part of his justification is particularly full of crappola ...
Deep down, we all know that a financial rescue is necessary.
Speak for yourself Marshall, not all of us feel that way. At. All.

How about you spend less time trying to throw my hard earned tax dollars at idiots, and spend more time preventing those idiots from messing up my retirement in the future?

Speaking about vaccines ...

... check out the following vaccination campaign.

Every Child By Two.

Umm, Jenny ...

... no, she's (she being Amanda Peet) not wrong. Maybe I wouldn't go so far as to call you a parasite ... but the fact of the matter is ... vaccines are not linked to autism. No way, no how. From the link:
The findings here mirror those of a Danish study that demonstrated ongoing increases in ASD diagnosis despite removal of thimerosal from vaccines, as well as Canadian data demonstrating no decrease in ASD diagnosis for children vaccinated with non-thimerosal-containing vaccines.
What does that mean? That autism is on the rise, and the culprit people are blaming for the autism (thimerosal) isn't even there any longer!

I know Jenny seems to disagree, and I know ... her child has autism, and that sucks. I'm sure she's seeking a reason as to why, but she's looking in the wrong place, and by doing that she's diverting attention away from seeking the true cause. And worse yet, these scare tactics are ruining current vaccination programs, and children are suffering because of it.
“I am so distressed with what is happening, and now our mission has become more difficult,” Carter said. “As a result of all this there is an outbreak of measles and whooping cough.”
Lovely. Perhaps misery loves company ... Jenny?

The Journal of Clinical Investigation released a News brief in 2008 entitled Attention Focuses on Autism (PDF, 2 pages), (link to non-PDF version at PubMed) and concluded:
As was noted to the JCI by Gerald Fischbach, Scientific Director of the Simons Foundation, an organization that seeks to fund research in basic sciences and mathematics, including autism research, “There is no epidemiological evidence of a link between vaccination and the development of autism, and it is exceedingly unwise not to have your child vaccinated, as the consequences of this can be devastating, not just for the unvaccinated child but also others in the community.”

I've never been a fan of wrestling ...

... and this just gives me more of a reason to not care about it.
"Scrumpox", or herpes gladiatorum, is a skin infection caused by the herpes virus, which can cause coldsores. It is spread through direct skin-to-skin contact so it is common among rugby players and wrestlers. Symptoms can start with a sore throat and swollen glands and the telltale blisters appear on the face, neck, arms or legs. The disease is highly infectious, so players who are infected are often taken out of competition to stop the virus from spreading.
Lovely, huh?

Even better, once you have herpes, you have it for life.
"Herpes virus can hide in nerve cells for long periods of time and symptoms can reappear later," said Dr Yanagi.

Oh, and this particular strain? Deadly.
"Two of the wrestlers died as a result of their infections, so cases like this do need to be investigated," said Dr Yanagi.
Which runs counter to most herpes infections. Typically, it just creates open, quite attractive looking sores on the affected areas of your body.

Evidence of water on Mars ...

... at least from a historical perspective.
Phoenix has found minerals on Mars that suggest the craft's bone-dry landing site may once have been quite wet, researchers announced on Monday. The lander has also spotted the first hints of snowfall, in clouds high above the ground.
Water is the main prerequisite for life.

Depression? Not likely ...

Here is the Wall Street Journal's take on the issue. Yep, you've got to go read the story on the other side of the link.
Furthermore, U.S. nonfinancial companies have just under $1 trillion in cash on their books. Even though Wall Street is dead, innovation is not: In the months to come, clever new financial go-betweens will spring up and find a way to get that cash flowing again. It's hard to see how a depression could get under way when so much capital is waiting in the wings.
There is this as well ...
"Diversification is dead." There's an old saying that the only things that go up in a down market are correlations -- the tightness of the linkages among various assets like U.S. and foreign markets, stocks and bonds, commodities or real estate. Normally, one asset will tend to zig while another zags. But in bear markets, they converge -- and in really terrible bear markets, they move in complete lockstep.

That's what is happening now, but it will not last indefinitely. It never does. While diversification does not work all the time, it does work over the course of time. There's nothing wrong with raising a little cash if that would prevent you from panicking completely. This is particularly true for retirees. Whittle down your stock position gradually, in baby steps -- say, 1% at a time -- not in one fell swoop. And set a limit beyond which you will not go; otherwise, when stocks stage their inevitable recovery, you will miss out.
If you're like me, you'll ride it out. It's about the only thing you can do, but it's the only smart, sensible thing to do as well.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Just Say No!

To any sort of bailout. Here's why. Yes, you'll have to read the link.
The fact that government bears such a huge responsibility for the current mess means any response should eliminate the conditions that created this situation in the first place, not attempt to fix bad government with more government.
Damn skippy!

Ain't this the truth ...

Farmer's Markets

If you want to keep a portion of your money local, support your local farmers
"Farmers markets are an increasingly popular source of fruits and vegetables," said Schafer. "Locally grown and locally known sales of fresh produce strengthen the connection between farmers and the community."
Recently the USDA awarded $3.4 million to farmers markets around the nation.

House to Rep. Barney Frank ...

... you don't know what you're talking about ... so sit down, and shut up.

I suppose I could live to regret it, but I don't think I should have to pay for this bailout of idiots by idiots.

The waiting game ...

... so I currently have two first authored manuscripts out for review. One has been out for almost a month, the other for a couple of weeks. I'm not sure when I'll hear back from the editors from the respective journals, but I hope it's soon.

This is one of the hardest parts of the whole peer-review process. You know who your editor is, but you have no idea who the reviewers are, and as such you have no idea how your research is going to be viewed and accepted ... if it's accepted at all. Now where I work, we do a round of "in house" peer-review prior to sending it out to the journal. Typically we're asked to pick two experts in the field, preferrably not collaborators on other projects of ours, and send it to them to get their opinion on whether the paper would have a legitimate chance of passing through the peer review process. Both manuscripts of mine were received favorably, and I addressed the comments laid forth by the reviewers of both papers. The hope is, they catch anything which could be considered "deal breaking" so when it gets into the actual peer-review process, things should go rather smoothly.

