Archive for: August, 2006

Breather, and congratulations

Aug 07 2006 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Getting back in shape is harder with age! While I've been having good luck at my gym lately, becoming proficient at the finer points of slipping, bobbing and weaving, my stamina isn't what it used to be. Ergo I've spent a lot of time running hills and let's just say in this weather, it ain't a cake walk. My normal run is just under 3 miles, but the first mile is almost completely uphill. I've been timing myself on the first mile and I *just* missed my best time on it last Wednesday, (coming in at 7:39, 5 seconds over my best) which was the hottest day this year so far (104, 115 heat index). Yeah, I know, I'm insane for running in this weather. Needless to say I was a bit nonplussed because I had to stop and tie my shoe, which likely cost me a new best time.
However, that record was utterly smashed last night. I took a few days off to recover since I've been running almost every day and going to muay thai classes, and was rewarded by shaving off 35 seconds. Now I need to find a track because I'm pretty sure I can break a 6 minute mile again if the terrain is flat. So I feel pretty good about that! Guess that whole rest and recover thing is true! I should probably work on extending endurance now, but I'm just having too much fun working both aerobic and anaerobic endurance. For one thing, my footwork is ten times better at class now, and I hardly suffer any fatigue. That might also have something to do with shedding 14 pounds....
In other news, congratulations to Khuen Kru Alvin for making Associate Instructor, and to Khuen Kru Scott for becoming only one of 16 Full Instructors worldwide under Ajarn Chai in the Thai Boxing Association!!!

3 responses so far

The Synapse vol 1, issue 4

Aug 06 2006 Published by under Blog Carnivals

Welcome to the 4th edition of The Synapse, a blog carnival for all things mind and brain held every two weeks. A little shorter than normal this round, due to the fact that there's a grant deadline tomorrow and a lot of regulars are busy busy little monkeys, self included.
The neurophilosopher presents Artificial animals controlled by a "brain" in a culture dish posted at The neurophilosopher. Nifty pics of rat cortical neurons grown on an electrode array are included.
Mind Hacks brings us a poignant topic, the Neuropsychology of combat and chemical warfare where the effects of chronic arousal and stress are linked to cognitive changes.
Pure Pedantry delivers some exciting tidbits relating to Adult neural and oligodendrocyte stem cells, and a particularly nice piece about the role of Akt signaling in Parkinson's Disease, where new hypotheses for explaining PD etiology are discussed.
Sandy G from The Mousetrap comes through with two entries this round. His first submission is sure to spark some interesting discussion as it deals with IQ, heritability, and environment. His second submission deals with the question of whether primate vision evolved to detect snakes in Eve's Lasting Legacy: the Serpent and the Apple.
Blog Around the Clock gives us a nice breakdown of the role of different photopigments in vision, and does a nice phylogenetic comparison to explain why Compared to your pet iguana, you're practically blind.
Finally, The Neurocritic posts on Antipsychiatry pseudoscience in the journal PLoS Medicine. He also discusses brain imaging and the neural correlates of mystical experience in nuns.
Thanks to all who submitted content. The next edition of The Synapse will be hosted at Retrospectacle on August 20th. Please email your posts to
Also, the next edition of Encephalon is coming up, so get some submissions ready!!!

One response so far

Science Movie runners-up, or runner-ups, runners-upperseses, whatever

Aug 04 2006 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

I've been thinking about other science-type flicks, and for 2nd place I'd like to suggest a couple more:
Gattaca, yes for sure. Wonderful dystopian flick. Absolutely beautiful to watch, a soaring overly melodramatic soundtrack. Crystal clear message about statistical vs individual outcomes, and the power of the human will in a genetically biased world. If you haven't seen it then you need to.
The next nomination, Sleepy Hollow. This is, in my mind, Tim Burton's best flick. Johnny Depp does a wonderful job of taking on the role of bumbling citydwelling Constable Ichabod Crane, sent to rural New York (at least I think it was New York) to solve a mysterious series of murders. The reason I like this movie so much is that Crane employs the scientific method to discover the nature of the supernatural killer and how to put him back in the grave for good. Props to Christopher Walken for being fucking creepy yet again.

3 responses so far

SchadenFriday: A tie!

Aug 04 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

I'm stuck today between gloating over the losses for radical anti-science conservative school board members in Kansas primary elections, and Bill Dembski's research assistant Joel Borofsky admitting that the Kansas science standards are a stealth attempt to teach ID and not about "teaching the (false) controversy".
Congrats on another successful round, guys. Have fun spinning this as a win. I'll be at the pool, reading over my grant proposal for the research you're not doing. Ta ta.

