Sunday, February 27, 2005

Pop quiz

Question: You're in Walgreens and your pregnant wife can't decide whether she wants popcorn, Carmello, or Starbursts. Which do you buy?

Answer: All three. It's only a matter of time before she will want whichever is left over.

Friday, February 25, 2005

Ha ha

The people at put out an add to find a real life A-team. The replies are hilarious - probably the funniest thing I've read all week. My favorites include:
"When you say, 'no deaths', do mean maybe or two? I don't know if you're aware of how fast Mexicans multiply"
It provided a humorous ending to a mediocre week.

Interesting biological phenomena: Cancer is a genetic disease, yet less than 20% of cancers have a hereditary component. Yeah, figure that one out on your own.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

What will tomorrow bring?

The last 3 or 4 days were really good days, pregnancy wise. We ran some errands around town...she even volunteered to drive. Unfortunately, today it seems we've gone back to square one - she hasn't been able to keep much down today.

On the other hand, we tend to go out whenever Mindy is craving something. Today it was Arbys. She never seems to crave anything I know how to make...hmmm...I wonder why??

Right, my pathology textbook calls.

Wednesday, February 23, 2005

Stupid Kevin

So, I didn't do as well as I had hoped on my first two tests this semester. Needless to say I plan on spending every waking moment of the next few weeks studying.

Speaking of which...

Monday, February 21, 2005

Hikes aren't limited to the great outdoors

It's about that time of year again - administrators begin to prepare for the following school year. In Arizona, this event has become synonymous with disputes over tuition hikes. Now, I'm for tuition increases when it's warranted - the state has angered many students, parents, teachers, and professors by underfunding the educational system as a whole (K-12 and universities), leaving universities one option. However, recent publications by the Wildcat have peaked my interest: is it warranted?
The universities also aim to put Arizona tuition rates at the top of the bottom one-third in comparison to peer institutions across the nation, a goal that originated in 2003 from the Changing Directions initiative. The UA is 41 out of 50 peer institutions, but to keep in pace with other universities, Likins said UA would have to increase tuition by 11 percent from last year and 19 percent this year.
So basically, they have implemented a quota system - their plan is to increase tuition in order to keep UA in "the top of the bottom one-third" of similar institutions. I know the state constitution argument has been used again and again, but this proposed plan does not fulfill it's requirements. If you're not familiar with it, I'll let you read what the AZ constitution says here.

How much will the proposed 8-11% increase effect my financial situation? Not much. But it upsets me when a certain Wildcat columnists resorts to calling anyone upset with tuition hikes "crybabies". Truthfully, his personal attacks on such lobbyists are overshadowed by his stereotype and the utopian proposal he builds upon it - to require students to do community service. I'm not opposed to a such a requirement, but thinking that this will cure these crybabies dismisses the foundation on which they stand - the AZ constitution.

Sunday, February 20, 2005

Points to ponder

We were on our way home from church tonight when, flipping through the radio stations, we found this news report from KLove (Christian radio station). Basically, they were reporting on a church body in CO (first article?) that was pushing adoption of foster kids. Don't get me wrong, I think the program is a great idea, but I'm kinda shocked that this is news worthy. I think the bible clearly illustrates that the church is responsible for taking care of those who can't take care of themselves. Are the number of churches that are reaching out in support of the community that few?

Many of you may have read about a new study concluding that the main cause of global warming is the effect of man-made greenhouse gases. Now, I understand that the purpose of many of these articles is not to present scientific findings. However, I do have some questions for the researchers regarding collection/processing of data. I have been on the "unsure" side of global warming for a long time, but I am truly interested as to whether this study will prove to be accurate. I know I don't have much of a weather/climate background, but I have enough of a scientific computing background to know if their methods were accurate. When (and if) this study gets published, expect a review from me. That being said (despite the findings of the study), I don't think there is any downfall in trying to reduce the amount of pollution we create as a nation, whether that be through the Kyoto treaty or other means.

On more of an ethics side: is it right to release data to media sources before they are verified for accuracy? WARNING: In my ethics class, we've been talking a lot about scientific integrity (including sloppy experimentation), so I may be over-reacting a bit. I understand that a finding of this magnitude may be an exception to the rule, but should it be? What I mean is, the whole point of the peer review system is to minimize insignificant or incorrect findings before they are impressed upon other researchers or the world. Without such checks or balances research as we know it would be EXTREMELY hard to come by. IF (big if?) this study (or any study) turns out to be insignificant or incorrect (not published) will a retraction (if a retraction is given) reach as broad of an audience? I doubt it.

Friday, February 18, 2005

Life on Mars?

