Saturday, June 30, 2007

Only in East Germany

Trabi Trabi Trabi Trabi Porsche Trabi

Friday, June 29, 2007

More beauty in science

I just really like this picture. The colors.
What it is is the inside of a centrifuge that was damaged due to a user failing to clean out extra liquid that leaked out during a run. 6000euros of damage apparently. This was posted on a big screen in the institute lobby as a scolding to the anonymous user.

Somehow I find pictures of old metals and rust fascinating. I need to explore that again.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

On my trip to NYC

I guess I'm kind of behind on this. So I was in NYC for the weekend 3 weeks ago or so. Colby had a big opening for a show at a gallery that I mentioned before. This was a great trip. It was a little crazy. Well, alot crazy. But fun. And I survived. I think I actually never adjusted to the jet lag the whole time I was there due to the stimulation of all the people I was meeting and the long nights out on the town and naps and sleeping late or getting up early. And then this hellacious trip home so really it turned out I didn't have to re-adjust back to Germany time.

<- two masses of red hair collide

But this was a convergence of craziness of friends and family. Of course Colby.
My Mom flew in from Texas. My Dad flew in from Cali. And then Eric flew in from Cali. And then Amy (from Brighton) just happens to be in NYC that weekend. And Sean is in NYC. And to top it all off, my Aunt, Uncle and a Cousin from Dallas make a surprise appearance at the last minute. These are ALL OLD and GOOD family and friends. Like the best of them. So it was a bit overwhelming to have everybody at once. And then 3 days to try to hang with them! But it was fun trying. I hadn't seen Eric in like 2 years.

Eric and Colby getting angry or something->

It was great to see the two shows Colby was in at the time, and his studio. Colby's seriously blowing up. Or having his 15 minutes of fame (I ain't trying to jinx it, ya know). But his name is getting out there.

It was kinda fun. More than a couple of times at his opening and later at the afterparty/etc, people would come up to me like "HEEEEYYY! GREAAAT show. good stuff. Hey. I'll see you later, right?! allright cool, Colby..."
I mean, actually I crashed at Colby's place one night unexpectedly, and I'm sitting in the kitchen in the morning eating some cereal and his roomate walks in and is like "Oh, you know I thought your brother was here or something last night."
"Umm....I'm not Colby."
"Oh. what? Oh, God. Wait, are you like twins or something?!"
"something like that"

At his studio Colby gave us a preview of a new piece of his going into a third show that hadn't opened yet. So he just assembled his piece in his studio for Dad and I...and turn on the light and BAM! there it is.

See this piece on the right here.
And see it HERE on the announcement card for this show.
Based on the stuff at show of his I was at I'm gonna guess this will be priced at about $6000.

Check out the piece on the wall back here in Colby's studio on the photo below.
Now check it out on the front page of the Village Voice website:
(Article HERE when the front page changes)
I remember this one was $2500 framed if anybody's interested.

Update: here's a nice picture of Amy, Eric and I. The last time the three of us where in the same spot was probably in high school in Texas in the orchestra room or something in like 1992. Ha. Notice how clearly close and comfortable we are in each other's presence: no touching.
strange looking photo.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Funny Work E-mails, Part 4

(Part 1) (Part 2) (Part 3)

From: "xxxx xxxxx"
Date: June 26, 2007 4:17:28 PM GMT+02:00
Subject: [mpi-cbg-staff] Electronics Service

I´m not here on Wednesday (Excursion) and Thursday (my child is sick). I´ll be back on Friday.


I'm sure there is an explanation here. But it seems like he's going to be out Wednesday for a trip to the lake, and then the next day he can't come in because his child will be sick that day.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

What the bombs couldn't take away the selfish commuter will

okay,maybe that's a bit dramatic....however....

