Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Manuscript Madness

Going to spend the rest of the day writing, so no more blogging. Toodles for today!

I mean, really?

I was browsing FOXNews (which has seemingly gotten dumber since the election) and came across this gem of advice by Dr. Yvonne Fulbright*, who obviously is not a microbiologist or virologist. Good gawd!
Another thing to keep in mind is that when someone has the common cold sore (a.k.a. oral herpes — HSV-1) and goes down on you, you could contract genital herpes, or HSV-2.
Say what?!?!

Ok, a bit of basic virology here: HSV-1 and HSV-2 are two different viruses. In addition, a simple internets search (like this one) would have revealed some good information on this question.

Genetically, HSV-1 and HSV-2 are about 50% identical to one another. They are not the same virus. If you have HSV-1 and "go down" on your partner, they won't get HSV-2, they'll get (if they get anything at all) HSV-1**. It is possible to get HSV-1 below the belt, and HSV-2 above it, and while it's uncommon, it's not impossible.

So, are we all clear on this now?

*FOXNews is a conservative site, so why is their "sexpert" plastered on the front page?

**To claim that if someone has HSV-1 and they perform oral sex on their partner, their partner might get HSV-2 is akin to telling someone that they could get HIV from having sex without a condom even if the other person is also HIV negative. The question remains ... where the hell does the HSV-2 (or HIV) come from! The only plausible answer is ... it doesn't come from anywhere, because it's IMPOSSIBLE.

I agree ...

... with this. Wholeheartedly.
If you think it should be easier to adopt American children, demand that your local, state and federal election officials clear the pathway to make the process easier. And let's have more consistency. Having 50 different states set their own policy, is frankly, nonsense. With so many rules, no wonder folks throw their hands up and move on.

The goal of adoption is to put children in loving homes and not have them be the responsibility of the state. Making it harder to adopt affects you in your pocketbook because taxpayer money is spent to care for the children. So changing the laws not only helps the child, but also is fiscally prudent.
I've seriously thought about adopting, but spending a small fortune, that we don't have, isn't really an option for us. If things were a bit more sane, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

Introducing ...

... Melanerpes carolinus, more commonly referred to as the Red-bellied Woodpecker. As I was leaving for work this morning, I heard his rapping against one of the trees close to my house (but not on my property). He's not hard to miss if you look in his general direction, with his red-topped head. Of course, for all I know, he can be a she (I'm not a birder, and I'm sure there is an easy way to tell the two apart). I decided today to get a closer look at this fellow, so I grabbed my astronomy binocs from out of my car (I keep them in the trunk in case I ever get the urge to star-gaze while I'm out at night and find a nice dark spot) and trained them in his direction. It's the first time I used these binocs to bird watch and man was it impressive. It was as if I could reach out beyond the binocs and grab onto this guy. He was oblivious to me, going about his way rubbing up against the tree, and flicking (yes, I could see him flicking) his tongue here and there, presumably to catch some bugs that only he could see.

Watching him for a few minutes really was a great experience, one that I will remember for quite some time. I only hope that I might be able to share such experiences with my future kids, nieces, and nephews ... and that in turn, they also may be able to pass down a love and appreciation for nature and Earth's beautiful creatures. Their ability to be able to do so is up to us.

Monday, March 30, 2009


They put this lame speech on a plaque and stuck it on the outside of the stadium? So this is what FU fans consider "tradition"? Total lameness.
"I felt like he was a prophet for saying it," linebacker Brandon Spikes said. "He just said it and we got it done. He was a prophet."
Oh goodness gracious. Excuse me while I go barf.

Pretty cool ...

... science project!
On February 28th, a team of four Spanish teenage students and their instructor from IES La Bisbal school in Catalonia launched a weather probe they designed and built themselves. Their helium-filled balloon carried a payload of electronics and a camera to take atmospheric measurements and photographs throughout the trip. After getting permission from aviation officials and getting good weather, they released the probe on a trip that took it over 30,000 meters (19 miles) above sea level, through winds gusting up to 100 kph, and temperatures reaching -54C (-65.2F), and traveling 38 kilometers overland in a time of 2 hours and 10 minutes.

Currently ...

