24 December 2012

Sick Estefan

Dont know what the exact problem is, it is an ongoing problem, getting better and worse for months. FYI I am posting these pictures so that I can put them on goldfish forums in hopes that someone out there knows how to fix my problem. No such luck yet. It is a crying shame that most pet store owners are just guessing on how to fix your problems.

03 December 2012

Poor Sick Adele

UPDATE: The curvature of the spine has improved dramatically with improved diet. I have switched from store bought food to homemade gel food with all sorts of vegetables and fish in there, and some multi-vitamin to boot. She is still a pretty lazy fish, but at least that scary curved spine is fixed.

12 April 2012

Bucket List

By bucket list, I mean... things that I want to do when I'm retired. What I have in mind would require a significant amount of time, therefore I dont think they can be achieved on a simple vacation.

1) Truffled cheese tour

LOOK AT THIS!!!! Originally, I thought this tour would only take me to Europe, chiefly France and Italy, but this delectable item is a hot dog from HOT DOUG's in Chicago!!! (Port Wine and Confit Duck Sausage with Truffle Sauce Moutarde and White Truffle Cheese) Luckily for me, I am going to Chicago a few times in the coming months, so I will have to cross this one off my list. Oh my god, it looks incredible.

2) Chile beer tour

I love Billy's chilies. It is one of my favorite beers! Luckily for me, my bf's bro remembered my love for chile beer and brought me one from New Mexico! It is Rio Grand Pancho Verde chile cerveza! It is quite lovely and was actually the inspiration for this chile beer tour idea. Damn, this stuff is good! In all likelihood, this will be a US heavy tour, generally in the SW I imagine. No reason not to get started on this one right away, I guess.

3) Frambic/Sour Tour

YUM! I am lucky enough to live in Boulder, CO which has quite a beer snob population. Thusly, I was introduced to sour beers! Of course, I had happily consumed lambics before in WI (including some deletable fruit beers from New Glarus), but here I discovered the true sour. I imagine this quest will take me around the US and then to Belgium... home to those old breweries where the cultures literally inhabit the rafters... le sigh. I've had the one on the left side of the picture, Duchess, and she is delicious.

13 March 2012

An Open Letter to Senator Michael Bennet

Hi Michael,
I am very pleased to learn that you are on the Senate Committee for Health, Education, Labor and Pensions, and are currently considering the Preservation of Antibiotics for Medical Treatment Act (PATMA S1211). I hope you consider passing this bill for numerous reasons, as a scientist, a consumer, and a citizen.

First, I am a graduate student at the University of Colorado in Boulder in the field of Biochemistry. In fact, in particular, I study the molecular components of pathogenic bacteria, like E. coli and Salmonella, that make us sick, in hopes that in learning more about them, we can create new drugs against them. One of the major reasons for this work is the growing anti-biotic resistance in the civilized world, and it is also a fact that this low-level use of antibiotics in factory farming is greatly contributing to this growing problem. The levels of antibiotic are not enough to kill all the bacteria present, and the constant exposure to the antibiotics causes resistance genes to arise. Any bacterium that comes in contact with these drugs can develop resistance genes, which can then be picked up by pathogenic bacteria. This is a particularly insidious problem. By restricting the use of antibiotics for only medical use, you can use a more potent dose for a limited amount of time, wiping out all bacteria that come in contact with the drug, and preventing resistance from arising. It is exactly like getting antibiotics for strep throat from your doctor, and why it is especially important that you complete the full course of antibiotics. Any bacterium that is left will have been exposed and has a higher chance of developing resistance.

As a consumer, I am concerned about the misuse of antibiotics in factory farming because it contributes to the mistreatment of animals. This low level of antibiotics allow farmers to keep the animals in close confines with each other, maximizing space use, but at the expense of what? These animals are treated as mere commodities in these situations and all respect between the farmer and his herd is destroyed. By halting the widespread use of antibiotics as a preventative application, farmers will not be able to crowd the animals as much, keeping them in more humane numbers in order to maintain health. Healthy animals create a better consumer product for consumption, as well, being of higher quality and nutritional value. Finally, the situation these animals are kept in can be likened to the confines of slave ships that brought Africans over to the New World, a deplorable circumstance that we now view as incredibly inhumane.

