Thursday, March 31, 2005

Springtime Tulip Week Blog Concludes

Well I guess that about wraps up this week of Tulip Blogging. My wife is going to freak if I don't let her bring these in today.

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Tulip in Bloom Day 7

Same time as above, different angle.

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Wednesday, March 30, 2005

Tulip Day 6

Now there is some action. The light is still too poor for a good close-up. Tomorrow I should be home at the right time for a good shot.

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Tuesday, March 29, 2005

Tulip Watch Day 5

This picture is a little better with the morning light but would still be much better about 3 hours later. The color is deepening. The weather is beautiful today. Again this is my favorite time of year.

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Monday, March 28, 2005

Tulip in Bloom Day 4

Not a great picture due to low light late in the day but you can see the flower changing color.

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Sunday, March 27, 2005

Tulip Watch Day 3

This is getting a little redundant due to the minor changes and bad weather, but I am committed now. You can see that it is growing taller, but the flower just isn't ready yet.

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Saturday, March 26, 2005

Tulip In Bloom Day 2

It appears to have grown in the last 24 hours but doesn't look any closer to blooming. It is overcast today.

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Friday, March 25, 2005

My Favorite Time of Year

This is a sure sign that it is my favorite time of the year. It's time to wake up again. The tulip is also one of my favorite flowers, this one is in the yard beside my house. I'm not sure what color it will be, maybe white. It doesn't look like it will bloom by Easter.

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Saturday, March 19, 2005

The Mimivirus

Apparently this news is a couple of years old but I had not yet heard until reading the comments from the previously mentioned post in The Loom.
Here are a few links about the Mimivirus which is short for mimicking microbe because it is so large it was initially mistaken for a bacteria. It is consideried by many to qualify as a living organism by standards which generally exclude viruses.

From CBC:
Giant virus discovered in water tower
Last Updated Mon, 31 Mar 2003 12:17:15
PARIS - A massive virus has been found lurking in a British water cooling tower. The virus lives in single-celled organisms called amoebae and may be able to infect humans..Read on

Here is a press release from 3/28/03:
Mimivirus: discovery of a giant virus.A team of French researchers in Marseille has isolated and characterized a virus found in amoebas that is much bigger than any virus ever found to date. This virus, dubbed "Mimivirus" by its discoverers (Bernard La Scola et al., Université de la Méditerranée, Faculté de Médecine, Unité des Rickettsies, CNRS UMR 6020), has a diameter and genetic material about the size of that of some bacteria, much larger than any virus that has been identified as of this time....Read on

Wikipedia has a nice piece as well.

Finally if you are serious about this one, it looks like is the place to go.

UPDATE: See the comments for a note from Jean-Michel Claverie, Editor-in-Chief of, promising upcoming announcements of new features of the Mimivirus.

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Friday, March 18, 2005

Medicinal Maggots Update

Here is another story from Reuters and Yahoo Oddly Enough:
LONDON (Reuters) - Phyllis Hulme's family and friends were aghast when she told them doctors planned to put maggots on her leg ulcer....Read on

More on Medicinal Critters


Saturday, March 12, 2005

Six Degrees of Blogximity or 6 Degrees Meme or Six Degrees of Bloggeration

Last night I came up with the idea of creating a meme game utilizing the Small World Phenomenon which led to the famous phrase six degrees of separation, the movie with the same name and then the popular game Six degrees of Kevin Bacon. Once I thought about it however, I assumed that it had to have been done before so I searched and quickly found Normblog's Six Degrees of Blogximity. So to his credit I will do it his way.

The rules:
Starting from your own blog (Blog Zero), you go via one of your blogroll links to another blog (Blog One), from its blogroll to another (Blog Two), and so on, ending up after six moves at Blog Six. You may not backtrack to the blog you just came from; no blog may figure twice in the one-to-six itinerary.

Then you solve the challenge given to you from which you obtained the meme.

I was given this: Normblog--->Philosophy et cetera

and I solved it thus:
Normblog--->Respectful Insolence--->Pharyngula>--->Philosophy et cetera

Now for my challenge:
Find a connection (the shorter the better) from Henry's Webiocosm Blog to Bored Housewife


Thursday, March 10, 2005

Electroactive Polymer's not ready for WCA

From Wired News:
SAN DIEGO -- Six years ago, Jet Propulsion Laboratory researcher Yoseph Bar-Cohen challenged scientists to create an artificial arm that could beat a human in an arm-wrestling match. The catch: The arm must be made of a pliable plastic material controlled by electrical impulses. In other words, no motors allowed.

Monday, in front of a battalion of TV cameras and an audience of hundreds, three groups of scientists took on Bar-Cohen's challenge -- and failed. One of the robot arms seemed to flop helplessly, while the other two quickly fell to a 17-year-old high-school student.....Read More

The Human contestant was 17 year old Panna Felson who appears to be headed for a career in engineering rather than arm wrestling.

More on the match from JPL

Here is an article from the instigator of the competition, Dr. Yoseph Bar-Cohen written prior to the match discussing the development of EAP's and their potential uses


Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Thanks to a recent post by George Wilkinson at Keats' Telescope, in which he makes a reference to Douglas Adams, I learned that his most well known book, The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has been made into a movie and is set for release on April 29th. In honor of this great event, I purchased The Ultimate Hitchhiker's Guide and am going to read it again before the opening. I first began reading this series around 18 or 20 years ago so I have forgotten many details. It will almost be like reading it for the first time I'm sure. I am appreciative of George's obviously great sense of humor, which has led me back to this literary gem.


Monday, March 07, 2005

Laughter is the Best Medicine......Usually.

From NewScientist: Laughing Helps Arteries and Boosts Blood Flow

Laughing appears to be almost as beneficial as a workout in boosting the health of blood vessels, a new study suggests.

"Thirty minutes of exercise three times a week and 15 minutes of hearty laughter each day should be part of a healthy lifestyle," says Michael Miller of the University of Maryland Medical Center in Baltimore, US, whose team has shown that laughter relaxes arteries and boosts blood flow. Read more

This does not appear to be the case for asthmatics however, at least for pediatric patients according to this related story from NewScientist: Laughter is Major Asthma Trigger

Laughter is more likely to trigger an asthma attack in a child than exercise or smog, according to an Australian study.

Richard Henry and colleagues at the University of New South Wales analysed all cases over a six-month period of children who were taken to the emergency department at Sydney Children's Hospital because they were suffering from an asthma attack. Almost one third had what Henry calls "mirth-triggered asthma". Read more