Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Pictures of 2008 - Travel

(click to enlarge)



Many more to come from Africa, hopefully sooner than later...

Oktoberfest, Munich:

See more from Oktoberfest here


See more from Venice here

San Francisco:


Sunday, December 07, 2008

Colby visits for Thanksgiving

Colby braved the overseas flight for the first time in 9(?) years to see what Dresden is all about and hangout over Thanksgiving. I'm too lazy to post photos again, so here are some on facebook. Anyway, it was a good time. Since Colby was only here 5 days, we had some early morning rushes to get everything in, but it was also a chill Thanksgiving weekend as a significant amount of time was spent watching college football and basketball and eating leftovers. Thanksgiving day involved a group of expats like last year complete will two turkeys and all the traditional dishes. Fortunately, the Christmas markets opened this weekend too, so I could show Colby that whole scene complete with Glühwein. And we took an overnight trip to Berlin to check out the art scene. Colby knew a couple people that would be around, but at least 3 or 4 other people at the openings randomly recognized Colby from NYC and said hello.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008


In the vain of this, but better

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

A date with 3 birds.

Picked up one at the airport today.

The other two will be picked up tomorrow morning.

Monday, November 24, 2008


In the spirit of Thanksgiving (3 days away), can somebody please tell me the difference between Puten and Truthahn?

I have this feeling that it's female vs. male? But then I thought a male turkey could be called a capon in English, a mistake which once seemed to have cost me a friendship, but I later found out it is a castrated rooster.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Henry Waxman

Waxman was just voted the new chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. I like this guy. This can only mean things getting better. The fact that he has a kinda corny smile just makes it better. Cause he seems to not like taking any shit. Here I found some interesting clips if Waxman doing his thing on youtube:

Saturday, November 22, 2008


As I'm getting pumped up for the Michigan-OSU game this evening, a clip from the better times, when Michigan was not having it's worst season in its entire history, but rather going undefeated to win the national championship with Charles Woodson winning the heisman, and along the way making the greatest. interception. ever.

He was throwing the ball away. He was just trying to throw the ball away like smart QB.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

You're Not Helping

Some careless reporting and some unfortunate quotes and I see this thing is going to turn into a joke for the christian right creationists to use to poke fun at evolution. Of course the general scientific community will not be affected nor most readers, but at some level it's better not to encourage them I think.

"Kangaroo genes close to humans" is the sensational title of the article. But what does 'close' mean? This, of course, is all relative. Closer to humans than squid are, yes. Closer than fungi, absolutely. Close like primates? No fucking way, not even close.

Saying that "much of it was similar to the genome for humans" means nothing of course alone.
We humans have genes that are nearly identical to those in yeast.

At the end of the article there is an attempt to put it in perspective, but again with the one-liners I just can't see how the lay-reader will make any sense of any of this:

"Humans and kangaroos last shared an ancestor at least 150 million years ago, the researchers found, while mice and humans diverged from one another only 70 million years ago."
"Wait, what?" one might think "I thought we were like kangaroos. But now we're more like mice? Does that mean twice as much like mice?"

But then the end of the article is the worst of all:
"Kangaroos are hugely informative about what we were like 150 million years ago," Graves said.
No context. No explanation. An image is conjured of kangaroos walking around 150 million years ago and then evolving into humans. No no no. It's rather all very indirect and 'we' is thrown around loosely. Now coincidentally having had he opportunity to hear this very Jenny Graves speak at a top scientific meeting outside of Brisbane a few years ago (Great talk by the way and the closing talk of the meeting), I would say that if in fact that quote came from her without more context, she did it on purpose just to mix things up and get people talking. (And to of course bring spotlight to her unique research into the genomes of endemic Australian species).

But this article is just generally useless. Does anybody get anything out of it? "Kangaroo genes close to human" and then nothing. gah. It's time more mainstream press took the initiative to actually understand the science behind these discoveries and make an effort to explain it to the population. People aren't stupid. They can handle it.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

It Pays to Speak German (literally)

When I go see a doctor here, I usually start out using German, and see if I can make it through the appointment without one of us feeling the need to switch to English. With one doctor I've been seeing regularly for 4 years now, and who can speak perfect English, we now converse in German. When we started he would always start in German, and then only switch when I would ask. Eventually I had enough confidence not to feel the need to ask.
Sometimes when I'm seeing new doctors, like I have been recently for some sort of nagging adductor tendinitis - groin pull - I start in German, but a combination of not understanding new technical medical words in German and wanting to make sure I'm perfectly clear about what the doctors are saying leads us to switch to English. I would say 3 of 4 doctors I see can speak English much better than I can German. Even the ones that can't speak English well make a good-hearted attempt, and I appreciate that, and we try to work out the technical jargon between us.
In many ways it's fun for me to make it through an appointment without having to switch to English. Gives me a boost to start my day. But I never in my dreams thought it would be financially beneficial. Until now. I was just opening doctor bills and going through charges, and I cam across one from a new doctor that I'd never seen before. Under it, it reads:

"Begründung: sprächliche Verständigungsschwerichkeiten: Anwendung Zweitsprache Englisch"

And then a charge of 17 euros. The above says the reason for the charge is there were difficulties in understanding and the doctor had to change and use a second language, English.
I'm seriously dumbfounded. Especially since the rest of the charges amounted to 75 euros, basically for this doctor to tell me after 15 minutes I needed to see a different doctor. He didn't tell me when we were 3/4 the way through the appointment that when I asked to clarify something by describing it in English it would cost me 20 bucks.
Doctor H. Witzigmann of the Friedrichstadt Krankenhaus, a true winner.
Again, never in 4 years have I ever seen this charge on a doctor bill.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Sometimes I read conservative blogs, just to see things like this.
Will Obama Blow the Progress of the Last 8 Years?
(no it's not a joke.)
Here you can find jokes.

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Did something happen this week in the world of baseball?

Reading about baseball is even more tortuous than watching it, but I've seen a lot of photos on the sports sites.

Now, if only hockey would end and we can consolidate the sports media on the sports that are interesting.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Me like Red. Sex. uh.

As a shout out to the sometimes over the top feminism of Shakesville and PunkAssBlog (blogs I highly recommend), particularly by male posters, which sometimes weirds me out a little, like, dude, seriously, you're trying too hard, I actually found this article on CNN.com kind of ridiculous.

Apparently a new study says wearing red makes women sexier and more attractive. But that's not all:

However, red won't make you look smarter or more competent, says study author Andrew Elliot, Ph.D., a professor of psychology at the University of Rochester in New York.

"We only found the effect for attraction, so males don't rate females in red as more intelligent, more likable, or as having a better personality; they only rate her as sexier and more attractive," he says.

Cause we all know that "attractiveness" of a woman has nothing to do with perceived intelligence, likability, or personality. WTF?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

German Reggae Scene

I really like these songs/videos.

This first one is new, the other two are older. They are, in my opinion, jams.

Peter Fox - Alles Neu

Jan Delay - Klar

Seeed - Aufstehen

And while we're here, here's another video. I don't like this one, and it's not reggae, I post it here because strangers have told me, sadly, that I look like Ferris MC. observe:

Stupid Stupid

First off, I was wondering just now who in history has received the most write-in votes for President. So I googled it. And the first hit I got was a "Yahoo! Answers" link, featuring a question from "Christians for McCain-Palin 08" which was:

If I write-in vote Palin for President, does it still count as a vote for McCain?

Whew. yeah. So there's a nice dose of double stupid.

As for the real answer, I don't know, but Wikipedia says Eugene V. Debs got nearly a million write-in votes while in federal prison in 1920 (Out of 26 million total).

Secondly, you've probably heard by now about the girl that scratched a 'B' into her face, apparently in the mirror, and then claimed a large black man robbed her, punched her, then carefully carved a backwards 'B' into her face (presumably for "Barrack") with a very dull knife after seeing her McCain-Palin bumper sticker. And later refused any medical treatment. Wonder why not. What's more stupid was all the people over at Little Green Footballs speculating on how the 'B' must be backwards because the attacker had her in a choke hold from above and then scratched it into her face - so that when she sits up it's upside down.
Oh yeah, and it looks like she's a McCain volunteer and student at Texas A&M

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

You're kidding, right?


McCain appeals to younger voters...and only makes things worse - check out his welcome clip.
He literally sucks any life or vibe out of the 'social networking' concept, but does succeed in doing a great imitation of your out-of-touch grandfather.
Nice background with the cartoon stars, though.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

What I've been doing the last week

...including, but not limited to, Salt Lick BBQ....

I think the final damage for 7 of us was 18 pounds (8 kilos) of brisket, sausage, and ribs

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Next t-shirt I wantIn case you missed it:

Saturday, September 27, 2008

There's just too many to pick from

I know everybody, and I mean everybody must be thinking of this when they see these Palin interview clips:

To be fair to Miss Teen South Carolina, she probably did not have an idea of what they were going to ask her.

