Thursday, April 30, 2009


In honor of the pigs being maligned by the new virus strain, lets focus on the other pigs.

Real message in a bottle

A Spanish sailor and his friend (José María Casi Ferrer and Jose Antonio Mayo)were sailing in Cabo Verde, finished drinking a bottle of wine, and decided to run a little experiment to see if they could communicate via message in a bottle. 2,709 miles later, the bottle was found by kids in a small key off the Ceiba shore in PR.
This would have made my year so badly if I were a kid! What's the probability of them finding a message in a bottle on their same language with a call back number? Well, the news got around both in PR and Galicia. Both the sailors and the kids were really happy and wanted to meet each other. But meanwhile, they have begun to exchange letters and pictures.

Here's the message:

The adventuring kids that found it

And the cool Spanish sailors

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Yet another reason to be ashamed of Puertorrican politics

Take a look at this:

La delegación popular en a Legislatura, salvo algunos casos, entró esta tarde al hemiciclo de la Cámara con indumentaria negra y con lazos color púrpura en la solapa.

Según había explicado horas antes el representante popular Luis Raúl Torres, el simbolismo detrás de la vestimenta y los lazos representa el "luto" que siente el país ante el inminente despido de 30,000 empleados públicos.

The governor has issued a statement in which he explains that 30,000 government employees will need to be fired. The Puerto Rican government is the largest employer back home. The opposition Party's response: dressing in black with purple bows to symbolize the mourning of those who will be fired.


Honestly, every.single.politician and their uncle have known since decades ago that the public workforce needed to be reduced. However, both parties (the statehooders and the colonialists) paid lip service to the fact and kept adding employees in a politically biased manner in order to increase party influence in state agencies and unions.
Although the State budget has not been balanced fordecades, its solvency became increasingly strained after Dr. Rosello's government (1993-2001). He began several high-cost projects (not necessarily a bad thing) and had such a corrupt government that more than 40 of his government officials - from Undersecretaries of Governance up to Heads of Agencies- were indicted, and to the most part convicted, on fraud and corruption charges.

The two following terms were ran by the colonialist party (PPD). However, instead of dealing with the problems at hand they dedicated themselves to adding patches to the budget (at the expense of the working class, natch) and blaming the last guy. Their inaction concerning both the changing economic climate and the terrible condition of the State's coffer led to state agencies closing down for days and being unable to pay employees. Also 9 officials were indicted on corruption/fraud charges on Calderon's term.
After the PPDs inaction, and the boon of the Obama campaign, the statehood party (PNP) had such a resounding victory at the elections that the two minority parties (pro-independence PIP and non status-based PPR) lost inscription rights and the PPD became a minority in the Legisature.
What the people forgot (though heavens know why) is that the guy they chose as the Governor is a Reaganite Republican. So obviously, the brunt to the economic debacle resulting from decades of crooks and idiots in office will be shouldered by the working class. Wich brings us back to the 3oK workers to be fired and the moaning and gnashing of teeth of the colonialist party by picketing with the unions and playing dress-up.
Sigh. I have no hope you guys. The place is going to the shitter.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Turkey's first female-designed mosque is breathtaking

I think this is one of the most serene-looking places I have ever seen.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Thanks for the doughnuts, dude!

Foreskin Power!

I was watching biochemistry/physiology documentaries (as always) and came upon this cool tidbit:

Organogenesis Company, Canton Massachusetts, developed artificial made skin, from the cells of infant foreskin, called Apligraf. A Boston hospital provides the company with sample infant foreskin. The samples are broken down into their cellular components, were those cells are seeded into a petri dish, filled with bovine collagen. The cells grow in cell banks. A single infant foreskin sample produces 200,000 skin samples of Apligraf. Approximately, three weeks later, the human equivalent skin is teased out of the petri dish.
According to Organogenesis, in Canada approximately 150,000 people, with open wounds, such as venous ulcers and burns, can benefit from Apligraf. Major advantage of Apiligraf, no rejection and no imuno-suppression required.

In Podiatry Today they reviewed the use of these tissues to treat diabetic foot ulcers that do not respond to standard woud care.
Badiavas, et al., examined the grafthost interaction of Apligraf treated wounds via biopsy two weeks after application. Histologic examination found degeneration of the Apligraf collagen and dermal cells, and the presence of excess mucin indicated a mutual stimulatory interaction between the host wound bed and allograft.This finding indicates that the Apligraf fibroblasts may serve as a living tissue that stimulates host and graft cells to produce excess ground substance, which elicits a wound healing response.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Escape from the endocrine disruptors