Dresden was destroyed more than once in its history. Long before the infamous bombing at the end of WWII, Dresden saw wars. It had been burned to the ground before.
Buildings have come and gone. But one thing that has remained constant through Dresden's 800 years and before is the expanse of grass though the middle of the city on either side of the Elbe and the fantastic views that result. For hundreds and hundreds of years people have flocked to the Elbe. It's such a rarity for a flood plain through the middle of a city to be so preserved, so undeveloped, acres of grass extending miles. When I interviewed here I took a break and walked 100 meters north of the institute and came upon a vast field of grass and then a river with a view of several small castles on the other side. This is not far from the city center geographically.

And now the city has plans to build a bridge just about where I stood during my interview.
The citizens of Dresden voted for this bridge. With it comes the promise to alleviate traffic problems for those that live north of the river.

But there is no traffic in Dresden, let's be honest. There is a bad intersection at the end of the 'Blaues Wonder' - a historic bridge connecting the banks on the East side of town. But funneling the cars to the new place will just move the problem - there is no major thouroughfare coming in from this part of the city. The proposed main street dead ends into the 'Grosse Garten' - another large land area preserved. Perhaps the car-owning voters would like to simply move the Palace there and split the garden in two.
There was an article in the paper a while back about how people who have lived in DD their whole lives are FOR the bridge, while people who have moved here recently are AGAINST the bridge. Actually, they also broke it up and polled people who were born here, or came here BEFORE 1990, in other words, before the wall came down, and those that came after.

(I took this photo before I knew about the bridge - right about where it will go)

Twice as many people in the before group want the bridge as don't. While in the after group it's basically even.
The man-on-the-street comments they have with this article, though, they are sad.
Torsten, moved here, against the bridge (translated): "' s a beautiful,one-of-a-kind view the bridge will cut in half...

Mario, been here, for: "Ich bin für den Bau der Brücke, weil ich so schneller auf Arbeit komme." and "Touristen kommen auch ohne Welterbetitel nach Dresden". In English: "I am for the building of the bridge, so I can get to work that much faster." "Tourists will still come to Dresden without this world-title (the UNESCO world heritage site)."

And than about sums it up. If I can get to work 5 mintes faster, lets do it. And this whole thing with the tourists. Is anybody really arguing that tourism will die?? (really, I don't know) It seems like this argument was invented by those for the bridge in the first place so they could say it's a bad argument. who cares about tourists? It's about preserving a historical, one-of-a-kind beautiful precious piece of nature. You know, these things have worth other than tourism.

Stephanie, for:
"Es wurde schon so viel Geld in die Plannung gesteckt, dass die Brücke nun auch gebaut werden muss."
or, "There has been so much money already put into the planning, that the bridge must also now be built"

This seems to be another favorite of the pro-bridge camp. We've spent so much money already (even though construction hasn't even begun) that we MUST continue and BUILD IT!!!
Apparently, millions have already been spent in the planning and contracts for this bridge. Apparently construction crews are being paid NOW, to be on standby when the final green lights come through. Apparently, with the amount that has already been wasted, and considering what it will cost to finally build this bridge, if it goes to completion this bridge is already forecast to be the most expensive in all of Germany!! (source: my colleague Tim. sorry, no links. But Tim's good with the facts. Tim's a guy you go to when you're having a problem with the German system, he'll sort you (or them) out)

So the most expensive AND potentially the ugliest eyesore in Germany.

The bridge in the middle is the proposed bridge, the two on the ends existing.
Notice how it slices the large meadows nicely

But it's not a done deal. Because it's not as simple as Dresden voting for the bridge.
I think a lot of people who didn't vote on this issue are wishing they did - many that don't want the bridge. Who would've thought a majority of Dresden would be for it when it only affects a fraction?
But what's complicating things is this: This area of the Elbe is a UNESCO world heritage site, and UNESCO had threatened to remove the title if the bridge goes up. So why didn't the voters know about this? Well,
it turns the original plans, when UNESCO was informed, said that the bridge was to be TWO KILOMETERS upstream of where it actually was to be. UNESCO had no problem with this, and none of the voters could have been aware of what would follow.

This will have implications for all of Germany actually. Namely, that Germany cannot be trusted with UNESCO sites. It's bad pub. And the people in Berlin are watching this closely - and can pull funds if they want to.

