From impressions

GENOMIC DNA EXTRACTION IS ABOUT THE PLAYING

We are grand father-grand son duo emotionally intertwined like the two complementary strands of a DNA duplex. Unlike the weak H bonds in the biomolecule, our attachment is due to divine bonds strengthened by a friendship extraordinaire. Farzaan, eight-year old grandson of the senior author, is a regular viewer of ‘Backyard Science’ shows on television. Some months ago he dared his grand father, a university teacher of plant cytogenetics to coach him perform molecular biology experiments in their home in Kolkata, India. The kid had jeered at his friend-grandpa: “You bore me incessantly with your books and bla bla about…

STILL LIFE WITH A MODEL ORGANISM

– – – Last Thanksgiving, I needed to bring my flies home for the holidays in anticipation of the eclosion of important potential recombinant male progeny. My goal was to use my freezer, a tray of ice, a dissection pad, a paintbrush, and some hoisted fly food vials from my lab to separate the males and the females. At some point during Thanksgiving, my mother asked if they “needed to be on the countertop” and when I said “no” they were moved to this photogenic area. Remarks were made about the apt proximity of fruit to fruit flies, the galosh…

WHAT IS TWITTER GOOD FOR?

Well, it’s been about three weeks since I signed up for a personal account on twitter (you can follow me here if you’re interested – my handle is @dnghub), and threw out my first “tweet.” Since then, I’ve found myself fully immersed in the web tool, and feel like I can say a few intelligent things about it, especially if you’re reading this as someone who is resisting signing on, or someone who just wants to know a little more about it. It might help if I first start off with a bit of context. For instance, my lab sort…

GENDER QUEST

(If you want to leave a comment about the talk, please do so here). – – – Topic: Alex discusses the influence of gender in his own life in this TEDx talk, describing both medical and social perspectives of gender in our daily lives and the impact and consequences these perspectives bring to every individual. Links: Transgender Health Program, VCH, TEDxTt09 Filmed by Craig Ross at TEDx Terry talks 2009 (October 3rd, 2009). Video edited by David Ng.

WHAT COLOUR IS A UNICORN?

What color is a unicorn? Well, let’s think about this for a second. There are paintings of unicorns. And there are movies about them. Also unicorns have shown up on tapestries, in novels, poems, songs, video games, tattoos, little sculptures made of plastic that children play with, etc. In fact there are many, many depictions and descriptions of unicorns out there, but are these real unicorns? No, not at all. So, with this realization I should like to amend my question to read: What color is a REAL unicorn? This is more difficult to answer isn’t it? To answer the…

2/4 OF ONE, 1/2 OF THE OTHER

“Do you believe that black students are less intelligent than white students because their parents do not care about them? Raise your hand if you believe this.” I was able to hold back the tears when my fourth grade teacher asked this question. My best friend and first real crush raised his hand with rest of my class and shot me an apologetic glance. During my fourth grade year, the No Child Left Behind act was passed, resulting in a survey of students in my Illinois elementary school to locate and highlight common stereotypes about black people. Stereotypes were read…

MOONRISE

I never realized the moonrise was so bloody. It hangs over the hazy lights of the city like an attacking alien planet, looking much more like Mars than Mars, which actually looks like a star, and is only slightly red if you squint really, really hard. Outside the city, on an empty access road, I get the best view I can afford, but even here in the prairies, I am resentful of all the things in my way. I’ve reaffirmed my vague ambition to drive to the desert and sleep under the stars sometime. I can imagine the huddled masses…

ON SYMMETRY (AND ITS DESIRABLE, POSSIBLE, AND ACTUAL CONSEQUENCES WITH RESPECT TO THEOLOGY, PARTICLE PHYSICS, AND INTERNATIONAL DEVELOPMENT)

I’ve been thinking lately about the prevalence of symmetry in so many philosophies, ideologies, and such. It seems like just about every major world religion, if not every major religion, has some concept of good versus evil; light versus dark — dancing an endless waltz; a delicate, fragile deadlock, which, despite all odds, never loses its equilibrium. There must be some subtle gyroscope at work, maintaining the balance. A god beyond God? The thing is, all these varying belief systems seem to agree that this balance exists, that there is a counteraction to each action, that there is a shadow…