These are my first, first-authored papers with my new job ... so we'll see how well the process works. One of the papers, I'm extremely confident will see the light of publication soon. I may have to do some edits, but I cannot envision any major rewrites or new experiments. I'll get it back, I'll do the revisions ... and it'll get published. The second one ... I'm a bit more concerned. It's from my graduate school days, and was gutted by my old academic adviser ... half of it went into a paper of the new post-doc (with the promise that we'd share first authorship) and I was left with the residual to get published. Is it strong enough to get published? Several people think so, and I think so to ... but it's one of those borderline cases. I'd say it's definitely an LPU (least publishable unit). I'd have loved to add a bit more work to it ... but I left my graduate career behind almost four years ago, and I can't bring a human pathogen into an environmental lab ... it just isn't going to happen. So, I have to hope the reviewers don't shred it to bits. It also highlights one of the problems a lot of new PhD's have ... they lose control of their projects once they graduate. This paper would have been much stronger if I had gotten a chance to publish it in grad school, but I lost any leg I had to stand on once I ceased to be part of the "family" of the lab.

If you have a pet lizard ...

... listen up.

New bacterial organism identified which can cause fatal disease in lizards.
Skin infections are common in pet lizards and can lead to fatal organ disease and septicaemia. Infections are particularly risky in lizards that are bred in captivity for release into the wild, as they can spread into the wild population. The cause of these diseases has been unclear but now researchers in Belgium have discovered a new bacterium responsible for dermatitis in desert lizards.
The organism? Devriesea agamarum

The name is derived from Devriesea referring to the veterinary microbiologist L.A. Devriese and agamarum after Agama, an Old World reptile. See, that's the cool thing about getting to name a new species of life. Heck, they even identified a new genus so they achieved double glory!

Boomer Sooner!

At least my alma mater is ranked #1 in football.

And today ...

... I'm not.

Though, to be honest ... this really isn't about Chicago. This is about the Metropolitans stinking again in September. Listen guys, with 17 games to go (with a three game lead in the division) all you can do is win 7 of them (and finish three games down)? Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot.

If you guys trot out the same stinking starting rotation and bullpen you trotted out this year, I'll find another team to root for*.

*Yes, I'm bluffing, but damn ... two years in a row?

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Today ...

... I am a Cubs fan.

Thanks for nothing Barney Frank ...

... you big jerk.
"These two entities—Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac—are not facing any kind of financial crisis," said Representative Barney Frank of Massachusetts, the ranking Democrat on the Financial Services Committee. "The more people exaggerate these problems, the more pressure there is on these companies, the less we will see in terms of affordable housing."
That quote comes to you from the year 2003. Gee, an ounce of prevention five years ago might have saved us from this staggering pound of cure in 2008.

Barney Frank, the latest incompetent to be exposed by scandal. Why do these people remain elected into office? Wake up folks, vote these idiots out of office!

Friday, September 26, 2008

Financial Crisis ...

If this is the case, then I say to hell with the bailout.
First, the good news: Even if warnings of economic catastrophe aren't enough to win approval of a controversial $700 billion Wall Street bailout, the economy is not at risk of falling into a depression, most experts agree.
Cost of running the government for half a year: $650 Billion
Cost of proposed bailout: $700 Billion

Interesting, eh?

Could the Earth have been seeded with life ...

... from other planets? Quite possibly.
The new research suggests that microbes from other planetary systems, if they existed, could very well have hitched a ride in such rocks – as long as the rocks were large enough to protect the organisms from cosmic rays and the heat of impact. If the Sun was born in a cluster, there would have been time for around 100 life-bearing rocks to be captured by our star before the cluster drifted apart, the researchers say.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

More Medicare crappola ...

... hey, if they have a generic, USE IT!

Jimminy. This chaps me off.
Figures released Thursday show seniors are more likely to ask their pharmacist for generic medications when they are paying, but choose the more expensive originals when the government is covering the costs.
Well, that's just lovely.

Listen folks, with very few exceptions, generic drugs are the same as the name brands. Yes, there are some exceptions (such as heparin) and there are some reasons not to switch, but in most cases ... use the generic, because all your're paying for with the brand name is ... the name! At least talk to your doctor about it. If you ask, and they say there is no problem using the generic, use it. See? Simple.

PS: There is a list floating on the internets somewhere (I know they talked about it on Fox News) that lists exactly what drugs are the exceptions to the "use generics" rule. If you can post it in the comments, I'd be most appreciative.

Hey Feds ...

... with all the crap that's going on nowadays, is this the best you can do?

I mean, literally, who cares about Barry Bonds at this point? Other than NO ONE! Go over to Wall Street and investigate how the US taxpayer got royally screwed twice! Once by abusing our investments, and second by forcing us to bail them out. You know, do something useful.

Pic of the Day

Mad cow disease wipes out family in Spain ...

... damn little prions.
The mother of a Spanish man who died from the human form of mad cow disease has also died from the illness, Spain's Ministry of Health says.

It is believed to be the first case in the world where two members of the same family have died from mad cow disease, said Juan Jose Badiola, director of Spain's national research center for mad cow disease.
What's so damn scary about this disease? Here's what's so damn scary ...
Ten years can pass between eating contaminated tissue and the appearance of the human form of the disease, called variant Creutzfeldt Jakob disease, health officials say.
Here is a link to the CDC page on prion diseases, of which there are a few.

Prions are not bacteria, they're not viruses, they're not fungi or a mold, or even a parasite. They're abnormally folded proteins which can, once they enter a host and find their normally folded brethren, cause them to refold into the abnormal structure. These proteins, as expected, do not behave in a normal manner, oftentimes precipitating and wreaking havoc in the cell. Since most often these diseases occur in the brain, you can imagine the problem. Currently, if you have a prion disease, you're out of luck. They're always fatal.

Microbiologybytes: Prion Diseases

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Wall Street Mess

How McCain and Obama handle this mess will go a long way in helping me decide who I'm going to vote for.


Problem is, I don't think I can guarantee what the "probable line of flight" my ball will take. Why does it matter? I'm taking part in a local Knights of Columbus organized golf tournament. The charity, in part, helps the school of which I am a school board member. So, a couple of guys from work, and myself are taking part in the tournament and I have never played a round. Ever. EVER. Sure I've swung my clubs, a couple of times, at the driving range ... but I have a feeling that the driving range and the course are two different beasts.

Let the fun begin.

Interesting concept ...

