Finally, not a fan of the theme song

Oct. 1st, 2017 08:14 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Insufficiently "Fanfare to the Common Man" for my tastes, and I don't like the intro video either.

(And I have Thoughts. For a society so obsessed with the Prime Directive, Federation humans are equally obsessed with the idea that secretly, all species would be better off as humans. Here it is AGAIN in this ep. Nevermind that being raised by Vulcans is a strange plot contrivance, isn't it enough that she's content and functional, without having to ditch who she is to be "more human" by some arbitrarily emotional reckoning? Is this universal Trek belief a clever dig at Americans, or do Trek writers really agree with this? Eddington was right - they're worse than the Borg! They assimilate people, and they don't even realize it. This would be an interesting angle to take. They already have the seeds planted with the Klingons. They're not going to go that route, though.)

Ah well. In other news, J was thrilled with his bag. Also, I am sick. *sneeze*

Oh! And when I came home today from walking the dogs, there was a cardboard cat carrier and a small box of cat food on my porch. This is all a bit inexplicable, and I'm wondering if maybe somebody intended to leave a cat there? If so, kitty escaped. Just as well - I'm full up on formerly stray animals.

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conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
but given the advanced state of their tech, am I wrong in pegging this as a third universe? Okay, that's my official head-canon. Something, something, temporal cold war - THIRD UNIVERSE! (So does each new parallel universe also have its own twin mirror universe?)

Also: Why do all futuristic jails in all universes everywhere have force fields with no physical backup? That seems like a major design flaw.

Also also: Why are all the Klingons bald? Strange fashion choice, or genetic disease?

Growth rings

Sep. 25th, 2017 01:27 pm
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
Figuring out how to count cricket growth rings has been an interesting endeavor. Friday morning, after I'd posted about my quandary, I brainstormed with [personal profile] slydevil and [personal profile] sytharin about further methods for cutting thin sections of cricket legs. I mentioned the slice of potato method, which really didn't work, and L came up with the idea of trying some other sort of vegetable that is firmer than a potato, like a radish, perhaps.

Armed with this notion, I headed in to work. After some further failures with the potato (I didn't happen to have radishes sitting around at work), I decided to try cutting thin slices without any extra support, but working under the dissecting scope instead.

And, success. The scope made it much easier to position the razor blade at just the right spot to get multiple beautiful sections. I know it worked well because I was then able to compare growth rings for Day 0 adult crickets (hint: zero growth rings) versus Day 6 adults. Here's a photo of the Day 6 adult:

Gryllus lineaticeps growth rings

I also did a bit more reading about methods for preserving stuff on microscope slides. Apparently I'm not the only one who has wondered about this. Our lab storeroom had little bottles of clear nail polish for sale next to the various flavors of slides and coverslips, so I figured I'd give that a try at first.

As of today, it looks like it works well! This is really good because it means I can work in batches and don't have to do each cricket one at a time. So now the rest will be fairly routine: prepare and count rings for crickets of known adult ages to make a calibration curve, then prepare and count rings from the field crickets.

I'm really enjoying the chance to play with the compound microscope we're borrowing from another lab.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
OUT OF MY FANDOM.

What the hell sort of Star Trek have they even been watching all this time?

the immortal universe, part II of III

Sep. 25th, 2017 12:00 am
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September 25th, 2017next

September 25th, 2017: Hal Con was a lot of fun! Thank you to everyone who came by and especially big thanks to the two Squirrels Girl who came by! BOTH WERE GREAT COSTUMES and it's always awesome to see cosplay of your characters. Thank you so much!

– Ryan

Finished with the bag!

Sep. 29th, 2017 08:09 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Carefully cut out the superman logo. Carefully started sewing. Realized I'd carelessly put it wrong side up (that is, the side with the ink). Ripped out the stitches, flipped it - d'oh! Silly me, I should've flipped it when I drew it!

Well, it's done now. Thankfully, I expected errors and bought a lot of extra felt.

The funny thing is that all his classmates, their families just drew on the bags with Sharpies. His mom asked me to do it due to lack of time, but I can't draw! I even had somebody else do the stencils for me! So now it looks like I put in way more effort than anybody else (despite the fact that I can see all the errors glaring out at me), but really, I just can't draw. Cutting and sewing is a LOT easier for me.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
But honestly, I'm not sure I want to. It's harder to cut felt than I realized!

(Is "logo" the right word? Should I say "sigil" or "symbol" or "shield"?)

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(no subject)

Sep. 23rd, 2017 08:08 pm
randomdreams: riding up mini slickrock (Default)
[personal profile] randomdreams
I was working on a small machining project for work in my workshop, another situation where the commercial version is available with a two week lead for $1K or so, and thirty minutes of work on a scrap piece of aluminum in my workshop will have us the equivalent on Monday. Which is great, when I get paid to run a lathe, until I dropped a tiny setscrew, bent over to pick it up, straightened up, and smacked my head into one of the handwheels on the mill. I am not exaggerating in the slightest when I say I pulled a crescent-shaped chunk of skin off the handwheel once I stood back up. Now I'm sitting in front of the fireplace with a pounding headache.

I had been intending to make a speedometer cable adapter for the Spitfire next, but I think I'll put that off until later.

As always, my reach exceeds my grasp

Sep. 26th, 2017 01:18 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
I spent an inordinate amount of time arduously sewing together a Batman logo - only to find at the end that I'd miscentered it!

Welp, it's for a pre-k student, I'm not redoing it. He'll neither notice nor care.

