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Taking Notes November 28, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words, Uncategorizable.
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I found this notepaper from a developer’s meeting seven or so years ago.  I’m not sure why I made these notes, but they look very interesting taken out of whatever context they were in:

“At some point we should just trust Microsoft…” –this is probably the problem, right here.

“…it’s a bug until it’s documented.  Then it’s a feature.”

“We are having a logic and code audit here without access to our code.  It’s not fair!”

“…redefine the problem as a solution…”

I really wish I could remember why I wrote these things down.

Nanoparticulate Treatment of Autoimmunities November 18, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology.
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Scientists at Northwestern Medical have successfully reversed a mouse model of MS using 500nm particle of “antigen-decorated” polystyrene and poly[ed; some polymer of](lactide-co-glycolide) to induce toleration of the antigen, thus modulating the T-cell response to apoptosis.  Big news, and even potentially bigger, since this antigen decoration business can be modified to include antigens indicated in other conditions such as diabetes or asthma.

This treatment does not suppress the entire immune system as do current therapies for MS, making patients more susceptible to everyday infections and higher rates of cancer. Instead, when the “antigen-decorated” polystyrene particles are attached to myelin antigens and injected into the mice, the immune system is reset to normal. The immune system stops recognizing myelin as an alien invader and halts its attack on it. This happened when the particles entered the spleen, which filters the blood and helps the body dispose of aging and dying blood cells. There, the particles were engulfed by macrophages, a type of immune cell, which then displayed the antigens on their cell surface. The immune system viewed the particles as ordinary dying blood cells and nothing to be concerned about. This created immune tolerance to the antigen by directly inhibiting the activity of myelin responsive T cells and by increasing the numbers of regulatory T cells which further calmed the autoimmune response.

Microparticles bearing encephalitogenic peptides induce T-cell tolerance and ameliorate experimental autoimmune encephalomyelitis, Nature Biotechnology (2012) doi:10.1038/nbt.2434

Indistinguishable From Magic November 18, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Science, Star Trek Technology, Toys.
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Really, four hundred years ago this would have had you burned at the stake.

I Thought Cats Were Demanding Pets, Part Two November 16, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Mutants.
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capybara_picdump-147 I have owned smaller dogs.  And horses, come to think of it

That is a capybara, my friends (“Ah, yes; Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris”), the mother of all rodentia.  Looks like a monster guinea pig, and it is.  This one has an owner with boundary issues, I would guess.

Does This Man Look Like a Geek? November 10, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Mutants, Science.
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He ought to look like a geek, as he spends as much time as he can tromping around Brazilian jungles looking for, well, frogs.  And he finds them.  Particularly, he found the only three-fingered frog I have ever heard of (full disclosure: now an amateur scientist, I was never a biologist). Brachycephalus tridactylus is his discovery and it’s a charming representative of its genus


and arguably better looking than he is.  I realize that’s an apples and oranges kind of thing, but look at the color of this frog and you see real beauty.

And three fingers.

Penguin Demanding Attention November 9, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Video.
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Insufferably cute.

Now I want a penguin.

Worshipful Company November 6, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Science, Uncategorizable.
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I wish I had a better copy of this, the coat of arms of the Worshipful Company of Scientific Instrument Makers. The WCSIM promotes the craft of scientific instrument making and the exchange of ideas and information by members and guests through meetings, visits, lectures and social events.

The members are all linked with the manufacture or use of scientific instruments. The Company advances the craft through traditional apprenticeships supervised by Liverymen, and through its educational trust fund. The fund provides grants, bursaries and scholarships at A level, undergraduate and post graduate and research fellow levels.

Don’t get all enchanted at thinking they are an ancient order of alchemists, teeming with secrets of forbidden knowledge (sorry, Forbidden Knowledge); they got their charter in 1955 and the coat of arms the next year.  They do, however, have a bunch of scholarships and such for aspiring instrument makers.  I think I always would have been happier making instruments than using them (and I have been for the last seven years), so I endorse them to all  and sundry Englishmen.  Go for it, lads.

