Tuesday, March 29, 2011

California Raises the Bar on Renewable Energy

The State of California passed a law today requiring one third of the power supplied to the state come from renewable energy by the year 2020. All it needs is Gov. Jerry Brown's signature to be law.  I can't see him NOT signing it.

This might mark the beginning of what I have been predicting since Obama took office. A convergence of democrats and republicans on an energy bill in late 2011. Of course that lame energy bill brought to you by the three amigos - Kerry, Graham , and Lieberman didn't get passed last year.  It was too oily, and glowing red.  We now have the BP oil disaster and Fukushima fresh in the collective neo-cortex and are poised for RADICAL change in energy policy.  If we can pass a national energy bill that comes close to this Californina mandate we might actually wash off some of that stain left on our face by Mr Bush, and Mr Obama might just get a second term. What am I talking about, of course he will. No contender has even had the "equipment" to step out and say they are running against him.  The election is NEXT YEAR.   Come on Rush, come on Newt, come on Romney, Palin?  - What... what.

Alright, if we go into a double dip recession then they might try it. But all this public union busting has got them looking more evil than the most egregious of the teatards.

Keep your eye on the renewable sector tomorrow morning.  Top picks from me, Abound Solar, First Solar, Ascent Solar, Nano Solar, Advanced Energy, Vestas Wind, Iberdrola, and (even though they have received much negative attention lately) - General Electric.
Btw, what happened to being pissed off at AIG? GE may have received some back scratching from their well plumped congress people but I didn't see them getting the kind of unthinkably large bailouts some of those other giants got.  AIG is  old news I suppose, on to hating the next one. If we are going to talk about something over coffee tomorrow please let it be California and Jerry Brown's pending pen strokes!

PSA - Hey, if you like this website and want me to keep doing it support me by following TPG on facebook, sharing this or any post on your wall or, if you have some extra cash drop it in the tip jar (above the bearded bicycle gear man in the sidebar ----->).  Consider this as bad as my annual public-radio-like fund drive will ever get. I used to call them "the talkers" on PBS - "Mom make the talkers go away!" - Now I'm a talker : / but worse because you won't even get a DVD of Celine Dion fist pounding her chest for 2 hours with your donation. 

RePost: Beer, and the Bucolic Beauty of Bruegel

This following piece is all about tagging information to images uploaded online. I wrote this in 2008 and am wondering what the barrier is to obtaining a pair of the "meta-information goggles" I imagined once upon a time. Photosynth is up and available for use through Microsoft, but none of the "saints are labeled." As I am about to make extensive travel around this pale blue dot I want to know how I can tag meta-information to photos most effectively. Will Facebook eventually be the source of this data set? Did Blaise Aguera y Arcas sell out? Have we already moved into the age of meta-tagging? Are people and their willingness to share or lack thereof the limiting factor? Is there a webspace to post meta-information aside from Facebook I am unaware of? I guess Foursquare with their "tips" feature sort of addresses this request. I would like to see more seamless transparency so we can all see what the rest have seen or thought they saw! Enter the ARGUS!

The "winter landscape with a bird trap" painted in oils by Pieter Bruegel the Elder in 1565 testifies to what I consider immortality. Though the bones of Bruegel have long since returned to dust the preservation of his works allow his spirit to echo through recorded history. Along with digital record keeping the propagation and iteration of art will undoubtedly change forever as we are now passing into an age where social commentary will literally be attached to these echoes fully accessible to the curious observer. The following TED talk by Blaise Aguera y Arcas explains the attachment process and how social networks will add infinite detail to any object in the world with a story behind it. Imagine looking at the world through goggles that display any known history relating to that object.

