25 November 2008

Shrimp on a Treadmill!!!!

Ok, so I'm a little slow these days; this had to make it onto the Today show before I saw it. Slacking on my game, sorry people. ANYWAY, David Scholnick at Hollings Marine Laboratory made this video while testing whether shrimps had decreased activity and fitness levels when infected with pathogens. The videos have become sensations on YouTube, and many people have put various music to the shrimp video. Anyway, I think the shrimp is super cute and should help people to not eat shrimp as much, hopefully, since they are not very sustainably fished. I think it is interesting how they mostly run with their back legs, and sort of trot every once in a while with their front legs.

I think this is probably the funniest version:

Along with the Rocky one:

20 November 2008

This Shit is Incredible

This is a series of electron microscopy pictures of nanoshit, plants and bugs. This stuff is mind blowing to me, and I'll tell you why. You can see WHOLE cells in some of these. Like, hey, theres a cell. In some of the pictures, there are reference structures that are delineated as, say, 50 microns. Now, I crystallize proteins in 2 uL drops, in which, I can sometimes get 50 micron crystals... So I almost feel like I may be able to see the 50 micron crystals in the drops, and I at least can imagine how big they are... SO, now I feel like... I can imagine how big a plant cell is. Another crazy thing is the sharpness of some of the insect structures. ALSO, the cells of the compound eye that they show. Also keep in mind that the whole insects and bacteria they show are ALIVE (Well, not for the microscopy, but they used to be alive). It's crazy. Just crazy shit. Isn't our world fabulous!?

19 November 2008

Back From Extinction!

YAY! A tiny primate believed to have been extinct for 80 years has been rediscovered in Indonesia! It's called a pygmy tarsier! And they didn't even have to clone it from frozen cells!

This guy is also cute, but he was never extinct. I think he is a roach?

14 November 2008

Super Cool Stuff

Look at these bugs! This is just downright amazing.

Also, if you haven't yet, be sure to check out Dark Roasted Blend's Mixed Links & Images from Nov 12. The crane climbing up the tower is especially amazing. I have no idea how they did that. It's a little over half way down the page.

13 November 2008

... Revolution?

Gerald Celente has predicted the there would be a revolution in America within the next four years punctuated by tax and job marches and food riots. Also lots of homeless people. He is supported by the British Ministry of Defense, which says that the middle class will take back their government as the disparity between the super rich and the rest of us grows. This person has supposedly predicted the fall of the Soviet Union, the 1987 Stock Market Crash, the 1997 Asian currency crisis, the sub prime mortage problem and devaluation of the dollar, and supposedly said this year would be known as "The Panic of 2008." The above linked article also lists a bunch of quotes from news sources attesting to his accuracy.

As we all know, Americans are generally an optimistic bunch, I think. Just ask someone how their day is, and even if its crappy, they'll say "good," right? So, as an American, I don't know how much of this I would like to believe, considering it is unpleasant. But, perhaps I will just stay in grad school and not make any risky job moves. I think colleges are generally pretty stable places to be in times of crisis. At least, that's what I would like to believe. I certainly don't want to become a squatter. What would I do with my cats?

All in all, this is not really the sort of revolution I would like, although I admit it is probably necessary. The food issue is especially poignant, and luckily, Obama has expressed interest in Michael Pollen's Resolarizing the Food System article. I guess everyone should rip up their sod and plant vegetables as soon as possible to become more self reliant. I doubt my landlord would go for that, though.

Ancient Whale Fossil Uncovered in Egypt

This crazy complete fossil of Basilosaurus isis was found in Wadi Hitan in Egypt in 2005. Basilosaurus isis is awesome because IT HAS LITTLE BACK LEGS and lacked a blow hole. Beautiful, beautiful evolution. It apparently was the first of the giant whales. Other species of the same genus have been found in the SE US, like in Alabama and Mississippi. It lived 40 to 34 million years ago and was super long and serpentine-like, with elongated fluid-filled vertebrae. I also learned while reading about this that boas have baby hind legs too! Male boas' are called spurs and are supposedly used for "clasping and tickling" during mating.