... using shipping containers as housing for low income workers.
The house may be sparse by U.S. standards, but Nava said it's a huge improvement in safety, security and health over where many now live.

When drawings and color pictures of the prototype were shown around a poor Juarez neighborhood, people said, "You know it'd be like a dream to live in one of these," Nava said. "You know, just the thought of having nice fresh air ventilating through the house, a large bed ... a normal kitchen and a safe home that locks and closes each night was more than appealing."

Newsflash: To those who use Medicare.

It isn't your personal plaything.
The government paid more than $1 billion in questionable Medicare claims for medical supplies that showed little relation to a patient's condition, including blood glucose strips for sexual impotence and special diabetic shoes for leg amputees, congressional investigators say.
Lovely. I say that if we spend $10 million in salary money to hire people to investigate claims to ensure that fraud is reduced by more than 50%, that would be money well spent. That money should be enough to hire about 150 people, and if their lone job is to perform audits ... that should do the trick.


So I missed the first couple of episodes of this new show, but caught half of the one last night. Other than the fact that: 1) it's been infiltrated by Dawson's Creek; and 2) the scientist is a bad version of House; and 3) it's like a poor mans X-Files, I guess it isn't bad from an entertainment perspective. However, I'm not sure I like the angle that there are mad scientists out there hellbent on taking over the world or whatever it is they're trying to do. It's not as if science doesn't have the level of respect and trust it needs/deserves as it is.

Say it ain't so!

Clay Aiken is gay? Who knew?
Aiken says he expects the news may overwhelm some of his fans. "Whether it be having a child out of wedlock, or whether it be simply being a homosexual, it's going to be a lot," said Aiken, who returned to Broadway last week as Sir Robin in Monty Python's Spamalot.
Umm, Clay ... any fan of yours who hasn't even thought about the whole gay issue (especially since Diane Sawyer asked you that very question in 2006, and you sidestepped it) is living in a bubble. I doubt this is going to be a surprise for many people. Besides, if they do leave you, over your own personal decisions ... you didn't want/need them as a fan anyways. You're in the entertainment business, you entertain ... it's not like we're talking about someone putting their life in your hands, so I don't see any reason for someone to blow a gasket and burn all your CD's over this incident. If they had that bad a choice in music to begin with, I don't think they have much room to complain at this point.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

SanDisk Corp. hits a home run ...

... if this idea takes off.
Schreiber said slotMusic albums will be sold on 1 gigabyte microSD cards, which means they will be able to hold a full album and related content such as liner notes and cover art.

Buyers will be able to use extra space on the cards to hold songs and photos from their own collections.
The genius of this move? While SanDisk players like the e200 have a microSD slot, iPod's do not, and while you can use them with a computer ... it's an extra step.

Personally, I have an e200, and I love it ... so I welcome this move by SanDisk.

Monday, September 22, 2008

CERN to World ...

... Armageddon to be put on hold for at least two months.

Why PZ Myers is bad for science ...

As related by the blog Dyspeptic Mutterings.

He's a hypocrite of the worst kind.

[sarcasm]Say it isn't so!?![/sarcasm]

If there is one problem with Science Blogs, it's more blog than it is science. Heck, it's more politics than it is science too ... which sort of defeats the entire purpose of their claims to be ... an experiment in science communication.

h/t to Mark Shea.

Currently ...

Listening To
The song Why Do I Keep Counting - Got to admit, I feel the same way about flying.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Flesh eating bacteria victim

Scary and sad story about a woman who had 24 pounds of skin and muscle removed by doctors in order to keep the infection in check. After fighting for her life for three and a half years, her body has paid a terrible price. She now needs surgery on her teeth and jaws so she can be properly nourished ... you know, eat. The catch? The insurance company is calling the surgery "cosmetic". What a freaking joke. Of course, it started as a nosocomial infection (hospital acquired), which means the hospital should probably foot part of the bill for this reconstruction surgery.

An Open Letter to the United States of America Government

Dear US Government,

I promise, if you pay off my mortgage, I'll put the money I save into the market.

Please, think about it,

Thursday, September 18, 2008


It's a sweet little system. Recently acquired the Linux OS version, and it boots up in under 30 seconds. Sweet. It's received good reviews, and I agree with them.

It's a light machine, long battery life, 20G flash HD, fully functional for any number of tasks, with a complete line of prepackaged software (that you'll actually use), and a fast reaction time. The keyboard is a bit kludgy, but that can be rectified with a rollout compact keyboard. And the price ... for under $450, it's worth it.

Big Brother to help endangered species

Eyes in the sky to monitor Kangaroo Rats.
By comparing the photos to 30 years of satellite images being released this month by the U.S. Geological Survey, researchers hope to better understand how the population has fluctuated in response to climate change and as the arrival of state and federal canal water turned the arid San Joaquin Valley into a patchwork of intensely cultivated farms and forced Giant Kangaroo Rats to concentrate on higher ground.
Talk about a tight circle of life ...
For food, they pile seeds from native grasses in circles outside their burrows, which provide shelter for the endangered San Joaquin antelope squirrel and blunt-nosed lizards.

Their fat five-inch bodies are a favored source of food for the endangered kit fox.

High rainfall encourages the growth of taller nonnative grasses, which overrun the shorter grasses that kangaroo rats depend on for food. Less food means fewer offspring.

When kangaroo rats decline, so do the endangered native plant and animal species that depend on them for survival, the researchers say.
Welcome to the concept of ecological interdependence.

Introducing, the "Energy Ball"

Energy Ball, by Home Energy International. These windmills are claimed to be 40% more efficient than regular propeller windmills of similar size. The two meter version can supply 1,750 KWh per year, which would supply a little over 15% of the average US households energy usage. They cost anywhere from 3 to 7.5 thousand dollars each (without installation). The catch, they should be installed about 40 feet above ground level and away from trees. No telling whether the loss of tree cover during the summer time -- which helps shield your house and thereby cools it down resulting in less energy usage -- would offset the energy balls usefulness.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Open Letter to NASA

Dear NASA,

If you're looking for astronauts send me an email.