In many ways society is already testing a beta-version of these "goggles" with the rise of you tube and other video sharing sites. The interface is the only cumbersome part. When a person sees a sculpture in a city square the vast information relating to that sculpture is entombed in libraries and brains throughout the planet. In the present day the "user" has to take the initiative to look up all those historical tales that give the piece a context on their own. What if all that information automatically displayed in your mind's eye just by glancing at an object? This would make going into a thrift store like having a microscopic assessor from the "antiques road show" sitting on your shoulder. The next step will be to bypass this information selection process and simply attach the relevant video/audio/smell-o-vision to the content on a users radar.
Of course, no person should be denied the privilege of an unadulterated view of cultural objects, but choosing to experience this type of contextual depth could speed general education exponentially. I use Bruegel as an example of the tagging process because, as the northern hemisphere is swinging away from the sun into the frosted part of the year, these winterscapes remind me that people have hustled and bustled and thrived through the cold for all of history. Viewing and thinking about this work on a blog in 2008 makes me realize that universally accessible collaboration across centuries is possible now even while we continue to learn how to collaborate in real time. In my mind, Bruegel = Belgium = Beer. During the summer of 2004 as I spent two weeks in Leuven, Belgium I became increasingly fascinated by the tome of culture Bruegel's simple recording of folk life in 16th century Flanders represented. Here were people from nearly 400 years ago alive in front of my eyes. There were many other historical pieces of art to which I wish I had added digital anecdotes as a family friend explained them and lead the tour of Leuven the home city of Inbev-Anheuser-Busch (then called Interbrew.) I was also entrenched in the Flemish appreciation for brewing good beer. Today the theme of collaboration and beer seemed to be jumping out at me. As the Rock Mountain Collegian student newspaper proclaimed their approval of an ingeniously sustainable green business initiative undertaken by Fort Collins' own New Belgium Brewing Company. The initiative involves collaborating with Seattle-based Elysian Brewing Company by sharing each others' equipment in order to brew at the others market hubs. An elegant amber collaboration I might say so myself. While reading this article I was immediately taken back to a table at the choice city deli where I had shared a bottle of Signature Ale with the same friend who had so enriched my experience in Belgium. This was a brewmasters collboration bewteen the Port Brewing Company of San Marcos California and De 'Proef' Brouwerij of Lochristi-Hijfte, Belgium. The Signature Ale was Belgian-American Collaboration and drinking it with great friends from Belgium made the idea of an otherwise forgettable beverage affect me. So in some way all these thoughts are on the same plane; Bruegel, Belgium, Beer, and all mean collaboration. And here I have giving three increasingly concentrated stories of beer co-operativeity and each on the terms designated by their size. Large: InBev and Anheuser-Busch - Corporate takeover. Medium - New Belgium Brewing Company and Elysian Brewing Company co-operation. Small - Port Brewing Company and De 'Proef' Brouwerij - collaboration. The latter extolled virtue is at the center of Tom Paine's Ghost.

David Kocieniewski's Article Prompts Jon Stewart to 'Give Up'

This stinging article in the New York Times prompted a spirited response from Jon Stewart! Where's the outrage in main stream?!?!?! The excellent piece of investigative journalism composed by David Kocieniewski has prompted much discussion between my political science friends and myself - see Facebook screen shot below.

Soda Can Solar Panels?

Mr. James Meaney of Cansolair out of Dildo, Newfoundland is wrapping recycling and renewable heating together to bring free energy to market!

Tip to John for the heads up!

Monday, March 28, 2011

Hammer Time! Tool Cooperative

“it’s cool, a lot of the tools we get here are super-old, like dead-grandfather-style kind-of-things. Its really great, people have all theses old tools and they don’t know what to do with them. They’re really great and they work better than the new tools. You can fix them up, take them apart, and get them back and running. New tools sometimes don’t even have screws and nuts where you’d need to take them apart. It’s meant to be broken."
                                                                                                        ~ Garret Carr
This being the case, the radical forces-that-be have brought into existence a Tool Cooperative in Fort Collins, Colorado.  A new aspect of this nascent project will be a tool lending library. Keep up to date on all the Tool Co Op happenings on their website.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Annie Leonard on Bottled Water

"Carrying bottled water is on its way to being as cool as smoking while pregnant."
                                                                                                              ~ Annie Leonard

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Crunk Feminist Collective - POST with the MOST Entry #3

"After all of these years, I’ve realized that the perfectly humble, holy hairstyle is not what I needed. I needed a bigger view of God."
The Crunk Feminist Collective has nominated a post - "Single, Saved, and Sewn In: The Gospel of Getting Your Hair Done" by Ashaf to the POST with the MOST competition on Tom Paine's Ghost.
This post is a history lesson, a religious ray of light, and a smart slice of life for black women in the US.
Her smart use of video, photos, and Bibles translations makes for a powerful argument. This tackles a huge issue in race and feminism in a serious, thoughtful, and funny way, and leaves the reader enlightened and free. 
"The church says stay away from those demonic braids because they were a sign of sex work in Paul’s day. The world says get a sew-in—a style that requires braids—because real men dig Beyonce."