There's been a proposal for a TUNNEL - that will cost the same as the bridge. But this whole thing is political as well. Many of the politicians who want this bridge were in the government since before the wall came down - and they wanted the bridge then. And they are going to get their bridge. it's a matter of pride.

Here' s a website for the initiative to stop the bridge: In English and even with more info in German. Check it out if you live here. There's a ton of info there.

I don't anticipate still being in Dresden when the bridge would finally be completed. But it would be a crying shame to come back and see that monstrosity hulking over the very path I used to ride my bike to and from work over the grassy plains along the Elbe.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Illegal graffiti is bad4u

I picked this up last time I was in the local Dresden police station. I was there reporting my computer stolen. Which, it turns out was not a crime. Because I left it in a restaurant and was gone when I came back, I was informed it was not stolen, but I "lost" it and another person "found" it. Therefore not a crime. Doesn't matter that my passport was in there too. but that's another story.

Behold this strange mixture of G
erman and English that is I guess supposed to be cool with the kids (click to enlarge):

"Be clever and look into your Geld-beutel, before you're beginning with such a Schwach-sinn, over?"
what the hell? "over?" Is that was cool people say at the end of sentences?

"Guck at this and think: I am doch not crazy!"

I like the goth girl stuck in there.

And here you have the difference between Australians and Brits.
Heh heh heh.
Unfortunately brought to you by the racist chickenhawk xenophobes at LGF.

Illustrated by family guy as well:

start at :30 seconds
hee hee hee those funny brits

Thursday, June 21, 2007

More Angry Airport Blogging.

I'm in Frankfurt. I'm not supposed to be in Frankfurt. Frankfurt isn't on any of my tickets.
Let's see. The last airport experience was the maddening stay in Amsterdam and the lost luggage. On Saturday I flew to Turku, Finland from Berlin. Unfortunately my luggage did not make it. So I got to wear the same clothes for another day while spending the day listening to talks. Finally they found my bag and had it sent out to me after a day and a half.
Today I flew back out of Turku. The lady at the counter actually told me that I would not be able to make my connection when I checked in. There were no delays. Everything was according to schedule, but I would just not be able to make it through the Helsinki airport in 45 minutes, assuming the plane landed on time. So I BOOKED my ass through that airport. And I made it to check-in. Similar to what happened in Amsterdam. This time they told me the flight was OVERBOOKED, and I needed to go get a different ticket. What can you do. So here I am in Frankfurt. I was supposed to be home by now. They just told us the flight to Dresden has been postponed another hour and a half.
In the meantime I went to ask to make sure my frequent flyer miles were still getting recorded. And they told me sorry, no your flight changed from Helsinki. You can get your flight to Dresden recorded, but we cannot credit your for your Helsinki to Frankfurt flight now that it is over. In order to do so you will need to MAIL your tickets once you get back home. To the USA. With a letter requesting miles. I kid you not. I'm sitting here in one of the biggest airports in the world, the MAIN HUB of Lufthansa airlines. And they are telling me in order to get flyer mile credit for the Lufthansa flight I JUST GOT OFF OF, I will need to mail my tickets to the USA once I get home.

I wonder the chances of them losing by baggage and making three flights in a row with this. What is going on with airline services? And I got offered NO compensation for overbooking their flight. Didn't you used to get a voucher when they bumped you?

Friday, June 15, 2007

Meanwhile at Dresden Neustadt Bahnhof BurgerKing.....

I actually was hungry and wanted chicken, but I went for the 'Crispy Chicken' sandwich cause I just can't put something in my mouth described as "long and strong."

I think it's safe to say they didn't have this ad campaign in the US.
12 Dollar Kebab

In NYC. I bet it's not half as good as the 3euro Döner Kebabs we get in DD

Thursday, June 14, 2007

More Procrastination Blogging: Goat-infested Trees

Found on Flickr by Lottelies

These are some really great photographs.
They go up there to get the tasty berries of the Argan tree, native to Morocco.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

And Now They've Lost my Luggage.

