Final: Check

I just took my Botany final this afternoon, and my hands are about ready to abscise. Luckily there wasn’t any Ethylene in the air to make that happen, and ironically enough there’s no need to worry about Abscisic Acid – it does not cause Abscision! An irony of the plant sciences – there’s now a compound named after something it doesn’t even do. We should probably change its name eventually. Seriously, we should. It would be one way to one-up the zoologists who still refer to tissues in Barnacles as if they were tissues in a mollusc, when they’re actually arthropods. I’m all-into newer and better nomenclature.

Now to finish up a relaxing evening filled with homemade chicken soup (four carcasses I carved up previously), and a little blogging. I’ve got a lot of stuff coming down the pipeline with my research, and several blog posts that I have to write (mostly my own imposition), and I’ll be doing some more filming tomorrow for my videos. It’s a busy life I got myself into! Still feels like a weekend today.

Stay tuned here and at Biofortified for some goodies this week.

Off to Maize Genetics!

Today, I’m driving (or riding in) a van full of fellow graduate students to St. Charles, Illinois, an easy 2.25 hour drive from Madison. Contrast that with the flight to Washington D.C. last year. That’s right, I’m going to the 51st Maize Genetics conference! I’ve got some recording equipment with me and a good digital camera, but I have no plans to do a podcast of the conference like I did last year. I have a couple ideas up my sleeve to be revealed at a later date. I’m looking forward to finally meeting Anastasia at the meeting, too. Check Biofortified for updates.

The Haro von Mogel Maneuver

In Star Trek, Jean Luc Picard made a risky maneuver in battle. Rather than relying on sub-light-speed impulse engines and thrusters in a hopeless battle on board a ship known as the Stargazer, he decided to use the ship’s warp engines to move faster than light to strike. The idea, which would be very interesting if possible, is that your ship is now right in front of your enemy, opening fire, while they still think that you are a distance away. While the light from the ship’s original position is still arriving at the observer, they will see two ships. Who are you shooting at? I’m over here!

In the Star Trek realm, advanced ships also had faster-than-light sensors, which would foil anyone attempting to repeat it. Nevertheless, it was a successful strategy for the young Picard, catapulting him to Captain-hood.

Circumstances have dictated that I, too , must execute my own warp speed maneuver. I can’t give any details as of yet, but suffice to say I’m going to be in the lab late tonight and very very early tomorrow, attempting the fastest turnaround for a particular procedure than I have ever attempted. It may become a frequent feature of my life for the next two weeks, but if I can achieve faster-than-daylight pipetting, it will be worth it.

And if successful, I’ll have to call it the Haro von Mogel Maneuver. What are you amplifying over there? I’m right here!

Professor Haro von Mogel?

This morning I taught my first class. My adviser skipped town this week to go to a big important meeting, and asked me to teach his plant breeding & biotechnology class for 50 minutes. I gave a lecture on flower biology, pollination methods, and how the former dictates the methods used to do the latter. I got to use some of my videos, and in the big crunch before the class, we got two more pollination methods videos near to completion! I expect that we’ll be uploading them about the end of the month.

I thoroughly enjoyed doing the lecture, and while walking out of the room I thought, you know, I could see myself doing this on a regular basis in the future…

Corn Breeding

The next in my Award-Winning series of plant breeding videos is up at the UW-Madison Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics program website. This is the first in a series of videos interviewing plant breeders about what they do and what they like about it. The first breeder up for public scrutiny is professor Bill Tracy, here at UW-Madison, who is also the other PI on the project besides my adviser Shawn. Continue reading Corn Breeding

We won! We won!

I just received notice that one of the videos that I worked on as part of my plant breeding video project has won an award in the 2008 MCAI WAVE Awards competition. We entered the video a couple months ago, and the award ceremony was last week. (I couldn’t go for a number of reasons) The video, recently uploaded to YouTube on the Wisconsin Plant Breeding channel is the UW-Madison Plant Breeding and Plant Genetics recruiting video.

Here are the 2008 WAVE Award winners.

And now for the “award winning” video:



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!*