Monday, January 28, 2008

In case there was any doubt...

I went to the bank to deposit checks and withdraw some money today. And as I was filling out the deposit envelope, I heard this odd whirring that appeared to be coming from the other side of the wall. I leaned towards the wall and it got louder, more distinct.

My first thought was "That's a sonic screwdriver."
My second thought was "Holy shit. Is the Doctor real?" Or rather, the image of the Doctor (David Tennant version, of course) on the other side of the wall - which would put him inside the UC hospitals.

My third thought involved looking into my bag and realizing that my books were being pressed against my toy sonic screwdriver and thus creating the whirring sound.

Note that it never once occurred to me that someone other than myself or the Doctor would have a sonic screwdriver. Also that my first reaction was not that I had a toy sonic screwdriver in my bag, but rather that the Doctor had to be real, and adventures were afoot. Apparently I am still subject to the same flights of imagination that caused me to adamantly believe I could fly across the backyard when I was five.

If there was any doubt that I am really a small child at heart, well, I think this dispels it.

Friday, January 25, 2008

Craig Venter is an evil supergenius.

Okay, I know that I said that before, in this post, but it remains true. Or rather, I have discovered new information that confirms my belief. Namely, that he "informed" the Department of Homeland Security that, should be want to, he would be able to manufacture a virus in a week, and a devastating killer virus like Ebola in a month. Just, you know, so they would be more aware of the dangers of biological terrorism.

Because everyone knows that Osama Bin Laden has all these state-of-the-art genetic research laboratories. Such as the one that tied the NHGRI for sequencing the human genome. Oh, wait, no, that's Venter.

Honestly, why would any real terrorist (i.e. one who was not also a mad scientist) make a virus when there are perfectly good ones lying around? Why manufacture Ebola when you can get a sample from a dying village instead? Seriously... There is an easy option here and a hard option, and only one of them requires synthesizing a genome from its component bases. And, I mean, you don't even have to use Ebola (although that does kill people quickly, efficiently, and in ghastly ways). There are a myriad of diseases and chemical compounds which should strike terror into our hearts at least as much as Al Qaeda making a killer virus -- such as Plutonium 209, Ricin, drug resistant TB, Bird Flu, nuclear dirty bombs, and so on and so forth. Seriously.

In fact, the only kind of person I can imagine making a designer virus, for world conquest or otherwise, is someone who honestly derives a great amount of pleasure from the designing of virii. Such as, oh, I don't know, J. Craig Venter.

Watch out -- he's working on bacteria from the family that Tuberculosis belongs to next.

On a completely unrelated note (honest, I swear), I know that I have not posted hardly anything in, well, quite some time. The reason for this is that I have 7 graduate school interviews scheduled for the next 5 weekends (not counting this one). But! I think I will post about my trips, maybe, so that means I'll be posting once a week for a while. Right. Or maybe I'll just... not. Either way.

Wednesday, January 09, 2008


I got into Yale!

Not even an interview, not even past the first cut, I got in. I am so excited it is hard to breathe. Well, not hard to breathe but at least very, very hard not to smile, and squeak excitedly every time I remember it.

I AM GOING TO GRADUATE SCHOOL NEXT YEAR, and it will be at a school I like AS MUCH if not MORE THAN YALE.

Oh my gosh.

The best part is, I no longer have to stress about any of it. I can relax and enjoy. From here on out, I have just about nothing to worry about in College.

Friday, January 04, 2008

Time and Relative Dimension in Space!

My roommates and I are huge Doctor Who fans. Between the three of us, we have at least one, and probably two, sonic screwdrivers with us at any time. And so it always seemed natural (and perhaps necessary) that at some point we would transform part of our apartment into a TARDIS. Now, we had two options -- the back end of a closet that jutted out into the hallway, was roughly of the correct proportions and size, but had no door, and our coat closet, which of course has a door (as coat closets tend to do) but was improperly shaped. We decided that the ability to enter and leave our Tardis was more important than getting the size just perfect, and so for the New Year we transformed our coat closet into a time-traveling space ship, or a blue police box, whichever you like.

First, we covered the walls with blue butcher paper -- here is Ayn covering the first wall and cutting out the hole for our buzzer. (David, who is superhumanly tall and not pictured, stood on a chair to affix the paper to just below the picture frame molding high up on the wall.)

Here's what it looked like when one wall was finished.

Next we covered the other wall and cut out a hole for the door -- and wrapped the door in blue paper.

We cut out a little hole for the latch so it would still be functional.

Next step: The sign that goes over the phone. (Police telephone for use of public...) We decided to put this over our buzzer/intercom just for the gags. We had thought of making a little box out of foam core or poster board that actually could be pulled open to reveal our buzzer, but that seemed like a bit too much work for not enough extra awesome. And too much work to buzz someone up to the apartment, too.

First we tried to put both bays of windows on the door, which would correspond to the Tardis being the same width as the door frame. That looked okay but not great.
Next, we made the Tardis twice as big as the door frame, with two sets of six windows, one on the door and one off. Since the wall with the buzzer is about the length of the door frame, it only got one set of windows.

Here's the telephone sign with windows above.
Next step were the "Police (Public Call) Box" signs on the top of each side. They're white lettering on black, so we couldn't just print out a banner for them (at least not without using up a whole lot of printer ink). We cut the letters out of white paper and glued them on to strips of black construction paper. Here's Megan cutting out letters, and Jonathan making windows (okay, so this is a little bit out of order. So sue me.)

We made two sets of letters - here they are all cut out! We only used half of the second set, since the wall with the buzzer on it is about half the length of the wall with the door on it.

Here's a close up of the finished and mounted sign.

And here's the Tardis with the signs glued together and mounted on the wall!

The only thing that remained was to give it a bit of the wood-paneling look. So we drew on panels with a sharpie. They aren't very obvious, and we'll maybe draw in shadows or at least make the lines broader over time, but we have a completed Tardis, and at the moment we are just basking in the glory of the shining gold time vortex housed inside. Or maybe that's just a bunch of coats. We're not too certain.

One final picture: Megan loves her Tardis; now she's just hoping it comes with Jack or the Doctor inside.

Credit goes to Ayn, David, Jonathan, Megan, Pat, and myself, in alphabetical order.