Sunday, December 18, 2005

Word of the week: Lordosis

Lordosis behavior is a sexual response during estrus in certain female animals, such as mice and cats, that consists of a downwards arching of the spine. Lordosis aids in copulation, as it elevates the female genitals so the male can more easily mate with the female. Guess what can stimulate lordosis!


Tuesday, December 13, 2005

MC Hawking and more...

It occured to me that some of you may not know about this guy! MCHawking is the baddest physics rapper. Sounds lame? The beats are good, and the lyrics are phat:
"Fuck the damn creationists I say it with authority,
because kicking their punk asses be me paramount priority.
Them wack-ass bitches say, "evolution's just a theory",
they best step off, them brainless fools, I'll give them cause to fear me.
The cosmos is expanding every second, every day,
but their minds are shrinking as they close their eyes and pray.
They call their bullshit science like the word could give them cred,
if them bitches be scientists then cap me in the head."

Totally unrelated, but i pulled this gem from slashdot commenting on recent stories about transgenic mice: "so just for the record, we can make super strong fearless immortal mice that can sing, regenerate body parts, sniff out landmines, and have partial human brains. scientists don't mod their computer cases, they mod their mice!"


Thursday, December 01, 2005

Genetically engineered man-hoes

Progesterone receptor KO in mouse have been done a long time ago. We know they make infertile females that can't ovulate. But nobody had bothered to take a good look at the males since progesterone is not really our thing. Although their general morphology is normal, these males seem to be sex fiends. PRKOs showed a significantly reduced latency to mount and increased likelihood of achieving ejaculation, increased mount and intromission frequency and decreased latency to intromission. These guys are doing it more and without breaks. So if anyone is interested I've got a stockpile of RU-486 in the freezer for 50$ a pop.


Monday, November 28, 2005

Geeks meet geeks

Seeking romance

#1 I've been single-stranded too long! Lonely ATGCATG would like to pair up
with congenital TACGTAC.

#2 Menage a trois! Ligands seeks two receptors into binding and
mutual phosphorylation. Let's get together and transduce some signals.

#3 Some dates have called me a promotor. Others have referred to me as a
real operator. Personally, I think I'm just a cute piece of DNA who is still
looking for that special transcription factor to help me unwind.

#4 Highly sensitive, orally active small molecule seeks
stable well-structured receptor who knows size isn't everything.

#5 There must be a rational way to meet a date! I'm tired of hanging out in
those molecular diversity bars, hoping to randomly bump into the right
peptide. I want a molecule that will fit right onto my active site and
really turn me on. I'll send you my crystal structure if you send me yours!

#6 Gene therapy graduate. After years of producing nothing but gibberish,
I've shed my exons and ready to express my introns. All I need is a cute
vector to introduce me to the right host.

#7 My RNA, I'm sorry I misread your UAAUAAUAA and inserted three tyrosine's
when you repeatedly asked me to stop. Something got lost in the translation.
Please forgive me.

#8 Naked DNA with sticky ends seeks kanamycin-resistant plasmid. EcoR1 sites

#9 Uninhibited virus seeks reason to make me shed my protein coat.

#10 This very selective oligonucleotide has been probing for just the right
target for long-term hybridization.

#11 Mature cells seeks same who still enjoys cycling and won't go apoptotic
on me. Let's fight senescence together!

#12 I'm a prolific progenitor with great potential for growth
and self-renewal. Call me if you're a potent hematopoietic factor who still
believes in endless nights of colony stimulation.

#13. I don't always express myself of the surface, but I'm looking for a
signal that you appreciate my complexity. Send me the right message that
will penetrate my membranes, turn on my protein expression and release my
potential energy.


Friday, November 25, 2005

Nature Comics

Finally Nature has released its first online comic book! Check out issue #1, Adventures in Synthetic Biology.


Thursday, November 24, 2005

U2 IA?

IA updates. Sounds like it is going on bit of an early xmas break. check out the geek novels, I'm 13 for 20.
And this Friday its all day U2 in the bay in honour of the concert.


Monday, November 07, 2005

Podcasting and more...

I've been listening to Nature podcasts for a little while now and have to say they are actually quite entertaining... From the same bunch of people at Cambridge comes the nakedscientist podcasts, that make the 30-40 min bus ride more bearable. They also freelance artcles such as this one which havea good dose of british humour.


Thursday, November 03, 2005


Pictures from the Hallowe'en party!

Guillaume as Freddy (with Rob laughing his ass off in the background)
Scarriest couple, the dead baby wand was temporarly replaced with a beer bottle
Still smooth with the ladies. Alenko will probably look like that when he's old.
Best costume. Apparently even the fabric is the real deal.
what is the stewardess doing with this massiv geezer? aiiiiight
this pirate prefers shorts
Alenko dedicating his life to God and the Ottawa Senators


Tuesday, November 01, 2005

microsoft vs linux... according to microsoft


Seems like microsoft needs to address linux directly, they quote lots of "3rd party" sources, haven't had alot of time to go through it myself.


