Friday, January 30, 2004

So of late there have been some problems with the Ranger. The story goes something like this. I took the car to Campus Ford in Okemos to have new tires put on. The parts department helped me pick them out and I had them put on. I took the car home and it has mostly sat in the parking lot (since I ride the bus to school in the mornings and it's not good for picking up groceries there is little I drive for). We drove it a little looking at houses and it was making a terrible squeaking whenever I went over bumps or turned the steering wheel.

Ellie and I took it in to Campus Ford and they replace the controller arm (part of the suspension) on the driver's side and the squeaking disappears. They don't notice anything on the other side, so it cost us $650 for that. I almost get the car home and the squeaking returns, but just on the passenger side now. So we bring the car back to Campus Ford, they hear the the squeaking coming from it and say something to the effect of "Man, there has got to be a problem with that!" It is inside overnight and when they go to find the problem the squeak is gone. They put the car outside to see if it's the cold and cannot replicate it. Next they drive it a little to see if that brings it back... and it doesn't. So Ellie and I come to pick it up and I check it may pushing hard on the front passenger side to get the truck to bounce... and no squeaking!

I start to drive the truck home and get 75% of the way there and the squeaking returns! Agghhh! By this time it's 6:00pm and the service guys are heading home, so we don't bother taking the truck back to the shop. I'll have to check it today to see if the squeak has disappeared now that the truck sat for 2 days in the cold. Either way, when the service department checked everything they said it was ok and there wasn't a safety risk, so I'm going to drive it until I can get a better idea of the conditions required to replicate the squeaking.

In other news I've been fooling around with video capture and recording things off the Tivo. I didn't have a way to do this previously because the Tivo doesn't support video extraction (unless you go through some real hoops and void your warranty, which I don't care to do at this point). I can run the analog signal from the Tivo to the camcorder I got for graduation (Canon ZR-65MC) which converts the signal to digital, which I can then transfer to the computer. Great, except one thing. To capture the video off the camcorder without having to compress the video (which causes a loss in quality) I need lots of disk space (~250 megabytes per minute) and my little 40Gb drive is not cutting it (big mp3 collection). So now I'm looking for a new hard drive. I've seen some pretty good deals (80Gb for $20 after rebates, but they were out of stock), but haven't gone for one yet. Hopefully soon though. ------CMN

Monday, January 26, 2004

About Us - FactCheck.org

Now I notice this too: "The APPC (Annenberg Public Policy Center)accepts NO funding from business corporations, labor unions, political parties, lobbying organizations or individuals. It is funded primarily by an endowment from the Annenberg Foundation." I love that!

FactCheck.org - Annenberg Political Fact Check

I'm really starting to like this website. I think this is closer to unbiased than many of the mainstream news outlets (though as I'm looking at it now I don't know if it's exactly middle of the road). Basically it looks at public statements by politicians in both parties and presents documentable evidence. When was the last time you saw a bibliography on this stuff!

I hope that people will make use of it periodically before they believe everything/anything they hear. I think this is more of what democracy needs, not television ads. ---CMN

Friday, January 23, 2004

CNN.com - FDA: Tylenol, painkiller misuse can be deadly - Jan. 23, 2004

Just wanted to bring this to the attention of people. Acetaminophen toxicity is one of the drugs that is researched in the lab I work in. The funny thing is that we just had a meeting today talking about it... and what do you know.... it's appears on CNN.com!

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

It has now been so long since the last update it’s nearly comical. My apologies to all who have periodically checked and found nothing. Here goes with the new round of what is new:

I was accepted to the Pharmacology/Toxicology Ph.D. program last week. Excellent news. Most of the folks I work with were expecting this, but I don’t like to assume things before they are sure. Just have to write a letter to the department accepting the invitation and then I’ll be on track for Fall 2004 admission.

We had a phone meeting with a drug company for a collaboration we are working on. My role will be to examine whether unusual adverse drug reactions (caused by a particular family of antibiotics) that damage that liver can be modeled using pretreatment with bacterial membranes just prior/after drug administration. The lab I work in has showed this with Zantac (Ranitidine) and some other toxicants. I’m pretty excited to be working on that project.

Ellie and I are still looking at houses. We’ve seen several that we like, but have not managed to get the right price on them. There was one that we could have had for what we asked (they initially declined our bid, then accepted it later), but Ellie got cold feet on it and I came to agree with her, so we kept looking. Apparently we’re going out this Thursday to look at some more, but I’m getting pretty tired of looking at houses (I think we’ve been through ~10-15 and bid on two). –CMN