23 March 2010

It was a very nice day today.



A very nice reblooming iris from Pleasants Valley Iris Farm.

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20 March 2010

Study backs efforts to save delta fish

Farmers need to start planting crops requiring less water and/or begin fallowing more land. Plant less of the water thirsty crops (We will pay more). We also need to address the population problem.

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16 March 2010

Finally added a "Dislike" button to my Facebook. Must use Firefox Add-ons.

"The Voyage of the Beagle"

The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches The Voyage of the Beagle: Charles Darwin's Journal of Researches by Charles Darwin<br/><br/>
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Librivox.org podcast. This is a wonderful natural history diary of Charles Darwin's nearly five year tour around the world. He was an incredibly intelligent and insightful man. I read a very short Darwin biography that stated he was "the discoverer of natural selection..." No, he postulated the theory and presented evidence to back up his theory. He was not the only one to see the relationships between time and the differences in earth forms, and the differences in families and species of plants and animals. This book brings together so many of the things I enjoy, from anthropology to botany, entomology, geomorphology, oceanology to ornithology and beyond. A great book, or better yet, podcast for young people wondering what is out there in the natural world. If this title does not spark interest... 

View all my reviews >>

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11 March 2010

12101 steps. Flexeril kicking in.

Thalidomide's Partner in Crime - ScienceNOW

Thalidomide ranks as one of the worst pharmaceutical disasters in modern history. Prescribed as an antinausea drug for pregnant women in the late 1950s and early 1960s, it caused severe birth defects in as many as 10,000 children before it was yanked from the market. Half a century later, scientists are still not sure exactly how the drug does so much damage, which includes shortened arms and legs, ear deformities, and malformations in the digestive system. Now, for the first time, researchers have found a specific protein that binds to thalidomide and may help explain its devastating effects on fetal development. The find could help scientists develop less-toxic versions of the drug, which has helped combat the cancer multiple myeloma and complications of leprosy.

Because of its use in those hard-to-treat diseases, thalidomide is still causing birth defects today—especially in Africa and South America where leprosy still rages. (In the United States, people given thalidomide for myeloma are instructed to use multiple forms of birth control and take frequent pregnancy tests.) Scientists are therefore eager to understand exactly how thalidomide does its damage so that they can preserve the benefits of the drug without its hazards.

Molecular and developmental biologists from Japan report in tomorrow's issue of Science that they have found a new clue. Hiroshi Handa of the Tokyo Institute of Technology and his colleagues developed tiny magnetic beads—just 200 nanometers in diameter—that can be attached to drugs and other compounds. When the bead-linked drugs are mixed with cell extracts, scientists can pick out proteins or other molecules that the drug binds to. They applied the technology to thalidomide, and their fishing expedition paid off.

Handa's team found that beads tagged with thalidomide bound to a little-known protein called cereblon, which is expressed widely in both embryonic and adult tissues. Further experiments showed that blocking production of cereblon in zebrafish can cause defects in fin development similar to those caused by thalidomide. In both zebrafish and chick embryos, adding a version of cereblon that doesn't bind to thalidomide seemed to blunt the drug's effects.

Although cereblon's role in the cell is still unknown, Handa and his colleagues think that it might be a link between the drug and better-known developmental genes that direct limb development. But given that the protein is found in so many tissues, it's puzzling that thalidomide has such specific effects on limbs, ears, eyes, gut, and kidneys. In part because of this, although the cereblon clue is interesting, it is far from the whole story, says Neil Vargesson, a developmental biologist at the University of Aberdeen in the United Kingdom. He and his colleagues have studied the activity of thalidomide in developing limbs and have shown that developing blood vessels are a primary target of the drug. The new experiments don't explain thalidomide's effects on blood vessels, he says.

Toxicologist Craig Harris of the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, who has studied thalidomide's effects on gene expression, says that the new data are consistent with some theories of the drug's action, however. The cereblon clue will lead to new experiments that look at the protein's role in the cell, he says, key clues that may help scientists find replacement drugs. That, in turn, could finally relegate thalidomide to the history books.

Remember it all too well. Too many sad stories and photos.

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Looking for interesting but easy subject for next art project. Will try using mineral spirits with colored pencil.

08 March 2010

Growing low-oxygen zones in oceans worry scientists

Growing low-oxygen zones in oceans worry scientists

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An earthquake in Turkey. Is the earth trying to balance itself? Think California better prepare now. It won't be long.

Now an earthquake in Turkey. Is the earth trying to balance itself? Think California better prepare now. It won't be long.ke in Turkey. Is the earth trying to balance itself? Think California better get prepared now. It won't be long.


Yesterday's animals. Our first dragonfly of the year, a belted kingfisher, snowy egret, three great egrets, red-tailed hawk, ladybird beetles, wasps, turkey vulture, jumping spider and a few parachuting spiders.

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The Iditarod began in Willow where my wife and I spent our honeymoon.

It's Meatless Monday or Mindless Monday. Whichever you choose, as long as your day is not languorous.

05 March 2010

Watching "Change Your Brain Change Your Body". Albert Einstein plus Jack Lalanne? Am I the Scarecrow?

9100 steps today.

One year ago, in Amsterdam's Central Train Station awaiting a Thaly's train to Brussels.

How does Chili's know we're going to be eating ribs four hours before we arrive?

Working on my second art challenge piece. May take two days. Chosen subject a bit involved.

is listening to Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

is listening to Folsom Prison Blues by Johnny Cash

Listening to Help Me, Rhonda (Single Version) by The Beach Boys

Listening to Ternuras by Gipsy Kings

Listening to Gimme Some Lovin' by The Spencer Davis Group

My friend, Shoshanna, kindly challenged me to create a piece of art every other day or so. This is my first challenge drawing.

Picked up my analogous color wheel this week.

01 March 2010

Clubhouse Lake Birds

Nothing really exciting today. The four mergansers, a snowy egret, a young cormorant and an unidentified tern. Spring is coming so expecting more species to show up soon.

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Snowy March?

Just remember that the month of March can be one of the snowier months of the year. Just what you wanted to read.

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