Listening ToI don't wanna be kept,
I don't wanna be caged,
I don't wanna be damned, oh hell.
I don't wanna be broke,
I don't wanna be saved,
I don't wanna be S.O.L.
Give me rolling hills, so tonight can be the night,
that I stand among a thousand thrills.
Mister cut me some slack,
cause I don't wanna go back,
I want a new day and age!
- Neon Tiger, The Killers

Too Bad, So Sad

They should stay in jail. End of story IMO.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

With Oklahoma getting destroyed at the half ...

... against the Tar Holes, this report doesn't bode well for me.
"The emotional stress of loss and/or the intensity of a game played in a high profile rivalry such as the Super Bowl can trigger total and cardiovascular deaths," said Dr. Robert Kloner, a professor of medicine at the University of Southern California, who presented the study at the American College of Cardiology scientific meeting in Orlando.
I can certainly say that Oklahoma is certainly trying its best to give me a heart attack right about now.

Friday, March 27, 2009

When I hear the words "baby butter" ...

... I think I throw up in my mouth a little bit. But, I guess it might turn out to be a pretty good skin healing agent.
When they rubbed this white cream on mice missing a patch of their outer skin, the mice healed three times faster than untreated ones, Bouwstra says.

Tracking asteroids ...

Asteroid tracked in space, right down to Sudanese desert.
As 2008 TC3 hurtled through space, researchers studied the spectra of sunlight reflected from its surface to get information about the asteroid’s mineral composition. The spectra showed that the asteroid was likely to come from the mysterious F-class of asteroids, a class only observed in space but not yet found as a meteorite on Earth..

Monitoring 2008 TC3’s progress, researchers correctly predicted that it would impact the Nubian Desert of northern Sudan about 19 hours after it was first spotted. Eyewitnesses reported seeing a fireball as the asteroid exploded over the desert.

Jenniskens and 45 students and staff from the University of Khartoum in Sudan searched for remnants along the asteroid’s projected path. The recovery team eventually found about 47 meteorites from 2008 TC3.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Good racquetball advice ... no back walls

No back walls.

My racquetball game is slowly improving, though I still have a tendency to keep the ball up. This gets me into trouble more often than not, and while I can rely on my speed to get to quite a few "passing" shots ... it's impossible to recover kill shots. And those kill shots happen when you give your opponent a nice high return.

So, keep your returns low, and avoid that back wall!

ASU doesn't seem to care ...

... about the fact that for a million dollars, they can keep a department which will churn out jobs which pay ~$50K to start in a field which has a national average vacany rate of 10.4% (in other words, every individual who obtains certification would most likely find a job immediately). Nope, they don't care about that. Perhaps they'll dump the program off on the local hospital system instead.
Due to space constraints on the Tempe campus, and because of the applied nature of the degree, consideration was given over the past few years to incorporating the program into the Phoenix Biomedical campus or relocating it to the Polytechnic campus. However, it was assessed that such plans would require more than $1,000,000 in new laboratory construction and/facility renovation in order to adequately administer the program to undergraduate students on either campus. Like other states with similar programs, funding from local hospitals could subsidize the continuation of the program and this idea is being examined.

I do want to point this out though ... the commenter on my last post on this topic hit the nail right on the head IMO:
The loss of this program would be a detriment to the school and the community especially as this is the last accredited program in the state of Arizona. I will admit that the program has a high cost per student when compared to some degrees however I think that cost must be balanced by the good it will provide the community. After all this is a state university and it main purpose is not to make money but to provide and produce the educated workforce the state so desperately needs.
To me, this seems that the state should step in and demand that the Med Tech program remain open. IIRC, Oklahoma (where I used to live) didn't have a Med Tech program at any of the universities within the state and they were always suffering huge Med Tech shortages.

Why would Arizona take a play out of the playbook of a state which has chronic shortages of critical health care workers?

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Currently ...

Listening To
Too heavy too light
Too black or too white
Too wrong or too right
Today or tonite ... cumbersome

Monday, March 23, 2009

Twits tweet on twitter ...

... as for the rest of us, who needs the headache?

