Wednesday, 12 March 2014

09:35 – Thanks to reader L. Daniel Rosa, who sent me the following link:

http://www.foldscope.com/

This is not a toy. It’s a serious instrument, albeit one the size of a standard microscope slide and a cost of only $0.50. They’re calling for 10,000 volunteer beta testers, each of whom will use the microscope to do something of their choice and write up a short lab session, protocol, or whatever. These will be winnowed and combined into an open-source biology/microscopy manual. I’m going to submit an application to be a beta tester as soon as I post this. I’d encourage any of my readers with any interest at all in microscopy or citizen science to do the same.


49 thoughts on “Wednesday, 12 March 2014”

  1. What a brilliant idea. Simple, functional and could help save many lives. Brilliant.

  2. I bookmarked that site for further action; we are having or about to have a blizzard here, on March 12-13, Anno Domini MMXIV.

    30 now but dropping to single digits tonight with winds gusting above 30-40 MPH thus bringing the wind chill down to well below zero, and snow falling at 1-2 inches per hour until 8 PM tomorrow night. Expecting 10-20 inches, with blowing and drifting snow, possibly followed by sleet and freezing rain later to give it all a nice, picturesque coating of more ice.

  3. We have full sun, 78dF, no wind and 29.95inHg at SL.

    Outside of that, I’m taking my granddaughter to Fry’s and by her a laptop for her school work. I can’t wait for the school district to buy her an iPad with your tax dollars and I bought her one two years ago anyway.

  4. Currently 8C (46F) and sunny. I’ve put insurance on my Miata and have already been driving about with the top down. In fact, I’m off to do the same right now.

    I’ve seen the news about the storm back east. Ouch!

  5. …winnowed…

    New word for me. Thank you for the contribution to my vocabulary. 🙂

  6. Near whiteout here right now and temp at 20 with “real-feel” at zero, very, very windy, with blowing snow. Now they’re saying up to two feet is coming our way between now and tomorrow night.

    We have two cords of dry, seasoned wood in the driveway and a nearly full tank of oil, plus the well. If the power goes out, we’re good here for a couple of weeks, easy. Goal is to extend that to a full harsh winter with no Grid whatsoever. Then a year.

    Daughter was supposed to have left for Montreal today, after being here a week already, but that’s out of the question now; and the regular daily series of vegan meals that she commandeers the kitchen for is getting old. They’re OK, but not world-beaters….somebody get me a cheeseburger!

  7. 68 F here in the Land of Sugar with a 20 mph wind from the North and no clouds in the sky. We are suppose to drop down to 42 F tonight and back to 68 F tomorrow. Idyllic weather!

    It would be nice to save some of this for August. Or September, I am not picky.

    It would be nice to have a Miata but 6’1″, 250 lb guys just do not fit in them without using some sort of shoehorn to get in. And then something else like a crowbar for extraction. A topless Jeep would be freaking awesome but I am not allowed to have one of those either.

  8. Found here.

    11) How can you tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber? Ask them to pronounce unionized.

  9. How can you tell the difference between a chemist and a plumber? Ask them to pronounce unionized.

    I lol’d. 🙂

  10. Some of these are no joke. For ten years or more after we were married, I’d periodically get Barbara very annoyed with me. For example, she’d be cooking dinner and ask if I wanted peas or broccoli, to which I’d reply, “Yes.” She was convinced that I was being obnoxious, but I explained to her about XOR and finally convinced her that that was the way my mind worked.

  11. Gee, I must be an intullekshoo-all. I liked #19. Probably why I wouldn’t make a good programmer.

    “…but I am not allowed to have one of those either.”

    Seems to me that at over six feet and 250 pounds and the owner of a successful business and an American citizen living in the great Lone Star State, y’all oughta be able to have anything y’all want. I’d get the Jeep and some more guns.

    OTOH, I’m even larger than that, and living in the free state of Vermont, and I’ve been stuck with a vegan diet all week so fah. I’m standing firm on getting another truck, though.