Report from the Berlin Hauptbahnhof. KLM doesn't know where my bags are. fantastic. I shoulda guessed.
Somehow I'm getting free wireless here. That's cool.

FUCK Continental. FUCK KLM. and FUCK Amsterdam airport and all the fucktard fucking useless people that work there.

I just paid 10 euros for internet access so I can post while I'm enraged. I just flew from Newark airport to Amsterdam on Continental to then catch a transfer to Berlin, to then catch a train to Dresden. However, because of "bad weather" (of which we didn't see a drop), our flight arrived much later, 9:39am to be exact. And I had a 10:10 flight to Berlin. So I booked my ass across this god-forsaken airport - the worst. designed. EVAR.
to make the plane(KLM to Berlin). To my delight after running what must be a good kilometer, I made it to the terminal while people were still boarding. However, upon presenting my ticket, I was denied aboard. I was told Continental had canceled my booking on the flight - because they didn't think I could make it. And there was no negotiation. These people can get on, not you. Continental then offered me two options - fly to Berlin 8 hours later on KLM, or take a two-stop trip on Lufthansa 7 hours later. I told them they fucked up since they canceled my flight and made me miss it, and they should really take that two-stop trip to Berlin they offered and make it a two-stop trip to Dresden. They told my they didn't cancel the flight, and showed me on the computer, and said it's KLM's fault.

And let me say each time I have to talk to another airline I had to walk to the complete opposite end of this stupid terminal, and also go through passport control, and X-ray for bags. Just between terminals. I had to do this 5 times. On the bright side, I did get 4 entry stamps into my passport for Holland. They will probably arrest me when they see the entries and exits don't match up.

So I go back to KLM, wait in a line THREE people long, for 45 MINUTES. Then they tell me, no, I need to go to fucking Lufthansa to sort this out. Then Lufthansa tells me I need to go back to Continental. SO now it's been 2.5-3 hours of this. And Continental doesn't care. Then they have the nerve to tell me, you COULD'VE gone to Dresden, but it's too late now.
After they told me 2 hours ago it was not their problem, but KLM's.
Anyway, I stayed there with continental and argued and argued and talked to supervisors and the best they could offer me was a gift certificate for lunch and an "I'm sorry."
SO an 8 hour delay. When I was there trying to board my plane with the others and they pulled me out.
I hate Continental so much now.
And KLM.
After ALL THAT, I had to go get my KLM tickets and wait 90 minutes in another short line. They must have THE slowest, most incompetent staff. I wasn't the only one freaking out. They were taking like 20 minutes PER PERSON to issue new tickets.

So now I'm sitting here eating my voucher dinner/lunch. Which by the way was not enough to get a cold drink. When i went to get a cold drink, there was dirt in the ice. I told the guy, "hey , look, there's dirt in the ice" And he goes "ha ha, yeah, heh heh, you're right."
"So do you have any other ice?"
"umm. ok."
"yeah, there's dirt in the machine."
"wait, so you KNEW there was dirt in the ice?"
"no, I didn't know."

SO I get a lukewarm lemonade. Get to the counter. 2.20 euros. Can't find my euros.
"do you take US dollars?"
"super. So how much then?"
"4 dollars"
"wait a minute."
"We can't make change. It's $3.25 and we have to round it up."

"here I have 2.11 euros. 9 cent short. Can I use these here in this little cup?"
"Can I put a US dollar in the cup and take out 10 euro cent?"
"okay. here's 4 dollars."

So now I pay my internet fee, do to, and find I'm going to have to wait 2 hours once in Berlin to catch the last train to Dresden. SO I left my apartment at 2pm yesterday NYC time, and arrive home at 12:00 midnight Dresden time. That's 28 hours. To go NYC to Dresden.

Stay away from Continental, KLM, and Amsterdam airport when possible.
But especially the mean people at Continental, who clearly don't care about customer satisfaction.