I realize that I have seen one of these guys at the Smithsonian Museum in Washington DC. I recognize him from the picture of this fossil in the wikipedia page, linked to above. Sweet! Here is a picture I took of him. I'm pretty sure you can see his back legs in the picture! It makes me wonder what current whale skeletons look like.

09 November 2008

Sweet Harvest Potato Pies/Pancakes with Squash, Carrots, Apples & Onion

This is the god damn best thing I've made in a while.  Holy hell.  I was inspired by Justbento.com 's Oyaki potato dumpings.  Of course, because I don't eat meat, I had to fill them with something else - and I had been thinking about squash and carrots, and apples and onions - subsequently I decided that they would all go quite nicely together!!!

Sweet Harvest Potato Pie/Pancakes
1 acorn squash
2 carrots
1 sweet onion
2 apples
1 pkg mash potato mix
6 Tbsp corn starch or so
brown sugar
maple syrup
coriander powder
olive oil

1. Cut up the squash.  This was the most unpleasant part.  There has to be a better way to do this.  Maybe if I cooked it first and then cut it up, it wouldn't be so bad.  I worried the entire time that I was going to cut a finger off.
2. Cut up the carrots and put them a foil-lined pan with the squash.  Drizzle with olive oil, a little salt, brown sugar, maple syrup, rosemary, cinnamon - whatever.  Mix it up a little.  Bake at 400 for a while ~20 min?  I dunno.
3.  Chop and saute up the onion until it starts getting translucent.  Throw in the chopped apples.  Cook until the apples are soft.  Put some cinnamon, salt, fenugreek, and coriander powder on there.  
4.  When the apples are soft, put the onion and apple mix in with the squash and carrots, which would be getting softish at this point.  Mix and bake together until the squash and carrot are soft, to your liking.  Turn it up to 425 and bake for 10 min, I'm guessing.
5.  At some point, you will want to mix up your instant mashed potatoes, however it tell you to.  Try not to eat too much of it before you start adding the corn starch.  Honestly, I had no idea what I was doing, so I just was adding corn starch and mixing without measuring until it seemed sort of dough like.  It also helps if you cool the mashed potatoes down a bit?
6.  Make flatish patty like potato thingys, and when your squash mixture is done - spoon some into the center and pull the dough over it to cover and make a dumpling!!!  Add some olive oil to the frying pan and fry until the potato is brown.  It helps not to check on the potato too often, otherwise the browning part will flake off instead of staying on your dumpling.  Serve with maple syrup.  Amazing.
7.  Alternatively, you could add a little water to your dough and make potato pancakes!  (This sort of happened by accident, but it all worked out)  Serve with your squash mixture and drizzled with maple syrup.

SOO.. In my opinion, cooking onions with apples is the yummiest way to eat an onion.  Forget about the apples, the onions are SOOO good.  Maybe if you cook onion with apple juice or sauce, or apple cidar vinegar, you would get the same effect.  ANYWAY, that dumpling was positively the best thing I've made in a while.  SOOOOOO good.

(Sorry I take crappy food pictures.  Ha)

Guess the Vegetables!!!

What do you do if you want something healthy - like a salad - but you want something warm?!  You make mixed vegetables!!  This is the ultimate in mixed vegetables.  There are nine different vegetables in here (that I can remember)!!!  Can you guess?

I put some white wine vinegar, MSG and garlic powder on there to top it off.  I then proceeded to eat the entire pot.

I also made a similarly delicious soup with many of the same vegetables in vegetable stock. I also added some rotini. No pictures though. It was delicious, I burnt my tongue on it pretty badly since I was so eager to eat it.

08 November 2008

Obamerican Update

There are some updates regarding the upcoming OBAMA PRESIDENCY.