  12. Just tell your daughter that you’re an ovo-lacto-pisco-fowlo-meato vegan and that you expect her to comply with your dietary requirements.

  13. “Gee, I must be an intullekshoo-all. I liked #19. Probably why I wouldn’t make a good programmer. ”

    The real joke is that he had a wife! 😀

  14. “It would be nice to have a Miata but 6’1″, 250 lb guys just do not fit in them without using some sort of shoehorn to get in. And then something else like a crowbar for extraction. ”

    You just described me, though I’m a svelte 245 lbs according to my scale. I fit fine, though I don’t like have the top up as it just touches my head.

  15. “The real joke is that he had a wife! :D”

    True, that.

    “…but fry them in lard.”

    Not a bad idea. She was cleaning out our fridge, with obvious disdain and contempt, and held up the unopened package of bacon like it was radioactive. I indicated that that wasn’t getting tossed, no matter how old it is. I also put my hand on my CC revolver.

    SteveF; looks on the radar like you’re either about to get slammed or already getting slammed down there in the Capital District Tropics.

  16. Currently on-and-off rain or maybe sleet by now, but the temp is under freezing so we have a nice coating of ice already started. Should be a fun drive tomorrow, if we have a nice coating of snow atop the nice coating of ice.

  17. Oh, I see; you really are down there in that tropical belt; just looked at the radar and the southern border of the storm seems to be along that line across into southern VT, southern NH and into southern Maine. We are, on the other hand, smack in the middle.

    Neighbor already outside with his riding mower plow; I swear he just loves to run all his machines and get outta the house; he will no doubt be out there five or six more times by tomorrow night. I was debating getting a snowblower this past Xmas season but blew it off, figuring we weren’t gonna hit too bad here on the Bay. Bad call.

  18. That front passed through here early this morning. Was supposed to dump up to 8 inches, but ended up being just a dusting. Since most of it was supposed to hit during drive time, and I had a job over at the Indy airport Radisson this morning, I just went over in 70° yesterday evening and stayed overnight. Hate traveling in potentially slick weather in the dark, and I would have had to leave Tiny House around 6am in bad weather to get to the Radisson by 07:45 to set up. Also, with the time change just passed, getting up at what would have been 03:30 a week ago, did not seem enticing. So a night at the Radisson it was. Heavy rain all through the overnight — probably 3 inches or more. It tried to change to snow around 10:00, but petered out to sunshine by 13:30. Single digit temps tonight, but spring again by Friday.

    The jetstream is still riding up and down the midsection of the country like Britney Spears’ belly-button when she is on stage, and after a few days of warm over the weekend, it will get cold again here. Jetstream shows no signs of retreating up into Canada. West Coast and Kelowna are managing to avoid being north of the jetstream, but it looks like that will change next week.

    Ordinary people are now firmly convinced of global warming. That was a major topic of conversation during downtime this morning. Everybody believed it is irrefutable fact. My comment, as always, was ‘bring it on’.

  19. like Britney Spears’ belly-button when she is on stage

    Normally I’ll ignore colorful expressions and anything about famous but otherwise worthless people, but… what? All I can think of is that she’s gotten fat and her belly jiggles a lot. Or she had some poorly-done liposuction or something and the flaps of stretched-out skin over the formerly bulging belly flops all around.

    Ordinary people are now firmly convinced of global warming.

    Everything is proof of global cooling global warming climate change. More significantly, everything is evidence that the government needs to take more control of your life and the economy.

  20. Ordinary people are now firmly convinced of global warming. That was a major topic of conversation during downtime this morning. Everybody believed it is irrefutable fact. My comment, as always, was ‘bring it on’.

    I feel my chain being yanked.

    So what do these “ordinary” people want to do about global cooling XXXXXX global warming XXXXXXX climate change?

    “US Having Its Coldest Six Month Period Since 1912”
    http://stevengoddard.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/us-having-its-coldest-six-month-period-since-1912/

    LMAO- “Is this regular cold, cooling cold, or warming cold? I have trouble keeping track.”