As a citizen, the threat of growing antibiotic resistance to the health of my loved ones and myself is very real. Pharmaceutical companies are not spending as much money creating new antibiotics. Pursing new antibiotics is not as lucrative because resistance is growing so rapidly. As a nation, we should be appalled by this misuse of antibiotics and should all be made aware of the ramifications. The profit that these factory farmers are making is not worth the health of our nations people.

If this practice is allowed to continue, perhaps Big Ag's profit should be put to developing new antibiotics instead of lining their own pockets. Even though the funding of my current research is somewhat dependent on the growing antibiotic resistance problem, it would be a great miracle if we could slow the pace of the problem. There are many other avenues in science to pursue, after all. I believe that this bill can and will help slow the rate of antibiotic resistance development and help create a better, more humane nation for our livestock and our people.

Michelle Turco

PS. This is the sister bill to HR 965. If any of your representatives are on the committees that are looking at these bills, please write them! You can check S1211 here and HR 965 here.

09 March 2012

Brie Truffé is Stupid

This is a stupid stupid cheese. Why does such a cheese exist? This cheese makes me angry, it is so delicious. I don't think you understand. I think it may be the best cheese I've ever had. When I retire, I want to travel around trying every single truffled brie made. And any other truffled cheese, for that matter. Unbelievable! And stupid. Stupid delicious.

24 February 2012

Fish / Cat / Lab problems

I have been having many problems lately. Things are not going according to plan in lab. They never do. No surprise there. I had a slight success today, though, so that is good.

I am going to Europe on vacation, so of course, some of my pets get sick/ injured. They love this kind of timing. Georgie has somehow injured her achilles tendon and is now walking around with one flat foot. Pretty weird. If she's not better by Monday, going to take her back to the vet and get her a cool splint to immobilize it. She should be fine with a gimp leg splint while I"m on vacation, right?

My biggest headache has been my fish. Estefan/Fifi has developed fin rot to a small extent. He previously had a cloudy eye and septicema in his fins, but that had been ongoing for months with no alteration of behavior. His life is not in danger, so I set about cycling the hospital tank before putting him in. It was taking longer than planned with gravel from the established tank and a sponge, added fish food and poop so the bac would have something to eat. Ammonia was 0 and nitrites were like 5 and wouldnt go down. Got a MIRACLE PRODUCT from the fish store (Safe Start). Tank was cycled overnight. I love that stuff. Put Estefan in last night, dosed with Ampicillin, he is already looking a little better I think, the edges of his fins are not "fuzzy" anymore. BUT there was a slight amount of ammonia build up in the night.

My main problem is now trying to get rid of this ammonia so it won't stress Estefan out further. I am unsure whether the ammonia detoxifying products would react with amp. Amp has amino groups, so... maybe? Also, there is this nitra-zorb matrix which absorbs and detoxifies ammonia and the NOs. It says not to use it with medication, but ALL medication? Also, I am trying to decide whether to listen to the fish store guy and dose Amp every other day, or every day like it says on the box... Amp doesnt last very long at higher temps in solution, but maybe a full dose is not necessary since the fin rot is quite minor.

19 February 2012

Ancient Sea grasses!

Cool sea grass!!! 100,000 years old and 6000 metric tons! In the Mediterranean sea!!

I know a lot of people have blogged about the ancient sea grass Posidonia oceanica, but it really is so cool. Maybe I can go see it someday! It is also disappearing at a rate of 5% per year, so that is the sad thing about it. Climate change is implicated.

On a funny note, Clay is scared to go visit the grasses because there may be sea velociraptors hiding in there!

10 February 2012

Kanye and Jay and Elsevier

OBSESSED with this song! Gonna be in Paris in less than a month. "I'm in France, I'm just sayin"

Reading this article about the future of academic journals. Knowledge should be freely accessible. How do we move forward as a society otherwise? I get miffed when I run into an article I can't read in entirety because the University's subscriptions don't cover it. Just try and stop progress, b**ches! That sh*t cray. Elsevier, show me why you deserve it all!

BTW that panther at the end with the statue in the background, that imagery is EPIC. Like, wolf t-shirt epic.