Saturday, September 30, 2006

I'm getting a lot done

Caleb's RNA video reminded me of something and I couldn't remember what exactly it was, until now. It's the T-shirt slogan:

"I may not look very busy, but on a cellular level, I'm really quite active."

Autumn rainbow

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Thursday, September 28, 2006

Ya gotta love 'em

This guy is upset, I guess. Vulgarity warning.

And then there's George Michael . I should know who he is, but I don't. Some sort of "performer". Another vulgarity warning, I suppose, but I don't quite get it.

Really, you can't make this stuff up.

How duct tape is made

Every OMer knows lots of ways to make things out of duct tape . . . but did you ever wonder how they make duct tape in the first place? Here's a site where you can find out how they make duct tape, sparklers, baseball bats, saxophones, and lots more.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006

My Hero!

"I now believe that the greatest climate threat we face may be coming from alarmist computer models."

A must read.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Hey, Sox Fans!

Does it seem like Gordon Edes is slightly deranged in this piece on Manny? Has he got Journalist's Disease? Is he jealous of Manny's deferred payments? I respected Edes until now.

Does Pedroia impress? I've been underwhelmed but Luke thought he was impressive in Saturday's game.

Should Julian Tavarez be given a chance to start next year? He's been a different pitcher when starting.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Cornel West and Noam Chomsky, OK. But Danny Glover?

Christ, have these people ever met a dictator they didn't like? Kudos to Schumer and Rangel for a little bipartisan integrity. Clinton, slick as ever.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Maybe we could control the mosquitos organically

or homeopathically treat the malaria victims. Thanks, Rachel Carson.

Natural Selections Foods, LLC/Earthbound Farm

"Natural Selection/Earthbound Farm, based in San Juan Bautista, California, says it is the largest U.S. grower and shipper of organic produce, supplying nearly three quarters of all U.S. supermarkets and with a presence in every U.S. city."

Click here.

An update from Mom -- here is an article on how e coli gets into organic spinach and lettuce, and why you can't wash it off.

What I Learned in Vet School Yesterday

Hey, are you interested in the biochemical mechanism of RNA translation? Remember the '60s? Then this is the video for you! Don't be fooled by the minute or two of introduction, 'cause you don't want to miss it when the action starts!

Protein Synthesis: An Epic on the Cellular Level


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Indoc and More College Updates From Rochester Murphy Branch

Okay I'm finally getting around to making this post about my Indoc weekend like I told you guys I would. It was quite an experience. The first thing I want to say about everything I've done so far for ROTC is that it has all been completely unlike anything I have ever done before. Everything has been a totally new experience and a lot of the time a huge challenge. Doing physical training with these guys is completely different then anything I ever did on my own or in soccer or anything like that. They run you as hard as you can for as long as you can until they get every little ounce of energy out of you. Sunday morning with about 10 minutes left in PT I actually seriously hit a wall when I was running where I could barely keep my balance because my calves and thighs had no strength left, and I was just shifting my weight back and forth pretty much to try and drag my legs along. At the end of course, they don't let you rest, they make you stand at attention and they don't let you breathe through your mouth. My legs have never been as sore as they were on monday before.

Before Indoc I was very careful to pack everything I needed in my seabag nicely, and the first thing they did when we got there was take us out into the grass and make us dump everything out. They called it a check to make sure we had everything, but really it was just to try and torture us a little bit. They would dump our huge sea bags into the grass and kick everything around, scream in our faces to go and pick it up, and halfway through tell us to dump it again. This went on over and over for about an hour or two.

During meals they would march us over to the dining hall where we would eat in silence sitting at attention the whole time. As soon as we were done eating we had to get out our yellowjacket manuals and study them, holding them up with one hand and our elbows fully extended of course, until we were dismissed. We had to do a lot of studying the yellowjacket manuals and it was always like that, completely straight-armed. We're pretty much supposed to memorize everything in them, and they would ask us to recite things from it and most of the time we wouldn't be able to and we'd get an earful.

