Friday, February 24, 2012

Immortality and Jellyfish

Doesn't it look awesome?
Commonly known as the "Immortal Jellyfish". Seriously, it's basically immortal. See normal jellyfish are born as a larva. This larva then develops into the unique jelly-baby we call a polyp. The polyp grows and grows until one day it reaches its final jellyfish state. 

The life of a regular non-immortal Jellyfish

Turritopsis nutricula is a special little jelly though. As a fully grown medua (final jellyfish stage of life), it can actually "reverse age" back into the tiny polyp. That's like you suddenly reverting back into a baby; an ability I'm sure we'd all love to have. 

But of course, in the real life of T. nutricula reverting back into a helpless polyp can be pretty dangerous. There's a higher chance that they will get eaten. But in exchange for basic immortality, not such a bad deal? 

I find the topic of immortality quite an interesting one. We've been learning in a hell load of classes about immortality.

In a genetics class we've learned that Daf-2 mutants in C. elegans have almost twice the life span as normal worms. This gene is highly conserved in vertebrates... Daf-2 usually serves to inhibit the longevity of worms so is the same true for humans? Of course it'll be much more complicated, but this serves to confirm that longevity does lie in our genes.

Then in evolution we learned how a simple Drosophila selection experiment managed to make longer-living females; at the cost of early life reproductive success. But of course, it's one thing to do a selection experiment on something so small and easily manipulated, and completely another thing to attempt to do the same with humans. 

Not that I think we have to worry, at the rate society's going at there are already selection pressures for women who reproduce later in life. I propose a century long study of human reproductive time selection!

Sunday, February 19, 2012


I've been thinking too much recently. I'm going to take this time to just stop thinking.

Here's a picture of a fruit parfait I made with roommate a while ago:

Here's a close up:

For a phone, I think <currently unnamed> does a pretty good job with photos. It actually does a better job than my point and shoot sometimes (when I literally just point and shoot without worry about how much my hands are shaking). Just as evidence, here's a photo of kayaks: 

Actually, on small resolution it looks oki... click it and see the blur though...

Ya this is really an incoherentish post. Enjoy.

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Late hibernation

Between midterms, assignments, labs and other random stuff I piled onto myself, I've grown quite weary. It's actually rather upsetting.

Finally got around to installing Wind IDE today... hopefully will be better than whatever the heck else I was using before (it wasn't so good so I just forgot the name).

In all honesty this is another one of those "I kind of want to sit here and never move again" kind of days. The worst thing about being me is that whatever I feel, I feel too much of it. Becomes very hard to block out emotions to actually be productive.

I've also noticed my arrogance has been getting in the way of my pre-testing strategies... the result is another addition to my current blandness.

The worst thing about feeling bland isn't the feeling bland, it's the fact that I don't know why I feel bland and hence have absolutely no idea how to stop feeling bland.

I feel like if I continue to type I'm just going to ramble on incoherently with complaints. I'll stop now and just hole up for a week or so.

Friday, February 17, 2012

When you know the author

Ever read a book and felt like the author was trying to speak to you through the words unwritten? Or am I alone in constantly wondering what an author could possibly have wanted to share with me through his/her story? This goes back to my whole belief that art is an intimate sharing of one's personal desires, sometimes without one meaning to do so.

Last week one of my (dare I say?) most creative/thoughtful/intriguing friends gave me a book he wrote: The Bridge. Here is picture I took of it because the covering and the covers were so sensibly made:

My thoughts going through the first few pages: "This is totally his style of writing." 

And as I read through the rest of the story, I kept going back to the fact that the entire narration felt very much like something only he would have come up with. Usually when reading books by different authors I start to notice their particular accents and tones of writing, but I can never be sure what kind of person they were because I never met them. It was a very different experience reading a friend's work and realizing that, yes, this is his style. 

But I ramble (as I usually do), and it's about time I summarize the story without giving it away.


Told through seven days, we follow the main character as he lives a rather bohemian life. The focal point was flashbacks to a particular interaction the character had with his childhood best friend, which occurred on a bridge (finally understood title after reading that part). Through two different tellings of the same flashback the reader starts to question who exactly the main character is. 

I actually feel like I can't really explain how much I enjoyed this book without spoiling it... Really do hate it when that happens. Here are my general feelings when reading it though:
  • This is totally his style of writing
  • So much thought clearly put into this
  • I'm so confused
  • Wait, what?
  • Ahaha
  • I feel like I've just been told something without being told it
The afterword should have been part of the book in all honesty. Without it I would have been at a greater loss of the story than I was after reading the afterward, at which point I was still rather confused. I seem to enjoy getting confused.

I'm actually rather upset now that I can't exactly get my thoughts about the book written down properly. And just on a whim I added this book to my Goodreads book shelf, after adding the book to the book list that is. I just realized, this is the first book I finished this year! Book goal of 30 books by the end of this year, I'd best get on that!

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Nature's pretty things

... I downloaded Picasa last night...

I then proceeded to look through past somewhat pretty photos I took and fixed them up... I now understand why so many of my friends are into photography. A good picture is good. It's this easy way to be artistic without the hassle of learning how to paint.