No responses yet

How Congress Plans on Screwing Us Tomorrow

Aug 03 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities notes that the House of Representatives is planning on implementing legislative martial law tomorrow.
What, exactly, is this procedure?

Continue Reading »

One response so far

Dammit Tara, You Took My Answer!

Aug 03 2006 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Oh well. At least she has good taste in movies. In the meantime, I'll file this under "H" for "scooped".
SEED asks us What movie do you think does something admirable (though not necessarily accurate) regarding science? Real Genius takes the cake. I must have seen that movie 10 times when it came out (back when movies were $2.50). When college rolled around, I could totally relate-- there was way too much brain power in our suite of 8 and our social circle; granted we had a number of people rotate in and out, but the 201/2F tradition spawned numerous physicians, at least 2 Ph.D.s, a CPA, an architect, Master's degrees in public policy and public health, a vet, teachers, and that's just off the top of my head. And some of us are planning on getting multiple degrees so this saga is far from over.
I spent most of my college life in the lab, but the rest of the time was full of Real Genius hijinks, just not on the same level. We fooled the vending machine in the girls dorm using a dollar bill with tape on it instead of coin-sized frozen CO2 chips. We didn't put a car in anybody's room but we did occasionally fill it with the furniture from the suite, or trap them in their room by barring the door with a couch. Once I came home and found one of our friends passed out on the floor of my locked dorm room. To this day, I have absolutely no idea how she got there; a classic A.C. Doyle locked-room mystery. Not a week went by without some sort of messy, bag-of-shaving-cream-under-the-door warfare with the guys across the wall, or the ever popular "leaner".
No one was found naked with a bowl of Jell-O, but I do have photographic evidence of drunk Brian shoving a banana up his ass and then eating it. I'm sure he was just hot and hungry.
We didn't make an ice rink or release any new viruses, but we did engage in chemical warfare with the meathead jocks in the suite above us. Since the most creative thing they could come up with was lobbing ice cream cones from the cafeteria at our window for days on end, we retailiated only once... by pilfering sodium sulfide from lab and adding it to water balloons for potent stink bombs***. Needless to say the nerds won the day. Just like in the movies.
*** granted that wasn't the best idea since hydrogen sulfide is emitted and can cause serious burns, but thankfully nobody got hurt. Don't try this at home, kids.

5 responses so far

Next Edition of The Synapse...

Aug 02 2006 Published by under Blog Carnivals

.... will be hosted here. Make sure you get your submissions to me by Saturday night. The cutoff is 11:59pm.

No responses yet

I Will Show You Fear in a Handful of Funds

Aug 01 2006 Published by under Academia

Argh. Why the hell am I doing this? What makes me think I'll even get this damn grant? Like Shelley, I'm in NRSA-scramble mode right now. The deadline is August 5th. This is wasted effort. I could be posting juicy research tidbits on SEED but nooooo, I have to try and procure funding.
I hate this process. HATE it. I know they're supposed to be impartial, but there's no way they're going to fund me when I already have intramural support for up to 5 years. But I have to play the game. Someday they'll hit me with their Catch-22: why didn't you receive merit-based funding? If I say I didn't try then I risk looking lazy. If I say I tried and failed, then I won't get rewarded for a track record of failure.
I know they're not going to fund me because my grades were never stellar. I know that they're not going to fund be because I'm proposing a hormone therapy as an intervention (which is so 2002), not some fancy mechanistic explanation. I know they're not going to fund me because my proposed advisor doesn't have a background in rodent behavior, even though she's an endocrinologist with primate behavior experience and I have both rodent and primate experience.
I know I won't get funded because every grant I touch turns to dust.

15 responses so far

Suicide Hotlines? Who needs 'em?

Aug 01 2006 Published by under Health Care/Medicine

The latest soon-to-be casualty to the Bush administration's attempt to break all useful government programs is 1-800-SUICIDE. Given their track record of scrubbing information oriented to LBGT youth (who happen to be a major at-risk category) from other such sites receiving government money, I think it is clear that we can't trust the Culture of Life Strife on this one. Imagine that.
Click. Read. Act.

No responses yet

Encephalon #3 is your bitch

Aug 01 2006 Published by under Uncategorized

We haven't done enough Neuropimping this week. Go visit Encephalon and get your fill of the best neuro on the net in the last couple weeks. Just remember, cash up front.

No responses yet

« Newer posts