POST with the MOST entries so far include -
Single, Saved, and Sewn In: The Gospel of Getting Your Hair Done by Ashaf
Nuclear Engineer on Japan Nuclear Disaster by Evelyn Mervine
Nothing to plunder – the evolution of Somalia’s pirate nation by the Southern Fried Scientist

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Bernie Rollin ~ our obligation to animals

I am currently writing up a series of interviews I did with Bernard Rollin, PhD. Look for it in the next issue of the Matter Journal. Returned from a book signing he did tonight at the CSU bookstore where he gave an intimate talk on the highlights of his 41 years as a Professor of philosophy at Colorado State University.  He is a University Distinguished Professor and Bio-ethicist in residence.

His autobiography is Putting the Horse before Descartes.


Temple Grandin presents "My Favorite Lecture"

Temple Grandin, PhD will present her lecture, "The World Needs All Kinds of Minds," beginning at 4:30 p.m. in the Plant Sciences Auditorium, Room C-101 on the Colorado State University campus Wednesday, March 23rd.

The lecture is presented by The Institute for Learning and Teaching (TILT).

POST with the MOST - 2011 Entry #2

What is happening at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in the aftermath of the earthquake and tsunami?

Anatomy of a nuclear reactor

Evelyn Mervine, founder and author of Georneys has submitted a series of interviews with her father, Commander Mark L. Meverine to the 2011 POST with the MOST contest. Commander Meverine is a nuclear engineer and provides a unique perspective on the dire situation at the Fukushima plant.

Listen to and read the entire series here.

One Q&A from this excellent series of interviews.

Evelyn Mervine - Do you think nuclear  power plants should be built in an earthquake prone area such as Japan?"

Commander Meverine -  I think it’s important for the nuclear industry, to be unemotional  about what has happened here. So, like I said, it does appear that all  of the design features that were required for the earthquake,  functioned, and the plant was going through a normal shutdown sequence.  Obviously, when the tsunami came, that was something that was not  designed for, because it flooded the location where the emergency diesel  generators were and caused them to lose all power, and we're now in a  scenario that's well beyond any design contingencies that were designed  for that plant.

So, I think the nuclear industry has to take a serious look at what has  occurred in Japan. Although nuclear power is an important source of  electricity, I think we have to seriously question any plants that are  located next to the ocean and the worst case scenario for this type of  event, an earthquake followed by a tsunami, as to the impact it would  have on that plant, and the emergency backup system.

Clearly, in this case, this was not taken into account and the net  result is, we have a nuclear plant that appears to be very very close to  a core meltdown.
Listen to the entire first interview below.

Interview 1 | 3/12: Nuclear Engineer on Japan Nuclear Disaster from Evelyn Mervine on Vimeo.

Sunday, March 20, 2011


From Modern Hiker. First mentioned to me by Charlie Malone of Matter Daily today! The video brought tears to my eyes.
"In 2008, when the George W. Bush administration was on its way out the door, it decided to launch one final giveaway to oil and gas companies by leasing hundreds of thousands of acres of land in Utah overseen by the Bureau of Land Management. Frustrated opponents protested outside the BLM building in Salt Lake City while the auction was being held in December of ’08, but Tim DeChristopher, a 27 year old University of Utah economics student, took action.
DeChristopher went into the auction as a bidder, and despite not having any money, successfully bid on 148,598 acres of land for over $7 million. When he wasn’t able to win a bid, he was able to drive up the costs of leases for oil and gas companies. By the time the paperwork was done on the land DeChristopher successfully bid on, a new administration was in office – one that agreed most of the land up for sale should never have been put up for auction in the first place."
Read the rest of the story here.

