Archive for: June, 2010

Grad School Eating in Style: Cake Balls!

First off, Sci would like to extend a pleased and blushing THANK YOU!! to all the people who voted for her in the Three Quarks Daily Contest.

We're in the top 20!!! I'm so thrilled by all the love. And by the fact that hyena mating is CLEARLY some sweet stuff. Well, of course it is. Sci would also like to give shout-outs to the other well-deserved semi-finalists, including Ed of Not Exactly Rocket Science (Ed always dominates, and I LOVE that gut bacteria post), Eric of Primate Diaries, Jason of The Thoughtful Animal, and Christie of Observations of a Nerd! We all rock so hard.. Fistbump!

(The proper way to express scientific awesome)
And now, on to today's post, which involves cake and chocolate and therefore can challenge 3 Quarks Daily anyday.
Sci may no longer be a grad student (at least, they tell her she's making post-doc stipend), but living in Huge New City isn't exactly cheap. So while technically Sci's a PhD, her standard of living has remained roughly the same.
And so, Sci brings you another in her (so far) two part series on eating like a grad student. She may have another one on the bean hodge podge her friend made up, which is nutritious, filling, and makes enough to last you a week (lunch AND dinner) for around $7.
But for now, let's talk about pot lucks.
You know pot lucks, those things where people ask you to bring your own results of culinary genius to share with others. They are supposed to save money (you only have to make one dish), and supposed to make everyone happy, but for people like Sci...they are tough. Sci often ends up being the one who brings the soda or chips. This is because, unlike all the hardcore foodies sitting around on ScienceBlogs...Sci can't cook. Well, ok. She's up to a grilled chicken breast, steamed veggies, or an omelet, does a lot of rice and pasta, and she makes a mean curry. But other than that...well.

(No matter how many years of PhD or tenure or emer-itis, nothing will diminish my love of PhD comics. I LOVE YOU, JORGE! OVER HERE!!!! WRITE ABOUT SCI!!!!)
And so potlucks were embarrassing. No matter what I tried to make, it always came out looking icky and not well done, and though people ate it, I'm not sure they enjoyed themselves. This was made even harder by the fact that all of Sci's friends and co-workers LOVE to be gourmands and make seriously crazy, seriously expensive food which involves things like star anise and polenta, and who loved to cater to the vegetarian, organic, and health conscious. I felt like I could never measure up and was the one continuously bringing crappy food.
And then I discovered CAKE BALLS.

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Links and Inks

Jun 08 2010 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

...and things to think.
First off, a big welcome to the newest SciBling, Maryn of Superbug!! Always great to have someone else on board for the cool diseases.
Secondly, Sci's tattoo has been featured in the bibliography of academic tattoos at the Fashionable Academics! Go over and check out the other stuff, there's some lovely bodily decor on display.
Finally, Dr. Leigh is at it again, this time on the new synthetic cannabinoid phenomenon. Head over there for some awesome pharamcology by one of the best.
Oh oh oh wait. One more thing.
Do Sci's off topic posts put you off? Drugmonkey first asked the question (ok, technically Lorax asked it first, but Sci saw it on Drugmonkey), and Abel has elaborated a bit. So, does it?
And speaking of off topic things...
Sci is thinking of starting a Coffee Pick of the Week. I love my caffeine in all its forms, and am lately getting very into trying different brands. Grind it myself, drink it black.
Sci recently got some new coffee in: Philz Ambrosia, Coffee of God. This may be start of Sci's Coffee pick of the week. It's a medium roast, but less sweet than some of the other Philz brands (like Tesora). It's got a lovely, nutty flavor to it that makes it kind of proteinaceous tasting, and a delightful morning cup, with a rather mild flavor and a softness to it. Goes really well with buttered toast.

Sci welcomes your coffee recommendations, and would be glad to try new coffees, though she warns you it may take a while, as I have to save up to import the nice ones.

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Is Mr. S more flexible than Sci? Cognitive flexibility and first-person shooter games.

Jun 07 2010 Published by under Neuroscience

This post comes to you courtesy, actually, of Sci-Dad, who sent an email to Sci saying wasn't this cool. Sci then showed it to Mr. SiT, and he was very intrigued, and insisted she cover it. Sci kind of wanted to make cake balls. Maybe that will be tomorrow.