Here is a very good interview by Obama that showcases how thoughtful and determined he is in leading our country to a new, better place.

Here is the google books link to the first two chapters of The Plan by Rahm Emanuel and Bruce Reed.  It lends some insight into how Obama and those in his campaign were thinking about running and convincing the American people to go Democrat.  The chapters that are missing are about what democrats should do once they reach the White House, and might have some importance now that Rahm Emanuel is Obama's new chief of staff.  The names of the chapters give a clue: Universal citizen service, universal college access, universal retirement savings, universal children's health care, fiscal responsibility & an end to corporate welfare, tax reform to help the non-wealthy, a new strategy against the war on terror, AND the hybrid economy!  Sounds basically like Obama's platform to me!  Looking good!

I would also like to point out that the Obama transition team has its own website now, change.gov.  You have to admit, the combination of change and .gov is pretty... amusing, meaningful?  Many emotions...

The Obama people have also posted a flickr slideshow of election night - the Obamas watching the results come in, watching the concession speech, congratulations, and then going to Grant Park.

Sad Phoenix Lander!!!

The poor Phoenix Lander powerded down for the first time on Oct 28 after a cloudy day and a dust storm combined to decrease the sunlight getting to its solar panels.  It was trying to finish up some science at the time, and the temperatures dropped, kicking in the heater for the very first time, which subsequently drained all the power, and poor Phoenix shut off :'(

Phoenix has come back on a couple times since then using the Lazarus mode, which jumpstarts the batteries when the solar panels have collected some power, but it was only on long enough to blep its status to the orbiters and nothing more :(

The blog linked to above tries to keep a positive outlook about the Phoenix, with all its data it collected and so on, but it is still sad.  It probably will suffer insurmountable damage over the winter due to the frigid temperatures and carbon dioxide snow, but MAYBE the Lazarus mode will wake it up in the spring!!!  

Here's hoping someday we can go and find it and give it the thanks it deserves!!!

Don't forget to read the two other parts of Phoenix's guest blogging spot: here and here.

06 November 2008

Cloning Mammoths?

This is straight out of a science fiction. We are now able to clone a mouse from frozen brain tissue. It's crazy!! People are talking about using it to clone endangered species that haven't bred yet. This is important because every individual of an endangered species is genetically distinct, and that diversity is important for maintaining a healthy population. If only we had some frozen dinos lying around.... Honestly, we should really be getting to work, searching the permafrost and melting glaciers, in case a potential subject melts out! It's too bad Michael Crichton died recently, he may not have heard about this yet, and I'm sure he would have liked it.


Here's hoping that the Obamas adopt a dog from a shelter!!! I'm glad that other people have been suggesting and talking about it also.

Let me just say that I was completely and entirely overwhelmed from the time they announced Virginia through much of the day yesterday (crying and the like). This is a sign of great progress in America, that we can all come together and make a difference! I really feel like Americans have waken up and taken back their country. Now, we have to stay inspired, doing whatever we can to stay involved in the process, and help Obama make this the most successful Presidency ever! This is our generation's candidate, and as such, we should all take seriously his call to service and sacrifice for the sake of upholding our ideals throughout the entire country. Everyone deserves a chance at their best life, and with Obama at the helm, we can all make sure America reaches her most lofty ideals. The status quo is not good enough with the raging inequalities that still exist and are widening in our society.

Yes We Can!

So inspired by all of this...  I love America!  :D  :D  :'D

04 November 2008

YaY! Election Day 08!

I actually already turned in my mail-in ballot here in Colorado last Friday. I checked on the county clerk's website, and it has been received!!! Today is an exciting day, but I assume exit polls can't tell us anything because of the vast numbers of people who have done early voting, or mail-in ballots. I would just like to point out that the ballot here in Colorado is the longest in the nation. It took forever to fill out. And also, you need to do your research about an initiative before you go to the polls, otherwise don't vote for it. In fact, take whatever information your state or county mailed you about the issues and read them in line!!! Otherwise, just fill in Barack Obama for president ;), and whatever other issues you are educated about, and that's fine!

