Archive for the ‘General’ Category

I can’t think of titles.  I have never been able to think of titles and I am still unable to think of titles.

When I write for SCN, my editor comes up with my titles.  Thought that “It’s a Matter of Attraction” was a clever way to introduce stem cell homing?  It was all thanks to my top notch editor.  I wrote a guest post for a personal finance blog recently.  No revisions to my post – but he didn’t like the title.  Hell – I didn’t like it either!  On my finance blog, one of my posts has the awe-inspiring title of “Indulge Yourself”.  WTF does that even mean?

I also can’t think of fictional names. I suck at coming up with fictional names.  When  I write fiction, my towns have stupid names like “Darcyville” (I hope that’s not a real place) and my characters are generically Annes, Davids and Johns (Except in 8th grade when I went through a Russian phase, and every other male character was “Alexei”.  Ahem…).

And damn it, I procrastinate.  I was supposed to write an intelligent post about new methods of stem cell testing and tissue culture that did not require animal tissues.  And you know what?  I wrote this instead.

//The end.

Read Full Post »

I have a new post up on the Stem Cell Network on the topic of fat stem cells and the use of these stem cells in reconstructive and cosmetic surgery.  It was a better timed post than I had initially expected – just this morning, my “daily deal” email included an offer for a “breakthrough” stem cell skin cream.  Please do not buy this cream.

This terrifying link came though twitter today about a Yale student who died after getting her hair caught in some machinery late at night.  Soooo scary.  It’s a sober reminder to grad students and enthusiastic technicians – never work alone if you can help it.  Yes, I know we all have gone through the 12 hour time points or the 6am cell harvest – but at least let a close friend or roommate know where you are and take every precaution possible. Sadly, this can be as simple has tying back your hair, wearing your PPE and minding your general surroundings.

When I had to work late nights or early mornings in the animal facility, I always went around the room making sure racks and cabinets were locked down.  One of my greatest fears was to be in an animal room, several stories underground during an earthquake when some idiot has left the racks unlocked.  Imagine being crushed by several hundreds of pounds of metal while newly freed rodents roam your body as you lose consciousness. Terrifying.  But perhaps a bit of karma as well.  😛

Now that you all have that lovely picture in mind… Other links

  • This is what I’m getting the bf for Christmas.  What a great idea!
  • I found this post on how to get tenure at a major university incredibly… disturbing and discouraging, especially if you are a student.  Particularly this point:

Don’t worry about teaching, leadership, organizing, etc. I don’t think being good at these things actively hurts you, although I did once hear a senior faculty member say that he was negatively predisposed to candidates who had good teaching evaluations. (He was joking, I think.) Why? Because you’re spending time on something that isn’t research. But generally it won’t hurt, it just won’t help. You will typically be told (as I was) something like “teaching isn’t really important, but if your case is very close, it can help put you over the top.” Everyone agreed my case was very close, and my teaching was among the best in the department; it didn’t help. The point is simple: this stuff is not research.


Read Full Post »

I’m going to Germany in the summer and thought I might get some work done while I’m there.  In between the requisite eating and drinking of course.

If anyone hears about any interesting stem cell related research coming out of Germany, please let me know or send the link to the paper!  I would love to contact researchers for a meet and greet and do a little write-up about their work.  I’ll be in and around Frankfurt, Berlin and Munich over three weeks.

Read Full Post »

If I were a boxer, there would be some damn epic music playing right now because… I’m baaaaack!  🙂

After a 2 month hiatus, I’m feeling the itch again, as yes, I do have more stuff to say about science and damn it, people are going to listen!  Or at least read and perhaps click on a link once in a while.  I was also partially inspired to come back due to my impending employment in a microbiology lab doing bioinformatics work over the summer. I’m really excited about this opportunity and hopefully I’ll be learning lots.

While I have not been writing for AlbinoMouse, I have been busy writing!  Please check out my current venture, The Outlier Model.  It’s a blog written with my partner about personal finance and living simply.  I’ve also been writing for the Stem Cell Network on homing and attraction in hematopoietic stem cells and news and events in ESC policy.  I’ll be updating AlbinoMouse more regularly again, so please come back and visit.

Cheers – I missed you!

Read Full Post »

After a busy holidays and a busy return to the working world, I am finally back to writing!  The fact that I seem to have broken my space key on my laptop did not help to speed my return nor did my habit of picking up more work than I can handle.  But here I am and now I have some good and bad news.

When I first started AlbinoMouse, I hoped to accomplish several things:

  1. Establish myself as a writer
  2. Re-connect with the things I love about science

I think I accomplished Point #1 .  I was able to get a job with a reputable blog and well as writing gigs several other sites.  For that alone I am grateful.  I always wanted to be a writer, but let myself be convinced that science was a good career path.

And when we’re all finished laughing…

Point #2… ehhhhhh.  For a while, I was really enjoying pushing out a few posts a week and having lots of visitors to my site.  But then, like my first go-around with science, I just got bogged down with the drama, the sheer stupidity of some of the things I read, and the fact that I was again, bored.

So AlbinoMouse is going on a bit of a holiday.  I may update the site and I may not – I don’t want to set anything in stone, but at the same time, I can’t promise regular content. I will still be on Twitter!

In fact, I’m starting a new blog venture!  It’s going to be a multi-faceted blog and yet, in many ways it will be more focused than AlbinoMouse was.   I’m going to stick with writing  about the things I’m passionate about and I hope many of you will be curious enough to follow me and find out where I end up.


