Books I’ve read this year, Edition…THREE

So three years ago now, Sci made a New Year’s Resolution to read 100 books in a year. That’s a book every three days. I was actually doing very well until I started a blog in the May of that year. That kind of tanked that project, though I still managed to read over 60 books.

The year after that, my resolutions were more modest, 30 books. I didn’t make it. I read 29. But I still felt pretty solid. That list is here.

And this year, I wanted to continue the tradition. I didn’t have many expectations for myself, I DID write a dissertation, after all, but I didn’t do as badly as I thought I would. Here they are, in no particular order:
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Sci has been VERY busy the past few weeks. Extremely busy. Crazy things are afoot, my friends.

You see, a few days after Sci resigned from Scienceblogs and headed back here to her own little digs, whispers began arriving in her email. What if…there was another place. What if…the bloggers ruled themselves. And what if…aw heck, well we can TRY can’t we?!

Scientopia is born!


From now until the forseeable future, this site is going dormant again, as Sci heads off to a new future with the bloggers of SCIENTOPIA!!!!

It’s going to be a cool thing, you guys. This building from the ground up is some seriously hard work, but we think we’ve got a group of people who can work together, blog together, and discuss with each other and with bloggers elsewhere. And we think we may be able to provide some good sciencey entertainment.

So come and join us!!! And adjust your RSS feeds!

Coffee of the Week, Edition 3

Sci has recently taken to talking about her coffee experiences. She usually buys by the pound, and goes through one pound of coffee solid before she blogs about it. This allows me to get the initial surprise of the new coffee flavor, but also to feel how the coffee feels on a daily basis, what you get to know about it. In my mind, the best coffees are the ones you expect in the morning, the ones you wake up and go “mmm, I really want that nutty flavor of that nice savory blend…”.

For today’s coffee, we are going to one of Sci’s favorite brands, Counter Culture out of Durham. I got my first exposure to them at SciOnline 2009, when we did a tasting, and I’ve been an addict ever since.

I don’t know why, but I’ll say that Counter Culture brand tends to leave me a lot more “wired” than other coffees. I’m not sure if the caffeine content is higher, or if there’s something else, but one cup of Counter Culture is enough to get me up and going, and two or more leave me UNCOMFORTABLY ENERGETIC.

But today’s blend is delicious despite the energy. I picked up their Mocha Java. It’s a lovely blend, and astonishingly fruity. I really notice the taste of raisins in it, as well as a nice fresh aftertaste. It’s a coffee I generally prefer to drink in the later morning or afternoon rather than the earlier morning, so I can focus more on the taste rather than the “need to get to work…grump grump I hate mornings…”. I would definitely drink this again (well, duh, I have and probably will!)

Sci takes any coffee recommendations and would love to hear insights on various brands and flavors!

A Geeky Recommendation

In case you all did know, Sci’s a massive geek. And so she does some massively geeky things. And one of those geeky things is that I watch The Guild.

The Guild is a short web-comedy about a bunch of gamers and their rather hilarious, geeky hijinks. It’s now up to season 4, and the actors have gained some seriously geeky internet fame (and apparently they DO actually game together!!! How cool is that?!)

Anyway, in addition to the web series, which is seriously hilarious, they also make MUSIC VIDEOS, which will get in your head and make you feel…not quite so bad about your addiction to games. πŸ™‚

Video: The Guild – Music Video – Do You Want To Date My Avatar

(I would like to note that this is TOTALLY what I’m wearing for Halloween this year)

Video: Season 4 – Music Video – “Game On”

Friday Weird Science: HEY GUYS, I’M SO DRUNK RIGHT NOW!!!!

You know how it is when you’re in college (or high school). You’ve got that one kid (and yes, it has at some point been you) who’s never had a drink before, and they go to a party. You have a few drinks, they have a few drinks, and pretty soon, even though they have been told repeatedly that they need to keep it down because the club is 21 and up and you’ve got fake ID’s, the kid is screaming “HEY YOU GUYS! I”M SO DRUNK RIGHT NOW!!! DID I TELL YOU I WAS 17?!?!”

Now, I’m sure we all know a good bit of this is simply the loss of inhibition and the excitement of getting drunk for the first time. But there is there also something else? Haven’t we all noticed that parties where alcohol is involved tend to get WAY louder?

It turns out it may have something to do with your hearing! Upile, et al. “The acute effects of alcohol on auditory thresholds” The British Medical Journal of Ear, Nose and Throat Disorders, 2007.

This post comes to you via NCBI ROFL, providing some of the craziest abstracts to the internet since 2009.