OM NOM NOM
Anyway.
ResearchBlogging.org Colzato et al. "DOOM'd to switch: superior cognitive flexibility in players of first person shooter games" Frontiers in Psychology, 2010.

(First, a brief tribute to Mr. SiT's current favorite FPS "Battlefield: Bad Company 2". Ever wonder how he passes the lonely hours while Sci is slaving away for your benefit? Now you know.)
Disclaimer: Sci doesn't play video games. Neither is she a cognitive psychologist. Any errors in this post related to gaming may be firmly blamed on Mr. SiT, who read this thing first, and any errors in cognitive psychology can be firmly placed on Sci's limited experience.)

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9 responses so far

OMG, Vote for ME!

Jun 05 2010 Published by under Synaptic Misfires

Sci's not a poet
And she knows it.
Ok, but for today.
There once was a cool science website
Who once yearly chose to invite
All bloggers far and near
To submit blog posts here
To pick one that is most best and bright.
So Sci did submit to their list
A post of weird sexual gist
On how Africa swings
With hyena matings
Dominant females with a twist.
A thus Sci now asks of you
If you have time with little to do
That you hop over to quarks
And vote for my remarks
Unless you think it's just too taboo. 🙂
Vote for Sci!!!

One response so far

Friday Weird Science: The Baby is Due, is it Time to Get It ON?!

Jun 04 2010 Published by under Friday Weird Science

Sci, like everyone else around here, isn't immune to the sands of time. She's getting older, along with all of her friends, who are pairing up and settling down. This means two things:
1) Sci has been a bridesmaid SIX TIMES and counting so far. The tales she could tell...
2) Sci friends are having BABIES. LOTS AND LOTS OF BABIES. 400 BABIES!

(Sci is often accused of have GRATUITOUS AMOUNTS OF ENERGY. Also, she has to wonder if these guys had ever tried the energy gel called "Chocolate Outrage". It may or may not be my favorite)
And of course with all these babies comes lots of information about babies and pregnancy. Sci has now learned about conception timing, morning sickness, the things being pregnant does to your bladder, the things having babies does to your sleep, the many amazing colors babies can produce substances in, etc, etc. And she heard one "fact" that made her ears perk up. It was this one:

Having sex and achieving orgasm when you're due can help induce labor.

And her first thought was...well...can it?

ResearchBlogging.org Tan et al. "Coitus and orgasm at term: effect on spontaneous labour and pregnancy outcome" Singapore Medical Journal, 2009.

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14 responses so far

Bulimia and the Vaso-Vagal Reflex

This post was chosen as an Editor's Selection for ResearchBlogging.org
This is another post in Sci's investigation into the current studies being performed on eating disorders, particularly binge eating and bulimia. Usually I try to focus on the dysregulation of reward-related systems in these disorders, but this paper will be a little different.
ResearchBlogging.org Faris et al. "De-Stabilization of the Positive Vago-Vagal Reflex in Bulimia Nervosa" Physiology and Behavior, 2008.
It's kind of in the nature of an eating disorder that there aren't any really funny pictures or something that Sci can put in here.
So before we go forward, here's a kitten.

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11 responses so far

A Follow up: Depression, p21, CREB, and more

Everyone once in a while, someone sends Sci email. Often it's silly. This one, however, was very good in that it asked for some clarification on a series of posts that I've been working on looking at clinical depression and possible causes and treatments, including neurogenesis in the hippocampus, cell cycle controls, and CREB.
And luckily, the guy who sent it gave Sci permission to repost, which is good, because it allows me to clarify some stuff. Here goes:

Hi Sci: I read your blog about how antidepressants stimulate neurogenesis in the hippocampus. Since the CREB deficient mice had robust neurogenesis and normal serotonin I wasn't sure why they were anxious. Apparently they did benefit from antidepressants right away on the tail suspension and forced swim tests so the neurogenesis hypothesis took a bit of a whack. To add to the complexities I just read about MIF (macrophage migration inhibitory factor). Apparently reducing the amount of MIF in the rat hippocampus dramatically reduces neurogenesis and increases anxiety. Do you understand how CREB and MIF are related? I'm trying to get a handle on this whole complex area. Thanks.

All right, I'm going to try this before my first cup of coffee and we'll see how it goes:

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