The sergeant instructors were all senior Midshipmen, also known as First Class Midshipmen, or MIDN 1/c. They would do whatever they could to make fun of any of us freshman. One kid was named Macdonald, and everytime one of the sergeant instructors said "Macdonald" he would have to say "bada da da daa, I'm lovin' it!" With me, it was everytime they asked me what my problem was, I would have to yell at the top of my lungs, "SLOW IN THE HEAD!" If I wasn't loud enough they'd ask again and again until they were satisfied. Also we had to refer to ourselves in the 3rd person, so if they asked you how you were feeling or something you had to say "This Midshipman is doing well!" Things like that.

We had to address the Sergeant Instructors as "Sergeant Instructor Midshipman First Class _____" everytime, and if you got it wrong you'd get an earful. If you got caught looking at one of them, you'd get yelled at for that, which made it very difficult to learn their names. They would say "ARE YOU EYEBALLING ME?! WHY ARE YOU EYEBALLING ME?! DO YOU THINK I'M CUTE?! DO YOU WANT TO TAKE ME OUT ON A DATE?! I'M NOT GOING ON A DATE WITH YOU NASTY YOU'RE FRIGGIN' DISGUSTING!"

I also only got 4 hours of sleep combined both nights, and other people got less. On sunday, as soon as I held still I would nod off. I actually fell down a little bit but caught myself when we were standing at attention because I started to fall asleep. They would assign us essays to write at nighttime that had to be exactly 300 words long, with every word underlined and numbered. During uniform inspection, a kid next to me who had a sloppy looking shave was getting yelled at and the sergeant instructor said "DO YOU HAVE SQUIRRELS LIVING IN YOUR FACE?!" Unfortunately I couldn't stop myself from laughing, and I was immediately surrounded by two of them who were each yelling in one of my ears at the top of their lungs. That kid next to me had to write an essay on why he had squirrels living in his face.

The whole weekend was pretty much just a 48 hour hell, and there were times where I didn't think I would be able to get through it. That being said, now that it's over I think it was a great experience and I'm glad I went through it. Some things were fun like some team-building exercises that we did. Both times, by the way, the group I was in outperformed all the other groups by far which was pretty cool. I've also made good friends with other kids in the Battalion, who are all pretty great people. There are definitely a couple who are kind of whacko, but others who I think I'll get along with really well. In general all the guys in the battalion are extremely admirable. If you asked just about any of them they would tell you without any reservations that they're here to serve their country and that they're extremely excited about it. The general attitude I've experienced so far with the whole group and all the people in it is just so impressive. Especially because for the most part it's completely 100% genuine, not just bravado.

On monday we had the September 11th run. At 6 AM we ran for 30-40 minutes all around campus as a Battalion, shouting cadences the whole way and waking everybody up. Afterwards there was a little ceremony around the flag and Captain Borden, who is the Commanding Officer for the whole unit gave us a little speech. It was really an hour to be part of the whole thing. He told us to never let seeing the flag raised become commonplace in our hearts, and that during our military careers there will be many times where during a flag raising we'll look around and probably won't see a single dry eye. It really is an honor and very humbling to be surrounded with these kind of people all the time. I was really nervous about what ROTC would be like, whether or not I really wanted to sacrifice a lot of the things I'll have to in order to do this, but now I'm definitely really excited about everything. So that's how everything is going here, my classes are going pretty well now. On monday I couldn't stay awake in them unfortunately because I was so tired from Indoc, but now it will be alright. I'm having an awesome time, but I do miss home and the family and Panda and everyone else quite a bit. I realize this post is really long, so sorry about that, but a lot of this ROTC stuff has been really interesting and I wanted to tell you guys about it.

Rochester NROTC in the news

This is a video of the UR NROTC Battalion doing PT this morning that was on the news. The group over on the left side is Alpha Company which is the one I'm in. I'm not sure if you can spot me anywhere in the video, probably the definition isn't good enough to recognize me anyways.

