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Some people in Kentucky have been without power for days now. Good thing whoever took these pictures had enough batteries for their camera. Some of them are simply amazing.


Mr. Gunn : 10:37 AM : Friday, February 21, 2003 :

It's nice to remember that humans do more than just kill each other. Sometimes they create beautiful things. Thanks Ailina!

Mr. Gunn : 9:23 PM : Wednesday, February 19, 2003 :

Lagniappe is sounding off on the decision of the major scientific journals to self-censor material which could be used by terrorists. All kinds of things are being done now, that we normally wouldn't do, due to fears about terrorism. There are reasons why we don't normally do these things. We don't normally keep a database of information about where foreign nationals are going, what they're doing, and what they're buying. Our government doesn't normally provide us a number to call in case our neighbors look like they're doing something suspicious. We don't normally do anything to infringe on the freedom of the press. It's the same issue underlying all three issues: respect of individual liberty. In the extreme case we need to take one of these measures, it should be understood that serious oversight and openness must be part of the process.

The way the journals are handling the issue is a great example of the way to handle an issue like this. For the tiny number of cases that require it, they work with the author to get them to focus their article on the things necessary to make their point, but not to give anyone any unrelated ideas. If additional information is desired by someone, well...any responsible researcher knows how to handle requests for additional information. They are familiar with the people in their field, so they can handle reqests for information such as, "Exactly which conditions most greatly contributed to pathogenicity" in somewhat similiar fashion to the way you would handle a request to borrow your axe. You might loan it to your neighbor willingly, but if somebody you don't know shows up wearing a hockey mask and asks to borrow it, you're gonna be a little more careful.
Thanks for the blogroll, Derek!

Mr. Gunn : 9:17 PM : :

France declares cloning illegal. Identical twins surrender.
Thanks razib! Oh, and thanks for the blogroll, too!

Mr. Gunn : 10:44 PM : Tuesday, February 18, 2003 :

I recently heard a presentation on this crazy guy, Peter Schultz, who has engineered bacteria to use para-aminophenylalanine instead of amber codons. The bacteria synthesize para-phenylalanine, have a para-phenylalanine tRNA synthetase, and and insert it with very high fidelity whenever the amber codon is found. The amber codon, which causes the ribosome to stop reading the mRNA when it's found, is apparently quite rare, and because bacterial mRNAs aren't as processed as eukaryotic ones, the bacteria get along quite well. I was thinking it would be really keen to make a series of mutants, each of which incorporated a different D-amino acid instead of the L version. Then, analysis of the structures of the D tRNA synthetases, of the ribosome translating the codon, and of the resulting protein could contribute a little information towards answering why we use all L amino acids.

Coincidentally, while I was googling a good link for this story, I found Lagniappe, who just blogged this story about the same time I heard the presentation.

Here's Schultz's PDF in JACS.

Derek, if you're reading this, you're the number one link at google for para-aminophenylalanine. Kinda funny that I find a blogspot blog as the number one search result for something right after google buys pyra. However, there were only 2 results total, so I only mention this to be funny, not to suggest anything conspiratorial.

Mr. Gunn : 6:39 PM : Monday, February 17, 2003 :

Sometimes an article comes out with a title that makes me think, "Wait a second. It's not even April 1st yet."

Joe Tsien's NR2B overexpression experiment and John Chapin's "Rats control robots with minds" were pretty amazing articles, and now Dalle Molle Institute for Perceptual Artificial Intelligence comes out with a technique that can detect "whether you are thinking about a calculation, a place, a colour or even what you want to eat for dinner...but it’s not good enough yet to detect exactly what colour you’re thinking of.” I believe they're using Bayesian analysis, a great statistical learning technique which I've seen being used more and more often, to look for "EEG patterns embedded in the continuous EEG signal associated with different mental states." Here's a summary .pdf describing the technique.

Mr. Gunn : 5:02 PM : :

If anyone knows of a good substitute for Real Player, email me. I don't care how great their compression algorithm is supposed to be, it's bloatarific spyware, and I have to do without the streaming content from most large media outlets because I refuse it install it.

Mr. Gunn : 4:12 PM : :

K is for Kompressor - Cookie Monster meets Einsturzende Neubaten. Cute and fuzzy in an goofy industrial sort of way.

Mr. Gunn : 2:59 PM : :

Too much self-indulgence

I am going to stop sounding like I'm posting to k5 or metafilter, and I'm going to keep the metablogging to a minimum. In addition, I will be posting more local content.

Mr. Gunn : 10:59 PM : Sunday, February 16, 2003 :

Powered by audblogaudblog Post

I wonder how long it will be before this technology is combined with news aggregation and text-to-speech to output RSS feeds to audio...

I really like this idea. I know it's geeky, but I could so use this. Imagine driving down the road and hearing updates to your favorite pages on your radio at specified intervals. Of course, you can't edit the audio once it's been posted, though you can re-record until you get it right, so if you're not careful you end up sounding as dorky as I do in the clip. I used to carry a pen and paper around with me, but something about having to translate your thoughts into writing takes away some of the inspiration. I used to keep a mini tape recorder in my bag, but I never really used it because having to stop and dig it out wasn't convenient enough. This is perfect, since I always carry my phone with me. I can see my private page filling up with audio posts. I wish the audio was better, though.

I just came back from the Circle Bar, where I heard Hot Club of New Orleans for the first time. Instead of writing about how cool it was, I could let the untra-low key jam speak for itself.

Mr. Gunn : 8:31 PM : :

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