Sunday, October 23, 2005

Agriculture the worst mistake ever and why you should eat dirt

I have so far read two chapters of Jared Diamond's Guns, Germs and Steel and highly recommend them (I anticipate the rest of the book will also be worth reading). Diamond puts an interesting perspective on human history. Here's a sample of some of his other ideas:


Saturday, October 22, 2005

Translational regulation, Innate immunity

A few recent papers I came across with maybe some implications for understanding translational regulation. Also an interesting one on a new role for a mitochondrial protein in innate immune signalling. Not that I've read them...if anyone does be sure to give me the low-down!


Friday, October 21, 2005

Panda-Dover trial

For those who follow this trial, about whether creationism should be taught in science class you'll get a kick out of this article. It seems that after failing to demonstrate that creationism could be considered a scientific theory, they decided to change the definition of a theory. Under this new definition hopefully flyingspaghettimonsterism will be tought to our children.


Saturday, October 15, 2005

Nature Podcasts, RNA Wars and Scary Medicine

  • Nature now has a free podcast. Check it out.
  • Are microRNAs ancient remnants from an RNA-world arms race? Viruses produce miRNAs to manipulate the host cell during infection. Likewise cells can make miRNAs of their own as an anti-viral defense. The latest findings are reviewed in Molecular Cell.
  • Just in time for Halloween - vintage drug ads! Very entertaining in a sci-fi horror kind of way.


Friday, October 14, 2005

Canadian Research at its Best

What can a canadian scientist with depressed rats, a bag of weed and too much time on his hands do? Well publish in JCI! I knew all along that it made your neurons grow man ... oooh cheetos!


Speaking of Evolution...

This paper in PNAS about evolution of antibodies Vs. HIV is dope!


Hot Papers

If you want to check out the most cited papers on a monthly basis check out this site. Always a fun read!


Trivia Night

The new season of Trivia is upon us. I will host the first trivia night on monday Oct 24. Brace yourself for some really geeky questions as usual...


Tuesday, October 11, 2005

IA updates

uh huh,
IA updates


Friday, October 07, 2005

Cancer stem cells and Drosophila tumour suppressors


Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Poker Night

Heads up to the bay crew. It's poker night once again. If you want to lookm like a pro, memorize these hand names. My personal fav, the Motown hand!


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Penguins a proof of intelligent design

For those who have seen this documentary, you'll be suprised to know that the "march of the penguins" has been embraced by the creationist. Why is that you may ask? Well, aparently: "To think that natural selection or even the penguins themselves could come up with the idea to migrate miles and miles multiple times each year without their partner or their offspring is a bit insulting to my intellect. How great is our God!". Of course this doesn't have to do with food availability and reproductive sucess driving behavior, but what do I know...


IA updates

IA updates in the hisouse.


Monday, September 19, 2005

So you think you're a nerd...

These guys put all us wannabe nerds to shame. PBS has a new webcast-only show called NerdTV featuring interviews with some of the all-time greatest nerds ever. The show is hosted by Cringely, who maintains a pretty solid nerd-blog himself.

Since most of us mortals will never achieve such heights of nerdness on our own merits, buy some geek gear instead.


Saturday, September 10, 2005

Look out Qiagen - Silica column recycling is here

Basically the commercial DNA isolation kits we all depend on are all about the silica spin column. They're what make the kits fast and reliable, justifying their high cost in comparison to alternative old-school methods. This article describes a new product called maxXbond, basically a two-buffer system that's supposed to remove residual DNA and other crap from the columns after use. The columns can then be re-used for prepping new samples (at least 20 times over they claim). Sounds like the days of miniprep kit mass consumption are over. If I had shares in Qiagen I'd be selling them about now (if this stuff actually works)...

Supposedly they have patents pending, but I haven't yet been able to find them in either the US or European databases. I also couldn't find anything on what's acutally in the solutions.


NCBI's Wide World of Viruses

The rapidly increasing heap of sequence data filling up the NCBI database is making it tougher and tougher to find a specific sequence on demand. In my experience seaching for viral sequence, it's almost impossible to avoid getting back lots of irrelevant crap. Searching on "rhabdovirus" for example, the first hit is "Rattus norvegicus myxovirus (influenza virus) resistance 2 (Mx2), mRNA". Thankfully NCBI is working on a viral genomes resource where you can search a database consisting exclusively of virus and viroid sequence. Also cool is the taxonomy section where you can browse the database by species or family. Only problem is its not complete yet, but I'm definitely going to keep an eye on their progress as this will be super-useful.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

science blogs

OMFG. too much to read.
IA updates are in.
Also found a ton of fairly decent competition for the bayblab in some other science blogs:
Simple trend (biotech bizz)
Molecular approaches to cancer
Humans in science
Longevity in science
Science, Politics and Ethics
Uncovering and discovering
Life Science tools of the trade
The scientist errant
Science Nerd depot
The eyes have it (?)
World science

It will take me sometime to figure out which ones I will actually read regularly and which are just crap.
WARNING: These blogs are not intented to substitute or replace following the goings ons of the BAYBLAB, they are mearly mentioned here to augment science surfing pleasure.