OH OH OH. Did I mention I fucking puked on the plane? I got sick (non-airplane-related) and it kept getting worse as we waited to take off. So right during take-off I boot into one of them lil' bags (my first time, and actually quite convenient, and not messy or awkward at all)
but now I have to wait while the plane is rising for us to be allowed out of our seats to take by bag-o-puke to the bathroom.
At least is was chocolate-flavor smelling since I ate a big chocolate frozen yogurt.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Ahhhhh Fox News

What would I do without you?

From Talking Points Memo

They're so excited that they finally have a corruption case to cover that's a Democrat, and not a an old white fat republican, they can't even bother getting the right congressman.
"Just get me a video of a black man in a suit, quick!!"

Monday, June 04, 2007

The Hardest man in China

It's the 18th anniversary today of the beginning of the Tiananmen Square massacre, and you gotta give props to this guy. It's not like those tanks were there to intimidate people and he was calling their bluff - hundreds, maybe thousands of innocent civilians were killed by the Chinese military in the following days. Unfortunately it's not clear what happened to this guy - reports range from him being executed by the government a few days later to still living happily in China today.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Science is Purty
or Procrastinating when I should be Working on a Talk

Here's a nice movie I made if some cells:

These are human U2OS cells
An osteosarcoma (bone cancer) cell line originally isolated from the tibia of a 15-yr old girl many years ago. I've put the DNA sequence that encodes for a microtubule end-binding protein fused to a red fluorescent protein into the cells, and it has been integrated into the genome so that the cells will continuously express it, and when you shine a certain wavelength of light on them you can see the protein fluorescing. (This protein is already in the cells naturally, but without the fluorescent tag, so you can't see it so easily)
They are just kinda hanging out being happy here, normal life.
These are shown here about 1000x actual size.
(This movie is sped up about 5 times or so faster than real time, but you can actually see these things moving in real time in the scope)

Friday, June 01, 2007


UPDATE: Turns out the pig was sold to the plantation 4 days before it was shot, having been raised in a shed and becoming too big for the owners to deal with. Now the dad is reeling on his webpage, explaining that his son "did NOT shoot the family pet".

If you haven't heard about this, take a look. An 11-year-old boy shot a giant pig with a pistol.
All the news outlets had a little story on it, like this one.
Classic that this comes out of Alabama. Sad that when you read up on the story, it turns out this kid was following this pig around in the forest for 3 hours, unloading 13 rounds from his pistol into the pig during that time. And it was all within an enclosed pay-to-hunt area. And to make it even more sporting, his father and a couple of guides were there too, with high-powered rifles, just in case the pig might try to defend itself, they could take it down quick, but lucky for them little Jamison got do it slowly with a little pistol for 3 hours.

Look closely at the photo that's on all the news sites.

On closer inspection it's clear that the kid is significantly behind the pig. Was he posed so as to appear as if he were resting on it? Doesn't matter. Point is there is no way you can really judge how big the pig is from this picture. Could be normal size. I'm not saying this was done on purpose, but.....

The father defends critics saying he was intentionally misleading people with the size from these photos by saying that actually there was a different photo which he circulated to news organizations, and this one was taken without his knowledge, but I dare you to find this other 'accurate' photo anywhere on the web outside his site.

See the website setup by the father

Have a good laugh at the "negative comments" there.
"What the fuck is your fucking problem you fat ass bitch. You fucking killed a fucking innocent little pig. Does it make your fat ass feel good to kill such an innocent creature. Wow congratufuckinglations you fat ass fucking cunt. I hope the boars babies come back alive and eat your sausage link penis you, fat piece of shit. Fucking fat redneck. I hope demons come and haunt your fat ass for the rest of your life. Do you think your hot shit for this bitch? Well your not fat ass. Burn in hell you rotten piece of shit. FUCK YOU!!!!! FUCK REDNECK PIECE OF SING FAT ASSHIT!!!!!!!!!"

Read the "positive comments" and wonder why Christianity and "the troops" somehow keep coming up as if they have something to do with this.