From the bajillion zillion natural and artificial compounds that can mess with your system, I usually focus on trying to get rid of the pesky environmental "estrogen mimics". As I've said before, there is a high incidence of ER+ cancerous tumors in my family, and I like my natural boobies/not undergoing chemo.
But that shit is everywhere.
  • I changed my plastic containers to glass and aluminum, including my water bottle. But I still buy vending machine soda. Think about it, soda is acidic, and acids will dissolve small molecules (like phtalates) from plastic better than water. Smart going, me.
  • I have a skin condition, called Pityriasis Rosea. It itches like crazy, and your skin becomes really dry. So I make a quick run to the store and grab the sensitive skin Lubriderm. When I look at the ingredients the preservatives (parabeinzoic acid)were on the do-not-want list. I still use it because I'm broke and I rather not itch like crazy.
  • My scrub! The cheap girl's scrub from St. Ives also has those preservatives.
  • Some self-tanning lotions have those preservatives too. I threw mine away during Spring cleaning.

Prelude to a candidacy exam

I have never felt so tired before. I'm thisclose to getting gastritis due to my ridiculous caffeine consumption, and I'm physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted.
Sometimes I just feel like this is not fucking worth all the trouble, because I'm terrified of failing this test. I admire every single one of my committee members, and really do fear under-performing on the exam.

My frontal lobe feels so heavy all the time, sometimes turning into a headache. My neck and arm muscles get all achy and it doesn't go away, no matter if I sleep. For the first time in 7 years, I'm having despairing thoughts.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

WTF - old time assholes

Ok that does it; Facebook purge commence! This dude I knew from undergrad, a fucking med student, reached his assholery quota. I ignored his right wing colonialist messages and his climate change denialism, but posting pro-ana bullshit on facebook while attempting to become a doctor? Fuck you pendejo.

Viva el mal

Since now we're dealing with the aftermath of his "enlightened" reign...

Weathering the hate storm.


I don't know if you bishes have noticed that the comments at Jezebel have been all over the place in a totally illogical, random, non-sequitur, and combative manner. Sometimes I'm out of a post without commenting because dealing with the amount of FAIL in some particular comments is just too much.

I loved hanguing out in Jezebel because it was a place to talk to highly intelligent and motivated people about sensitive topics in a rational, and even amusing manner. Now, some people seem to target those posts to pick fights, engage in 'holier/leftier than thou' arguments with others, and randomly criticize political figures for totally unrelated shit.

So I may take a Jezebel hiatus. It makes me sad, because some of you bitches are awesome. You make my day with your wit, and with the ability of many of you to explain complex ideas from your fields of knowledge.

But screw it, I have massive amounts of studying to do and the awesome:wtf? comment ratio has decreased too much. I'm still hanging out with Jezzies in other places, like facebook, so if you're over there as well tell me so I can add you!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Desicions, desicions

First of all, I wish I could just post this as my status on facebook and get immediate jezzie suggestions. Damn you, stupid serious expectations *grumbles*.

I've been thinking about getting new sex toys from a couple of months ago, but I'm broke and allergic to using my plastic. However, I have my Ph.D candidacy exam coming up, and I have to deal with the proposal. I think I deserve some new kinky sex, but using the plastic scares me. High %APR - it has it.

To state the obvious: this world is perilous for us

Nothing comes easier than madness in the world today
Mass paranoia is a mode not a malady
Yeah, I'd like to watch 1,000 cable channels but there's nothing on
And my high speed connection's monitored daily by the Pentagon

These things are seldom what they seem
I'm not inclined to enjoy my dreams
Won't go away

(no peace) No peace, (and no friends) and no friends
(we trace) We trace the mortal edge (with no defense)
To state the obvious,
This world is perilous for us
No sense (no sense) and no guide (no guide)
Ain't it beautiful to be alive (yeah, right)
I won't resign before the struggle ends
So I'll construct this sound defense

We are the prey and culture is the predator
I'm running out of time where conditions are positional
Shadows of a doubt cast reluctance and depravity
There's got to be a way to overcome this grim reality

Is there an option left for me
I'm not immune to despondency
There's no way

(No peace) No peace, (and no friends) and no friends
(We trace) We trace the mortal edge (with no defense)
To state the obvious,
This world is perilous for us
No sense (no sense) and no guide (no guide)
Ain't it beautiful to be alive (yeah, right)
I won't resign before the struggle ends
So I'll construct this sound defense

There's a signpost on the corner
And it keeps everybody safe
We were all made in the shade
And your mother's in the kitchen
Where she's patching all the cracks in the wall
We never had a care in the world

(No shade) Too much to sacrifice, (no light) it's hard to recognize
(Just black) Traps to compromise (and white) obscuring deadly alibis
(My plans) It's combinational, (designs) the pressure's so intense
So I'll construct this sound defense
(No way) Nothing's plainer than the madness in the world today
(No sign) I must conceal myself and steal myself and break away
(No grace) I seek initiative in matters that are black and white
(No sense) So I'll construct this sound defense

Monday, April 20, 2009

Discutiendo mi herencia.