But in my sincerest belief, anyone can be a good photographer, but to be a truly brilliant one involves that much more work. That's not to say that the good photographers should just stop; any good photo is a delight to experience.

I know a lot of good photographers. They constantly delight me with their work, I've saved quite a few of their photos too. Hang on, let me get some copy right permission to post some.

Permission-getting successful.

From the world of my good friend Duckii

This was taken at a park in the fall season. I love the sparkling water and the exact moment of this capture. It's amazing because you feel like the goose knew to pose. The overall colours are also wonderful, it's a smooth blend of the orange-warm tones. 

I'm just wondering when she got the time to get a perfect drop of water on a leaf for this shot. It's clean and has a calming effect. Also kind of makes me thirsty, even though I know how small that drop would be in real life. This reminds me of something my past PI said about how she enjoyed photography because it allows you to look at things from a new angle and see something completely different. 

Over last summer, while communicating via email, Picadasiy clued me in on her own photography skills. 

Loving the deep blue tones here. It's a calming picture... I'm thinking in my head "the secret life of plants" for some reason. I generally love it when a photo's hues blend in well; the use of all warm colours or all cool colours. Not sure why, but bright radiating colours need to be done really well in order for it to resonate with me.

But then, the mix of green and pink has always been a big favourite of mine when it does come to colour. It's my symbol of feminism. I think my favourite dress was pink and green. Not sure what happened to it now... I need more pink and green dresses... I also really love flowers (as you can predict...), in fact this picture is basically everything I consider myself in a nutshell. 

So as I may or may not have alluded to, I've been messing with past photos these days... While I like them, I've got this terrible thing about sharing art. Art to me is a way of expressing myself so much more intimately than words ever can. Words easily mask the truth, but art is really the "language of the soul" to use a cliche. 

I just spent the past few days puzzling over whether I should open myself up to the world or not. I suppose I shouldn't make such a big deal of these things really... but I can't help how strongly I feel about it. Perhaps I'll just sneak a photo or two of my own into future blogs. 

Saturday, February 11, 2012


I just started around 5 different posts today... publishing none but this. Why? Because I'm scared.

The internet used to be my way of expressing myself anonymously, but to a point I did want to share some ideas with people I knew... but people who know me will no doubt judge me based on what I write.

Sometimes I like to be judge; I play out situations to be judged. Other times I really want to just do away with the mask of my life and be truthful. But the truth always carries such power; and often times it's deadly. And there's a lot of opinions that I have that I'd want to share but I'm always scared it'll offend.

I fell back on this previous alias with hopes to stay a secret, but I'm not so good at keeping my own secrets.

At this point comes another time when I just have to trust myself. And just remember that there are countless other people who don't know me. It's a comforting thought.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

Things that don't happen every day

Um... there's an issue going on right now.

No, make that two. Well one is already done with... here I'll use my friendly lists:
  1. I was cooking today and wanted to add ginger to my cooking. My ginger shrunk. 
  2. Our laundry machine spewed out a candy cane
Story 1: Case of the shrinking ginger

This story isn't so strange. Basically I cut my ginger a while ago and put it in a cabinet. My parents do this very often and the ginger usually only shrinks a bit at the cut area. Not so for me. My ginger turned into a misformed twig:

I found this quite amusing. Actually I showed my roommate and we started laughing; right now I'm not sure what the humour was though. This ginger actually looks very sad.

Story 2: Case of the Magical Candy Cane Creation Factory that is our Laundry Machine

So starting the beginning this week, my roommate was doing her laundry. She then reported to me that during the last 5min of the cycle (the spin cycle), the machine started making really loud and scary noises. On instinct, she removed her clothes and noticed a very strange burnt plastic/chemical smell. 

Today she tried again, with hopes that it was a one time phenomenon. Again, the last 5min consisted of strange and otherworldly noises. And again, the pungent odour was noticed.

So roughly 2 hours ago I decided that I needed to wash my clothes. And so I thought, hey I'll just set the machine to not do the spin cycle, that way it'll never reach the point of the strange noises. Naive thinking.

Midway through the wash cycle some heavy bangs were heard from the machine. Roommate has confirmed that it was not the same noise she heard but we thought we ought to check it out just in case. So we looked and noticed there was a strange piece of plastic among my clothes. We opened the doors and beheld:

Yes. It's a candy cane. Crushed and such but still a candy cane. The mystery is where this candy cane came from since neither my roommate nor I have had such a candy cane before. In fact, the box of 100 candy canes I bought for Christmas looks absolutely nothing like this (mine have a green stripe as well and the packaging has words). 

So we figure, ok, now we know why the laundry was making weird sounds. Let the washing cycle continue. BAD IDEA

Somehow, the laundry froze during the middle of the rinsing stage. It also didn't drain. And since there's water inside it the door is locked. My clothes are in there. 

Roommate just called the company who made the washer (LG...), they said we need to reset the machine. I'm studying for an upcoming test and so lovely roomie has offered to take care of it. I've already planned out backup clothes anyways so I'm not too worried. I would like to have the machine door opened at some point though... 

Random things happen it seems. It's been such an entertaining night I've laughed myself silly. Back to work now.