Friday, March 20, 2009

An Open Letter to President Obama

Dear Mr. President,

A day or two ago I blogged about how you had irked Coach K of Duke. That was amusing. This latest episode on the Jay Leno show ... not so much. Listen, think before you speak. Or better yet, just do your job ... please. Because it's obvious that your Secretary of the Treasury isn't really doing his, and the Senators on the Hill aren't doing theirs (they're certainly not reading any of the legislation they're passing). So, that leaves you ... you whom we recently elected. Remember the adage: It is better to remain silent and be thought a fool, than to open your mouth and remove all doubt. You were the last person I would have suspected of saying something so incredibly dumb. Guess that showed me.

Giving up hope that anyone in charge is competent,
Thomas Joseph

PS: Check out these two links.

1. Special Olympics Press Release on your stupid comment.
2. Special Olympics campaign to end the hate.

Thursday, March 19, 2009


I love stories like this one.

How much more secure can you get ...

... than a damn island? Moving the research performed on Plum Island onto the mainland is, IMO, a big mistake. This one blurb highlights why:
And in 1978, a foot-and-mouth outbreak occurred among animals in pens outside the laboratory.
Yes, and they were contained to the island. If that happened in Kansas, forget it ... you now have foot-and-mouth disease in the United States. The last outbreak in the US occured in ... 1914. To clear up that mess, it cost us 4.5 million. I'm not even going to bother converting that to today's dollar equivalent. It's one of the reasons foot-and-mouth disease is done on Plum Island, and not on the mainland. I hope I don't sit here years from now and blog "Told ya so, ya idiots."


Listen up folks, you've read it here before (myself and commenters both), and I'll say it again. Fresh water is one of the scarcest resources on the planet. Here is an article on desalination techniques in Scientific American. It's a good read.
Almost three quarters of Earth's surface is covered with water, but most of it is too salty to drink. And the 2.5 percent that is freshwater is locked up either in soil, remote snowpacks and glaciers or in deep aquifers. That leaves less than 1 percent of all freshwater for humans and animals to drink and for farmers to use to raise crops—and that remnant is shrinking as rising global temperatures trigger more droughts. The upshot: it's becoming increasingly difficult to slake the world's thirst as the population grows and water supplies dwindle. Analysts at the investment bank Goldman Sachs estimate that worldwide water use doubles every 20 years.

New bacterial species identified ...

... nothing really exciting there, as new bacterial species are being identified all the time. Heck, there is an entire journal devoted to publishing on new bacterial species. How they were identified is fairly cool though.
The experiment was conducted using a 26.7 million cubic feet balloon carrying a 459 kg scientific payload soaked in 38 kg of liquid Neon, which was flown from the National Balloon Facility in Hyderabad, operated by the Tata Institute of Fundamental Research (TIFR). The payload consisted of a cryosampler containing sixteen evacuated and sterilised stainless steel probes. Throughout the flight, the probes remained immersed in liquid Neon to create a cryopump effect. These cylinders, after collecting air samples from different heights ranging from 20 km to 41 km, were parachuted down and safely retrieved.
Send a balloon up into the atmosphere, sample the rarefied air and drop samples back down to earth.

As for the three new species, they were named as follows:
One of the new species has been named as Janibacter hoylei, after the Distinguished Astrophysicist Fred Hoyle, the second as Bacillus isronensis recognising the contribution of ISRO in the balloon experiments which led to its discovery and the third as Bacillus aryabhata after India’s celebrated ancient astronomer Aryabhata and also the first satellite of ISRO.

Someone's not an Obama fan ...

Somebody said that we're not in President Obama's Final Four, and as much as I respect what he's doing, really, the economy is something that he should focus on, probably more than the brackets. - Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Cow Power

Article in USA Today.
Farmers in the Cow Power program still pay for the electricity they use on the farm. But they produce more than they use, and they sell what they produce to the electric company for 95% of the wholesale price plus 4 cents per kilowatt-hour. The St. Pierres calculate that they'll gross $200,000 a year on the sales.
Might we come to a point where farmers are more focused on converting animal waste than they are on the animals themselves? Of course, this is a great way for farms to remain profitable. Feeding animals is no cheap endeavor ... they're as hard hit by the prices of food as we are, and cows and hogs eat a lot more than us as well. Combine that with a consumers demand that food be cheap, and they're hit doubly so ... high feed prices combined with a demand that they sell their product at low cost. The two are diametrical opposites. That is, they were ... but perhaps converting the waste (which also resulted in a cost to house/treat) into energy converts that cost into revenue.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Garbage, garbage everywhere ...