As an American I'm insulted by the Republican party.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

I can't wait for the veep debate

Putin rears his ugly head and comes into the airspace of America.

I thinking about how to photoshop what this may look like.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008










via Poorman Institute via here

My computer is in the shop. And I've been in Heidelberg and Venice most of the last 2 weeks. So no photos and few posts. I got a macbook replacement and it broke and so now I've been downgraded to an old G3 iBook until I can show that I can take care of it. wah.

Monday, September 08, 2008

In a world where....

I was surfing the tubes and saw that Don LaFontaine has died. I didn't know his name until now, but he was the classic voice of all those movie trailers.

Which reminded me of this classic comedy routine that never gets old by Pablo Francisco , who may do a better Don LaFontaine voice than Don LaFontaine. Plus explosions.

I always want to jump out my seat at the end of this like "Yeeeahh!"

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Football Season has begun

And I'm watching two college football games live at the same time in Dresden, Germany.
Including the Wolverines. Life is good.

Point Taken

The Editors, a big NFL/Patriots fan, lets loose.

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Watch this.

watch this. watch this. watch this. watch this. These stupid pathetic fucks.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Pemba (Tanzania) sunset

Divers returning from the reefs at sunset.

I finally finished scanning in my slides from Africa (kind of). So hopefully I can post them up in my blog now along with some stories if I can still remember them....

Tuesday, September 02, 2008


Well, the evil bridge is well under construction, but that hasn't stopped the forces of good from continuing to fight it.
This looks like fun:

A bike-ride demonstration through the city next Sunday. From the town hall, through the old city, across the river, right by my flat, and then up to the construction site.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dude, this is awesome.

Official debut Friday......

Monday, August 25, 2008

Football From the Eastside

That's one of the phrases of Dresden's American Football Team, the
Dresden Monarchs. I went to check out a game for the first time a couple weeks ago (they had an offer that week where anybody named Alex got into the game for free. I went with a friend of mine, also named Alex), and then again last Saturday (with yet a different Alex by coincidence). I got in free the second time as well as Andy had free tickets because a physicist in his lab is on the team. For real.

It's actually pretty fun. It kind of reminds me of high school football. Mostly because there's a crowd of about 1000, and the skill level is such that there are more mistakes, leading to more big plays, unusual plays, exciting plays. For example, in the two games I've been to I've seen two (successful) fake punts, two blocked field goals, a 70yd TD rush, and about 3 missed PATs.

Dresden is in the 'German Football League' - the top league for American football in Germany. It is comprised of 12 teams in two divisions. The top 8 make the playoffs. Both games I've been to have been actually very exciting and close games. In the most recent Dresden had to win - and win by 6 points - in order to make the playoffs. The were competing with Hamburg, the team they were playing, for the last spot. Dresden was up only 5 late in the game, but in the last minutes managed a field goal to get to the playoffs.

The crowd is, well, strange. I can say for sure that for 1000 people they make alot of noise. You get the feeling that everybody really wants to be there (In fact the last game overlapped with a home game for Dresden's football(soccer) team Dynamo Dresden, and I doubt any of the fans were torn away). But the atmosphere is a little strange. For one, there is a guy walking the sideline, like an announcer with a wireless mic, basically mc'ing the whole game. The WHOLE game. He never shuts up. But in a way he is essential because he often explains what is going on on the field for the crowd. One thing I realized moving to Germany is that American football is an incredibly complicated game. The types of plays, number of players, positions, rules, penalties - they add up and ADD up, and when you're trying to explain the game to somebody while watching it's almost hopeless. Sometimes when a penalty came up the played a prerecorded explanation of the penalty over the loud speakers. So while the crowd knows the basics, the MC kind of helps with the strategy and situations. And he lets them know when to cheer. I found myself jumping out of my seat cheering when the ref signaled for a running into the kicker foul against the away team - all by myself. The crowd waited for the MC to explain......".....erster Versuch für Dresden!" (first down). Similarly, the crowd cheers great offensive plays, but not defensive plays. I also found my self jumping out of my seat on sacks, while the crowd seemed to just be waiting for offense. The guy is also funny because he would essentially be taunting the other team. "And what a terrible punt by the Hamburg kicker!!"

