No more pipetting late at night!

I can’t believe I haven’t embedded this video in my blog yet. This goes out to all you lab rats out there up all night making PCR plates until your thumbs ache.

Okay, so it’s an ad for a pipetting machine made by Eppendorf… but with this production quality I can’t help but be a part of their viral marketing campaign.

I should make a music video about plant breeding…


This weekend, I participated in my first Pumpkin Regatta! Organized by Jim Nienhuis and Irwin Goldman of the UW-Madison Horticulture department, it pits students, kids, and sailors alike against each other in a rowing race of giant proportions. Specifically, giant pumpkins. Which you sit inside. And paddle.

Let me see: Boating, Squash, Competition, Horticulture, and Glory. This has just about everything I need to make a Saturday worthwhile. So I hopped down there to volunteer as the first challenger against the Hoofer Sailing Club’s racer, Bridget. Little did my professors (Jim and Irwin) know that I had won a dinghy race against all the other Sea Explorer ships back in high school, so I surprised them with a victory for Horticulture!* Continue reading Victorious!*

Monday Madness – Liquid Gold Edition

Holy Gilded Irony, Batman!

Maybe you found some humor in my previous Monday Madness post about the Pope criticizing the “pagan” sin of opulence, well, now he’s at it again, declaring that the current economic problems in the U.S. and elsewhere are proof positive that the pursuit of wealth is pointless.

The global financial crisis is proof that the pursuit of money and success is pointless, Pope Benedict XVI has told a meeting of bishops in Rome.

The head of the Roman Catholic Church said that the disappearance of money as banks collapsed showed that wealth meant “nothing”.

The Pope said that people should instead base their lives on God’s word.

Those who think that “concrete things we can touch are the surest reality” are deceiving themselves, he said.

Yes, someone is deceiving themselves. Methinks it is the dude in the gold-plated hat. Continue reading Monday Madness – Liquid Gold Edition

Monday Madness: Paupal Papal Opines on Opulent Pagans

I don’t often have the time to continue my Monday Madness posts as of late. but today I heard something so jaw-droppingly Maddening I just had to put it online. (via Pharyngula) The head of one of the largest organizations of people in the world, one of the biggest (if not the biggest) non-governmental land-owning organizations on the planet, that governs its organization from within heavily gilded halls, has just spoken out about the evils of Opulence. It’s time for some Monday Madness.


Continue reading Monday Madness: Paupal Papal Opines on Opulent Pagans

Things not to do with your spouse’s email account

Like send death threats to public personas, or anyone for that matter. It turns out that one of the death threats sent to PZ Myers has resulted in a swift firing of the employee who owns the account, Melanie Kroll. Apparently it was her husband who sent the threatening email from her computer. You could hem and haw about whether or not she is liable for the email since her husband sent it, probably without her knowledge. (Hey honey, can I threaten the life of someone with your business account?? OK Thanks!) But the short answer is that she’s out of a job, and he confessed to the crime.

Upon reflection, and reading many of the comments made, I feel that no matter how mad I was, it did not make it right for me to use the language or tone I used. In fact, I think there would have been many more constructive things I could have done, the angry email was just the simplest way.
And I’m sorry.

But then his confession turns bizarre and he starts talking about Muslims… who ever mentioned Muslims in this issue? Continue reading Things not to do with your spouse’s email account

Now I get it!

Corn ethanol is inefficient, and isn’t the best for the environment. It’s also pretty much all we have for ethanol biofuel production right now. There’s some talk that corn ethanol is a bad idea (I disagree for infrastructure reasons) right now, in part because it is affecting food prices. Corn for ethanol raises demand for corn, raising the price of corn. More land planted for corn means less for soybeans – so the price of soybeans goes up and people tear down more trees to make room for soybean fields in South America. People start switching to other grains to feed their animals and make their foods, such as wheat. Price of wheat goes up. Well guess which farmers are finding it more profitable to plant wheat? Continue reading Now I get it!

Yeah, like that.

Previously, I mused about my recent busy activities. As if on cue, Jorge Cham of Ph.D. Comics just sketched out what that was like for me.

The Vicious Cycle:

How do they capture grad student life so well and on a daily basis?

Monday Madness: NPR on the Laws of Physics

I just got an email from Jeff Shaw, my friend back in Davis who I got to know because he is the station manager for KDRT LP-FM, a low-power community radio station where I got my start on the air.

There’s been trouble brewing for quite a while about the status of low-power fm stations, which are currently considered second-class citizens next to full-power stations. A full-power commercial station can just up and sit on an LPFM station and take its spot on the radio dial if it feels like it. KDRT was at risk for being run out of town by a station called KMJE that was going to move close enough to Davis to interfere with KDRT’s signal – they are both 101.5 fm. It didn’t matter that KMJE was the one moving, KDRT would have had to shut down or be legally an “encroacher.” Fortunately, there has been such an upwelling of support for Davis’s community station that KMJE realized that they were about to piss off the new market they were trying to reach, and has backed off with intent to negotiate KDRTs continued existence. But not every LPFM station will be that fortunate.

Fortunately, the FCC is cluing into the inequities involved, and the value that small local stations have for their communities, and is looking to change the rules to give LPFM stations more security. Many media reform groups such as Prometheus Radio and The Future of Music endorse this plan, but they have one big obstacle, one enemy, that will stop at nothing to prevent LPFM stations from having a means to prevent being overrun by bigger stations that just feel like doing it. Who, might you ask? Is it the conglomeromegacommercial stations? An FCC dissenter? Rush Limbaugh?


Oh, they don’t just think that the FCC shouldn’t decide in favor of the low-power community stations, they claim that they have the laws of physics on their side. What? Oh get ready for some Monday Madness! Continue reading Monday Madness: NPR on the Laws of Physics

Ariela’s a cheater!

The cat’s out of the bag! My fiancée Ariela just answered the Seven Things blog meme I tagged her with, and she’s coming out and admitting she’s a cheater. Yes, a Mexican who cheated on a Spanish test. Hehe. She also spills the beans on a few other things, including a secret project that will soon come to light.

Read more at Sociologique.