ResearchBlogging.orgI don't know, I guess I'm a sucker for poor defenseless animals, and I guess I believe that we, as humans, should hold ourselves to a higher accountability when it comes to being proper stewards of our great planet Earth. So when I come across manuscripts like this one ... damn it, it pisses me off! Here is the abstract:
The leatherback, Dermochelys coriacea, is a large sea turtle that feeds primarily on jellyfish. Floating plastic garbage could be mistaken for such prey. Autopsy records of 408 leatherback turtles, spanning 123 years (1885–2007), were studied for the presence or absence of plastic in the GI tract. Plastic was reported in 34% of these cases. If only cases from our first report (1968) of plastic were considered, the figure was 37%. Blockage of the gut by plastic was mentioned in some accounts. These findings are discussed in the context of removal of top predators from poorly understood food chains.
Check out the following figure ...Whiskey Tango Foxtrot folks! Look at 1950 and on. That's all us ... humans ... contributing to these incident rates. What part of "Do not throw your trash in the ocean" can't people seem to understand? The authors have a pretty sobering point as well when they state:
Looking further ahead, we do not know what impact, if any, an increased demand for jellyfish by Asian markets could have on leatherback turtles. It has been speculated that leatherbacks off the coast of France take in more plastic in cooler months when jellyfish are scarcer. If it is correct that commercial harvests of jellyfish reduce the availability of this prey item, will ingestion of plastic by leatherbacks increase?
One can only hope not.

Mrosovsky, N., Ryan, G., & James, M. (2009). Leatherback turtles: The menace of plastic Marine Pollution Bulletin, 58 (2), 287-289 DOI: 10.1016/j.marpolbul.2008.10.018

The Spider Rifle

Found this coolness on the web.

Complements of Make:

Save the Tiger, Power the Village

Sorry for my lame Heroes allusion. At any rate, found this article in New Scientist interesting. The article is actually a small blurb on a manuscript (Arxiv) submitted for review entitled The Tiger and the Sun: Solar Power Plants and Wildlife Sanctuaries by Michael McGuigan of Brookhaven National Laboratory. I've never had a title that cool. His manuscript concludes with the following:
One difficulty with wildlife conservation is that it that it is often tied to human problems. This is because most of the wildlife is located near poor rural populations as those areas have less habitat destruction. One has to make a choice as resources are limited. Ultimately one has to help the human population.

An advantage of the integrated approach is that it ties wildlife conservation to a human solution, one which must be urgently implemented. The solar energy infrastructure must surely be secured due to its strategic importance. This security extended to the integrated wildlife sanctuary within, solves on the main costs how to maintain security over a 30,000 square mile reserve. Thus in this approach one helps the wildlife as well as the human population.
Seems like a simple enough approach, though financially I'm not sure how possible it's going to be in the short term ... or even the long term.

Is it only a matter of time before ...

... we have the flux capacitor?

Electrostatic capacitors.
Electrostatic capacitors store charge on the surface of two conducting plates separated by an insulating layer. Their advantage is that they can store and release energy much faster than batteries.

That makes them ideal candidates to replace batteries in devices that require speedy discharge of power, such as electric cars. However, electric capacitors can hold only limited charge. Supercapacitors that store charge chemically as well as electrically have greater capacities, but perform only as well as the best batteries.

Now a prototype capacitor has been made that manages to store power as densely as a supercapacitor, but deliver it at speeds comparable with electrostatic capacitors.

My Bracket

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Big Time (Expert)?

A few days ago I received my first unsolicited email asking me to consider them for a postdoc position in my lab. They were asking because, according to them, I'm an expert in the field of bacteria pathogens.

Of course I don't directly work with pathogens any longer, it's more of an environmental microbiology gig, and I don't work in the field they'd like to, even though if you looked at my most recent published manuscript you wouldn't know it (unless you knew the entire sordid history of the project). And, of course, I don't have the funds right now to hire a postdoc either. Each year our agency provides money to researchers (it's a competitive process) to fund a 2 year postdoc, and I wasn't one of them (most directly because I didn't apply) ... heck, I've only been here a handful of years, I didn't want/need that additional stress while I'm working my way up for tenure.

If I did have the funds, I'd hire the postdoc requester ... if for no other reason they made my day. Plus, they've probably read at least one or two of my manuscripts!

