January 4th, 2011


[links] Link salad learns a thing or two

The best animated films of 2010 — Roger Ebert on one of my favorite forms of entertainment.

Johnson & Johnson Teams With Mass General On Cancer Blood Test — A blood test for metastatic cancer at the individual cellular level is going into trials. Availability of a teat like this would be huge for me personally. (Thanks to DF!)

We won't go the way of the dinosaursMeteorites feature in plenty of disaster films, but they are unlikely to obliterate us – and may even have helped enrich Earth's ecology. (Via io9.com.)

Deep Space and Human Motivations — Another interesting essay from Centauri Dreams.

Is it ever OK to use the term "Missing Link"? — Hmmm. (Via Dispatches from the Culture Wars.)

The meaning of meaning: Fish v. ScaliaLanguage Log on originalism.

Why Is Stanley Kurtz Calling Obama a Socialist? — I like this essay, but I think the answer is simpler. In the rhetoric of conservative America, "socialist" has become divorced of either its political or philosophical meaning and simply come to signify "person whose views are more liberal than mine (and therefore dangerous to me personally and to the Republic)". Another masterpiece of right wing framing that obviates any need for compromise or debate. Or, frankly, self-reflection on the part of the utterer.

Religious Divorce Dispute Leads to Secular Protest — A curious story about a dispute in the Orthodox Jewish community. The last line, however, strikes me as bizarre.

?otD: What's that watermelon doing here?

Writing time yesterday: 1.25 hours (1,600 words on book one of Sunspin)
Body movement: 30 minute stationary bike ride
Hours slept: 6.25 hours (solid)
Weight: 249.4
Currently reading: Salamanca by Dean Francis Alfar


[personal] Learning experiences at the Science Pub, dreaming my night away

Last night on an invitation from a friend, I went to OMSI's Science Pub at McMenamin's Bagdad Theater and Pub. The topic was "How to Repair a Damaged Brain: From Lumps of Sugar to Spheres of Stem Cells" by Larry Sherman, Ph.D.

The lecture was fascinating. I learned some things directly applicable to Sunspin, specifically the physiology of my quasi-immortal Befores. I also learned some things about my own chemo process, as Dr. Sherman discussed the relationship between 5-Fluorouracil (one of my chemo drugs from last year) and hyaluronic acid with respect to cognitive and memory dysfunction.

Perhaps the most fun though was the people I met there. I hung out with the OMSI volunteers, an eclectic and very engaging crowd of people who made me quite welcome. Not to mention a few folks were familiar with my work, which is always a fun thing to encounter in the wild, as it were.

I'm sorry I'll be missing the upcoming lecture on the Missoula Floods (one of my favorite scientific topics) later this month due to being off in scenic Nebraska that week. I'm looking forward to catching more Science Pub sessions in the future, and more of the great bunch that hang out there.

In other news, from the department of somnilogues, last night's dream involved a visit to a library. At first I wandered through rooms of older books, well-handled, splay-backed and dog-eared. Then I found a room where aloha shirts could be checked out. Had a brief, interesting chat with the shirt librarian. After that I passed through the paper recycling plant, which involved an impressive 50-ton stamp press. (Yes, I'm pretty sure that real life paper recycling does not include stamp presses.) Then the insect room, about which less said, the better.

Honestly, I'm not certain I wasn't receiving a tour of my own subconscious.

What did you dream last night?