petmoosie: (Default)
Long summer days. With children.

Mrmoosie's family is visiting, so we are having a lot of fun, but getting totally off schedule.

I spent three hours today on a practice test for chemistry. I actually did quite well, so I am feeling more confident. It was long and exhausting, however.

Not really sure how to take logarithms without a table of them or a calculator. Is this something I learned in math, or never learned? I do remember using the tables of logarithms.
petmoosie: (lizard)
The Quagga project aims to bring back an extinct subspecies of zebra. The 4th generation was born in 2010, and contains individuals that are fairly similar to the target. Neat!
petmoosie: (Emily)
We went to Balticon over the long weekend. We hung with [livejournal.com profile] starstraf and her sweetie and others that she had invited.

Emily liked the con, but we all noticed that the "Children's track" was very poorly labeled. I went to a workshop, that I thought was on the science track, that was really a children's event with craft.

The science track had a BioScience element that kept me very interested. If this is a consistent theme, I may go every year.
petmoosie: (braids)
The average adult has a blood volume in the range 4700 to 5000 ml. A donation (Red Cross or other) takes 500ml for the donation part. There are several test tubes of blood taken for tests at the same time (maybe 5?). These are smaller test tubes (maybe 10ml tubes?) with about a ml of agar at the bottom. So at a rough guess, they collect 9 x 5 = 45 ml for testing in addition to the 500ml.

So the blood donation process (for whole blood) takes about 11% of total volume, 11% of red blood cells, 11% of iron, etc. Assuming that the volume is made up within hours from tissue fluid stores and dietary liquids, other components will be diluted to 89% of their original values.

Regeneration times: if known. Red Cells--four to six weeks, maximum 8 weeks (Red Cross site)
Plasma--24 hours (Red Cross site)---Is this volume, volume and electrolytes, volume and blood proteins?
petmoosie: (Default)
This must be seen to be believed. Music video.
petmoosie: (braids)
When teaching review courses, sometimes you realize that a subject wasn't covered previously. In this case, diabetes, starvation and the production of ketone bodies. Very important for practice as an MD, taught but glossed over in some biochemistry courses.
petmoosie: (braids)
It is time to plot my return to science. The seminar in Pittsburgh gave me a taste for it all (again). Figuring out difficult problems, next experiments to try and how to explain the whole thing. Now to figure out how to do it.
petmoosie: (braids)
So Emily and I are home. There is a pretty good chance that we will go out for ice skating much, much later.

[livejournal.com profile] mrmoosie is at work. Who had the bright idea of not calling off work for the workers, but calling off school for the students?

Emily and I have decided that there are two plants in her brain; the math one and the reading/writing one. They each need to be watered on a regular basis. The math one is on the left (since she counts on her fingers with her left hand) and the reading/writing one is on the right, since she writes with her right hand. I'm not going to explain the contra-lateral control of the body by the brain at this point.

petmoosie: (bad guy)
We're exploring the Maryland Science Center today in Baltimore. Unfortunately, we didn't check the expiration date on our passes, and they expired 10/31/09.

We're going anyway, of course. :).

We checked the expiration dates on the other passes we have, and none of them actually have expiration dates. This should mean that we won't have any trouble using them.
petmoosie: (Default)
I don't ever remember seeing Alan Alda as a bad guy before. He did a great job with it, of course. He was arrogant to a T. He played Dr. Robert Gallo. And Gallo credits Dr. David Baltimore for getting him interested in retroviruses.


Dr. Gallo did NOT receive the Nobel Prize in 2008, when his rivals, Dr. Montagnier and Dr. Francoise Barre-Sinoussi did get it for the discovery of the virus that causes AIDS.

Dr. Gallo and Dr. Baltimore were separately involved in the biggest investigations for scientific misconduct ever conducted by NIH's Office of Research Integrity. ETA: Both investigations were eventually dropped and the leaders of the investigations were believed to be engaging in a vendetta at one point. I can't find the names of the leaders, but they were all over Science in the early 90s. Science is the magazine published by the American Association for Advancement in Science and is the premier wide-ranging science journal in the United States.

Any way, the movie was fun. Unfortunately, we didn't recognize any of the famous faces at the end.
petmoosie: (braids)
Are pretty large this morning, and especially last night. I was reading this blog about spaced repetition systems and how useful they are for learning and memorizing. I was imagining using them for all that organic chemistry that I used to know, all that biology that I know but need to memorize better, and my previously learned foreign languages as well as the language that I am attempting to learn now (Spanish).

So I am going to go hunting on the Web for a system that is iPhone-compatible, uses the sync feature of the iPhone to transfer information, and *doesn't* use text-messages to transfer information.

It is possible that Anki does all this, but not in the default settings.

Work

Nov. 5th, 2009 03:31 pm
petmoosie: (braids)
The science pipeline looks like this.

"The overall proportion of high school graduates who earn bachelor's degrees in STEM fields has remained constant at 8 to 10% from 1972 to 2005, the study finds...About half of STEM graduates find employment in STEM fields, and about half of those remain in STEM to the mid-career level...'Sizable proportions of people end up not doing what they were trained for,' [B. Lindsay] Lowell said. " B. Lindsay Lowell is the director of policy studies at Georgetown University.  This is from Chemical and Engineering News, Nov. 2, 2009.