Friday, March 18, 2011


An Ode to Saccharomyces Cerevisiae!

A day late but worth the time! Biochemical muse for St. Patty's Day.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Meme worth Mimicking - Zero-Waste Life

My sister-in-law sent me this inspiring story.  Reminded me what I ought to strive for.  If for nothing else to make the Koch brothers choke on all their backed-up plastic merchandise.

Monday, March 14, 2011

I give up...

The Tsunami Racist

Alexandra Wallace, an undergraduate at UCLA, posts herself as a shining example of how we have failed the current crop of young people. Though we can see the world with an unprecedented set of eyes it does not prevent the nano-tunnel vision apparent in this woman's comments.  I can only shake my head.

Sunday, March 13, 2011


In light of recent events in Wisconsin, Michigan, and some 13 states all together I feel it appropriate to echo thoughts I first posted here in the wake of the economic meltdown of 2008.

By Kristopher Hite
This land is your land, this land is my land
From California, to the New York Island
From the redwood forest, to the gulf stream waters
This land was made for you and me

...and on and on, as most people who attended grade-school anytime in the later half of the twentieth century probably know. This classic ballad of the American landscape was written by good old Woody Guthrie. But there is a song, most people probably do not know, that was written by this same brilliant American - the ballad of the Ludlow Massacre.

On April 20th, 1914 twenty men, women, and children were murdered in Ludlow, Colorado by the Colorado National Guard. The men in these families were part of the mine worker's union that were staging a labor strike. This struggle represents the roots of the American labor movement and unfortunately has been forgotten in recent years.

In his penetrating dissection of the 2008 financial meltdown and subsequent corporate power-grab Matt Taibbi makes a subtle point regarding unions and their political decline in recent decades. Taibbi describes how Bill Clinton's administration turned their back on unions simply because the Democrats were sick of loosing the fund-raising game during campaigns. Of course there has been a concerted effort by Republicans to undermine the philosophical concept of a union for the better part of the last century, but this relatively recent change in Democratic attitudes towards unions has further eroded any remaining traction unions held in the minds of the electorate.

Cornell University has an entire college dedicated to the study of industrial/labor relations. Much work here focuses on giving workers the tools they need to use leverage when undertaking collective bargaining. The college helps the research process of unions so they might identify weaknesses in corporations and exploit them in order to gain the basic rights they deserve - health care, decent pay, respect.

This is where, I think, there is a fundamental misunderstanding amongst the general public. What is the purpose of a union?

To guarantee basic rights - health care, decent pay, respect.

This is the reason I am writing about this on Tom Paine's Ghost.

People have been made to believe that unions are filled with fat lazy socialists who don't want to work. This is part of the distorting barrage of information that oozes from broadcast corporations such as the Sinclair Broadcast Group who have their tentacles wrapped around the visual cortices of the American Midwest. Some unions may have behaved improperly and over-stepped their bounds when considering the United Auto Workers Union and others. But this is no reason to disband the concept of unions altogether!

Again. The main purpose of a Union is to guarantee basic rights - health care, decent pay, respect.

Upon recommendation from a friend that attended the college of Industrial Labor Relations I began reading a book titled Global Unions. This book is the distillation of a conference held in February of 2006 regarding the past current and future role of unions on the international stage. Video of each talk given can be found here.

The main point made here, through historical perspectives and contemporary examples, is that in order for unions to be effective, from now on, they need to operate on the same scale as the multinational corporations they serve to balance.

While we approach the anniversary of the Ludlow massacre I feel obligated to breath onto the embers of understanding unions. It will be interesting to see how ideas about unions evolve in the recently bluing state of Colorado. This state has maintained an anti-union err up until very recent history. Traveling to Pueblo, CO in fall of 2008 I heard many first-hand accounts of scabs blocking the efficacy of a steel-workers strike at the Oregon Steel Mill there in the early 2000s.

In honor of Clarence Darrow I feel it appropriate to reignite an understanding and passion for core union precepts; basic rights - health care, decent pay, respect.

