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Femion » Science

Evidence

August 25th, 2008

I’m giving a talk to the biophysics group on Wednesday about molecular rulers, which are little molecules that bacteria use like ropes to determine how long they should build their toxin injection needles. Most of the research I’m relying on for this presentation refers to how similar the toxin injection needles are to the bacteria flagellum, the little corkscrew motor that allows bacteria to swim around, and how this probably means that the injection needles are their evolutionary predecessor.

While reading this, I am reminded of how intelligent designers often cite the bacteria flagellum as evidence for creation. It is too complex a piece of machinery, and the individual parts are useless, they argue. I was intending to add this to my presentation as an introductory side note. When looking for a source for the intelligent design argument, I found these humorous google suggestions:

evidence.jpg

That’s right. The evidence for the existence of Jesus is on the same list as the evidence for the existence of dragons and astrology.

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Playing around with Processing

June 30th, 2008

Through my work in visualization, I’ve come across this really cool program and programming language called Processing which is basically a nerdier version of flash developed by people at MIT. I played around with it today. I generated a list of random numbers ranging from 0 to 255 and grouped them into 3s. The three numbers are used to make up the colour of an ellipse, and then the same three numbers are combined again to make up the x and y coordinates of the ellipse and the width and height. so basically, each possible shape has only one possible colour, and the order of the stacking of the shapes is random. Here’s the image generated by the code ellipse(first,second,third,first*second/third,)

shape2.jpg

and here’s the same set of data, with the slight difference in code being: ellipse(first,first*second/third,second,third).

shape3.jpg

In other news, today I was assigned my own research project in the biophysics lab. So instead of having to help debug other people’s code, I get to debug my own crappy code! I was also offered a job for September, but it’s a bureaucratic job with lots of work and little pay, so I don’t think I’ll consider it. I also made coconut curry tonight. It was delicious.

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Oh, expendable red shirts

April 15th, 2008

I have a calculus exam this evening. I only need a 60 on it to get an A, since I did extremely well on the midterm, but I’m still a little stressed out about it because it’s on much more difficult material than the midterm - Stokes’ theorem and series solutions to second order differential equations.

My final gazette article of the year was for the spoof issue, entitled “Scientists discover arts student gene”. I don’t think it will be posted on the website.

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Gazette #44 - Hadron is an awesome word

April 7th, 2008

The $10 billion experiment

I had an interesting conversation on Sunday. Upon hearing that I was a physics major someone asked me if I knew enough to understand the LHC experiments. I told them that I haven’t really studied the standard model yet, but we were taught that neat things happen when you smash high energy particles together.

# 43 was about bad things humans have done to each other and gotten away with under the guise of it being ’science’. It was an extremely depressing article to write, but I got a bit of praise for it.

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Gazette #42 - explaining calculators to arts students

March 23rd, 2008

Divide and Conquer

42??? 42!!! This article was inspired by a classics major asking me how a calculator can solve a square root, and me not exactly knowing the answer. I learned a lot of interesting stuff along the way, and I only hope that the arts students reading this article also find it interesting.

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Gazette #41 - The Gazette’s intrepid science columnist

March 14th, 2008

Grand Canyon Creationism

This issue was inspired by my recent trip to the Grand Canyon. It’s funny, I thought I was going to write a stronger article about how republicans are trying to prevent the National Park service from talking about evolution in the public parks, but I found out that the information I was basing that opinion on came from a looney lefty lobby group who made stuff up. I guess you can get bullshit from both sides.

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Gazette #40 - BRAINS!

March 11th, 2008

How to use more than 10 per cent of your brain

This was a fun one to write. Aaron Newman was an interesting interview.

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Gazette #39 - DINOSAURS!!!

February 24th, 2008

A scandal by any other name

I’m sitting in my parent’s apartment in Tucson right now.

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Gazette #38 - The Sex Issue

February 22nd, 2008

Animal Sex: Fancy penises and explosions

BIG WARNING: this article was published in a student university sex issue newspaper so you can imagine what audiences this article will not be appropriate for.

Also, I didn’t choose the image, title, or ending sentence that go along with this article - those were added by my editor. Yay picture of cows going at it right next to picture of my head. And I was not trying to say that ducks eat each other after sex.

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Gazette #37 - not quite so controversial, but still sad.

February 10th, 2008

Harper slashes Science Advisor Office

This was actually pretty boring to write. I don’t really like writing about politics. Especially Canadian politics

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