To complete the American atmosphere, they even have cheerleaders in high-school type outfits, they sell actual hamburgers and hot dogs along with the bratwurst, and sell t-shirts that say (in English) "Football is Sex, Baby." Yeah, that last one kinda missed.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Around Town

Having a reasonable camera in my phone and occasionally having my digicam in my bag allow for some interesting snapshots around town. Here are a handful from the last week:

The coolest tow truck ever:

Even with the smoking ban, Hebedas is still rocking. They have a few rooms where smoking is allowed, like where the pool table is:

This is funny. There was a whole product line in LIDL of this stuff. McEnnedy. Great name. The tag line below reads 'American Way'. Little do they know that the 'American Way' of burgers involves nothing called 'Hamburger Sauce' that you buy out of a bottle.
One of the dive schools setup this thing at Stadtfest. It's actually a great idea. They have this tank with windows and they take kids down in there from the top with scuba gear. Anybody over 8 years old. I can see kids getting really hooked on diving by being able to experience breathing underwater in a pretty cool setting.

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Monday, August 11, 2008

Badass of the week

Jason Lezak.

You're in the Olympics. You're anchoring the 400m relay. You're an American, and your biggest competition, the French, have been talking shit about how they are going to crush you.
You're trailing by half a length with 100m to go, with 50m to go, with 25 m to go....and then you just decide to kick ass and win, recording the fastest split of ALL TIME.

I can't find an online video of this. I saw it on TV even after I read about it, and then with German commentary, it and still brought tears to the eyes. It sounded something like this
coming down the last 50 meters:
"Da kann nichts mehr passiert. Da kann nichts mehr passiert. Vielleicht doch. VIELLEICHT DOCH!

Link to the video (hat tip Vineeth):

Tuesday, July 29, 2008


When I started this blog I thought a good 25-30% of the posts would be sports-related, maybe as an outlet for my lack of ability to watch American sports over here and my even greater lack of ability to talk about American sports over here, even with Americans. But there's been close to none. So here's a rare sports-related one.

Who would've ever dreamed things like this would one day be happening?
Real NBA talent choosing to leave the NBA to play in Europe.
And actually getting offers the NBA can't match. Completely unbelievable 20 years ago, and actually still is to me. I had no idea this ever happened EVER. but 7 times this year already?

I think it's great in one sense. That the game is becoming so global, even at the highest, professional level. I guess it shouldn't be too surprising having watched the USA teams world performances recently: yes, they can play the game over here.

On the other hand, don't players in the NBA get paid ridiculously large amounts of money already that we don't really need even more market competition driving these salaries up?
It'll be great when players start actually transferring between American and European teams for similar salaries, or even pulled away for less.
And then perhaps one day there will be a real basketball "world championship", playoffs from teams in leagues around the world. And not the NBA's self titled "world championship".
I wonder if the NBA will slow down on their campaign to bring basketball to the world, now seeing they may have some competition, or try to get into the action abroad, like the NFL's ill-fated "World League/NFL Europe/NFL Europa"

Monday, July 28, 2008


I'm having a hard time motivating to scan in all my slides from my safari adventure. So here's one of the batch that I did. It's not exactly in focus cause the sun had gone down. But with the colors it almost looks like a drawing. These guys were cool. But extremely skittish. Usually you only saw them as they were high-tailing it outta there. Like literally, often you would only see their little tails stuck straight up in the air in the high grass speeding away.

Friday, July 25, 2008

He's losing it.

Last week the "Iraq-Pakistan border"
This week just making up more shit, then actually trying to explain it away later with some first class diarrhea of the mouth.
He constantly fucks up, which is inevitable to happen in the course of a campaign, but not all the time, and in this case not just having trouble with words and self-confidence like the president, but seriously getting some shit wrong, and then literally making up crazy shit to try and cover it up. I mean, you just can't do that and expect people to believe you. He seems to be really in over his head, but in a very different way than our current president.

To his credit he is taking questions in front of the cheese section. Hey, I shop for cheese in the grocery store. He's like me, a good ol' cheese-shopper, not some jet-set "change-the-world" elitist.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Live-blogging Obama Berlin speech

Okay Live blogging Barack’s speech
Try this out.
I’ve got CNN, BBC, SKYnews, and Al Jazeera to switch between here.
Quotes guaranteed not to be accurate

SKY: Somebody just said that this is being compared to JFK’s speech at the Brandenburg Gate, which is partly why he wasn’t allowed to speak there. Which is just wrong. Even I know that. JFK didn’t speak at the Brandenburg Gate.

19:20 No Barack yet

On sky news the commentator just referred to Obama as a “black JFK”. WTF? Why they gotta bring up black?

BBC and Sky have gone to continuous live shots of the crowd

19:21 Here he COMES!!!!

Al Jazeera is not covering it.