Wednesday, August 24, 2005

One of the boys meets reality show

I was sure by now they would've ran out of ideas for new reality shows. Can it go lower than extreme facial reconstruction home edition or who wants to mary paris hilton's dog. Yes it can! In this new reality show contestants fight to be sperm donors. In other news, shares of nivea moisturizer have tripled.


Saturday, August 20, 2005

really really small genome

The smallest genome award goes to Mycoplasma genitalium, the "other" mycobacteria that gets passed around the lab. But it is an obligatory parasite. Well now our pal Craig Venter has sequenced the smallest genome for a self-sufficient bacteria. This little ocean bug named Pelagibacter ubique ("ubiquitous sea bacteria", how original), has no gene copies, no junk and a genome so streamlined it minimizes the amount of nitrogen used for replication. At just 1354 genes, its so small, so so small.


Thursday, August 18, 2005


Ablynx is a biotech startup exploiting naturally occuring camel antibodies that consist solely of heavy chains, and therefore offer several potential advantages as therapeutics. Scientific American has a quality story on the sci-biz of these "NANOBODIES". The company was launched through the Flanders Institute for Biotechnology in Belgium. They seem to have a pretty slick research setup aimed at launching new biotech.


Wednesday, August 17, 2005

In vitro steaks

Following the usual lunch conversation on the subject of growing chicken wings in TC, its seems someone was listening in. Imagine having a machine at home that could grow any meat you'd want. Finally my dream of enjoying a panda burger could become reality. check out this paper in tissue engineering.


Tuesday, August 16, 2005

IA updates

IA updates


Monday, August 15, 2005

Check out conferences without leaving your bench

I just came across this sweet Nature News blog collection. Day by day accounts from attendees of scientific conferences around the world. Definitely worth checking out.


Thursday, August 11, 2005

One for the boys

Check it out: The Secret Life of Sperm.


Wednesday, August 10, 2005

A.K.A. Chris Lemieux


Sunday, August 07, 2005

Paintball was fun!

Lock and load!
Plaid camouflage. That's so 90s.

I'd make a witty fashion comment, but I'm too scared to mess with this guy...

Nothin' like a shot to the kisser to start things off...

Defending his M.Sc. thesis - "Guerilla warfare tactics for Eastern Ontario farm fields"...can you spot the Tang?

"I shot you!" - "I shot you first!"- "No I did!" Either way - you're both dead.
Don't mess with team Edge...

It sure was fun to finally get out of the lab and shoot guns at each other!

Zero casualties incurred. Minor collateral damage.


Friday, August 05, 2005

Victory for the Union of Concerned Scientists

Last week—after several years of pressure from the Union of Concerned Scientists and the coalition group Keep Antibiotics Working (KAW)—the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) made history by banning the use of the animal-antibiotic Baytril in poultry due to worries about the increase in antibiotic-resistant infections in people. This action marks the first time the FDA has withdrawn an agricultural antibiotic from the market because of concerns about antibiotic resistance affecting human health. Baytril is a fluoroquinolone antibiotic, much like the commonly used human antibiotic Cipro.


Thursday, August 04, 2005

From the immunologists trying to be cool department

Check out the spin on this article about Licensing of natural killer cells by host major histocompatibility complex class I molecules. This is priceless: "Scientists have discovered that a group of important immune system cells has a surprising resemblance to cinematic British superspy James Bond: the cells receive a "license" that allows them to unleash their most potent attacks on enemies". In other news, we still haven't defeated "Dr. Evil" with our anti-cancer compounds. Allright back to work.


Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Listening to RP I heard a jingle from 'Snatch' the movie.
Checked it out, it's definitely Pikey not Parkie (definition 5)
Crazy. SIlly brits


Faster Sequencing

Sweet new sequencing method 100 times faster than current Sanger-based technology. One machine-person team does adenovirus genome in a day and human genome in 100.


Friday, July 29, 2005

Anti-cancer peptides from an oceanic cyanobacterial symbiont

A cool story on a PNAS paper showing that the potential anti-cancer peptides previously isolated from the sea squirt Prochloron didemni are acutally genetically encoded by a resident symbiont cyanobacterium. Yay for biologicals!



That's what I'm talkin 'bout...


Thursday, July 28, 2005

Science trading cards

Tony's collectable rookie card:


IA updates

Sweet jesus there are some IA updates.


Wednesday, July 27, 2005

VSV-Based Vaccine for SARS

Rose's group describes a recombinant VSV for SARS vaccination in this virology paper.


Tuesday, July 26, 2005

On cement (or is that concrete?)

In case you were looking out the window at the ongoing construction wondering, "So what is concrete anyway?" Brought to you by the good old Cement Association of Canada.


Monday, July 25, 2005

Interview with the hacker

Fellow bayman pointed out a BBC interview with Gary McKinnon, a supposed hacker who's getting prosecuted for mucking around on numerous US government systems. Free energy from extraterrestrial technology...hmmmm...