Whither now, my blog?

Hey, there’s a blog here. Oh yeah…

If you are coming here and see this at the top of my blog, then this is to inform you that this is not a very active blog. Heck, I have not posted anything of consequence in here for over a year! What has happened? Well, as I have been knee-deep in grad school stuff, I have also been blogging pretty regularly at Biofortified, and hosting my radio show again. Consequently, my urge to talk about science in all its various forms, especially for plant genetics, has been satisfied by these outlets. Discussions at Biofortified have been getting stronger and stronger, and although I haven’t posted any show recordings recently at Inoculated Media, it’s been nonstop fun being on the radio again. Bees have been buzzing in the field, and Basement renovations a-building at home. Time has become a bit of a scarce resource in recent times for me. This post is just to fill everyone in on what is going on here and elsewhere, and what my plans for this space are. (should you come a-knocking) Continue reading Whither now, my blog?

And for my next trick…

I am in the process of moving this blog, my podcast blog, the Biofortified blog, and everything else to a new host. I thought, let’s do this carefully and make sure not to screw up any of these sites. Starting with the podcast blog, I initiated the domain transfer on Saturday. While waiting for the transfer to occur, I started a couple more. My blog was going to be last. Since I haven’t actively used it lately, it could remain offline while I set up the others.

The first one switches over without a hitch, in just one day, things were back up and running. Of course, starting with that one helped me notice a malfunction in Dreamweaver that left some uploaded images on the server. So before the old hosting account closed I made sure to download every last data bit for the other sites. And contact with the new host’s technical support educated me that I could have changed the DNS nameserver to point to the new host and begin using the new location while waiting for the domains to move over. Only the less-used blog, this one, was left to do that with. (Also, due to the fact that inoculatedmind.com was the primary domain in my previous account – it had the working keys to to DNS changes and was the only change that was working.)

So to make a long story short of the old account being deleted and the sites going down, and the time spent chasing down who to talk to about what is taking the other domains so long and how the nameserver cannot be changed when a transfer is pending, we’re left just waiting for the domains to transfer. And I’m left with the irony that my own sites, which I used as guinea-pig and lowest-priority are the only ones that work!

And the one that I hold in highest importance and that others depend on, is still down. Files are all there, database backed up in triplicate, domain in limbo.

And the winner is…

Previously, I asked my readers to come on over to Biofortified, my new home for all things transgenic, and vote for it in the Ashoka Changemakers GMO Risk or Rescue contest. Due to a large amount of support from the science blogging community, we gathered over 800 votes, winning the contest by more than a 2 to 1 margin! Read more about it here. Now I’m enjoying a nice reward of oatmeal cookies with chocolate chips, early-season candy canes, and writing a paper due tomorrow. No rest for the weary!

Please vote for us!

I have a special request to ask of you, dear readers, that will take only a couple minutes of your time but will totally make my day. My Biofortified group blog I started last year with Anastasia Bodnar, Pam Ronald, David Tribe, etc, has been entered into an online contest hosted by Ashoka Changemakers. If we win, we get a $1,500 grant to help run the site, and a conversation with Michael Pollan. (I’ve been trying to get an interview with him for the Mindcast for 3 years!)

We’re at 23 votes right now, the top entry is currently at 34 (and hasn’t budged much in the last month), but a new entry might be a challenge because it comes from an organization of sixty or more people by itself. So I could really use your votes!

The contest website is a little counter-intuitive and people have gotten lost in it, but thankfully our blog mascot Frank N. Foode wrote a detailed step-by-step post on how to do it.

And for those who are worried about giving out your email address and getting more junk mail in your inbox, if you check a box on the registration form you will not have any problems. The voting ends in one week, so there’s not much time left. If you know of anyone who might be willing to pitch in and help, please spread the word! If you blog, please do! You’ll be in my list of people to thank publicly for helping us to make a bigger and better online forum for talking about genetic engineering in agriculture.

One thing to keep in mind is that voting for Biofortified is not a vote for genetic engineering – it is a vote for dialogue in a forum built to handle this important discussion. None of the other contending entries are about dialogue but are instead about trying to eliminate or stigmatize the technology. Our entry – our site – is about bringing science and scientists and the public together to get people talking and learning in both directions. If you think this is a good idea, please go on over and vote. 🙂

Thanks for your time, and hope that mechanistic causality works in our favor!

PZ Myers gets in an accident!

Greg Laden worried us all with his post this morning about PZ Myers getting into an accident on the road. PZ has recently reported back on his blog that he is OK and will be giving his talk in Michigan as scheduled. Here’s what happened:

It wasn’t bad; little traffic, the roads were icy, but I was taking my time and coping like a real Minnesotan. Then, as I was leaving lovely Glenwood, I saw a truck stopped to make a left turn way ahead — like 4 or 5 blocks ahead. So I touched the brakes to slow down a little more. So I tried to slow down a little more. So I tried very hard to slow down some more. Why isn’t this car slowing down at all? I still had plenty of room, so I started easing over to the right to miss the truck on the shoulder. I tried to ease over. Why isn’t the car turning? I was pumping the brakes and trying to shift over just a little bit, right up until the moment I crunched into the right rear corner of the truck.

Well, I have have it on the word of a very unreliable source that PZ left a few details out. Someone uploaded a video to YouTube:

Continue reading PZ Myers gets in an accident!

Happy Knew Year!

Not six, or twelve, or eighteen hours later due to the non-leap year years. Midnight, the New Year is upon us. Sure, we had a leap second added right before midnight, but all is well with celebrating the new year at the proper Sidereal timepoint. Y’all knew that part, didn’t you?