Sincerely interested,

Open letter to all inept CEO's

Dear Inept CEO's,

Yes, I'm talking to you, the idiots who ran AIG, Bear Stearns, Countrywide, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, and Merrill Lynch. You, the dimwits who were paid millions of dollars to, obviously, ruin the companies you were charged to lead and, as a bonus, screw up the US economy. I'd like to give you a resounding "Eat poop and die." Not only have you ruined my investment portfolio for the unforeseeable future, you have eaten up taxpayer dollars which were badly needed elsewhere. It's not enough that government funding for research has basically flat lined, now there is even less money to go around after it's been used to bail out your sorry asses. So, thanks for nothing. I hope you choke on your steak tartare.

You're all jerks,

Anglican Church to Darwin ...

... I'm sorry, so sorry.

As for the Catholic Church, they have no qualms with Darwin's work. As a matter of fact, Catholic Archbishop Gianfranco Ravasi, the Vatican Minister of Culture states that creationism has no role in the classroom, except from a theological standpoint, and the Bible is not and should not be considered a scientific text.
The Catholic Church teaches "theistic evolution", a stand that accepts evolution as a scientific theory and sees no reason why God could not have used a natural evolutionary process in the forming of the human species.

It objects to using evolution as the basis for an atheist philosophy that denies God's existence or any divine role in creation. It also objects to using Genesis as a scientific text.

As Ravasi put it, creationism belongs to the "strictly theological sphere" and could not be used "ideologically in science".

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Worry Free Dinners ...

... it's a very nice concept, and I hope it gains ground across the country. As someone who measures the success of a vacation by the quality of food sampled and obviously ingested during said vacation, I could only imagine the horror of being allergic to certain foods (unless that food happened to be liverwurst).
But with Worry Free Dinners, everyone has some kind of experience with all of that, which helps build camaraderie, said Sloane Miller, who started organizing the events in April.

"People sit down and start chatting immediately like they're old friends," said Miller, known in the blogosphere as "Allergic Girl." "It's so nice to be with people that you don't have to explain [to] why you want something on the side."

So far, Worry Free Dinners has catered to food allergy sufferers in New York -- there are about 12 million in America, according to the Food Allergy and Anaphylaxis Network (FAAN) -- but Miller is looking to take the concept to other cities.
Allergic Girl's Blog.

Listen parents ...

... your kids tried to poison their teachers, and you don't think the punishment fits the crime?
They were booked on charges of mingling harmful substances, which carries a two-year prison sentence and $1,000 fine as punishment, as well as being suspended for the rest of the school year, the Times-Picayune said. It's a punishment that parents are calling too tough.
There are pranks, and then there is sheer stupidity. Laxatives are medications, and are therefore not to be trivialized or abused. You want to put an opened can of stink bait inside your teachers desk*, go right ahead ... that's a prank. Trying to slip them a drug ... not a prank. It's a crime.

*Did that to my PhD advisor once. It was hilarious. His office stank for days.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Computer hackers almost bring about the end of the world ...

Ok, not really.
A group calling itself the Greek Security Team left a rogue Web site describing the technicians responsible for computer security at the giant atom smasher as “schoolkids” — but reassuring scientists that they did not want to disrupt the experiment.
Imagine if they had created a micro black hole though!

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Birth of a Black Hole

Link here.
It took the light of GRB 080319B about 7.4 billion years to reach Earth, placing the explosion "more than halfway back to the Big Bang and the origin of our universe," Grindlay wrote in an editorial accompanying a new study of the burst in the Sept. 10 issue of the journal Nature.

This means that the explosion happened 3 billion years before the sun or Earth even formed, Grindlay added.
Pretty amazing.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Calculations show that the LHC can defrost a pizza in 30 nanoseconds! Well, that's good to know.

Interesting tidbit though, and what inspired the blog entry title:
Of course, this all assumes the beam energy could be spread across the surface of the pizza. In reality, the beam would drill into the pizza, Steinberg says. That potential for damage is why workers are very careful about maneuvering the proton beam.

In 2003, a magnet failure at the Tevatron at Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory in Batavia, Ill., bore a hole in one piece of the beam pipe and dug a 30-centimeter groove in another. The machine was back up and running in two weeks.
Magnet failure: Bad.

Adapting to the modern world ...

Obama ad claims that since McCain can't use a computer, he hasn't adapted to the modern world.
Barack Obama's campaign released a new television ad Friday that mocks John McCain for being out of touch with voters' lives and the economy. The ad uses McCain's admission earlier this year that he's computer illiterate as a sign that he's been unable to adapt to the modern world.
I'd contend that if you can fly a US military jet, you're pretty high up on the technology scale.

Come on folks, let's get to something serious. Now that gas is back up to $4 a gallon, I'd like to hear less about lipstick and computers, and more about how you're going to help ensure my job stays around, and how you'll strengthen the economy and prevent me from being tossed out of my house and onto the streets.

More news on "Legionellagate" ...

... and the sheer stupidity brought about by Mona Melhem's decision to destroy 4,000+ isolates of Legionella collected over the span of the last quarter century. Oh and yes, I just coined that new phrase: Legionellagate. You heard it here first!

News article here. It appears that the members of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight suggested that Drs. Yu and Stoat seek legal counsel for the actions taken against them.
Mr. Miller, D-N.C., also was highly critical of VA officials' decisions during yesterday's hearing of the Subcommittee on Investigations and Oversight in Washington, even suggesting that Drs. Victor Yu and Janet Stout, two researchers who had collected the samples for years, seek legal counsel.

"It occurs to me that you have been wronged," he said.
It also appears that they are unconvinced, as they should be, of the legitimacy of the actions taken by Mona Melhem in destroying all those samples.
Mr. Miller said a probe by the committee staff revealed "no credible reason for the destruction of the collection."
And I'm not the only one who thinks the field of Legionella research took a serious blow to the head with the destruction of all those samples.
Dr. David Snydman, a professor of medicine and pathology at the Tufts University School of Medicine, testified the collection was invaluable to science and called its destruction "a wanton, thoughtless act."
I'd call it criminal. C-R-I-M-I-N-A-L. Criminal.

I'm also confused as to why the blogosphere, especially all the microbiology bloggers, haven't spoke on this topic at all. Hey, I got the scoop!

By this time next year ...

... Saturn's rings will be gone!