Tuesday, March 10, 2009


Manuscript craziness: Just had one published, waiting on the peer review results of another, and I'm in the process of analyzing data and putting together my first manuscript of the new year. Have another (plus a review) nipping at my heels as well. So I sort of have to play catchup. I'll be back, but first I need to put this introduction together.

I hate writing introductions.

Currently ...

Listening To

Great Angry Owl

Owl in Bangor, Maine isn't happy with nighttime skiers.
Over the past three weeks, at least eight skiers and a few romping dogs apparently have fallen victim to a great horned owl that swoops down from a tree with talons outstretched and smacks them on the head.
At least that's the only thing it's doing.

Thursday, March 05, 2009

What happens when the United States ...

... finds itself without any natural resources that are needed in a world economy? For example, a majority of the lithium needed for lithium batteries for electric cars can be found in Bolivia. In addition, Bolivia has wizened up and wants to use their resources to generate jobs (and profits) within their own country.
For Bolivians, economic development and job creation are a must — the partner can't be like foreign companies who they say shortchanged the nation's hardscrabble Indians while extracting copper, silver and tin from vegetation-starved highlands. Morales wants lithium batteries manufactured domestically, and even hopes to assemble battery-powered cars.
So, where does this leave the United States, who was hoping to factor in the environmentally-friendly car economy of the future? Exactly what natural resources does the United States have which can ensure that it remains a "power" in the future? Also, and I think more importantly, this points the focus towards recycling efforts. There are finite supplies of materials such as lithium in the world, so recycling them will be essential in the future. Since we are a consumer economy, the influx of these resources will be into the United States. Recycling ensures that they will remain here, and if they remain here we do not need to import (and thereby pay another country for the "rights" to these materials). Right?

I'm sure there are some flaws, or unnecessary worrying on my part, here ... so if someone can point them out I'd be appreciative.

More on ...

... Geothermal Power.
Two recent reports, among others, suggest that geothermal may actually be cheaper than every other source, including coal.
Of course ...
That does not mean companies are rushing to build geothermal plants: There are a number of assumptions in the geothermal figure. First, there are the tax incentives, which save about 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour. Those won't necessarily last forever, however—although the stimulus bill extended them through 2013.

Second, the Credit Suisse analysis relied on what is called the "levelized [sic] cost of energy," or the total cost to produce a given unit of energy. Embedded within this figure is an assumption that the money to build a new geothermal plant is available at reasonable interest rates—on the order of 8 percent.

In today's economic climate, that just isn't the case. "In general, there is financing out there for geothermal, but it's difficult to get and it's expensive," Geothermal Energy Association director Karl Gawell told ScientificAmerican.com recently. "You have to have a really premium project to get even credit card interest rates."

That means very high up-front costs. As a result, companies are more likely to spend money on things with lower front-end costs, like natural gas–powered plants, which are cheap to build but relatively expensive to operate because of the cost of the fuel needed to run them.
It's a good, informative read. Check it out.

In the meantime, I'm off to analyze some data and write up another manuscript. No rest for the weary!

Presentation Etiquette - Avoid the Horribleness

This blog entry over at Blue Lab Coats got me thinking that it was time to put together a "Presentation Etiquette" entry of my own. So here it is.

You see that picture above? I can't begin to tell you how many times I've seen something JUST. LIKE. THAT. Or better yet, the slides with the black background and the dark blue typing (or vice versa). You can't see a damn thing without seriously straining your eyes, and by the time you've gotten them to focus, the slide goes away only to be replaced with another monstrosity. Sometimes I think that some presenters either: don't check what their slides actually look like when in full presentation mode; don't want to give a talk so figure that the worst possible presentation will get them banned from the "lecture circuit"; are massively color blind; are afraid of people finding the flaws in their thinking/data; all of the above.

If you're going to give a presentation, it's a simple enough exercise to ensure that the slides are easily viewable to your audience. Proper color schemes, proper font usage, proper textual prompting, proper use of images ... it's not that hard to achieve. So, here are some pointers that I picked up along the way and will now pass on (quite a few can be found in the comments section of the blog entry cited above).

