October 28, 2011
How to Break Into a Computer. Or, at some locations ~cough, cough~, just walk up to a computer and turn it on, all the files are right there for you.
Like I mentioned before, early in my career, a MS IT security friend would go come around and lock my computer before I learned. My worst experience with personal computer security was working for the Navy and using a CAC card. No CAC card, no computer.
BTW, any attempt at breaking into a computer at work unless authorized would be considered a breach of your workplace IT policy. However, in research, lines get blurry when it comes to IT resources. That's why I would advocate that for research labs to limit students' work to only lab resources like they do for business and government.
On another note, I love my new Android phone. However, I didn't set up my phone to receive my work emails. Growing up with technology that can be considered intrusive (or, inseparable) most of my life, eventually, I've realize that I need boundaries especially between work and rest of my life. At work, is it really necessary to check messages during a team meeting? At home, is it really necessary to check your phone when someone is sitting across from you? For those new to the technology inundation, try turning off your phone instead of checking it multiple times. You will be surprised how grateful the other person is at having your entire attention. I won't be surprised if we see in a few years, technology free zones. We tend to abuse a good thing.
Also, I just set up MicrobeWorld on my Google Reader. I could not just find MicrobeWorld (not Twitter version) in my search. Just an FYI, you can just paste the rss link (only recent posts) into Add a Subscription field. I love XML!
October 27, 2011
Today was a reminder you never know where information will tie together. Yesterday, I sat in on a seminar in another department talking about histones and particularly, their degradation. It made me think of an article from a lab I worked in last summer about a viral homolog to a histone chaperone. Then, I saw this article this morning about use of histones in plant virus propagation. We live in exciting times.
Funny clip in The Daily Show with a Fox Correspondent about whether research is a scam:
Interviewee: Scientists are the only people qualified to comment on scientific theory. This is what raises doubt with not only Republicans but Americans.
TDS Correspondent: It's like why are surgeons the only ones allowed to perform surgeries. And, other surgeons are the only ones that get to say whether or not this surgery is necessary or not. Right?
TDS Correspondent: It doesn't make any sense.
Interviewee: It never makes any sense.
TDS Correspondent: And the only other people that can check to make sure they are not manipulating the system is
Interviewee: ~interrupting~ other scientists.
TDS Correspondent: They are very smart scientists.
Interviewee: That's what I'm saying.
If a TDS correspondent ever wants to talk to you, just say no!
October 25, 2011
So I'm writing these days and today has been a laborious day in Endnote. It is another reminder that researcher's life without a computer must have been horrible. No matter how awful it was back then, Endnote is far from a good program. Maneuvering between multiple windows is a headache. I got an error trying to connect to the Library of Congress this morning and the error actually had a question mark!?! However, I have another reason to praise Google. Google Books actually has an export citation functionality that has been a workaround for me this morning.
Zotero sounds interesting. Zotero is a pain to install and convert to from Endnote but I see many improvements. It is definitely a more intuitive program.
In reading one author's description on the virion formation, I notice that scientists describe processes from disorder to order. One never hears a scientist detail about randomness of events that contribute to formation of an object like a virion. Instead, the scientist adds their sense of order to the unknown steps of their observations. Even at a nm level, order comes from disorder.
October 24, 2011
Please don't enact policies where we, the taxpayers, have to bail out Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac again and again. The crushing, grinding sound that you hear is the rock and a hard place grinding the future capability to finance home loans.
October 21, 2011
October 20, 2011
October 19, 2011
October 12, 2011
So this image is floating around FB. This image is in reference to a post from a college graduate with significant debt about the Wall Street protests.
I have to admire a student who did work throughout college and watched his finances carefully. However, as a person who also worked in high school and college (at times, three jobs, 30+ hrs) and watched their finances like a hawk during college and afterwards, I feel that his attitude is also self-righteous. I argued to a friend that this student didn't provide the family stability or public (or private) education he got to get the good education so that he could get scholarships into college. He did not provide the state subsidies that the state and federal government gave to his education so that a moderately-priced state school could be affordable or the scholarships.
I was recently talking to a college Sophomore who was the valedictorian of his school and ended up at a local college studying engineering. As a Sophomore, he was already in Calculus III. What was amazing about his story is that he came out a low-income and low-quality educational system in a community rife with social problems. I could tell from just a short conversation that this man should have gone to a top 20 engineering school yet he was a humble Christian man. I worry about students like him. I know that I could not have finished college without the provisions that this great country has given me and currently slowly reducing. For every person who "use" the system, there is a kid like him who is just trying to provide a better life for himself and his family. I hope that when this man starts his career, he is happy and content and not resentful of others. For I see in both the hurt and self-righteousness, resentment toward others.
Instead, I hope he pays it forward like my 3rd grade teacher who noticed something in a non-communicative student or my eleventh grade English teacher who saw the best in her students or my current adviser who feels personally my successes and failures. It is easy for me to pay it forward.
There is no such thing as a 'self-made' man. We are made up of thousands of others.
George Matthew Adams
October 11, 2011
I spent tonight learning a little more about my adviser's funding source and the process involved. There is more information out there then I suspected. As far as I can tell, as a student, I have not been funded by ARRA. What I learned tonight makes me feel a little bleaker about the current environment of academic research funding. My elders keep telling us it that it will get better but the numbers and facts tell a different story.
October 10, 2011
In other news, in AL, the immigration problem gets worse.
But for Maria Patino — who prays every time she leaves home — even a chance encounter with police could end with her two elementary-age children being left alone or taken to foster care if she and her husband are sent back to Mexico.
I should have known a Economist story on panda bears really wasn't about panda bears. The sand beneath Chinese stocks is the lack of transparency and due diligence.
As I feel that I have not shown my techie side here in awhile, I should mention that I am one of the preorders for the Kindle Touch. I justified this purchase by telling myself that I will be killing less trees in my lab work. Not sure how this will play out but my lab notebook may go totally digital. At least, it will motivate me a little more to read so I write.
Also, yesterday, I finally committed myself to detaching myself from Sprint's tentacles. I have been with Sprint way too long and I figured out a way to save money and move onto a Android phone. I love what I see of the Android marketplace.
October 08, 2011
Yesterday, I heard a talk that included these two videos, one on the known universe (Youtube) and the other on relative size of objects in our universe (Youtube, love the music!). It reminded me of the feeling I had recently of visualizing a virus infection in a way that's never been visualized before. As I looked under the fluorescence microscope, I recognized that I was seeing something that no one has ever seen before and images were surreal in its vividness and color. I was filled with wonder over a phenomena that I did not do anything to contribute. The phenomena had always been there and I was simply fortunate to observe it. There is indeed such amazing and awe-inspiring beauty in the world around us.
October 05, 2011
More on the story. Well, the drama of it anyways.
October 04, 2011
Interesting article in The Economist on Myanmar and China relations.
October 03, 2011
I have a soft spot for start-ups since my two jobs out of college were start-ups. So, when I recently heard about Garage Bio, I had to find out more. The palpable excitement online always adds a pep to my steps into the lab.