But don't worry, they'll be back a few months later.
That means, Saturn's rings will appear thinner and thinner until on September 4th, 2009 the rings will seem to vanish … only to reappear three months later. Giving galaxy gazers something to keep an eye on.
I have yet to see Saturn in my binoculars or a telescope, he's still too low in the sky.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

September Eleven Dot Net

It's a site worth checking out. Gary Suson has done an excellent job memorializing that day, though I'm sure he wishes, like all of us, that he didn't have to.

September Eleven Dot Net


O' Lord, remember not only the men and women of good will, but also those of ill will. But do not remember all of the suffering they have inflicted upon us; instead remember the fruits we have borne because of this suffering - our fellowship, our loyalty to one another, our humility, our courage, our generosity, the greatness of heart that has grown out of this. And when they come to judgment, let all the fruits we have borne be their forgiveness.

+Found on a piece of wrapping paper near the body of a dead child Ravensbruck Concentration Camp, May 1945

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Electronic Notebooks

I'm interested in assessing electronic notebooks for my laboratory. They need to stand up to scrutiny for patent applications, and be portable to the point that my support scientists would prefer them over traditional notebooks. The problem with any "virtual" system is that the old "detail the experiment on a napkin and then tape it into your book" type of thinking won't work with an e-book. However, this device may come close to that line/style of thinking. I'll have to check it out, next fiscal year.

Texass Football

What is with all the prima donna Texass football alumni in the NFL?

Cases in point:
1. Vince Young - Obviously doesn't mind the money, but can't handle the criticism. Wants to retire after 2 and 1/16th seasons.

2. Cedric Benson - Drunken boating and resisting arrest. Nevermind the fact that, for a first round draft pick, in his career he never rushed for over 1,000 yards in a season.

3. Ricky Williams - Come on, do I have to outline the issues with Ricky Williams? All the potential in the world, major head case. Four violations of the NFL drug policy.

That's 3 first rounders, 3 head cases. They sure know how to pick 'em in Texass.

Well ...

... we're all still here. That's a good thing, given the alternative. Of course, we'll only truly know the full extent of the damage when light starts shooting out of the Indian Ocean.
One of them, Professor Otto Rossler, a retired German chemist, said he feared the experiment may create a devastating quasar – a mass of energy fuelled by black holes – inside the Earth.

‘Nothing will happen for at least four years,’ he said. ‘Then someone will spot a light ray coming out of the Indian Ocean during the night and no one will be able to explain it.

‘A few weeks later, we will see a similar beam of particles coming out of the soil on the other side of the planet. Then we will know there is a little quasar inside the planet.’

Prof Rossler said that as the spinning-top-like quasar devoured the world from within, the two jets emanating from it would grow and catastrophes such as earthquakes and tsunamis would occur at the points they emerged from the Earth.

‘The weather will change completely, wiping out life, and very soon the whole planet will be eaten in a magnificent scenario – if you could watch it from the moon. A Biblical Armageddon. Even cloud and fire will form, as it says in the Bible.’
Wow, if that's true, that'll really suck, eh.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Mars - Making a case for life

ResearchBlogging.orgWas doing Scopus searches for relevant articles in my field and saw the following article (entitled: The microbial case for Mars and its implication for human expeditions to Mars) and thought: Research Blogging! With a title as cool as that, it deserves to be blogged on!

Gerda Horneck starts the Introduction by making a case for life on Mars. There are several factors which lean positively towards this being the case.

1. The physical and chemical surfaces of the early Earth and Mars were similar.
2. Early Mars (3.5 Ga ago) was wet and had a more temperate climate.
3. Microbial life existed on Earth by 3.5 to 3.8 Ga ago.

Water, Water Everywhere
According to Horneck: As well as carbon based chemistry and an adequate energy source, water in liquid phase has been considered as one of the prerequisites for habitability. To which, is outlined the case for water on Mars.

1. Erosional patterns on Mars.
2. Presence of hematite, which is only formed in the presence of water.
3. Presence of sodium chloride which also is only formed when water is present.
4. The global mineralogical data (clay minerals) of Mars also points towards liquid water.

Given Mars present, extremely cold, atmosphere, water is unable to persist in a liquid state on the surface. Therefore, Horneck states: The search for putative extant Martian life must therefore concentrate on the subsurface biological oases where liquid water still exists under the current conditions.

Don't the current conditions suck?
Well, for most life, the answer to that question is: Yep. However, there is always the exceptions to the rule. Section 3 lays the groundwork for the possibility of life on Mars by citing the many instances of life on Earth in very "inhospitable" places.

Arid environments
Though not cited directly by name, the organism Deinococcus radiodurans is one of my favorite examples of survival in one environment, providing protection in another. D. radiodurans has been shown to be quite resistant to extremely high levels of radiation, able to effectively stitch its DNA back together after receiving doses of radiation which would kill most everything else. And it's not that D. radiodurans grew up next to Chernobyl. This bacterium is often isolated in very arid environments, and such areas where dessication is a common threat, methods to repair such damage (which is very similar to radiation damage) were necessarily evolved. Horneck also speaks of cryptoendolithic microbial ecosystems in deserts which ... give an example how life has withdrawn into protected zones. They colonize sandstones a few millimeters below the surface, forming layers of algae and cyanobacteria as primary producers as well as fungi and bacteria as consumers, thereby producing their own microhabitate in an otherwise hostile arid environment.

Cold environments
Psychrophiles, one of my favorite groups of organisms. These organisms don't just live, they thrive in places where the warmest it gets is 0 degrees centigrade. Some have been shown to grow in Antarctica at temperatures below -20 C (-4 F). Nevermind the fact that long term storage of bacteria usually involves freezing at -80 C or in liquid nitrogen (-346 F).

Salty environments
Halophiles (salt loving) organisms thrive in areas where salt is abundant. Brine, salt lakes and inside rock salts. They have evolved to regulate osmotic flow to survive.

Intense UV radiation
Here Horneck states that during the Archean (3.8 to 2.5 billion years ago), UV irradiation has been calculated to be about 1000 times greater than it is today (we have photosynthesis and our ozone-ified atmosphere to thank for the protection). Yet, during this period, life still found a way to survive. Not only that, by UV radiation is a mutagen and could have promoted biological evolution. What it certainly did do, was force bacteria to evolve DNA repair mechanisms.