The man they interview is Captain Saunders, he's a Marine Captain which doesn't rank as high as a Navy Captain.

The guy that is leading the exercising is Midshipman 1/c Bagg, he's the Athletics Officer and was also the Platoon Commander during Indoc. You do not want to get on his bad side, although during Indoc it was literally impossible not to be on his bad side.

The second man they intervie, the one who I think looks a little bit like cousin Jesse, is Sergeant Ogiba. He was an enlisted Marine and has been to Iraq and I'm sure many other places like that as well. His position is a little confusing because he's a Sergeant and the Battalion Commander at the same time.

The girl they interview is MIDN 1/c Lynch, and her voice sounds like that on the video because she was one of the Sergeant Instructor's for Indoc and spent all weekend yelling at us 4/c MIDN.

Right after we finished those warm-up exercises we went off for about an hour-long run with our respective companies. By the way, the Alpha Company made it the furthest on the run before we turned back, which is good because there is a lot of competition between the three companies to become Honor Company. I don't know a lot of details about that just yet, but the upperclassmen talk about wanting to be Honor Company a lot, it seems to be pretty serious competition. Anyway I thought you guys would like to see that and see some of the people in the Battalion. There's a lot of truly great people there, no joke, especially Captain Saunders and Sergeant Ogiba.

2001 Chevy Prizm For Sale

5-spd. AC, CD, PS, PB, Tilt, ABS. 40 MPG HWY! 110k.

Bilateral mirrors.

Asking $4250.

Monday, September 11, 2006

"A Message To Garcia"

You guys have probably heard of this already at some point. It was read to us during Indoc and I thought it was worthy of a blog post.

We ain't afraid of no ghosts.

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In Whaupaunaucau State Forest . . .

a happy dog . . .

and his friend.

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Never Forget

There are columns and videos all over the web so I won't bother linking to any of them.

Don't forget that day, five years ago. Don't forget there is an enemy out there who hates you and everything you do. Don't forget the thousands of people whose lives were destroyed that day.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Some pictures

Three Time Warner Cable guys spent 25 minutes doodling around with my computer before they told me I'd have to stick with ethernet, cause I couldn't have wireless.
It took me 5 minutes to set it up myself.

Here are some pictures of my house!

Some girls in my bed.

A strange view of the living room.

My room, very messy. In the process of being moved into.

Our very pink kitchen.

Friday, September 08, 2006

Lileks On a Roll

Cutting and pasting erases the italics and links. The original is here.

Lileks excerpt:

While working and doing various things the other day, I lent an ear to the radio. The morning host was talking about pessimism, and how he’s sick of it. Sick! I agreed. It's not just specific pessimism about specific issues, which is sometimes apt and wise, but the overall glumness you get from the news media. Of course, you can find glumness anywhere. Swaths of the right are pessimistic about America because immigration will result in the national anthem sung in Toltec by 2018, and chunks of the left are pessimistic because Chimpy McDiebold may serve out his term without impeachment or interment. Everyone’s glum about something. But I listen to the news on the radio every hour on the hour, and it makes me want to saw ditches into my wrists. It’s the needling worrisome hectoring tone of the newscasters that annoys me. There's a a woman who handles the morning shift on ABC; she emotes every syllable, infusing them with a sense of impending disaster, and then she hands it off to Vic Ratnor, who likewise leans into every phoneme with worried urgency, regardless of whether it’s an oil shortage (which could rekindle inflation!), a discovery of a new oil field (which could cost billions to exploit!) or a study on the effect of global warming on popsicles (which could stain the rug!) The two of them could make a flooded antihill sound like the end of the Republic.

The news is never good. If the economy’s up, there’s an expert on hand from the Institute of the Possible Downside warning about unforseen pressure on the bond market, softening housing, hardening tensions, turgid wage growth, and explosive release of inflationary pressures. Have a cigarette. Was it bad for you?
TV news gives me the same impression, which is why I avoid it. All those earnest faces. Good evening, we’re deeply concerned, and powerless to do anything about it. Although we hope you infer from our brows the need to contact someone, and urge action on this issue. Now here’s a baby giraffe.