    Have they selected the virgin to be thrown into the volcano yet?

  21. Britney Spears has had two kids. Things are going to jiggle, especially around the belly button. Maybe she will get a tummy tuck someday after she has the rest of her kids.

  22. she’d be cooking dinner and ask if I wanted peas or broccoli, to which I’d reply, “Yes.”

    My younger son used to do this, also genuinely.

    However: you can ask the question with an intonation that makes the logician’s answer the expected one. Asked without that special intonation, it’s pretty obvious that a non-logician answer should be given. In my son’s case, he learned the difference, and in the interests of effective communication started answering appropriately. Kind of a shame – he still has the very logical, mathematical mind, but it’s not on display anymore…

  23. Two other silly anecdotes about the logical son: He used to do math in his sleep. You could walk into his room when he was 3 or 4 and whisper something like “what’s 2 plus 3” and he would answer correctly without waking up. That went away sometime around the age of 5.

    When he was even younger, a toddler, and was really upset – for example, crying after falling down and skinning a knee – after a minute or two he would declare “done”. And he was, just like that. Tears off, back to normal, climb off the lap and go play some more.

  24. Geez, I remember taking a multiple-choice standardized test as a kid. One could check only one box. The answers were:

    A. Something
    B. Something else
    C. Something else again
    D. None of the above
    E. All of the above

    The correct solution was to mark A and B and C, but only one mark was permitted per question. I puzzled over that one for quite a while before I checked E.

  25. And for a while I actually had Barbara using the word XOR in routine conversation.

  26. So what do these “ordinary” people want to do about global cooling XXXXXX global warming XXXXXXX climate change?

    Well, according to yesterday’s conversations, it is reminiscent of the Carter era: policies need to be changed so everybody suffers some “to stop it.” Back in the Carter years, the acknowledged wisdom was that we were headed into global frigidness. I figure if they could not get it right back then, what makes anybody think they have it right, now?

    But the interesting thing is that in the 4+ years I have been back, it has gone to some people (especially here in farmland) believing that there is doubt, to everyone but me accepting it unequivocally.

    Just goes to show that if people are hammered enough by the media, they finally accept. Of course, I am open to believing that it could be true, but I am not convinced and certainly do not believe warming is man-made. But if it is, let’s do some more of that. I’ll take warming any day to cooling, and this winter only reinforces that for me.

  27. Just goes to show that if people are hammered enough by the media, they finally accept. Of course, I am open to believing that it could be true, but I am not convinced and certainly do not believe warming is man-made. But if it is, let’s do some more of that. I’ll take warming any day to cooling, and this winter only reinforces that for me.

    OK, I thought that you had drunk the Global Cooling XXXXX Global Warming XXXXX Climate Change koolaid.

    Warmer is better except for OFD. More crops, less heating, etc. I totally believe that the Earth’s temperature is totally controlled by that big fusion reactor in the sky. I will change my tune in August though when we are running from air conditioning to air conditioning to escape the 100+ F temperatures.

  28. As even cursory research confirms, humanity flourishes in warmer periods and suffers in cooler ones. Certainly there will be winners and losers if the planet’s climate changes dramatically toward higher temperatures. Ignoring trivialities like low-lying islands being submerged, the big winners will be the regions nearer the poles and the big losers will be equatorial regions.

    That being said, and noticing the relative absence of land masses nearer the southern pole, the agenda of those who want to suppress global warming for political reasons becomes clear. Those who would actually benefit from global warming are skewed wealthy/white while those who would suffer are skewed poor/brown.

    Now, defending the poor and disadvantaged may be admirable, but those proponents of rich nations wasting money to suppress global warming (even if it could be done, which it can’t) cannot afford to present their case as, basically, “You rich white people have to suffer voluntarily to protect those poor brown people, who can’t protect themselves.” Obviously, few of those rich white people would care, at least not enough to impoverish themselves to help those living in equatorial regions. So the advocates of spending trillions to fight global warming have to present it in a way that appeals to those rich white people’s self interest.