Intense ionizing radiation
Here Horneck cites the story of D. radiodurans (Dr), and says that while Dr can tolerate radiation does of 3 x 10^3 Gy, the dosages on Mars are 30,000 to 40,000 lower. Horneck also states: Recently, hyperthermophilic archaea have been described that exert a similar high radiation resistance as D. radiodurans. Even the more radiation sensitive spores of Bacillus subtilis or vegetative cells of Escherichia coli would be able to survive radiation exposure under Martian conditions for extended periods of time.

So, as we can see ... there are many conditions on Earth where we wouldn't expect life, but it's there anyways. Can the same be the case for Mars? Could there perhaps be areas on Mars similar to these inhospitable areas on Earth which teem with life?

So, where?
Where are these, as Horneck calls them: putative Martian oases?
There is a general consensus that the present surface of Mars is not likely to be a habitable place. Putative habitable regions may exist in the sub-surface of Mars, where liquid water might be present, temperature fluctuations are low and the harmful UV radiation is attenuated.
Perhaps given such cruddy environmental conditions the microorganisms are currently "hiding out", as Horneck states:
On Earth, microorganisms could survive for hundred thousand years or even longer in ice or permafrost. Bacterial spores, which are reported to survive interim hostile conditions over millions of years, are another example of potential survivors over extreme intervals on Mars.
Implications for human expeditions to Mars
Why do it? Horneck says that to search for life, it's really a task best suited for humans. Factors such as critical thinking, and real-time repairs play a role in any successful attempt at examining the planet. Of course, this comes with downsides as well, and Horneck focuses on three: the risk of contamination of astronauts by Martian microbes, the risk of contamination of Earth by Martian microbes on a return trip, and the risk of contaminating Mars with Earth microorganisms. It appears that NASA already has #3 in check, or is working on it. The issue is, as Horneck argues:
Strict requirements to keep Mars clean can only be met with robotic missions to Mars. The scenario changes when humans are involved in the mission. Since humans carry vast amounts of microbes required to sustain important body functions, Mars will become inevitably contaminated with terrestrial microorganisms as soon humans arrive on its surface. Although the surface of Mars seems to be very hostile to microbial life, it cannot be excluded that some terrestrial microorganisms accidentally imported may find protective ecological niches where they could survive or even metabolize, grow and eventually propagate.

I think Horneck summarizes the issue quite nicely in the closing paragraphs:
Finally the question arises, whether the increasing robotic exploration of Mars and the eventual human exploration and settlement of that planet is likely to cause an environmental impact to scientifically important sites, regions of natural beauty and historically important regions, in the form of contamination with spacecraft parts and microbiota. Already the presence of crashed robots on Mars begs important questions on the type of wilderness ethic one may apply to Mars and how this ethic is emboided within practical environmental policy.
Good points, all of them. I would argue that if we eventually "colonize" Mars, we're going to have to accept a certain level of contamination of Mars with terrestrial organisms. I'd say that it gives us a perfect opportunity to "do it right" with this second chance, which should minimize the extent of this contamination, but it's probably unavoidable.

Overall though, this was a very interesting read. If you have access to the journal, it's definitely worth a download (PDF, 10 pages).

G HORNECK (2008). The microbial case for Mars and its implication for human expeditions to Mars Acta Astronautica, 63 (7-10), 1015-1024 DOI: 10.1016/j.actaastro.2007.12.002

A big screw you ...

... to Dr. Mona Melhem for destroying a quarter century of Legionella samples
Also scheduled to appear is Dr. Mona Melhem, who supervises the clinical activities at the Pittsburgh facility. According to the committee, Melhem gave the orders leading to the destruction of the material collected by Yu and Stout.

According to the report, the order to destroy the material came after a dispute over how Yu was financing his research that led to the shuttering of his laboratory in July 2006, and his firing for refusing to stop processing samples. Stout had been placed on administrative leave and faced removal action.
Yeah Melhem, you may have won the battle in your little pissing match with Yu and Stout ... but hopefully you've lost the war. If you were pissed at Drs. Yu and Stout that's one thing ... but to destroy a 25 yr+ culture collection, which could benefit the entire scientific community, is nothing but negligible and asinine. I hope you get your ass handed to you, you dumb twit.

But it gets worse. Much worse.
According to a report from the House Science and Technology Committee's Investigations and Oversight Subcommittee, Melhem told investigators she ordered staff to toss the samples into biohazard containers, which were removed from the Special Pathogens Laboratory in Oakland and disposed of in December 2006.

She said she issued the order because she had "committed" herself by incorrectly stating in an e-mail that the samples had been destroyed, according to the report.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. Has Melhem ever heard of recalling an email? It was just a freaking email for crying out loud! She should have been thankful it was just an email ... instead of saying "Oh well, guess I need to go and destroy 4,000+ samples now." she should have been saying "Whew, that was a close one. Good thing I didn't actually destroy those 4,000+ samples and screw the entire Legionella microbiological field."

Jimminy, some people are just totally stupid. Melhem is one of them.

I could not imagine ...

... working in California making the minimum wage. Now Arnold Schwarzenegger wants to force ALL state employees to earn that wage? I wonder if that includes his own salary ... but even if it did, what does he care? He's already made his millions. I couldn't live in California now with what I make (which is above minimum wage), it'd be damn near impossible to survive if that ever took hold.

Even though ...

... I recently bought myself a new racquet, I can attest to the fact that a racquet doesn't make the player. I wish it did, but it doesn't. I still have a lot of work to do on my game. Though, I have to admit ... I'd much rather play racquetball for an hour, than bike or even run for an equivalent amount of time. Whether it burns off as many calories as those other two activities, I doubt it, but they're not as fun. The rules are pretty simple as well. There are times however when I do miss playing squash, which I picked up reasonably well in college.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Open Letter to Lance Armstrong

Dear Lance,

Stay retired.


Football can make idiots out of most everybody ...

... take this yahoo (by the name of Ant_Santisi) for example who said in the following thread:
who ever says the Bills are the "Kings" of the AFC East is a dumb ol' donkey. The Jets have stars up the Wazoo that nobody talks about. Take Mike Nugent for an example. When you think of the word boss, you think of Mike Nugent. He got hurt in Sunday's game, but he is a champ, and he battled back.
Thank you.
Ok, now I'm a Jets fan who is as die-hard as the rest of them but ... Nugent is a kicker. KICKER. Yes, he's a pretty decent kicker, but the next kicker in the 2005 draft was taken with the 202nd pick (Nugent was taken with the 47th). He's no Vinatieri, even though he has an 81.5% FG PCT (Vinatieri's at 82.4% over a career 3 times as long), and has fairly decent range (54 yds is his long, Vinatieri's is 57). But still, he's a KICKER. Oh, and Vinatieri wasn't even drafted. He's not a QB, a RB, or any of the other countless positions with which you'd draft high, and to imply he's one of the Jets superstars ... stupid.

