Tuesday, May 31, 2005

Memorial Day Past

Ellie and I had a good weekend, now I'm back to work again. I've got experiments planned for the next three weeks, and now I'm wondering why I didn't start doing that a long time ago. It came up because I had a personal meeting with Dr Kaminski, and he said he's been suggesting to everyone they try to plan at least 2-3 weeks ahead for what experiments they want to do. I've now realized that by doing just that I can fit far more in than I previously thought. Now I'll just need to continue to execute and plan.

As far as the weekend went, Ellie and I took Simone down to Jackson on Saturday to visit with some of our friends down there. I saw two of my old roomies (Randy and Nick) and generally had a great time sitting around a chatting with them and others. The one funny thing that came out of the chatting was a conversation about islands to send people to
Colin: Hmm, who else would I want to send to an island.... maybe NASCAR fans? Or perhaps we could just cede them one of the states, maybe Georgia?
Randy: I think they've already got Georgia...

That comment from Randy got me laughing heartily.

Sunday we visited with our neighbors across the street, watched the end of the NASCAR race and just hung around the house, then yesterday Mom came to visit with Dave for the afternoon and play with Simone. All in all it was a good weekend for me.

Wednesday, May 18, 2005

siRNA DB

siRNA DB

This may prove useful to me in the future, so I wanted to make a persistent bookmark for it I could understand better than a simple title. This page lists genes with known siRNA for knockdown of gene expression, along with the paper citation where they were published. Funny thing about it was when I went to it the first gene listed was the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor, which is central to the toxic effect of dioxin (the compound I'm doing research on).

Monday, May 16, 2005

Solar Cells in Michigan!

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I was curious about a pair of inventors from Bloomfield, Michigan, the Ovshinsky's. They've apparently design solar cells that actually work in a climates that aren't sunny all the time, like Michigan. I originally saw them on Scientific American Frontiers, talking about their system for storing hydrogen in a solid form (portability of hydrogen is one of the big hurdles facing the "hydrogen economy"). The mentioned their solar cells, which apparently are tougher and cheaper to produce then traditional photovoltaic cells. On Scientific American they showed a traditional cell with a little hole in it, which had ruined the cell. Then they showed their own cell, with many holes all over it, still working! Looks promising.

So when I surfed over to their website I found something I thought was pretty cool. The middle school in my home town has some of these cells and runs a classroom on them (the middle school is actually the building which I went to high school in). I thought it was pretty darn cool to see that folks from my home town had implemented it.

Sunday, May 15, 2005


I'll post more about the trip to Virginia soon, but I wanted to at least post a quick photo I took while visiting Jamestown. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, May 03, 2005

How Firefox Became a Sloth

I noticed recently it was taking forever for Firefox to start when I opened it. The application itself started quickly, but then it would "hang" for about a minute before I could use it. I chalked it up to a bug in the newest version (1.03) that I had recently upgraded to.

Low and behold as I'm browsing a some random blog I come across someone describing the same problem... and how they fixed it. It seems that one of my Extensions, SwitchProxy, likes to automatically check for an update. It does this whenever a new window is opened. I had a first tried a fix along those lines, turning off the update check in the preferences of Firefox itself, but this didn't help the slow start.

I opened up my Extensions list, looked at the options for SwitchProxy, and found one for "Notify me of updates." Turned that puppy off, and what do you know? Firefox is back to it's snappy self. Thanks goes to the blogger Tower.

Monday, May 02, 2005

Exam Week Upon Me

Tommorow I've got my only exam left of this semester. It will cover the subject of nuclear (as in the nucleus of a cell, not nuclear as in radioactive) receptors, which are actually of some interest to me.

The reason I'm interested in nuclear receptors is that there is one that is central to my project. Dioxin, and many other compounds for that matter, bind to and activate a nuclear receptor known as the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor. Unfortunately only a very small portion of the exam tommorow will actually be about the Aryl Hydrocarbon Receptor (AhR in short hand).

I also started another B cell differentiation experiment today. I've been doing them for over a month now, and the experiment keeps getting bigger every time. Last time I did it I needed over 3 hours just to count all the cells I had in the experiment. That's tedious work. I keep hoping that my results will replicate so that I can move on to doing something else, but for the time being I think I'll be doing the same type of experiment for a while.