    My attitude is that if global warming becomes a real problem, I’ll simply relocate further north.

  29. “…if global warming becomes a real problem, I’ll simply relocate further north.”

    Ditto. Of course for us, that would be Labrador or Greenland.

  30. OFD wrote:

    “Daughter was supposed to have left for Montreal today, after being here a week already, but that’s out of the question now; and the regular daily series of vegan meals that she commandeers the kitchen for is getting old. They’re OK, but not world-beaters….somebody get me a cheeseburger!”

    Ask her this: If we’re not supposed to eat animals why are they so tasty?

  31. I keep running into doctors (started with the German DIL doctor) who say our bodies are not made to do without meat, no matter how noble the motive. Had another one in a video session the other day, who made a switch to meat and raw or nearly raw vegetables, and no carbs or bread. He made the switch years ago, and says his health has been significantly better from all standpoints, including hardly ever getting sick anymore. He also does not eat or drink oranges, tomatoes, broccoli, or anything else that has been devised since the Middle Ages.

  32. Yeah, that’s that “Paleo” diet fad that’s been popping around, frequently in libertarian circles on the net.

    Daughter has been strict vegan for many years, but at 21 she’s nearly six feet tall and over 200 pounds; you don’t get that big eating celery, tofu, and rice, and drinking carrot juice. She’s also had a history of gastro-intestinal discomfort and medical issues associated with it, even fairly recently, but there is hope: she will now eat salmon (has to be wild-caught, no farm-raised, natch) and maybe that will expand in the near future.

    I eat whatever the hell I want, but to be honest, there ain’t much meat in my diet; maybe a coupla times a week. And I manage to stay in the 255-275 range without becoming a giant blivit. (although some may find that amusing and not accurate).

  33. Doctor DIL told me you do not have to eat a lot of meat, just SOME red meat occasionally. There is some chemical in red meat that we need, but I never was clear on what that was — even though she told me repeatedly. I think I have mentioned that her father, also a doctor specializing in cardiology, refuses to take vegetarians as patients. They are accelerating their own demise, he says, and he does not want any part in that. Strangely, he does accept smokers as patients. Not much difference as I see it.

    I do not eat meat daily, either. Probably a few times a week. But I purposely manage to get red meat at least once a week. I do eat fish and fowl a lot more than red meat, though.

  34. Ditto here, more fish and fowl than the red stuff. But tonight when Mrs. OFD got back, I made us bacon-cheeseburgers as we’d had zero meat for ten days. Now our guts will be effed up all week, probably, as has happened before.

    My own demise is a crap shoot; I shoulda been demised a very long time ago and many times, too. Why I’m here is a complete mystery to me.

  35. Why I’m here is a complete mystery to me.

    Because you are so optimistic about the future.

  36. Your doctor DIL is probably talking about essential amino acids

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Essential_amino_acid

    which are essential in the sense that humans require them but do not synthesize them, so they must be obtained in sufficient amounts from the diet. Vegetarians are at risk for deficiencies in essential amino acids unless they’re careful, and it’s very, very difficult for vegans to avoid such deficiencies.

  37. My cardiologist tells me he likes bacon cheese burgers and one or two a month is okay. So I went from about one a week to one every two. The Greek fast food around the corner makes a killer bacon bleu-cheese.

  38. I prefer fish and chicken to read meat and pork, but am happy to eat the latter so long as it is good quality. I can’t stand beef, lamb and pork that is tough, has veins of gristle and chewy fat. Some friends and relatives are fussy about the chicken they’ll eat, but it’s all the same to me.

    I adore vegetables but could never become a vegetarian, let alone a vegan. I like to have met at least once a day.