19:23 Okay he brings up being black right off the bat. So shut my mouth.
“I don’t look like the other Americans that spoke here before"

Said he's here “Not hereas a candidate for president, but as a citizen of the world.”
Yeah, RIGHT.

Brings up the airlift.
“soviet shadow”. Hmmm bringing up the evil Russians kinda.

Okay some good Berliner ass kissing. Yes yes

Okay Al Jazeera is on board.

19:30 still talking bout berlin and the wall.

Side note to self: Get piece of wall next time in Berlin (there’s still sections left! Is that illegal?)

19:32 laundry list of bad things happening in the world

Do the press have American flags?!?

Talks shit about soviet union again

Okay now coming out of general terrorism and into talking about Afghanistan specifically.
Taliban Al Qaeda, taking them down. Rebuilding the nation.
Note: NO mention of Iraq here. Word.


Now comes out strong on nuclear weapons. Prevention and disarmament
No mention Iran specifically.

Brings up cold war again more then into we need to “Work with Russia when we can” still linking Russia with old Soviet Union as evil foes, IMO.

19:43 Now talks about Iran.

And now brings up Iraq, but in terms of bringing the war to a close, not a front line on the war against terrorism. Stark contrast to Afghanistan.

Kisses some german ass on Carbon emission, says US should be better.
Well, could have said more about this actually.

“The moment to give children BACK their future”

19:45 "US planes over Berlin did not bring BOMBS to defeat the oppression, brought food and candy, won hearts and trust and people." Yes. Nice contrast to our bombing all over now.
nice one.

"Will we reject torture?"
Yes, I see that as thinking about US torturing and criticisms of this admin.

"We’ve struggled to keep the promise of liberty and equality.
made mistakes, etc."
ouch, there will be criticism of this statement by the right. Reminds me of Michelle’s line about ‘first time I’m proud.'
But his statement was completely correct.
Tries to bring it home with how much I love America.
Not gonna do it for naysayers.

19:49 Yeah, yeah, talking up America. It’ s getting emotional. The REAL American dream.
Oh came down too soon.

This is TOTALLY a campaign speech. Of course.
And then ends it.

Post analysis:
CNN: Good point about comparing this reception to how it is when Bush goes abroad. He speaks to little groups if US troops. It would be a disaster of he tried to speak in Berlin.

Well, yeah, I think I coulda missed that. Watching in TV gets the message across.
Nice speech. But of course he's preaching to the choir. Nobody in the US is going to be watching this at 1pm on Thursday. but the coverage did capture the excitement of the giant crowd. Hopefully they can play that up.

Before I go while I'm writing this up, on CNN they just said this, no joke:
"Not to be out done, John McCain ate at a German restaurant in Columbus."
Obamamania in Berlin

At 7pm tonight Obama will deliver a super-hyped speech in the middle of Berlin, the same place that held the "fan mile" of madness during the world cup. I thought about going up to check it out, but then again, it may just be frustrating dealing with that many people. Plus I'm thinking of heading up to Berlin Saturday anyway.

I do want this t-shirt though.

Monday, July 21, 2008

I crave corn on the cob

This is what I get for corn here. Look at this. This is typical. God, I would kill for a big fresh crispy ear of corn. If anybody in Dresden knows something, please let me know.

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Strange times

This short AP article really sums up the madness of the Pope’s visit to Australia.
And when you step back to look at these things, it’s a little weird. The term 'cult' even comes to mind.
For example, take the 12.5 foot wooden cross that has been hauled all over Australia of the last year, with people reacting to it like like they’ve gone mad, lunging though crowds to touch it. With people weeping. And even shouting, to the tune of the famous Aussie cry, “Holy Holy Holy! Spirit Spirit Spirit!”
…said Wilkins, 55, of Sydney. "To touch it makes me feel I was an integral part of it."
Hundreds lined up to kneel before the cross, place their hands on it and pray.
Where else can an 18 year old from Texas come all the way to Sydney, Australia, then say the day after she arrived, with ‘tears streaming down her face' no less, “We’re homesick..but it’s a sacrifice” Homesick? In Australia? After one day? A sacrifice? AHHHHHHHH!!!!! open your eyes.

And then for all the crazy cultish madness the Pope will come out and as a main topic tell all these people how sorry he is that his church has been responsible for endless cases of child sexual assault.
And the people will weep and kiss everything.