Resolutions for me? Write more, record again. Pretty simple. But resolutions are hackneyed. Instead, I would like to express a few New Year’s Wishes:

This year, I will pin down, clone, and confirm the identitiy of my gene, Sugary Enhancer.

This year, I will fully complete my video project and plan my next ambitious enterprise.

But there are a few things that I wish from the Universe – things I hope to find in the world this year:

A Jonathan Kozol of FOOD. I’ve been knee-deep in the writings of foodies, pop nutritionists, food revolutionists, and not one of them really comes from the perspective of poor people who cannot afford to shop like the culinary bourgeoise. Jonathan Kozol, who I met once in Davis, is a prime example of a true progressive, the likes of whom I have never found writing about food. He’ll actually get into the ghetto to figure out the problems. You cannot fix the American diet within the aisles of Whole Foods.

Some real political change. Barack Obama – you’ve got quite a task ahead of you and have made people believe in the political process again. Keep it rolling!

Welcome, 2009!

Uncredible update

My friend Chris Hallquist has recently moved his blog The Uncredible Hallq from blogspot to his new home at uncrediblehallq.net/blog. He is another inductee into the ranks of WordPress users, in fact, I helped him get his system up and running a couple weeks ago. Now he’s got a killer ANSII theme that makes you think that you’re reading something on an old IBM 286 computer. But it’s got all the advanced functionality that WordPress has.

If you blog, and don’t use wordpress, you don’t know what you’re missing! There’s nothing like having a free, ever-updated, and uber-customizable program that runs on your web server and keeps everything running smoothly. Heck, even my graduate school program had its website built using wordpress. In other news, I just got drafted into maintaining and updating it.

The Uncredible Hallq also has a new series of posts that might interest you, Sunday Science. Sleep in, get your science, and enjoy your Sundays over there. His first two Sunday Science posts are about Botox (the chemical of the week for Mindcast Episode 20 [page]) and Cannibinoids. All the essentials!

Exhausted.

Hoo boy. I am tired. I’ve had a busy busy month! First, if you recall, I upgraded my hosting account to a virtual server, which was supposed to be moved overnight. We all know how that turned out. Two weeks later, the blog is finally transferred over, and my email works again. Meanwhile, I had a midterm, a term paper, and a take-home midterm. Plus I’ve been sending off samples of amplified DNA to be sequenced so I can work on pinning down my gene. Oh yeah, I got bees, and am planning a wedding!

This week, Ariela and I were making our wedding invitations, and we finished them last night and sent them off by mail today. Just in time to beat the price increase at the post office so we could still use the American Scientist stamps! Right in the middle of all this, on Wednesday, my website shuts down. Again.

At first, I thought it was an issue with server settings. Didn’t seem to be. Then I thought I needed to upgrade my version of wordpress. Only the .php files in the website weren’t working; html placeholder pages, pictures, xml feeds, those were still there. Yup, must be the wordpress, perhaps a compatibility issue with the new server digs. I soon found out that I couldn’t edit my folders on the server – because they were under the control of some other username, not my own, from the transfer. Luckily, that was quickly addressed by Startlogic, luckily for them I should say. Still, no avail, every php file came up blank and useless. Today they tested a separate php file and it worked on its own, and suggested that I reinstall wordpress from scratch.

Great.

That’s what I told the tech support person who was helping me.

Later today, I got a call that our garden plot could be roto-tilled for us if we got ourselves out to the garden, so I finished up planning out my new molecular marker, and took off to get this new time draw underway. Yep, gotta love gardening. Actually, it should be way better than Davis – it rains all summer here in Madison! I can almost forget about it at times. Tilled to shreds, with the help of some fossil fuels, our organic garden plot needed mulch, which took up the next hour.

After dinner, I set myself to the task of finally fixing this everlasting website problem. I deleted all m wordpress files, created a new MySQL database for a new installation of the latest version of wordpress, and uploaded it to be installed. A few short moments later (Their famous 5-minute install is an exaggeration) I was back in business. With an empty blog.

All of my 360+ posts, all the comments, categories, registered users, drafts, pages, settings, blogroll, were sitting in the old database file on the server. Any attempt to link the new wordpress installation to the old database was met with the now-familiar-to-me White Screen of Doom, and I needed a special export of my database made by a functional wordpress installation to import it into the new one! Any attempt to import the old database into the new one was met with insurmountable error messages. A conundrum. Page after page of wordpress support forum topics and questions provided no answer, until I happened upon this page.

It presented a simple plan. Export each table from your old database into a zipped text file, delete the corresponding table from the new, empty database, and import each table one by one. At less than ten tables to export, I thought I would just try one for starters. An export of my “posts” table, a deletion, and an import later and BOOM. Posts restored to the blog instantly. Not ten minutes later I had everything back in, and I proceeded to set up my plugins. Everything except for the video plugin is working again, my theme is back up, I can write posts, and I already had 25 spam comments for me to delete, left over from before the big crash!

Wow, I crunched some sequence data and made something useful out of it. I learned all about MySQL today. I chased down my last (hopefully) server demon and fixed my site again. I [we] got our plot tilled and covered in mulch. I made Lasagna. I’m tired.

Really tired. The last month has been a blur for me, and now that it seems all this craziness is over, there’s still more. We’ve got to fly to California tomorrow to see a fading grandmother who will receive an invitation to a wedding she may not make it to.

Then, next week comes my finals! Yay…

As you can see, I’ve been a little too busy to make new episodes, but that will soon change in the following week.

Hey, this is life, isn’t it, a mixture of boredom, intrigue, work, hobbies, rest, life, death, and bees?

I think its time for me to go to bed. Stay tuned for some news on Saturday.