  39. Man I loved the lean pork the Germans have. They eat lean meat from every animal. Over here, duck is about as greasy fat as one can get, but duck (Ente) there, is so meaty and tasty. The other thing I miss is European bratwurst. Aldi has had the real thing the last couple weeks. Night and day difference in what the US accepts as bratwurst — which is basically glorified hot dog innards. In Germany, the stuff in hot dogs is strictly for children; bratwurst is for anybody older than 11.

  40. We’ve heard rumors that an Aldi may be coming to this region in the near future; we’ll be checking it out if so.

    We are fortunate to be able to have local meat, fish and veggie/fruit sources up here and need to get set up this year with a couple of the CSA outfits. Plus experiment some more with what we can grow in our limited amount of space that gets sunlight and also starting seedlings indoors with grow lights in the attic and basement.

  41. starting seedlings indoors with grow lights in the attic and basement

    Oh dude, please no. Growing marijuana in your house is just a bad idea. The electric company will turn you in nowadays.

  42. The house would be easier to get away with than doing it out in the open here; there are choppers routinely cruising up and down the greater Champlain watershed looking for just that sorta thing, which is such a valuable use of our law enforcement resources and taxes, of course. But if they came to the house itself, they’d have me dead to rights after a warranted search, naturally.

    Nope, just tomatoes, peppers and eggplants, so as to give them a healthy head start on transplanting out to our small patch of sunlight.

  43. Vegetarians are at risk for deficiencies in essential amino acids unless they’re careful, and it’s very, very difficult for vegans to avoid such deficiencies.

    It’s not that difficult! If you eat a mix of beans/pulses, seeds/nuts and grains, you’re fine for typical requirements. The only difficulty I’ve experienced is in getting enough B12 — and that’s easy if you take vitamins or eat fortified cereal. Or delicious Marmite.

    IMO the only problems, if you’re sensible, arise from doing a lot of sport or physical labour. I eat four meals a day when I *don’t* exercise. Back when I did judo and then rowing at quite an intense level, the four meals were ridiculously big. And occasionally expanded into five meals. Plants just don’t tend to be as calorie-dense as animals, so you end up eating a large volume of food.

    Daughter has been strict vegan for many years, but at 21 she’s nearly six feet tall and over 200 pounds; you don’t get that big eating celery, tofu, and rice, and drinking carrot juice.

    I grew to 6’1″ on a strict vegan diet. Obviously, that’s quite a lot shorter than a giant like you, but it’s also a lot taller than my older relatives who ate meat-heavy diets. Basically, I don’t think there’s any good evidence as to whether well-fed veggies grow shorter, taller or the same as well-fed omnivores.

    Damn, though, but milk, meat and eggs do taste good. That’s the real problem with veganism. Nowadays I tend to be more flexible, because I love the taste of those things.

  44. Our friend Mary Chervenak is a vegetarian, and she’s also a Marathon runner. I asked her one time about essential amino acids, and she said she had to be conscious of them in planning her diet, but then she’s also on the very high end in terms of physical exertion. She did say that she couldn’t imagine being able to run Marathons if she were a strict vegan. Mary, incidentally, is not vegetarian for any philosophical reason; she simply doesn’t like the taste of meat. She does eat dairy products and eggs, IIRC.

    As I told her, I consider myself a vegetarian of the ovo-, lacto-, pisco-, fowlo-, meato- variety.

  45. A brief chat with Mrs. OFD yesterday revealed, and I hadn’t noticed, that daughter, while being a fairly strict vegan, shovels in the food in enormous portions. She also jogs and rides a bicycle in decent Montreal weather but that’s about it; she is easily over 200 pounds.

    I’m not really a giant; giants are those guys on the NFL these days, several inches taller than me and usually over a hundred pounds heavier or more. Then I saw an actor on “Open Range” who towered over Kevin Costner, who is 6’1″. I looked him up and he’s 6’7″ and gotta be 400-450 pounds. A former cop partner was 6’6″ and 410 and used to pick me up off the floor like a loaf of bread and up in the air. He was also a part-time pro wrestler, though. But during baton training he kept a wary distance from me, saying “I don’t trust you.” What a terrible thing to say!

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