P.S. The following interview with Naomi Klein on Democracy Now broadcast last week inspired this REPOST.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Tsunami Devastation


Wow this looks pretty intense!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Happy Birthday John McPhee

"The New Yorker turned me down steadily and consistently for 10 years."
                                                                                                       ~John McPhee

                            There is hope for those with perseverance.

John McPhee with Peter Hessler, 10 November 2010

Born this day, 1931 Mr. McPhee continues to inspire. Since reading his book - Encounters with the Archdruid - he has held a special place at the highest level of respect in my mind.

Here I am linking an article that appeared last year in the New Yorker Magazine in reaction to the Chilean earthquake.  A Russian blog doll this post is a reflection in which I admire Mr. McPhee who in turn is admiring Charles Darwin who is turn admiring Charles Lyell’s author of “Principles of Geology.” May we all see each other from our respective strata, our textual fossils shouting "Happy Birthday" through the extra soma. 

Monday, March 7, 2011

Sperm from Space?

ResearchBlogging.orgThe interwebs are exploding right now with buzz about a paper published in the Journal of Cosmology authored by a NASA scientist - Richard B. Hoover. The title of the controversial paper published online late last Friday is Fossils of Cyanobacteria in CI1 Carbonaceous Meteorites.

Hoover claims to have found evidence of extra terrestrial life.  

This isn't a new claim.  This evidence comes by microscopic observation of a freshly fractured meteorite that landed on earth in 1864.  If it is life it's been dead for awhile. 
A torrent of criticism has quickly spewed from the scientific community.   When a journal drops names like NASA, Harvard, and Smithsonian it is not something to brush aside without consideration.  But I have spent some time looking into this "Journal of Cosmology" and come up disappointed.

The fact that my University does not have any record of this journal's existence and I can not get researchblogging.org to recognize any of the digital object identifiers (DOIs) attached to Dr. Hoover's paper are both red flags that this is a bunch of bollocks.  

I'm all for online open access journals but when peer review means you get a bunch of astrophysicists to weigh in on matters of microbial biology, Huston, we have a problem. 

The one figure from the paper that looks  interesting to me is figure 5. Seems as though someone got a bit over-excited to crack open that rock.  

I tend to agree with PZ Meyers after looking at this paper myself.
"I think many confuse their wish to see evidence of extraterrestrial life with the evidence for extraterrestrial life. Personally, I'd love to see the discovery of life that originated elsewhere other than our world — that would provide a radically different insight into evolution. I know there has been evidence of organic molecules in space, and I suspect that life does exist on other planets (possibly even other planets in our solar system), but I'm not going to accept a claim of discovery without adequate evidence.
And I'm sorry, but Hoover's paper is poorly written, sloppy work that uses a non-biologist's impressions of complex textures in a mineral to imply morphological evidence for fossilized bacteria. You'd think NASA would know better: we had a similar phenomenon a few years ago, in which people claimed to see a "face on Mars," a claim that NASA effectively debunked. This is the same thing. It's a shame that NASA isn't being as quick to dismiss bad science this time around.
It is disheartening to see this kind of article be presented as "peer-reviewed" because it chips away the integrity of what peer-review actually means.  On the other hand the journal in question is willing to publish negative critiques of these claims in parallel to the paper.   So let's see what the scientists that actually study microorganisms have to say about these complex textures. 
Hoover, Richard B (2011). fossils of cyanobacteria in C11 carbonaceous meteorites Journal of Cosmology, 13

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Message (Crammed) in a Bottle

To sell a bottle of Champagne as "bubbly" a vendor must ensure the wine has absorbed between five and six atmospheres of carbon dioxide. To anyone who has ever popped the cork on champagne you know there is enough force there to do some serious damage to an innocent bystander in the event of poor aim.

