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Showing posts from January, 2015

Fucking Stem Cells: How Do They Work??

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In my first blog post I mentioned that my new job is to study stem cells.  A commenter asked if I was conflicted about working with "little baby-bits".  Remarkably, no embryos are required.  This is because our lab uses adult stem cells.


The use of adult stem cells was a surprise to me, because until I began this job I'd assumed that adult stem cells were just a talking point for conservatives who didn't want to admit to being against a promising medical treatment, like when liberals talk about "clean coal".  It turns out that Rick Perry -- a huge fan of stem cells -- was actually right in his insistence that embryonic tissues would become obsolete.  If you have a gong you bang whenever Rick Perry is correct about a matter of science, now would be your chance to enjoy this rare opportunity.
Most of us learned in school that cells grow by dividing. This, however, is a massive oversimplification.  Bacteria and cells in an embryo proliferate by dividing, but y…

More of Julie's creepy stories

Another one of Julie's short stories was picked up for The NoSleep podcast.  This one is called "A Short-cut Home", and I think it is objectively better than Mailbox in the Woods.  I don't have any additional cute stories this time, so just read it here or download the podcast here.  Again, props to the people who made the podcast for their high production value.

Creeeeepy Stories

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This week, a podcast presented a short story Julie wrote several months ago.  It was a post she made on reddit.com's horror writing page, r/nosleep.  Out of the blue, she was contacted a few weeks ago by a podcast called the NoSleep Podcast (thenosleeppodcast.com) which presents short horror fiction from reddit.  The gave her $25 as compensation, but the far greater benefit is that they read it really well.  You can read the story she wrote here, but I encourage you to buy the podcast because it has great production value.  For $1.50 you get six stories adding up to 2 hours, which is enough horror to carry you half-way from Los Angeles to Las Vegas.

There is an extra layer to her story, too, which unfortunately no one can really appreciate but us.  You see, Julie, Jack, and myself have all gotten into a show called "Gravity Falls" this past year.  It's a great cartoon on the Disney channel about fraternal twins spending the summer with their great uncle in a small to…

Pictures from November and December

Here are a collection of pictures from over the Holidays.

Lots to Cover: Leaving Grad School

Part I of V : Introduction and Back-Story
One of my primary reasons for starting this blog is so that I can keep distant friends aware of what I'm up to. I've had an eventful year, so before I can get on with describing the present, I should dispense with the necessary back-story. Chiefly, I should explain to everyone who last heard that I was in graduate school why I no longer am. Fortunately for both of us, it works out pretty well. Nobody needs other people's problems, so I wouldn't have started a blog if I was going to discomfit friends by waving failure in their faces. You are now free to read on with the knowledge that this won't get awkward.

At this time last year, I was a graduate student at the University of Southern California, pursuing my PhD in marine biology. I was studying carbon fixation in the ocean's crust. My PhD, however, was not to be. Midway through a PhD study, each student is required to present their work so far to a panel of exper…