Thursday 25 February 2010

Working in Ottawa today --Faux Fur Fashionista

Good morning folks,
I am working in Ottawa today
So many possible topics, such a lack of enthusiasm.
We have the Italian court convicting the 3 Google executives of being complicit in the violation of the bullied Down Syndrome school boy's rights, I imagine that the camera manufacturer was also complicit..
How about that 50 year wait for an Olympic victory over the Russians as last night the Canadian men's hockey team topped the Ruskies 7 to 3.. Way!  As good as Paul Henderson's winning goal in '72 against the same guys?  Nope, not quite as sweet if you ask me..
And then we have U.S. figure skater Johnny Weir.  Gosh, what words can describe Johnny?  Flamboyant, faux fur wearing fashionista?  Don't get me wrong, Johnny is free to share his french fries with anyone he chooses, but a faux fur stole with black jeans and top?  A bit trashy yes, but you can't deny the stylin'.
Have a good day.
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld -- Envoyé de mon sans fil portatif BlackBerry

Tuesday 23 February 2010

Working in Montréal today --Curling Is Not A Sport

Good morning folks,
I am working in Montreal today.
I'll stick with some more Olympics musings and let's see exactly how many people I can get riled first thing in the A.M.
Is Curling really a sport that should be at the Olympics?
Now don't get me wrong, it's a great game, much like Scrabble is, and the roar of disappointment when the Skip flubs an easy shot that would have clinched the 4th end is pretty much equal to the disappointment I felt on Saturday night when my friend Debra put down "END" for what.. 6 points, preventing me from putting down "PHONE" for a triple word score of 30 points that would have effectively guaranteed a win over my other friend Dave whom I am not overly competitive with and I don't know why everyone keeps bringing it up, but in the end I was down by 2!
But I do digress.  While I was playing Scrabble I did not have a beer or smoke any cigarettes, because for one, I don't smoke and Saturday didn't seem like a good day to start, and second, I was tired and didn't want to drink and be stupid when I later would drive home, but if I was an Olympic Curler, I could smoke and drink beer while I played and belligerently yell at some subordinate to sweep!
Perhaps if we combined Curling and Football, imagine the thrill of the same Skip lining up the shot while trying avoid getting sacked by 6' 3" 250 lb running-back Joey Porter traveling at 12 mph --getting hit with 1160* lbs of force will surely knock the smoke from your lips; Now that's sports!
Have a good day,
*Don't try to do the math, while the foot-pounds of force of a 250 brick wall falling at 12 mph is greater than 1160 foot pounds, that is the force recorded on a crash-test dummy when hit from behind by Porter.  The dummy also suffered whiplash.
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld -- Envoyé de mon sans fil portatif BlackBerry

Thursday 18 February 2010

Working in Montréal today --2 Gold!

Good morning folks,  I will be working in Montreal today.
Here's an interesting question: is it better come in third, than second?
More specifically, since by definition second place is better, are third place winners generally happier than second place winners?
Andriana Barton of The Globe & Mail suggests that If Olympic Bronze Medalists are any indication, and let's hold Shannon Bahrke (Bronze Women's Moguls) up as an example, they display much more joy on their face than the Silver Medalist.
I guess the theory is the Bronze winner is thing something along the lines of "holy smokes I squeeked in and I WON A OLYMPIC MEDAL!" whereas the Silver winner is thinking something along the lines of "holy crap if I just pushed off a bit harder I WOULD HAVE WON GOLD",  
Meanwhile of course I'm sure the Gold winner is thinking something along the lines of "holy Jeez Mary and Joseph, I did it".
Have a good day
Canada stands at 2G,3S and 1B
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld -- Envoyé de mon sans fil portatif BlackBerry

Thursday 4 February 2010

Working in Ottawa today --27,000 ft and no phone

Good morning folks,
This was my morning.
I slept in.  Woke in a start, dragged a razor, brushed teeth, etc.  Got dressed and went downstairs to the main floor where I realized that I was wearing a horizontally stripes shirt with vertically striped pants.
Now even I knew that just would not do.  So returned to my closet and picked out a solid colour shirt and proceeded to put it on as I returned to the main floor.  And then.. The button from my pants yearned to be free and hastily exited.  Back up stairs where I chose another pair of pants.  Returned to the main floor, grabbed my briefcase, coat keys, glasses, coffee and made my exit in haste.
The observant reader may have detected an item missing.  Yes --my cell phone is sitting somewhere where I am not.
So if you need to reach me today, send an email, I will check with some frequency, and if you need to speak with me more urgently, perhaps call Sophie, she may be able to locate me.
Have a good day, and keep track of your pants.
Sent from my laptop at 27,000 feet.
Cancel that.  The internet on the plane was not working and the coffee was cold.

Wednesday 3 February 2010

Working in Montréal today --Careful Where You Spit

Good morning all,
I'm in a bit of a pickle, you've become a tough crowd.  Last week I made the severe mistake of not including the expected verbage in my morning communicae which resulted in a bit of an email flame.  I followed up with a posting-in-penance of a do-it-yourself guide to radiation and a Gieger counter aparati which was met with equal outrage as it was both too concise and yet not concise enough simultaneously.
Yesterday Mel and I were speaking of a service that Mel had become aware, where for $750 USD two prospective parent's DNA will be sequenced and analyzed for 400 or so specific markers associated with, or indicating a predisposition to, 100 or so conditions, illnesses, maladies that could be passed to offspring.
As the conversation progressed, it occurred to me that although I was certainly aware of the breakthroughs in DNA research starting with the double helix research paper 55 years ago following through to the human genome project culminating 5 years ago, I didn't actually know that much (or anything) on the sequencing methods.
So last night I read a bit.  And this morning a bit more too.  One very exciting article described nucleic acid labeling, I'll share:
In microarray experiments DNA or RNA is labeled with either Cy3 or Cy5 that has been synthesized to carry an N-hydroxysuccinimidyl ester (NHS-ester) reactive group. Since, NHS-esters react readily only with aliphatic amine groups, which nucleic acids lack, nucleotides have to be modified with aminoallyl groups. This is done through incorporating aminoallyl-modified nucleotides during synthesis reactions. A good ratio is a label every 60 bases such that the labels are not too close to each other, thus resulting in quenching effects.
Yeah, Word up!
If I dared to post that my email inbox would fill with everything from death threats to a cancelled prom date -no one wants to date a nerd; of course I would also get some post from some pedantic that nucleic acid labelling is unnecessary when using the cloned marker method -uh yeah, everyone knows that thanks.
So instead how about just some food for thought.
One may wish to consider carefully with what group or enterprise one shares samples of his DNA.  Since 2003 an industry has started where sequencing your DNA for profit in exchange for some service is the norm.
Screening for predisposition to illness, or searching for your family tree, a quick web search will locate Ybase, the Sorenson Database and the Genographic Project among a dozen others.  All ready to accept a sample of your DNA.
But then what?  Now that your DNA data is stored in a database who may be interested in perusing the contents -how readily available might your genome sequence become on the net.  I am not limiting the question to the Orwellian, where one must be mindful of the intrusive eye of the gov't and the corporations, but of also your neighbor's prying eyes.
Will we in the near future be worrying about identity theft with a new angle?  genome theft as much as we worry about credit identity theft today; one can always get a new credit card number.
Be careful with whom you share your spit and have a good day.
Sent from my BlackBerry wireless handheld -- Envoyé de mon sans fil portatif BlackBerry