Viruses spend part of their existence as a kind of bottle (capsid) with a message inside (DNA or RNA). The message inside carries the code or blueprint to make more viruses, more messages, more bottles. This message isn't short. If it were written out as As Ts Gs an Cs on regular 8 X 11" printer paper it would take up between 100-200 pages, depending on the specific virus we're talking about. Imagine trying to jam 100 leaves of paper into a wine bottle! The analogy isn't prefect as the viral message looks more like a rope than sheets of paper. Regardless, the message has to be crammed into an extremely tight space. The bottle's volume in this case being 0.065 cubic millimicrons. When the packing is done the DNA or RNA has been condensed from a free floating strand 6,ooo times like a tightly coiled garden hose at immense density. The pressure inside that tiny bottle reaches nearly 60 atmospheres. 10 times the pressure in the champagne bottle!

This raises many questions. How does a virus manage to pull or suck that long piece of rope inside its shell? Especially at the end when the pressure is at its peak? <--- The illustrated capsid cutaway shows the immense density with which the rope is crammed. How does such a tiny bottle not break under such intense pressure? Where's the cork and how does it stay put? And who or what pops the cork?

Dr. Carlos Bustamante of the University of California, Berkeley is answering these questions in incredible detail using single-molecule biophysical techniques. His lab is able to "grab the cat by the tail" and measure individual molecules directly. They specialize in DNA translocases. These are molecular machines or machine-like entities as he calls them.  Tiny "motors" that convert chemical energy into physical energy. When your eyes move to read these words the muscles are using the same chemical reaction's to pull your eyeballs from side to side as a virsus uses to pull that rope inside the bottle. This reaction is the hydrolysis of Adenosine triphosphate, the famed ATP, the energy "currency" of the cell. 

From Morais, M.C., Koti, J.S., Bowman, V.D., Reyes-Aldrete, E., Anderson, D.L., and Rossmann, M.G. 2008. Structure 16:1267–1274. © 2008, from Elsevier.
The viral machine is displayed in panel B. The capsid is pictured in gray while the motor sits at the "gate" and pulls the DNA inside. 

The motor is made of a five piece ring of small RNA molecules (pink) and five ATPases (lavender). In this particular single molecule study they are using two polystyrene beads to tether two ends of a long piece of DNA (the set up is pictured in panel A below). The strand is held in what is called an optical trap - those red sideways vase looking things. I blogged about how optical tweezers work before here's the link if you want to read about how this works. The goal in this study was to capture the capsid on one bead (coated with capsid protein antibodies) and the other end of the DNA  strand is bound to the other bead by a biotin-strepdavidin bridge. Not only did the researchers accomplish this feat but they were able to tug on either side of the system to measure how much force the motor was exerting on the DNA strand as it was sucking it into the capsid.
From Moffitt, J.R., Chemla, Y.R., Aathavan, K., Grimes, S., Jardine, P.J., Anderson, D., and Bustamante, C. 2009. Nature 457:446–1450. © 2009 Nature Publishing Group, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited.

They discovered that with zero tension the capsid is packed with DNA at the rate of 100-120 base pairs per second. These studies also build a model for how they think the motor is working.  As said before, the motor requires a chemical reaction (hydrolysis of ATP) to work.  In this controlled environment the researches can set the concentration of ATP. When and only when all five site on the motor are loaded with their ATP molecules can the motor pull the strand.  Like a revolver laying with the cylinder open and someone pouring bullets on top of it, the "gun" can only fire after it is fully loaded by the random addition of bullets. When the concentration of ATP is low the rate of firing is less frequent, higher  - more frequent.

The simplicity of this model as understood by observing single molecules, for me, made years of Michaelis-Menten kinetics (the dry math that drives people away from studying biochemistry) come to life in a visual context.  I could see in my mind's eye exactly how concentration affects the rate of a reaction.

Not only were they able to define this requirement but they also show that only 4 of the five ATPs are used per "firing" and that each single ATP molecule hydrolyzing (thus power stroking the motor) corresponds to a pull of 2.5 base pairs.  And, that the motor moves the DNA inside the capsid at 10 base pair intervals (2.5 base pairs x 4 ATPs = 10 base pairs).

This basically means that a lot of energy is required from the surroundings for a virus to be able to package itself.