The formulation seems simple: The continued existence of problems at this late date in human history implies that we’re regressing. We’re screwing up, we’ve lost it, and we wander confused amongst the morass of the malaise and vice versa. Hard times, brother. Hard times. I’m not saying they should pretend we live in the Republic of Happy Bunnies Who Pee Champagne, but for God’s sake, sometimes you’d think the bread lines snaked from the Hoovervilles to the soup kitchens again. I’m probably confusing the sugar-coated recollections of early youth with actual history, but I grew up with a sense of optimism and confidence in the country. That really makes me sound like Mr. McFartus shakin’ a whittlin’ stick at the jaunty-hatted younguns, I know. But the icons in my dim early youth, either by absence or presence, were JFK and Humphrey. They weren’t defeatists, and they didn’t give off that rank stink of anger.

Of course, someone who's angry about different things is always unbalanced, right? I’m sure I’m regarded as a delusional tool because I worry more about Islamicists than global warming. But it comes back again to that theme I blathered about a few weeks ago, the idea of the eternal adolescent strain in American culture; to the adolescent, the cynic is the truth-teller. The optimists are the fools. (It takes an adolescent to think that people who believe in nothing are the best judges of those who believe in something.) It’s all a pose, for the most part, but after a while it feeds on itself. Pessimism produces its own coal, stokes its own furnaces. Optimism is harder. Optimism takes work. You have to roll your own.

Hah! The iPod just kicked on that fine messy song “Tubthumping.” I get knocked down. But I get up again. I get knocked down. But I get up again. You’re never going to keep me down. That's the spirit, ya commie buskers! I don’t listen to that song and wonder “what has he done to get knocked down?” I salute the boozed-up shouting chanty brio of the sentiment, which is the distant cousin of Cagney snapping of "I'm a Yankee Doodle Dandy." Really. Chest out, chin high, eyes bright, up yours if you're heart can't find the tinder to shout hoorah. Look: there’s always a place for the bitchers, the carpers, the griefers, the snipers, the angry marginal sorts flinging poo from the cages of their own beliefs. But it’s not the pessimists who will save the West. It’ll be those who believe the West is worth saving, and not because it is the least horrible option whose defense must be prefaced with endless apologies, but because it really is the best hope we have. Would you rather be a libertarian in China? A Christian in Sudan? A Zoroastran in Iran? A lesbian in Saudi Arabia?

But - but we supported the Shah, and -

Yes. Interesting how supporters of the Shah didn't storm our embassies or wage a 30 year Death-to-America campaign after we cut the Shah loose. Reset the hands. We can argue about all manner of strategies now, but there's one division that counts more than any other, and it’s fundamental and pervasive. Pessimism or optimism.One’s very satisfying. The other’s hard. I’d say we don’t have any choice, but we do, and that choice may undo us yet.

May, I said. I’m naturally pessimistic, and I hate it, and fight it. Cautious optimism: methadone for cynics

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Earth's most valuable resource is us.

"But to this future of vast, unstoppable, ever-expanding wealth, the champions of the oppressed have come up with an ingenious solution: global poverty! We need a massive Poverty Expansion Program if we're to save the planet."

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Calling All Students

Okay, everybody has gotten through the first few days of the Student Experience, so how about some blogging? What courses have we signed up for? How is/was orientation? Do we like our new houses? Etcetera, etcetera. Everybody's been doing very well at staying in touch with the Aged Parents by telephone, but we mustn't forget the blog. So, let's see some informative posts or comments, please . . . and no, this is not necessarily limited to students whose last name is Murphy.

Cheer up!

Hey, come on, everybody. The Red Sox have won two in a row! They're ready to make a late season run at the title. Who needs Ramirez, Ortiz, Varitek, Nixon, Lester, Wakefield, Gonzalez, Clement, or Pena?