Also, their website has lovely quotes from great scientists and saints, like " The most exciting phrase to hear in science, the one that heralds the most discoveries, is not "Eureka!" (I found it!) but "That’s funny…" "  and " If you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the precipitate.”

How demonstrably true.

I Can Only Hope November 5, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words.
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A fine end

This is from the fabulous mind of Dan Piraro, one of the finest cartoonists in the world.  I just wish he was also a TV producer.

Them’s Fightin’ Words November 5, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Brilliant words, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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From the List Which Cannot Be Named:

“Neither do I have the energy to construct a suitable limerick involving a man, a boat, and the word ‘littoral’.”

Therewith followed (at last count) four limericks by different contributors and sundry critiques thereof.

Gods, I love these people.

This Book is Full of Spiders: Seriously Dude, Don’t Touch it, by David Wong November 4, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Books, Brilliant words, Mutants, Uncategorizable.
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This Book Is Full of Spiders: Seriously, Dude, Don’t Touch It is a seriously fun book.  The long-awaited sequel to (but standalone read) John Dies at the End, This Book contains the same drollery about fantastic happenings that I found so amusing in John Dies, and introduces some interesting characters to boot.  The reader (whose name I have already forgotten) of the audiobook gives things just the right twists, inflections and pathos in turn to render the listening experience delightfully surreal, and sardonic—just as it should be.

On Amazon the Audible version is $17.95 and the CD version is $17.99, which tells me the value of the CD and shipping and handling.  Curiously, the CD for John Dies is $21.86 and the Audible is $17.95, actually cheaper than the hardcover ($18.47).

Both are available at sfpl.org, still my personal favorite media outlet.  It is true that they don’t deliver to the house, but the electronic versions do load to your Kindle, so there is that.

Guitar Solo by Prince November 3, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Awesome, Music, Video.
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Seriously rockin’ guitar solo at the end of “My Guitar Gently Weeps”.  I don’t care for Prince generally, but this is very, very good.

The Long Con November 3, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brilliant words.
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The Baffler has a thorough examination of the convergence of political and economic naiveté here,  It documents the sad summation my gut feeling, historical narratives (I’m talking really ancient history, like Roman and Greek rabble-rousing) and years of political observation and then answers the burning question of our political age, ”How did things get so messed up?”

A longish read, but worth the effort.  If you have wondered why presidential aspirants lie so much, it’s because the groundwork for it has been carefully laid over many years.  Read about how it was done.

Tinfoil Hat Calibration November 3, 2012

Posted by stuffilikenet in Brain, Brilliant words, Uncategorizable.
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From The List Which Cannot Be Named:

I would be interested in knowing specifically what shape the aluminum foil  should be fashioned in for maximum deflection of radio frequencies; this recommendation, along with the objective research, could be passed on to the paranoid schizophrenic community.

When I worked at Radio Shack (first real job out of high school, if you can call retail "Sales Making!" a real job) we had a shortbus-load of "special" folks visit the mall we were in about once a month.  One of these ladies came in one day, crying and complaining that her tinfoil hat was very uncomfortable during the summer.  (Sacramento summer heat can get as high as 120F in bad years.)

My coworker Tina sold her a studfinder ($8?), which she claimed to have modified special in the back room, to detect the CIA and other guvmint bands – we also sold crystals for scanners, of course. The studfinder would beep randomly sometimes at power-on; she told this poor CIA victim that if that happened, to go ahead and wear her hat.

That woman was ever so grateful.  She always knew when to put on her hat after that.  We didn’t tell her that the CIA changes its frequencies every year or so, so she’d need to bring it in for updated crystals. I’m sure the CIA and NSA are very happy they’ve been able to monitor and modify her thoughts lo these many years. 

I also wonder sometimes how many years of therapy we set her back.