Now, remember STEM includes computer hardware and software. Although those fields are not strong at the moment, they have been strong in the period considered.
petmoosie: (Default)

During past pandemics, a third or more of the entire population has got flu, and the risks of flu killing you or causing nasty problems such as Guillain-Barré syndrome are far greater than those of the vaccines.

Fears from the 1970s

The 1976 vaccine caused around 10 cases per million vaccinated. Even ordinary flu vaccines, however, are thought to cause one extra case of Guillain-Barré per million, in addition to the 10 to 20 per million who get Guillain-Barré some other way every year.

Does this mean it is safer not getting vaccinated? Absolutely not. First, there is the risk of swine flu killing you. Second, what few people know is that flu itself is far more likely to cause Guillain-Barré than any flu vaccine.

A 2009 study found that out of every million people who get flu, between 40 and 70 develop Guillain-Barré. So your best chance of avoiding Guillain-Barré is to get vaccinated, a conclusion backed by a 2007 study.

The vaccine risk is also diminishing. Cases of Guillain-Barré in the US have fallen 20 per cent since 1996, and cases reported after flu vaccination have fallen by 60 per cent. Intriguingly, this coincides with a fall in infections by the food poisoning bacterium Campylobacter, thanks to improved meat hygiene. Guillain-Barré usually follows infections, and Campylobacter is the main cause. It is also endemic among chickens, and flu vaccines are grown in chicken eggs. So the occasional contamination of flu vaccines with Campylobacter proteins might explain the link with Guillain-Barré, according to a 2004 study.

(From the New Scientist)

petmoosie: (spanish)
I found an interesting article to take to Spanish class tonight. It is about the discovery of prehistoric bacteria in a cave in Mexico. From the build-up, they are supposed to be anaerobic (from the time before O2 was plentiful from photosynthesis).

Happy geek dance.
petmoosie: (braids)
I'm going through four styling products, frantically looking for the one my sister recommended. "It has dimethicone in it; that's the one".
petmoosie: (braids)
"
an infinite number of peptide hormones involved in the digestive system

The Math Geek Says: That's not possible. There'd have to be no upper bound on the number of atoms in the hormone. In a person who weighs, say, 100 kg, there are no more than 6.022*1028 atoms (that's the number if they were all hydrogen atoms); and there can't be more atoms in the hormone than there are in the entire body.

Now, granted, the only upper bound I can place on the number of hormones (without knowing more about their structure) is (6.022*1028)!, which certainly qualifies as Lots. But it's still finite. :-)" from [livejournal.com profile] metageek 's comment at least a year ago.

Possible hormones in the digestive system are peptide hormones so they are composed of any of 20 amino acids, in a chain of length 3 to 30 amino acids long. So a mathematical expression for that would be:

20^3 +20^4 +20^5 + ... + 20^30, where the ... is terms of 20^n for n=6 to 29.  Is there any compact way to express this? Is there a way of doing this in a shorter way?
 

petmoosie: (bad guy)
And it frustrates me.

America is not experiencing a shortage of scientists or engineers, yet we hear calls to educate more people in science and engineering. We don't have jobs for all the scientists and engineers that we do educate, and we aren't willing to retrain them in general. So the mismatch between trained scientists and engineers and the job market in their logical fields is huge, even in the boom times. In the bust times, the mismatch is just ridiculous.

petmoosie: (braids)
But all I want to do is get on the computer.

Although our local newspaper is making a case for Maryland catching up to CA and MA in biotech, it's not quite correct. It's leaving out NJ/PA/DE, which is a good-sized cluster--just not in a single state for classification purposes. MD is commonly considered to rank 4th, and a fairly distant 4th.

Sigh.
petmoosie: (Science)
I noticed a group of young folks doing the Mentos-Coke experiment at the pool on Sunday.
I had to go over and investigate. The students doing the experiment were in 6th grade at our local middle school. The "reaction" was slightly, but observably endothermic (the can was colder at the end than at the beginning). We discussed the 6th grade science curriculum. They have had the kingdoms of life, a long section on the environment, and physics (force, acceleration and waves) this year.
The reaction is an acceleration of the bubbling process, driving dissolved CO2 from the solution. This reduces the entropy of the water a bit which reduces the temperature of the solution.

Monday, I sat with the new PTA president (my neighbor behind the fence). She discussed her plans for the next school year and ways to make the committees/responsibilities less work and more organized. It was a bit like a mini-PTA meeting. I learned that our school has a simultaneous translation system (the headsets and microphones) and the county will provide an interpreter for PTA meetings.
petmoosie: (braids)
To provide some context, the commonly quoted figure for developing a drug is $500 million. One drug. One study in 2003 which excluded derivatives of known drugs found a number of $800 million.

There exist drugs which have had more than $1 billion dollars spent on their development.

There are something like 20,000 human genes. Only a fraction of those are "druggable", meaning a small organic molecule in the bloodstream can affect them (without killing the person). Most developed drugs target the same small group of proteins (G-protein coupled receptors, protein kinases, ligand-gated ion channels, voltage-gated ion channels and nuclear hormone receptors).

Now, biologicals are another beast entirely. These are "drugs" that are proteins (insulin, for example). They have to be injected (or perhaps inhaled). Antibodies (monoclonal antibodies) are in this catergory. These are easier, in theory, make whatever the disease is lacking. But only a few have panned out so far.

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