But when it's finished how does the capsid not explode from all that pressure? This has to do with the structure of the bottle.  The capsid is made of self-assembling capsid proteins that arrange themselves by interlocking joints. Like the ancient cultures of Bolivia who constructed their temples with interlocking rocks to withstand centuries of earthquakes these puzzle-boxes withstand 60 atmospheres of pressure by doing the same. 

The refinement of these models displays the best in what scientific inquiry has to offer in the twenty first century while still reminding us how new evidence can overturn old assumptions. As the trend toward studying single bio-molecules as they do the voodoo they do so well continues, our understanding of nature is refined to unprecedented clarity. 

These results were presented by Dr. Bustamante at the Inaugural Robert W. and A-Young M. Woody Lecture at Colorado State University last Thursday.  When a single lecture can breath new life into a graduate student in the throes of dissertating it says something about the power of good science and good scientific communication. 

Yu, J., Moffitt, J., Hetherington, C., Bustamante, C., & Oster, G. (2010). Mechanochemistry of a Viral DNA Packaging Motor Journal of Molecular Biology, 400 (2), 186-203 DOI: 10.1016/j.jmb.2010.05.002

Moffitt, J., Chemla, Y., Aathavan, K., Grimes, S., Jardine, P., Anderson, D., & Bustamante, C. (2009). Intersubunit coordination in a homomeric ring ATPase Nature, 457 (7228), 446-450 DOI: 10.1038/nature07637

Booster Cam

This video brought out some awesome feelings

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Desktop Diary

This video from Sciencefriday.com displays the habitat of Dr. Brian Greene, author of The Hidden Reality. He is a new hero of mine.

The concept of infinity has always frightened me a little. The thought of numbers so big they are impossible to ever count has caused me to look at my limitations as a human on numerous occasions. One time after I had my appendix removed, I remember lying in the hospital bed crying for my mother because I had had a bad morphine dream. The dream was of the upper half of my body being smothered by a planet that was growing infinitely out of control. My legs were sticking out the bottom with an orb of infinite size squeezing the life from my upper half. It was horrifying.

Anyway. Brian Greene does a wonderful job in his book of laying out the concept of an infinite universe. He almost makes infinity seem comforting in a way. If the universe is indeed infinite, then there should be an infinite number of configurations of particles and that said, there is another person on another earth in another solar system out there who is exactly like me, who is dropping his first post on John Paine's Ghost. That makes the universe seem less lonely.
With a strong recommendation snag a copy.

I didn't know they had basketball in the dark ages..

Student basketball star suspended for pre-marital sex
from BBC News.
Brigham Young University (BYU) in Utah has suspended a star basketball player for having pre-marital sex with his girlfriend in violation of the school's strict "honour code."

Brandon Davies was dropped after admitting the transgression to staff at Brigham Young University (BYU).

His team, ranked 3rd in the nation in college basketball, went on to lose against an unranked team on Wednesday.

The BYU honour code requires students to be "chaste and virtuous".

BYU officials have defended the decision after the news was first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune, saying that students are fully aware of the rigorous code, and often choose the school because of it.

"We live this. This is who we are," said Tom Holmoe, BYU athletic director.

The Utah-based university is run by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, also known as the Mormon church. All students agree to abide by the honour code, which reflects Mormon values.

The code includes prohibitions on drinking, smoking, drugs, tea, coffee, swearing and sex, as well as a commitment regularly to attend church.

Mr Davies suspension has garnered headlines across the country because it comes at the beginning of the prestigious NCAA tournament - a nationwide contest for university teams, often called "March Madness".

The BYU team, the Cougars, were set to enter as first seed.

Mr Davies has reportedly apologised to his teammates.

In America, honour codes are mostly associated with military academies, but a number of universities, including the University of Virginia and Princeton, also enforce them.

I thought scoring was the whole point???


"Hope is the medicine of the soul"
                                                                ~Philosophy a la Ronald Hite

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Attack of the ZOMBIE Fungus!

The natural insecticides used by the variety of fungi in this beautifully filmed clip serve as checks and balances in nature's inherent democracy. Rather than voting out the unwelcome, over-populating species they are simply digested into more useful materials. Too bad Scott Walker doesn't have antennae.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Ba Ba Ba