Are we ...

... losing the war on cancer?
Four decades into the war on cancer, conquest is not on the horizon. As a somber statement on the NCI Web site says, "the biology of the more than 100 types of cancers has proven far more complex than imagined at that time."
This article points out one of the major roadblocks to cancer research ... lack of suitable animal models (see page 3). This is sure to throw PETA into a frenzy.
Even scientists who have used animal models to make signal contributions to cancer treatment agree. "Far more than anything else," says Robert Weinberg of MIT, the lack of good animal models "has become the rate-limiting step in cancer research."

Heh ...

... Olbermann sucks, so I find this a bit amusing. I was very distressed to see him on NBC football last night, but at least he's not color commentating.
Asked about the internal fighting at MSNBC, NBC anchor Brian Williams tried to smooth ruffled feathers during an appearance on Comedy Central’s “The Daily Show” last week.

“Is there no control?” asked host Jon Stewart. “`Is it ‘Lord of the Flies?’”

Williams replied that every family has a dynamic of its own.

“But does MSNBC have to be the Lohans?” Stewart said.

So long, farewell, it's time to say "Adieu!" ...

World to end on Wednesday. Got to love the sensational title of the story: Meet Evans the Atom, who will end the world on Wednesday. I doubt that threw many people into a panic, right?

Of course, there is the following manuscript which has been submitted for peer-review and publication (PDF, 10 pages). This manuscript argues that based on an "alternative plausible scenario" there is a risk of mBH's (micro black holes). As a non-physicist, I have no idea of knowing whether or not this plausible scenario is truly plausible or not. All I know is, I'd like to wake up on Wednesday and would also appreciate no quasars living underneath the Indian Ocean.

The Independent reports on CERN.
The End of the World

Some scientists, on the other hand, went to the European Court for Human Rights to try to stop the collider being turned on. They fear it may create a black hole – which would certainly violate our rights by sucking the planet into... well we don't really know. Professor Sir Chris Llewellyn Smith of Cern says: "The chance we produce a black hole is minuscule." Which is not all that reassuring. But he adds: "Even if we do, it can't swallow up the Earth." It would be too small, and disappear in moments. In any case, they will only send the hadrons in one direction this week. The collisions start in October. Until then, at least, we're not all doomed.
Woo-hoo! No doom until October! I hope it's after the 12th though. The wife and I have tickets to the Bears/Falcons game!

J-E-T-S! Jets! Jets! Jets!

Not sure if I'm quite sold on the whole Brett Favre deal, but we're 1-0 and we play New England without Mr. Metrosexual (aka Tom Brady) next week. If we come out of that game 2-0, I'll be officially excited. For now, all we've done is beat Miami, a team with totally sucks. The other good news is ... since I hate the Patsies so damn much, I didn't have Brady on my "to draft" list. Instead, I drafted Brian Westbrook in the 1st round, and picked up Tony Romo in the 2nd. Probably took Romo too early, but we'll see. Both played well for me this weekend, but I still lost. I hate it when I put up a score good enough to beat 10 of the 12 teams in the league but I'm stuck playing the guy who had the highest score that week, netting me a L. Phooey.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Polar Bears green with envy?

No, just algae.
Kurobe says algae that enters hollow spaces in the bears' fur is hard to rinse off. He says the bears are expected to return to their natural color when the algae growth subsides in November.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Yay ....

... manuscript #2 for this month is off. Now to attend to end of fiscal year issues ... like my annual performance plan. Have to tidy up my submission to GenBank as well for manuscript #1.

I'm thinking I'll try to get a Research Blogging entry in here soon too. There are several microbial community papers which I've read which I think would be cool to blog about. I think I owe the Alternative Scientists a blog entry too.

Friday, September 05, 2008

The French consider surrendering to the Taliban

Taliban play disgusting propaganda game, French fall for it.
The shock of the pictures compounded anxiety over France's involvement in Afghanistan. The ambush, which took place after President Sarkozy committed 700 new troops to the fighting, sharpened public opposition and misgivings in his own center-right party towards the French engagement. Several parents of dead soldiers have blamed Sarkozy on television for the deaths of their sons. Senior military officers have been publicly critical of the war.
The one war that actually matters (and is justifiable IMO) over there, and the French can't even stomach that!


Bumblebees paranoid after close run-in with camouflaged spiders.
Hidden and visible spiders were equally successful at catching the insects, but bees that had been caught by a camouflaged spider slowed down their inspection flights. This lost them time, but meant they were more likely to spot any hidden spiders in the future.

In contrast to bees that had been caught by more conspicuous spiders, those bees that had been caught by hidden spiders several times on a previous day were also "jumpy", behaving as if they saw spiders where there were none and rejecting safe foraging opportunities.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Messier Object 22 (M22)

Tonight I experienced a first! I located my first Messier object. M22 to be exact. Viewing conditions were perfect tonight. Got home late, looked up and noticed that the sky was very clear. Got home and was able to locate the Summer Triangle very easily, and Jupiter was off to the south, high in the sky and very bright. Brought out the binoculars, focused on Jupiter and saw his four moons on a diagonal with the planet, two on either side. Beautiful.

Saw a variable star SSW and closer to the horizon. Turns out that was Antares, part of Scorpius. Went inside and loaded up Stellarium. I figured since the night sky was so beautiful that my chances of seeing something more might be better. Figured I'd search in the area of Jupiter since I can definitely use Jupiter as a starting point and anchor in the sky. Well, turns out M22 was just down and west of Jupiter. Started looking and lo and behold ... a fuzzy blob! I found it! Drew an illustration, and while M22 doesn't exactly look like that through the binoculars, it'll serve as my artistic impression. I have a more accurate drawing in my log book. I didn't hang around long enough to see individual stars, I needed to get this recorded. So, now at least I know what I'm looking for. Awesome!