And then and THEN, the article references a LAW that was placed that ‘prevents people from doing anything considered ‘annoying’ to World Youth Day Pilgrims. Annoying to world youth day pilgrims? Anything annoying? So suspend some freedoms for these guys? What about the rest of the residents of Sydney? Think they are a bit ‘annoyed’ by anything the "World Youth Day Pilgrims" are doing? I’m SURE NONE of the 200,000 of them are doing anything annoying AT ALL.
Goodness. Well.
Maybe I'm a little extra wound up since I just watched “There Will be Blood".

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Cover Madness

The Rude Pundit has the best reaction I've read yet to the insanity over the friggin cover of the New Yorker with the Obamas.
The more often than not entertaining Jon Swift post has some good parts, but not up to standard. I guess he had to get it out quick to be topical.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Mike and the Maasai

Someday I will post pictures of my recent trip to East Africa with stories and what not. But until that day, here is one video from the trip that made me laugh out loud. Mike in Kenya with the Maasai.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

I can blog from my phone. Berlin. Plenary talk on calcium vesicle signaling in neurons. Not my thing.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

Back (sort of)

Got back last night to Germany from Dar Es Salaam. Exhausted. But now I'm hanging around Berlin for a few days for an HFSP awardeees conference. I haven't thought about science for nearly 3 weeks.
And I feel like I need to relax and have a vacation.
There will be posts and photos from Africa - but it may take a while as I took half my pictures with that ancient stuff called film and I'll need to get it developed and maybe even scan in the slides myself.

Trip log:
Nairobi - Masai Mara Reserve - Nairobi - Stone Town
(Unguja Isl., Zanzibar) - Nungwi (Unguja Isl., Zanzibar) - Wete, (Pemba Isl., Zanzibar) - near Makangale (Pemba Isl., Zanzibar) - Pujini (Pemba Isl., Zanzibar)- Pangani - Dar

Friday, June 13, 2008

Mr. Lake visits

Today if all goes well Mike will arrive in Dresden. And then next week we'll leave for Africa.
The plan is to fly into Nairobi, do a 3 day safari, and then figure it out from there. Probably head to the coast of Tanzania and out to the islands there and hopefully get in some diving.
I have a history of traveling with Mike,

from scaring away monkeys in Ecuador

to acquiring black-market rice liquor in predominantly Muslim Indonesia

To getting lost in a jungle in Malaysia

To generally acting a fool in the back of a pickup cruising through Thailand

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Fox News is so transparent.

I didn't know if it was just me, but a couple of times I thought Fox news was loading their Obama headlines with subtle references to stereotypical "black" culture items. For example when he clinched the nomination, and I can't exactly remember the headline or find it, it was something like "Historic Performance in Crunch Time" or something. Basically it was a sports headline. Something reserved for an athlete. But today I saw this on some blogs. Fox news referring to Michelle Obama in a headline as "Obama's baby mama". I mean, are you kidding me? Not even "Obama's baby's mama", but "Obama's baby mama." It just kind of leaves you speechless.

And on a related side note, I feel sorry for the normal people of West Virginia and Appalachia, cause we've been hearing a lot of absurdly idiotic, racist, and ignorant comments coming out of there. You can only conclude the press (and often foreign press) is sifting through hundreds of hours of taped interviews for these "gems", and it's not putting the region in a good light.
For example, the guy that said :

'We'll end up slaves. We'll be made slaves just like they was once slaves,' he said. Telvor, a white Democrat who supported Hillary Clinton in West Virginia's primary, said he planned to vote for Republican John McCain in November. 'At least he's an American,' he added with a disarmingly friendly smile.

Or the women featured in this Daily Show clip, on why Obama didn't do so well in West Virginia.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Trabi kaufen

Today we (Tony, Cliff, and I) went and had a look at some Trabis for sale.

On the left is a 1968 Trabant 601 "Kombi" (Station wagon). On the right is a 1989 Trabant 601 Limousine.

Cliff and Tony discuss the rewards of a 2-stroke engine.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

I WILL vote this time!

Mailed the paper work out today to do all I can to get a ballot for the presidential election.
Last year it took a mailing, several emails, and THEN several phone calls to Virginia to get the people there to realize they were supposed to be sending me a ballot. And then, THEN, after my third conversation with the nice lady in Virginia she acknowledged that they "found" my application and would be sending me a ballot - it never actually came. (Which later I found out happened to thousands of people overseas - makes you wonder when you think about how VA was considered nearly a swing state last election and that it goes without question that most non-military overseas voters are going to vote Democratic...)

Now it seems VA could really be a key state - so I think I'll raise hell to make sure my vote is counted - at least for peace of mind.

Obama signals Republicans face fierce fight in Va.