Todavía me encabrona el hecho de que me crié en esta puta religión.

Too much uninsteresting work.

Dammit I hate that I'm over-caffeinated and still yawning. I also hate that I have mandatory journal club in the late afternoon and I could care less about today's particular topic. I haven't finished writing my proposal, my candidacy exam is in a couple of weeks, and I feel I'm going to fail it miserably.

La celda de la tortura

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Because I'm cheap.

Last week I bought a bag of oranges and was wondering what to do with the peels. Some years ago, when I was superstitious and new-agey, I made this really nice smelling pouch to guard myself against nightmares (yeah, I know, bear with me). The good thing was it smelled so good and it had orange peels. I decided to do something like it, and had pretty good results. I put the orange peels in a coffee grinder and got a really nice smelling, bright yellow powder. I added some lavender leaves I had frozen from last fall, allspice, and nutmeg powder . I put some of it in a lab watch glass and placed it under a small lamp. It looks and smells so pretty!

Friday, April 17, 2009

Traga "democracia"

Nada dice 'democracia justa' como el poder torturar a cualquier juan del pueblo con la bendición del cabrón gobierno. Y que no me vengan con la mierda y los cuentillos de que solamente se torturó a los oficiales de Al Qaeda. Parte de esas técnicas de tortura se usaron a través de los años con presos políticos borinqueños (Pedro Albizu Campos, Lolita Lebrón, y Rafael Cancel Miranda, entre otros). Con alguna otra excusa y el pasar del tiempo, ¿cuanto nos vamos de que encuentran alguna justificacion para torturar a cualquier nuevo oponente/crítico? Los derechos humanos, de universales aparentemente no tienen tres carajos.

Nothing says 'just democracy' like being able to torture with the blessing of the motherfucking State. And seriously, don't come to me with cheap excuses saying that Al Qaeda operatives were the only ones tortured by our institutions. Some of those torture techniques have been used previously on Puertorrican political prisoners. With another excuse and some time in their hands, how long do you think they'll take before they find another reason to torture their opponents/critics? Human rights shmuman bites apparently.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Ant Wars- continued.

In grade school one of my favorite things to do was watch the black and red ants wage war in the playground. Later, I thought the coolest organisms on earth were the fungus and parasites that hijack ant brains. I wish they'd make a movie with human-targeting variants of them. Guaranteed bio-gore!
Now check this out. Further proof of the awesomeness of ants. You know that ants take prisoners of wars as slaves and force them to take care of the larvae. Well the slaves can become rebellious motherfuckers:

Achenbach and Foitzik collected 88 colonies of the slave-making P.americanus ant that had abducted workers from three species of Temnothorax. They found that the workers clearly care for the larvae, and nearly all of them were raised until their pupated. But at that point, the slaves' behaviour changed dramatically, taking on a more homicidal bent.

Two-thirds of pupae died before they hatched. The mortality rate was even higher (83%) for pupae containing queens, but very low (3%) for those containing males. The duo saw that the captives were deliberately killing the healthy pupae. In about 30% of cases, as in the photo, the workers would gang up to literally pull the developing ants apart. Another 53% of the pupae were killed by neglect, by workers who moved them out of the nest chamber.

These murders were solely the acts of the slaves. No P.americanus worker ever lifted a mandible against its own pupae. Nor are the deaths a reflection of a generally poor standard of care on the part of Temnothorax. In their own colonies, the majority of pupae hatched, with just 3-10% dying before that happened.

This rebellion takes its toll on the slave-makers and may explain why the nests of P.americanus tend to be very small. The captives may never reproduce themselves, but they do their part for their relatives back home by crippling the workforce of the slave-makers. These indirect benefits are particularly pertinent to Temnothorax ants because a single colony can occupy many different nests - a family of sisters spread out over a large area. If one nest is raided, it pays to ensure that none of the related nests are targeted later.

Random Goodies from Seminars

Sometimes part of the cool stuff during a research lecture is the peripheral stuff. Today, the topic of our lecture was this protein, porB, that hangs out in the cell membrane of one of the bacterias that can give you meningitis, Neisseria Meningitidis.
  • 2 amino acid mutations in one of its membrane proteins can give this bacteria both penicillin and tetracycline resistance.
  • There's no effective vaccine for children, and the adult vaccination has to be given every 2 years. 3% of all cases are fatal.
  • Global climate change means that the vectors of many of these bacterial infections are migrating into places they would not have at survived before.
  • There are receptors that specialize in targeting pathogenic bacteria, while leaving the good, symbiotic bacteria alone. When people have defects in these receptors (called toll-like receptors) and they can't differentiate a bacterial friend from foe, they get IBS.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Ridiculeces Boricuas

So I while ago Elvis Crespo, a merenguero, got caught jacking off in his seat during a flight to Miami.