I'm not an economist ...

... which is why I'm really confused here. I could understand that high oil prices could have an adverse effect on the market. But now, less than a couple of months after cripplingly-high oil prices, the thought of low oil prices is contributing to a slide in the stock market.
Stocks plummeted Thursday, with the Dow plunging around 345 points as mixed retail sales, lower oil prices and dour labor market readings amplified worries about a global economic slowdown.
Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot. You can't win for losing nowadays! I feel like I'm stuck in the movie Memento. No short term memory whatsoever!

Currently ...

Listening To

Periodic Table of Life - 68 "Elements"

ResearchBlogging.orgA recent correspondence out of Nature - Cell Biology describes a sort of "periodic table of biology" revolving around 68 basic molecules which Dr. Jamey Marth refers to as the "molecular building blocks of life". While the illustration doesn't look like a periodic table, the figure provided in the correspondence (and here in this post, down below) does list all 68 molecules. These molecules revolve around 4 basic areas of cellular composition: 1)DNA & RNA; 2)Glycans; 3)Proteins; and 4)Lipids. The nucleotides and amino acids account for 28 of the 68 molecules, and most everyone how has taken a biology class will know of them. The glycans and lipids, though less well known, are just as important.

Dr. Marth argues the following:
As indivisible units of life, the cells of all organisms consist of four fundamental macromolecular components: nucleic acids (including DNA and RNA), proteins, lipids and glycans. From the construction, modification and interaction of these components, the cell develops and functions. The struggle to comprehend this interplay is the preoccupation of biologists, and more recently those engaged in systems biology. But do we readily take into account all of the components of biological systems to model health and disease accurately? To do this, the basic composition of all cells must be evident.

The physical sciences developed the periodic table of the elements to convey the composition and relatedness of matter. A related construct for biology may provide a more balanced view of the cell and its biochemistry.
And closes with the following:
Defining the molecular building blocks of life provides a conceptual framework for biology that has the potential to enhance education and research by promoting the integration of knowledge. The insights afforded by bridging the divides that exist between disciplines can further moderate the view that researchers must invariably sacrifice breadth of knowledge to acquire depth of understanding. Cultivating this integration would reflect a more holistic and rigorous endeavour, which will ultimately be required if we are to perceive and most effectively manipulate the biological mechanisms of health and disease.

It's an interesting concept. I'm not sure that the figure presented lends itself to easy memorization, a better understanding of the interactions of the molecules, or if it is as useful as the periodic table. Do we need to have better interdisciplinary collaborations? Most certainly. You see a fair amount of overlap (in some cases, not all) between the gene jockeys and protein chemists, but I think glycan and lipid research has lagged far behind (at least in the areas of microbiology to which I have been exposed). So, while an interesting concept, I'm not sure what traction this correspondence will obtain. Time will tell I suppose.

Jamey D. Marth (2008). A unified vision of the building blocks of life Nature Cell Biology, 10 (9), 1015-1015 DOI: 10.1038/ncb0908-1015

I suppose I should ...

... just leave this whole sordid affair alone, but this case seems to get sicker by the minute.
Preliminary FBI lab results show that there were traces of chloroform in the car of the mother of a missing Florida girl, according to a law enforcement source with knowledge of the investigation.
At first I thought it was neglect which led to the death of this poor child. Now, it appears that it could be something a bit more ominous. Like I said, there is nowhere on earth this (unfortunately, probably ex-) mother deserves to be.

Less than charitable moment coming up -- it also affirms the adage "Stupid people shouldn't breed". I think that probably should have started with Casey Anthony's idiot of a mother Cindy. That stupid fool should wind up in jail as well. A whole month of no contact with your granddaughter and you don't do anything about it?

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Q-Tips, bad!

Earwax, good!
There's a reason for the goo. Earwax is a self-cleaning agent, with protective, lubricating and antibacterial properties, doctors say.

That's why tiny glands in the outer ear canal constantly pump out a watery substance, which gets mixed with bits of dead hair and skin and together is called earwax or cerumen. Excess earwax normally treks slowly out of the ear canal, with an extra boost from chewing and other jaw movements, carrying with it dirt, dust and other small particles from the ear canal. Then, dried-up clumps of the stuff fall out of the ear opening.

When this natural earwax train malfunctions, or when individuals poke around in their ears with cottons swabs or other foreign objects such as bobby pins or matchsticks, earwax can build up and block part of the ear canal.
Oh, this part isn't so good ...
Older adults are more prone to earwax buildup then younger individuals.

"The wax gets much thicker and drier, and plus you actually end up with more hair in your ear, when you're older, and so it traps it," Roland said.
Great, yet another reason to avoid growing old ... ear hair!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Another manuscript ...

... in the oven with a deadline giving me only a few more days to make edits/rewrites. Which means, less blogging but plenty more writing. I shall return.

Before I go though, can I say that I thoroughly love the GenBank sequence submission process? NOT.

Tesco resealable sandwich bags

These things save lives. Lives!

Especially if the life is that of a 27 week old premmie.

I wonder if insurance companies cover the cost of those bags.


Divided We Fail.

Google from Google

Google to launch own web browser today.
The beta version of the browser, called Google Chrome, will be available for Windows users as part of a test-run to "start the broader discussion," on the endeavor, Google said.
For me, I think I'll stick with Firefox. Google's whole stance on privacy issues, or the lack thereof, give me the feeling I'll stay as far away from this browser as possible.

New Uses for Old Drugs

Viagara used to keep 7 year old girl alive.

Ambien used to "wake up" people in minimally conscious states.

One can only wonder about what else is already out there that could prove beneficial in some other way.

Monday, September 01, 2008

I'm not sure ...

... what McCain was thinking when he selected Sarah Palin as his VP nominee. What this independent voter does find amusing however is that after fighting off the Republican charges of "inexperienced", the Democrats are now using the very same arguments against the Republicans. Frankly, this makes both sides appear very foolish and hypocritical ... at least to me, and it doesn't matter who started it.

Though, I will say this. In terms of "Commander in Chief" experience, Sarah Palin, as Governor of Alaska, has had more experience than both Obama and Biden combined, with the Alaskan National Guard at her disposal.

For Putin's next publicity stunt ...

... he'll walk on water. For now however, he'll simply save camera crews from escaped tigers.