Monday, June 02, 2008

Yellow Fever Virus Kicking My Ass

Well, a live attenuated version of the virus called 17D. Know the difference between the one that causes Yellow Fever and kills people and the one that is used for vaccinations?
Well, scientists don't either. They only really know it works. Every time somebody is given the attenuated live virus they become resistant to the really bad virus. And most of the time they do not die.
Real virus, or 17D version currently kicking my ass?

The virus I got 3 weeks ago was the same as the one discovered/isolated in 1937. They got it then by taking virus from a man infected with Yellow Fever from Ghana, infecting some monkeys with it, accidentally killing some lab workers with it, and eventually passing it through mouse brain and chick embryo tissue over and over until it seemed to be benign.
Today ongoing research is still conducted to try to find out the difference between this "attenuated" virus and the real one, and why it seems to be so good as a vaccination.

When I got the vaccination the doctors just told me not to exercise for a week. For a week I had no ill affects. Then about 10 days after the vaccination I suddenly got some flu-like symptoms: cold sweats, headache, sore muscles over the entire body, exhaustion. Then 24 hours later they were completely gone. The internet confirmed this was most likely from the vaccination. In 2-10% of cases, patients experience flu like symptoms 7-10 days after vaccination for 24 hours. That seemed pretty cut and dry. Even interesting after it was over, thinking this live virus was running around eliciting an immune response, but one that my body nicked fast.

But then 3 days ago, 17 days after vaccination, I started to get symptoms again. Started with lightheadedness and dizziness all day Friday. Then Saturday the whole-body muscle aches, fatigue, etc came again. Spent the whole weekend on the couch.

This morning (Monday) I was still immobilized so I dragged myself to the doctor. He was rather unimpressed, and relatively convinced it's my immune system still dealing with the vaccination. Peracetamol (Acetaminophen) was his answer. So I just have to wait and try to fight the pain with Acetaminophen and hope for the best. Thing is, things I found on the internet only have side affects of vaccination lasting under 2 weeks. It's been three weeks for me now. The only evidence of those are where people end up in the hospital fighting for their lives!
Like these guys:

Case 3. On September 17, 2001, a man aged 36 years received YEL in preparation for travel to Brazil. He had diaphoresis, fever of 102.2º F (39.0º C), rigors, and headache 13 days after vaccination; 16 days after vaccination, he lost consciousness and was hospitalized with severe headache and fever of 106.0º F (41.1º C)


Case 5. On February 7, 2002, a man aged 41 years received YEL and hepatitis A vaccine in preparation for travel to Venezuela. Six days after vaccination, he had low-grade fever, headache, and myalgia, which worsened over several days; 16 days after vaccination, he was hospitalized with fever of 104.0º F (40.0º C), headache, and rigors.

The main lesson from this is probably to not read the internet.
But I'm waiting for that super-high fever to kick in.


Sunday, June 01, 2008

Summer is here. I'm blogging this from my cell phone. See how it works. The color me my hefeweizen seemed to attract flies, which would get stuck there since it was sweating profusely.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Good Weekend (!)

This weekend my first first-author paper of my postdoc was accepted for publication (in the Journal of Cell Biology) This is work I've been doing for 3+ years, and a manuscript I started writing up 9 months ago. The basic focus of the research is on how cells build and regulate the transient apparatus (shown below in purple) needed when the cells divide to accurately segregate their DNA (green) perfectly and equally into the two new cells.

In addition, this weekend our MPI-CBG Ultimate (frisbee) team "Ring of Fire" competed in a two-day tournament in Jena against teams from around Germany, and took home 5th place! out of 20 teams. (photos and video to follow...)

Sunday, May 18, 2008

New Blog Name

I decided to change the name of this blog on the 1st blogiversary, and I finally did. Something now that references my hometown, my name, and my current residence. We'll see if it sticks. I think I'll start playing around with some photos on the title too.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Oh O'Reilly.

update: Link is down, try to watch it here.
And definitely check out the dance remix.

I saw this on Talking Points Memo. This is awesome.