1. Make sure your font can be read against your background. Yellow lettering on a white background, or dark blue on a black background IS NOT VISIBLE. You can either go with a dark background with light coloring, or switch it around. A simple design such as a white background with black lettering is perfectly acceptable. It sends a "Hey, I'm only concerned about the data, you should be too." approach, and people won't be distracted. Having pictures in the background can get annoying (not to mention distracting) as well, and if you MUST have a picture in the background, make sure it doesn't obscure your lettering. I mean, a picture of a snowstorm and then using white lettering is going to be a total mess. And please, please, please ... if you use a picture as a background, use only one and stick with it! This is not a slideshow your latest vacation. For me, I go with a nice dark gray background with a light blue/beige lettering (see below).For me, I chose the dark gray background, and a pastel blue colored font for titles, and a beige colored font for text. If I need to really highlight a point, I go with a pastel red font for those points. These colors give me nice contrast without being disruptive and they're very easy to read (at least everyone I've discussed my slides with have said so). Plus, my schema is out of the ordinary (no one else I know uses this format) so I have managed to maintain some individuality for my presentations (especially when you're in a long line of presenters at a conference).

2. Serif font should be reserved for titles only. Serif font attracts the eye, causing one to spend more time reading it than sans serif font. Unless you want people to read your slides and not pay attention to you, leave serif fonts for the title of your slide only.

The above slide of mine is my title slide, so everything is in serif font. When I move to my next slide, the title is serif (Times New Roman) and the rest is sans serif (Arial).

3. Bullet points are not entire paragraphs. Bullet points are there to JOG YOUR MEMORY as to what you need to say/convey to your audience. It’s not there to be read by them.

This is one point that I think most people don't consider when they're putting their slides together. They get the impression that the slides are for those sitting in the audience. Well, that's really only half the case. The people are there to LISTEN. TO. YOU. They are NOT THERE to READ SLIDES. Now, the slides are important for the seminar attendee because when you show the data, it is easier for them to comprehend is visually (like when you're showing a gel, it's easier to point out the bands rather than say "Well, in lane 1 we had a band of 1,500 bp, whereas in lane 2 is was 2,000 bp.") Just show the gel and they'll instantly recognize the differences. However, the text ... that's there to help jog your memory (by listing only the highlights of that particular data set) so you can then explain it to the audience.

4. Please, do not read your seminar slides word for word to the audience. They can read if they want, but they are there to listen to you speak to them about a topic. Images are worth a 1,000 words, and they help you better convey your ideas anyways.

This is an extension of the above point. If your slide is all text, no one is going to pay attention to you. If you have full sentences, by and large (99.9% of the time I'd say), you have too much text on your slide. Condense it to a bullet point or two.

5. Uhhhh, ahhhh, ummm and other time filling utterings are annoying. If you say “As you can see …” during every slide, it’s going to piss people off. OF COURSE THEY CAN SEE, you don’t need to say it 30 times in a talk. Uhh’s and umm’s are just as distracting. If you’re going to give a talk, when you switch to the next slide, take a deep breath, think of what you want to say (because you’ve already prompted yourself with your bullet points) and THEN AND ONLY THEN, launch into the discussion of that slide. This pause gives your brain time to catch up with your mouth.

Obviously this has less to do with your slides than with you as a presenter. Those verbal ticks can drive people crazy. It's not too long ago that the press got on Caroline Kennedy for all of her "you know" utterances during her press talks. Besides, who hasn't counted the "ahh's" and "uhh's" and "umm's" during a particularly bad seminar? If you have, then you should know damn well that if you do it, chances are someone is running a tally on you.


Remember that you are the expert in this area. If you are presenting data, you're probably the first person EVER to observe it. Come across that way.

So, those are a few of my tips on how to give a good seminar. I don't always get my seminars perfect (I wish I could), especially when it comes to point #5, but practice makes perfect. Going over your seminar several times, as tedious as it may be, will help you give a better seminar. Just don't make it too rehearsed. If you memorize your talk you run the risk of getting thrown off track and struggling for a slide or two if you get interrupted.

Anyways, any comments? Did I miss anything?

Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Currently ...

Listening To

Monday, March 02, 2009

Brought to Life

The Science Museum is a museum in England, founded in 1857. They have a multitude of interesting exhibits, some of which are online, like the following one: Exploring the History of Medicine. This exhibit has, on display (and online), a number of objects throughout the course of "modern" medicine. Never knew what an eye massager looked like? Now you can find out.