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Misc

Sep. 22nd, 2017 11:14 am
rebeccmeister: (1x)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
I had a randonneuring dream last night, where [personal profile] scrottie and I were riding a 200k permanent, but I needed to pause and do something else in the middle for about 5 hours, and could then resume and try to complete the ride. My dream mental-math indicated that it would be possible to pull this off if we had 13 hours of time in total to complete the permanent. But we would only manage to barely squeak by. I think the dream has to do with my brain trying to track a lot of logistics and time constraints, what with job applications and beyond.

I didn't make it out to row yesterday morning, because I wound up staying up late Wednesday evening to have a late dinner with an invited speaker who studies evolutionary physiology. Water time is becoming increasingly important in the run-up to the Head of the Charles, so I decided to try and get out to row this morning. It was nice to have the water almost entirely to myself, even though I had to rush to meet up with [personal profile] sytharin and [personal profile] slydevil afterwards for our usual Bike-Friendly Fridays coffee date.

the immortal universe, part I of III

Sep. 22nd, 2017 12:00 am
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September 22nd, 2017next

September 22nd, 2017: Today and this weekend I am at HAL CON in Halifax!! It's gonna be awesome. Will I see you there? The answer: HOPEFULLY YES

Also, it's the first day of fall! You know what that means: scroll waaaaay down and you'll get the special fall footer, assuming you're not on mobile! If you ARE on mobile, you don't get the footer, but you do get to save a few kilobytes of data. YOU'RE WELCOME.

– Ryan

starting the new year with an outing

Sep. 21st, 2017 03:01 pm
dichroic: (oar asterisk)
[personal profile] dichroic

Last night, I met up with 5 other local knitters, took the MAX (lightrail) downtown, had dinner at Kenny & Zukes (so I got to have matzo ball soup for Roash Hashanah dinner, yay – and it was good, too) and then went over to Powell’s to hear Clara Parkes speak about her new book, A Stash of One’s Own (a collection of essays about the yarn stashes that every knitter tends to accumulate, revel in or guilt-trip over, pet now and then when no one is watching, and sometimes *gasp* cull).

It all felt like such a Portland thing to do 🙂 It might not have been the most traditional way to spend Erev Rosh Hashana, but I heard a speech by a rabbi the other day in which he talked about how we try to begin the year as we want it to go on – I could deal with a year full of friends, fun outings, knitting and yarn talk, and good food.

Mirrored from Dichroic Reflections.

Signs of improvement [crickets]

Sep. 21st, 2017 11:15 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
We are finally seeing signs of improvement in our cricket stocks. I think most evidence points towards a problem with the wheat germ I picked up to tide us over until our order from our usual supplier came in. It came from SunRidge Farms, which is a bulk foods supplier used by a lot of the area grocery businesses. Poking around, I learned that it's pretty hard to find actual organic wheat germ, apparently because the process used to create wheat germ is pretty specialized and only carried out by a small handful of wheat mills. Even Bob's Red Mill doesn't sell organic wheat germ - just "natural" (which is a meaningless marketing term). In Texas, I used Bob's Red Mill wheat germ without having any problems, so I just have to suppose their supply chain is separate from the supply chain from SunRidge.

I mean, if I really wanted to demonstrate that it's the food, I could rear a separate set of crickets with more SunRidge wheat germ. But that would be yet another side project.

So now I think I have a 2-week window before I'll descend back into circadian madness again. And then I REALLY hope to be finished collecting data.
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
and then some!

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Wonderful news!

Sep. 24th, 2017 07:58 pm
conuly: (Default)
[personal profile] conuly
Today I was combing Callie in the bathroom, and Finn came in and didn't bark or growl or jump at her AT ALL - and this despite the fact that she hissed at him and then growled the whole time he was there! (And I don't blame her.)

He's gotten a lot better at being in the same room as the cats without freaking out, and even a little better at not barking and lunging at the familiar cats we see on our walks. (Not as good as with his own roommate cats, but you can't have everything.)

This is great because, with winter coming, Callie wants to go back to being an indoor-outdoor cat, emphasis on indoor - she doesn't like cold weather!

Cricket updates

Sep. 20th, 2017 11:26 am
rebeccmeister: (cricket)
[personal profile] rebeccmeister
As of yesterday, we are still getting a lot of adults with deformed wings, like so:

Crickets with deformed wings

I am reading the tea leaves pretty hard, but think I am seeing a small improvement, which means I could be up and running again in another week and a half or so, at the soonest. If my tea leaf reading skills are terrible, it will be longer than that, which would push back completion of the lab circadian experiments to sometime in late October, if I'm lucky and this disaster actually comes to an end. When I dissected the above crickets, their innards looked completely normal, and their fat body (analogous to the vertebrate liver) looked fine under the scope. My labmate has found someone who knows the relevant procedures for testing for deformed wing virus, so that's next on that agenda.

Meanwhile, time to make progress on the thousand other fronts that deserve attention. One project that has been fun has been figuring out how to estimate cricket ages for field-caught crickets. I'm trying to work out the logistics for a method from a paper published in 1987, where a famous cricket biologist would take a cricket leg, slice a thin cross-section of it, and then would view it using a phase-contrast microscope to count the daily growth layers of chitin. My mentor in Nebraska suggested setting up a simpler polarizing light microscope, but for various reasons it has taken me a while to figure out how to do that. Finally, I found this tutorial, and watched the linked video, and finally got that part sorted out. Very satisfying!

But now I'm stuck on the cross-sectioning method. The author of the 1987 paper described a process of wedging the cricket's leg in a chunk of potato (to stabilize it), then cutting thin slices with a hairdresser's razor. My attempts to replicate this method have been comically bad so far, and I have no idea what I'm doing wrong. So I'm still scratching my head over how to proceed, and hoping that I don't wind up having to go through the arduous and tedious steps involved in more conventional tissue sectioning methods.

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