The calmness with which the crew handles him and gets him to finish suggests this wasn't his first tantrum. But it doesn't make me dislike O'Reilly any more. Actually it makes me want to watch the spectacle that is his show. I used to watch it semi-regularly for the entertainment value.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Dreams - edition one

For several years I've been trying to write down my dreams as soon as I wake up from them. It's actually amazingly difficult. I really have to fight myself so that I don't convince myself in my sleepy daze that a) they are not interesting enough to write down, b) I won't remember the good parts, and/or c) I'm just too tired to be bothered with it all. So I'd say I only end up writing down 10-20% of the dreams I actually awake from, which is likely only a fraction of all dreams.
Anyway, they are interesting to go back and read. Often I don't even remember them when I go back and read them. I thought I would just post them on here.
I figured I would scan in what I wrote - sometimes seeing the chicken scratch is interesting in itself - and then transcribe it word for word - without interpretations or explanations.
Here's the last one recorded in my book by my bed - appropriately including science and German.
(click to enlarge)


26/4/08 3:45am

Somewhere unknown. Some bldg or complex.
developing Western. machine taken down. Must do manually.
woman shows me trays of chemicals. she hands me my sheet from developer ->
but now I don't know which tray. to go to next. I guess. and put it in. then kinda hold it up to my nose. At some point she looks and sees I've gone to wrong tray, and worse it's very toxic & I've inhaled it. We may need to get to doctor. Somebody needs to help us. We are walking thru building looking for help. I think I see a young woman, turn corner & she is not there. Like a ghost. Finally I run around the corner & she is there. "Entschuldigung, konnen Sie uns bitte helfen?" I say. She seems annoyed. Not helping. I see another woman. Then I see a third woman, but it is the same as the 1st. There are 2 of the first there. I start panicking. The chemical is making me crazy. Then I see 2 of the second. I tell the original woman we have to hurry to the doctor., I'm going crazy, I'm seeing two people (& not like double vision, like independently being, but identical replicates of people walking around). I'm panicking.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Favorite Songs of the Moment

One old one...
The Postal Service - The District Sleeps Alone Tonight

One new one...
Bonnie 'Prince' Billy - The World's Greatest (R. Kelly Cover)

Listen to the original here.
hat tip to Maria for the second one.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

Bad omen?

While campaigning in Kentucky, Hillary Clinton thought it would be cute to tell voters to put their money in the Kentucky Derby on the lone filly in the field, saying "I want everybody to place a little money on the filly". This was the first female contestant even in the race in 9 years. Seeing how this horse was a 20:1 odd to win, it seemed an odd thing to say, since it seemed that the lone filly was destined to lose in her analogy. But it was actually worse.

I just saw the race results on CNN. The filly actually ended up finishing second behind the male horse, named "Big Brown".
But then shortly after crossing the line in second place, sadly the filly broke both front ankles, collapsed, and had to be put down there on the track.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Classic German

I realized that I am in fact learning German when I was able to understand this unusual sign I saw when walking by a hospital in Martinsried.
"Hubschrauber Flugverkehr - Drachensteigen verboten!"
That is some classic German.

And then on the same trip as I was waiting in the airport to get on the plane a Lufthansa employee came by and conducted a little interview with me about my travel habits and plans for statistics - and to my enjoyment without switching to English. It was like an extended German class exercise.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Busy busy busy

No time for blogging - just got back from traveling to Munich, Vienna, and Děčín over the last 2 weeks - more on some of that later. maybe. This week will be all writing to get a paper finally resubmitted.

But here's something:
Favorite German word of the month: angrillen
This is a verb that is used in reference just to the first time you fire up the grill in the spring for the new year. how sweet is that? Like 'wir haben gestern angegrillt'. Or 'wir grillen heute an.'
I opened the grilling season for myself officially I guess when my friend Amy from Brighton was visiting and we scored some homemade bratwurst - lamb and standard variety - from the local butcher, and Amy hooked up some homemade kartoffelsalat to go with them. I cannot begin to explain the difference between these bratwurst and the store-bought variety (even here in Germany).

Monday, March 31, 2008

World Tour 2008

Well, World tour 2008 is about to kick off. World Tour 2007 was a hit and will be hard to match. Here are the current dates:
  • April 2-6 Collaboration at MPI-Martinsried
Munich, Germany

Vienna, Austria

  • April 13-15 MPI-CBG Postdoc Retreat
Děčín, Czech Republic

Berlin, Germany

Heidelberg, Germany

  • September 19-22 Hanging out with Mom and some good food and sun
Venice, Italy

Solid yet unconfirmed dates:

* May 30 - April 1 Splatsch Ultimate Frisbee Tournament

Düsseldorf, Germany

* October 15-20 Texas Longhorns football game and general Austin time (good eats)

Austin, TX, USA

Tentative Dates:

*MAY 5-7 Hyman Lab Retreat, Mendel Center (on the site where Mendel worked)

Brno, Czech Republic

* Summer Roughin' it with ol' Mike

??, Madagascar

* December 13-17 ASCB Annual Meeting

San Francisco, USA

Whew. Adds up when you write it all out at once.