Thursday, November 22, 2007


I started - or rather, continued - rewriting it tonight. And I have some passages that don't give much of anything away, because I had to tell people and Mango and Kate had already gone to sleep.

This was the most humiliating situation he had ever found himself in. Except perhaps that time he had gotten caught in the dolphin tank without his trousers, and everyone insisted they hadn’t seen a foxy red-headed dolphin training seductress anywhere near the aquarium.

This was almost as embarrassing as that. And it was made worse by the fact that the person pointing and laughing at Roger's predicament wasn’t some pimply janitor who probably couldn’t get a sexy red-head in (well, half-in) a wetsuit to lure him to almost-certain death in the dolphin tank if he asked nicely, but rather Roger's own coworkers. And as much as Roger would like to deny it, while Michael would be too much of a prude to be caught without his trousers, well, he had after all inherited his father's looks as well as his employment, and so it would probably not have been for lack of trying on the part of the woman in the tightly fitting neoprene.

That's probably my favorite quote from the new stuff.

Roger is such a melodramatic character though, so over the top. It's such fun to write, even if he's rather despicable.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Is this Biochemistry?

I have reached the unfortunate conclusion that I am a molecular biologist pretending to be a biochemist. Most of the time I do not even pretend. After all, I chose to be a molecular biologist and not a biochemist for a reason: Namely that I am more interested in genetics than in protein science, and not particularly interesting in reaction kinetics (whether that be for a folding reaction, a binding reaction, or an enzymatic reaction). Also I, in general, appreciate working with more natural systems rather than more artificial ones (namely, if studying biological systems, we should perhaps use biological systems, like cells and animals, rather than non-biological systems, like test-tubes and monolayers). (I also note that there is a time and a place where the non-biological systems are incredibly useful and that my own systems are, in many ways, very artificial themselves). In any case, none of this would be an issue if I didn't want to write an honors thesis. Which I do, and since I am majoring in biochemistry (primarily), I feel like that should be in biochemistry. So my question: does this sound like biochemistry?

Gene regulation in eukaryotes is an incredibly complex process which is not completely understood. Until recently, the model for transcriptional control has been based on a view of DNA as linear, neutral, and controlled by the function of transcriptional activators and repressors – proteins designed to interact both with DNA and with the transcription complex. However, DNA is, in reality, in a dynamic nuclear environment not solely determined by the various transcription factors present. Long-distance DNA-DNA interactions such as chromosomal kissing disprove the linearity of DNA, and the effect of nuclear localization on gene expression disproves the transcription-neutrality of its position in the nucleus. My project attempts to determine the significance of this localization effect in gene expression. To do this, I have created a system called TCIS (Tagged Chromosomal Insertion Site) with which I can repeatedly insert pieces of DNA into the same, easily visible, genomic location. This site is usually found in the center of the nucleus but can be tethered to the edge of the nucleus as well. I will insert various promoter regions into this TCIS, tether them to the edge of the nucleus, and measure the difference in expression levels between tethered and untethered samples.

I know it's rough, I'll work on that once I get something that actually might convince someone I'm almost a biochemist (if they're being really generous).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Well, this is not that celebratory, but I NEED to post it

Or rather, it's absolutely awesome.

First, is awesome in that it makes you less guilty for procrastinating with online video games; you're helping the UN to end world hunger with each correct answer. (I've "bought" 13690 grains of rice. Woot.)

Second, it shows you awesome (and counterintutive?) words like the following:

Pulchritude == physical beauty
Fuliginous == sooty
Panjandrum == self-important dignitary
Gallimaufry == hodge-podge
and many others.

Also, quote of the day: "For real, though. Who threw that wedding at me?" - Ayn.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

99th post

My next post is my 100th post. So it should be significant.

But since this is just the 99th post, well, it can be about something silly; like a teenager beating up a bear.

My favorite is the caption:
"Unarmed humans rarely come off best against bears."