(I do wonder, they keep doing all these studies that seem so obvious when it comes to things like acute drinking. Is there a study out there on whether or not getting drunk will make you more likely to wear your underwear on your head? Studying that in a controlled environment would be…really really awesome).

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What would you show the world?

Sci saw this on the NY Times the other day. I think it’s utterly fascinating to see the secret selves that people have. That guy? Walking down the street with a suit and a briefcase? Really, he’s a WIZARD! And that psychotherapist? She’s got a chainsaw!

But what I would also think would be really fascinating would be to do a whole bunch of pictures where you ask people to present themselves as they want to be seen. What motivates you? What do you want to give people or do with people every day?

Sci thinks she’d like to wear fishnets, combat boots, a tutu, and a lab coat, and be throwing huge handfuls of glitter and chocolate covered coffee beans in the air! Because I want people who meet me to feel like life is full of glitter and chocolate covered coffee beans. And SCIENCE. A good life, is what I’m saying.

What about you? Sci wants to know her readers. What would you show people? How would you show them?

I want you to hit me…

This might be the best thing that Sci has seen ALL WEEK.

Brilliant. Partially because Sci, like many a good girl geek out there, LOVES some Jane Austen (ok, we all fell in love with Pride and Prejudice, secondarily with Sense and Sensibility because Marianne was SUCH a diva, and the other ones fall behind because DANGIT, Fanny of Mansfield Park really needed a spine, and Emma was…Emma). And secondly, I think it’s brilliant because life back then really WAS so completely tied down and bound up for the women of that class. I bet they could have used a fight club.

Stem Cells and Diabetes

*I would like to start with a disclaimer. My laptop is broken (AGAIN), and until I invest in a new harddrive, I am going to have to write all the posts on this little netbook, Ruby, who, while intrepid, can’t do JACK when it comes to images. Which means I’ll have to add the images in the AM. My apologies.

Sci found this paper today and immediately had to run around showing it to people and saying “OMG isn’t this COOL!!” At first, it was so cool that I thought I should save it for a special occasion, but dangit, I’m feeling celebratory. Anyway, I wanted to blog it NOW.

And since this is Sci’s blog, what Sci wants, Sci gets.

And I love this paper. Alipio, et al. “Reversal of hyperglycemia in diabetic mouse models using induced-pluripotent stem (iPS)-derived pancreatic Ξ²-like cells” PNAS, 2010.

So first, let’s talk a little about diabetes.

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Science Poetry Contest!!!

Jason at The Thoughtful Animal let Sci know about this contest, knowing Sci’s love of completely terrible poetry.

And now there’s an opportunity for you to compete for the First Annual Charles Prize in Poetry! This will honor the most outstanding poem in the context of health, science, or medicine.

Poems should be related to experiencing, practicing, or reflecting upon a medical, scientific, or health-related matter.

And even better, if you wanted, you could then submit your poem to OPEN LAB, which publishes up to two poems a year! With poetry as famous as that, you could totally pose around coffee shops with a tight black turtle neck and a set of bongos, jammin’ to your science sounds!

Probably the poems shouldn’t be as silly as the ones Sci usually goes in for, but hey, you never know. They might appreciate the silly side of science. πŸ™‚

The Geek Hierachy, New and possibly Improved!

Mr. S showed Sci something hilarious today when she got home from work (yes, she works on a Sunday. She’s a post-doc). The something he showed was this:

This is the geek heirarchy (bigger version here), and is a basic flow chart of who is considered to be the most nerdy among the nerds, they geekiest of the geeks, the dorkiest of the dorks.

Actually, they just say geek. It’s often easier than adding in Nerd and Dork because you then have to distinguish between the three definitions (there IS a difference. If you did not immediately KNOW that there was a difference, you are clearly none of the above). But many people perceive geek as being the most “cool” (relatively speaking) of the three terms, and so geek has become kind of a catchall.

So Mr. S and Sci laughed over this flowchart for a while. And then, being the MASSIVE nerds that we are, we started critiquing it. Where were the magic cards? Where was Warhammer? What about STAR WARS?! What about the people who may not buy replicas of famous swords, but DO proudly wear Star Trek corsetry and that necklace Arwen gave to Aragorn in LOTR?! And what about the people who attend anime conventions in costume?! They feel woefully underrepresented here. Furthermore, how do you rank if you, say, have seen all the Star Wars movies, know them by heart, AND are a Heinlein fan, AND refuse to watch anime unless it’s in the original Japanese with subtitles?!

Obviously this flowchart is flawed.

And Mr. S and I think WE CAN DO BETTER. We can do better for ourselfs, and for all our geeks out there.

We need a ranking system.

So here we go.
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