Archive for: August, 2011

Google is not your friend...

Aug 30 2011 Published by under Evil

Sure they are a great search engine and free email service, but they are not the Mother Teresa of technology that they portray themselves to be. "Don't be evil" my ass. Google is a corporation that looks out for the bottom line and their latest product Google+ is doing that. The product was designed to compete with the social media giant Facebook, in their hopes surpass it. Sadly I don't think that is the case since FB has a huge membership and thus it gives people traction to stay there. But back to the Google+ brouhaha, many of the science bloggers that initially signed up for this service found our accounts being suspended for Google's real name policy. Why not allow people to protect their identity? What is so sinister as to protecting activists and those who may become targets of harassment?

Easy, Google is in the "identity service" business. Andy Carvin of NPR interviewed Google Chairman Eric Schmidt and came away with this...

"He replied by saying that G+ was build (sic) primarily as an identity service, so fundamentally, it depends on people using their real names if they're going to build future products that leverage that information," Carvin explained in a posting to Google+."

Carvin found Schmidt's take on the protection of identity to be...

"Regarding people who are concerned about their safety, he said G+ is completely optional. No one is forcing you to use it. It's obvious for people at risk if they use their real names, they shouldn't use G+. Regarding countries like Iran and Syria, people there have no expectation of privacy anyway due to their government's own policies, which implies (to me, at least) that Schmidt thinks there's no point of even trying to have a service that allows pseudonyms."

The end game is that Google is trying to win an identity war against FB, you my friend are not a valued user, you are just a mere tick mark on the body count that Google is racking up.  Note I find value in some of Google's products, having and will continue to use them but I'm ready for the shoe to drop at any moment with their stuff.  Know thy enemy, but why not use their stuff since its free.

16 responses so far

Genetic diversity...

Aug 29 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

typically in days of yonder was the result of non-consentual sex with invading armies.  I have nothing else to add to that.

2 responses so far

Genomic RepairWife is awesome!!!

Aug 28 2011 Published by under Food

My wife is incredibly talented not just in cooking but in many other things that she does.  But lets focus on her culinary skills, she rocks at it!  As for me, not so much.  I can make toast and Easy Mac, but that is about it.  Luckily my wife hates toast, but she does love bruschetta, and brie cheese, and figs, and a sweet fucking balsamic reduction.  I'm a lucky dude.

5 responses so far

Improvise at work...

Aug 23 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Man is a savage beast, but an inventive one...

4 responses so far

Calling all undergrads and grad students in Montreal...

Aug 23 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Want to go to a scientific conference but don't have the time or the cash to travel far away.  Problem solved you little dirty icefoots*!  The annual meeting of the Environmental Mutagen Society is offering a FREE day of the conference to local undergrad and grad students.  You pick the day you want (Oct. 15-19).  And to top it all off, I'll meet you guys for a beer if you want to?  Hope to see you there.  Oh and if you have anymore recommendations on where to go, see, eat, and drink in Montreal, just let me know.

*h/t to Drugmonkey for coining this term.

2 responses so far

To the lady that shaved my chest today...

Aug 22 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

I'm sorry you had to run an EKG on a yeti, though the selective breeding of my ancestors I've retained too much caveman DNA, and thus am the modern day Sasquatch.  Really sorry, but thanks for the free disposable razor.

2 responses so far

If only that freezer could talk...

Aug 19 2011 Published by under Lab

I love my one on one meetings with my boss not just for the scientific discussions but for our archaeological discoveries and the story time that results from them.  Often I'm in need of some protein or vector backbone from the frozen archives of my boss's work.  He maintains these with an impeccable database and so we often spend a lot of time after these meetings digging for stuff in a freezer.  Somehow in stark contrast with my boss's organization is his ability to be distracted.

I'm looking for Box A but we come across Box XYZ^4 and he wants to look in there as he is wont to do.   Boss man starts going through and telling me who did what with this project, what this plasmid was used for, and how much of a bitch it was to clone the gene into it.  Usually about 30 minutes into my scientific history lesson we divert back to the reason we are elbows deep in the freezer, to find stuff for me.  But I really love it because you can see my boss's face really light up and he looks so happy to talk shop with you over a -80.

So do any of you folks ever dig back into your freezers or archives and wax nostalgic?

2 responses so far

Dear Administrator...

Aug 17 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

Don't act like you have all the answers and have a well-thought out plan.  You have none of the answers and you appear to have no fucking clue as to real reason why we are now mandated to do something or the ramifications of this requirement.

That's all for now.

4 responses so far

Are you ready for some football????

Aug 11 2011 Published by under Uncategorized

That's right, its time for the annual fantasy football challenge.  It'll be another year in the Yahoo league where you pick the team to cover spread (no picking individual players).  So if you want to play, leave me a comment or shoot me an email and I'll send you the super secret code...


13 responses so far

Gimme my MF59, I don't care what the antivaxers say...

Aug 03 2011 Published by under AntiVax

MF59 is a proprietary adjuvant (we’ll get to this later) that is used to increase the efficacy of vaccinations by further stimulating the body’s immune response. Is it the harbinger of “pharmageddon” as the antivaccination crowd would like you to believe? Probably not.

But first lets go back to what is an adjuvant and why are they in our vaccinations to begin with. Adjuvants are agents that modify effects of other agents, you know, like drugs or vaccinations. The use of purified vaccine antigens have created vaccines that are better “characterized” but the tradeoff is that these vaccines are not an immunogenic as their more crude redneck vaccine cousins*. One thought is that the crude vaccine kinfolk also had some immunostimulatory components in the rough formula like ligands for Toll-like and other immune receptors. Studies of adjuvants are starting to build a role at the molecular level for activating specific aspects of our innate immune system.

Also adjuvants are important for certain populations who would otherwise not develop the proper immune response to vaccination like a young adult receiving the vaccine. So if it’s so good why is everyone hating on MF59?

A previous study demonstrated that in non-autoimmune mice that were injected with squalene (a component of MF59) were associated with elevated rates of lupus autoantibodies. This is possibly alarming but mice are mice and humans are humans and the fact that these BALB/c mice are inbred doesn’t necessarily mean MF59 is causing lupus in humans. A more recent study looking at MF59 in flu vaccines in humans suggest that it has a good safety outcome profile when compared to that of influenza vaccines lacking MF59.

MF59 has been claimed to be responsible for Gulf War Syndrome and anthrax vaccination sickness but there is no way that its possible. MF59 wasn’t the adjuvant used in the anthrax vaccination, it was aluminum hydroxide, another classically used adjuvant.

So when flu season rolls around again, I’m rolling up my sleeve for my yearly influenza vaccination and a little bit of MF59 for good measure.

*Early DPT vaccines used whole-cell agents rather than recombinant antigens.

5 responses so far

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