I am actually planning on calling my grandparents and maybe some other choice relatives later this afternoon to ask if they voted. They probably want to hear from me anyways, so I figure its a good time to do it! Go vote! Don't be lazy! We're going to make history in our sheer turnout numbers, regardless of what the actual outcome is!

Michelle's Ultra-Healthy Please-Jesus-I-Don't-Want-To-Be-Sick Vegan Curried Cauliflower Stew

I feel a sickness coming on. How to stop it? I don't know if I can, but I will sure try with teas, vitamins, lots of water drinking, and eating healthily like I've never eaten before. Why have boring old canned (no) chicken noodle soup, when you can make the healthiest, nutrient-punched soup I can conceive of?

Ingredients (roughly, cuz I don't measure anything):
1.5 c vegetable broth
1.5 c water
1.5 c chopped cauliflower
2 smallish red potatoes, chopped
3 cloves garlic
.5 c chopped carrot
.5 c chopped beets (fresh)
1 smallish green pepper
5 brussel sprouts
handful of fancy garden greens (spring mix or spinach or whatever)
1.5 tsp curry
1.5 tsp turmeric
1 tsp cardamom
.5 tsp cayenne pepper
.5 tsp Accent
2 tsp dried cilantro
Some cloves (don't eat them!!!)
1 bay leaf

First, boil some chopped cauliflower and potato in 1:1 vegetable broth:water (you don't need that extra sodium). Throw in some chopped garlic. When those are nice and soft, whiz it up in the food processor until it is as smooth as you want it.

Throw in lots of nutritious vegetables. I used more potato, carrots, beets, green bell pepper, and brussel sprouts. Spice with curry, turmeric, cardamom, cloves, cayenne pepper, cilantro, bay leaf and Accent (which is naughty, since we are trying to cut down on sodium intake - alternatively, you could use salt, if you decide you don't care about your body). I ALSO put in a couple leaves of the cauliflower head because that is supposed to be good for flavoring, but don't eat them. Simmer gently, covered, until the potatoes are soft (not sure how long that took 20 min?). At the very end, I wilted some garden greens on the top since those are healthy too! Now, it is ready to consume and fight off your cold virus!!!

Remember! Take out the cauliflower leaves and don't eat the icky cloves or bay leaf.

If I had been able to find the coconut milk I swear I had, I would have put that in there. I was also making quinoa and lentils to add to the soup, but I decided that it wouldn't fit quite right, so I didn't. You could add tofu or white beans or something to boost the protein levels, if you wanted. Something else you could do that I totally forgot about: add some ground flaxseed! I have some in my freezer, but I always forget it is there...

01 November 2008

I'm a giant softie


It's of zoo animals eating their birthday cakes. It is so sweet. I cried a single tear.

Hilarious! Adorable!

Also: Awesome!

AND: Lego minifig timeline!

This is the Avatar, from a Disney series that ROCKS. Unfortunately, it is over though.

ALSO... Don't forget to watch Barack on the Daily Show, if you missed it. Good episode.


My favorite holiday. A sad fact, though: one of my co workers has two kids, and they only get one piece of candy a day, and then shes going to take all the candy away from them in a couple days! What is halloween without stuffing yourself full of candy?!

Anyway, I was a zebra. I made the shirt and shorts without patterns. It was hard, but the shorts have a zipper! So that just shows that you can make things work. It was a lot of trying on and pinning and sewing over and over again. The second night I got hardcore and put some stripes on my face and some lipstick, which I never wear. I even delved into lip liner. The CROWNING achievement is the mane, which is awesome. It went all the way down the back of my neck and was connected to a headband that had ears on it. I also have a tail that you can't see.

Here is an awesome transformer video. These people really put some thought into their costumes:

Also, here is a link to an album of awesome (I think) color-altered photos I made today. Apparently I have nothing better to do.