Read Full Post »

Merry Christmas all!

It’s Christmas Eve here in rainy Vancouver and I will be finishing up a day at work before heading out for dinner.  I would like to thank everyone who’s been reading and supporting my blog over the last year.  We’ve gone from having 3-5 reads a day to over 50 unique reads per day!  I’m so grateful for all the support and I hope to continue the momentum through the New Year.

Be safe, as Christmas and New Years are apparently scientifically validated risk factors for death (thanks to Discover | Discoblog).

Drink wine, but not too much, and be sure to do it socially.

And though you may not believe it, your family and friends can help you live longer , so leave behind the fakes, the liars, and the unfaithful.

Merry Christmas, and happy holidays to everyone!

Read Full Post »

New header photo!

Attentive readers may notice that my header photo has changed!  Apparently I am not allowed to use images I took while working in the research lab – intellectual property, but not my property sadly.  *shrug*  I find myself suspicious of the timing of the complaint, but it is a small thing all in all.

So here is my new header, taken by local photographer Dale Tidy, whose work is also featured in each of my Stem Cell Network blogs.  It shows human blood being processed for transplantation.  Neat hm?

Read Full Post »

Only a week and a bit  before Florida!  AHHHHHH! I’m super excited to meet with people and get some writing in.

(Also more than a little excited about the Harry Potter theme park! *blush*)

So if anyone’s going to ASH, shoot me a message or a tweet!

Links that caught my eye this past week:

  1. This has been languishing in my “to do” list for a while – Check out this excellent imaging job of two cancer cells multiplying, reported on Gizmodo.  Amazing colour on that shot.
  2. National Geographic writes about the origin of whales – again, amazing photos.  Thanks to the Beaty Biodiversity Museum’s Facebook page for sharing that!
  3. Serious Monkey Business discusses a newly discovered population of yellow-tailed woolly monkeys.  For the charismatic animal lovers out there, these guys are pretty cute and, perhaps unsurprisingly, critically endangered.
  4. Nature News reports that South Korea is launching an inquiry following the deaths of two Koreans from “stem cell treatments” offered by questionable clinics.  While stem cell treatments are not legal in South Korea, a Korean-based firm has been formulating and marketing the stem cells, then sending them to satellite clinics located in other countries.  Shady business…

Coming up in the near future: In recognition of OceanWise month, I have one blog upcoming on bluefin tuna.  The rodent anesthesia blog is in-progress and I have a blog on wild tobacco that has been languishing and will hopefully be finished post-haste.

I also found a good reference for my post on laboratory rodent euthanasia.  From the Laboratory Animal Limited website, under Education and Training, you can find a huge repository of reviews and scholarly papers on the usage laboratory animals.  In particular, take a peek at the Euthanasia tab >  Newcastle consensus meeting on carbon dioxide euthanasia of laboratory animals PDF.  There wasn’t a direct link available, sorry! But this PDF article is full of really good data on the good and the bad of CO2 euthanasia.

Read Full Post »

She survived bombs, the war and neglect – but she didn’t survive an American animal shelter.  The New York Times recently reported that Target, a celebrated Afgan stray who made headlines after confronting a suicide bomber outside American military barracks and subsequently being transported to the US for adoption, was accidentally euthanized by an animal shelter worker.

This made me so sad when I read about it!

Target apparently escaped from her adoptive family’s home and was captured by animal services soon after.  Her family recognized her on the shelter’s website and paid the fee to retrieve her, but found out that an employee had euthanized the dog by mistake before they could pick her up.

It is concerning that an agency which deals with animals does not have a better management system in place to ensure that the correct animal is being handled.   I was particularly disturbed by the quote from the former employee which was to the effect of, “… don’t worry about, mistakes happen” regarding previous animal care errors  Is it so hard to have disposable collars, for example, which gives incoming animals a simple ID number so that their fate can be tracked by computer?  Hell, it would take me half a day to write a simple program that does this.

This story also highlights the fact that not all dogs are meant to be cooped up inside a house or backyard, no matter how spacious.  Inevitably, they will find a way to escape.  That’s why its so important to make sure your pet is identifiable -such as by tattoo or microchip.

Very sad story – let’s hope some good comes out of it.

Read Full Post »

I’ve been in writing over-drive as I realized that indeed, the more I write, the more views I get.  😛  Now I know that there’s a lot of you reading (thanks WordPress stats!) but many of you seem to be the strong and silent type. I would encourage everyone to leave comments if they have a question, suggestions, or just want to call bs on something I write.

Interesting stories from the past few days in science:

  1. You can’t seem to leave the house the last few weeks without hearing about a new feat in stem cell technology.  Most recently, Nature published a paper which describes the transformation of skin cells into blood cells without the need of first passing through a stem cell state. Crazy stuff – see a summary from Nature News here.
  2. If you haven’t heard about the Rockstars of Science initiative yet, check it out!  This campaign paired leading scientists with big name musicians in an attempt to demonstrate the importance of science to the public.  Interesting new idea, check it out in GQ’s December “Men of the Year” issue and read about it on The Intersection.
  3. It’s one of those eternal life mysteries you always wondered about… well here it is, the physics of cat lapping milk from Wired!

I have a few ideas in the works for blogs: look for a piece on rodent anesthesia coming up and also a few fish stories.  I’ve managed to find a few newsletter articles that I’ve done as well and may repost them here.


Read Full Post »

Older Posts »