A few of you maybe excited when yesterday news broke that NASA scientists found evidence for life on Mars. Well, Today NASA came out and basically said hold on to your horses. It seems the scientists were miss quoted. In short:
"NASA does not have any observational data from any current Mars missions that supports this claim. The work by the scientists mentioned in the reports cannot be used to directly infer anything about life on Mars, but may help formulate the strategy for how to search for martian life. Their research concerns extreme environments on Earth as analogs of possible environments on Mars. No research paper has been submitted by them to any scientific journal asserting martian life."
On another note: This teacher succeeded in an attempt to show that Supersize Me (the documentary where the subject ate nothing but McDonald's) was an "opinion piece". The teacher lost 13 pounds and lowered his cholesterol while on the diet because he added exercise to his daily routine. He's quoted as saying "It's not McDonald's food that's unhealthy. It's the lifestyle you lead." While I'd be hesitant to say McDonald's is healthy, he showed it shouldn't be the only contributing factor.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

I am a Whistle Blower

I am nerdier than 59% of all people. Are you nerdier? Click here to find out!

Here and now, I would like to proclaim that this test is a fraud. May I submit as evidence exhibit #1. Owen got a score of 71, a whole 12 points higher than mine. And I think we all know who the true nerd is amongst the two of us.

I would have brought this up with him direclty, however he choose the one blog that doesn't allow non-members to comment. Maybe last year this time he could have edged me out with some biological mumbo jumbo, but no more. NO MORE I TELL YOU!!! (miss you Owen)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Mostly useless trivia

Did you know....

1) You can actually kill yourself with a simple 9 volt battery? I was in class today, learning how to calculate currents that might go through the heart. The prof made some mention of a Darwin award and a 9 volt battery. See, while the skin has a relatively high impedance, your blood and the rest of your organs do not. This guy (about halfway down, starts with "A US Navy safety...") shoved the leads through the skin, which provided enough current to stop his heart. (just as a note, most 120V outlets in contact w/ skin at a short duration isn't enough to stop your heart, although i still wouldn't recommend trying it...if you really want the proof, just ask me).

2) Smoking accounts for 1/3 of all cancer deaths. AND, smoking also accounts for 1/4 of all heart disease. Cancer and CV events make up #1 and #2 causes of death in the US. They've traced smoking to oral, lung, stomach, renal, bladder (etc etc.) cancers. The moral....QUIT SMOKING

Monday, February 14, 2005

I look forward to your evaluation

Dear Dr. (name removed),
How can you expect us to "know the characteristic chromosomal abnormalities for chronic myelogenous leukemia and Burkitt's Lymphoma; and be able to discuss how they are important in tumor formation" when you don't bother to assign reading on it, talk about it in lecture, OR mention the cancers in the lecture notes that you gave us?
Your student, --Kevin

My first test is tomorrow. Maybe after that I'll have a more upbeat post for you to read.

Sunday, February 13, 2005

Pick a terminology and stick to it

There is more disorder than order in naming tumors:
1) a benign tumor typically ends in an -oma. Except for some malignant tumors like lymphoma, mesothelioma, meloma, glioma (and there is much more). And then there are -omas that aren't even tumors: hamartoma, tuberculoma, granuloma, etc, etc
2) Then there are the malignant tumors: which end in -carcinoma (in epithelial derived tumors) or -sarcoma (in mesoderm derived tumors). Except for the ones named after their discoverer. Also, the root of the word typically comes from the cell type, like fibroscarsoma, liposcarsoma. Oh, except for almost all of the epithelial derived tumors, which have no root convention AT ALL.

Can someone intervene please? I'm an engineer!!! Engineers don't memorize. We understand, compute...derive even!!

Saturday, February 12, 2005

Like Elvis and his MOM!

I hate to keep you all in suspense:
Today's pregnant woman craving is Root Beer. Congratulations to (name removed for privacy) for guessing it correctly.

In other news....MY HOUSE IS CLEAN. Yes, the maids came today (and by maids I mean mothers). I LOVE YOU MOMS!!!!

Friday, February 11, 2005

"I am Darth Vader, from the planet Vulcan"

I had another post in mind for tonight, but Josh and Owen are on to something I think.

Why do we feel the need to push our religion onto people who don't believe it? If we respect that this country is founded on a freedom of religion, there is a fundamental contradiction to the Christian majority feeling the need to vote their moral beliefs into law. If that is our practice, while we're out voting, why don't we vote Christianity as the only true belief system (since that is what we really believe) and all others outlawed - the result would be the same.

Not everyone believes gay marriage is wrong. Are we "saving" one of them by preventing them from getting married? Will one person "get into heaven" because a law prevented them from having an abortion? (I believe the correct answer is NO!)

Thursday, February 10, 2005

Don't let them fool you

Pregnancy comes with many surprises....

First, SURPRISE, we're pregnant (that's probably the biggest surprise being that the rest follow).

Morning sickness: don't let them fool you. The wife will not automatically feel better once the clock strikes noon. On the contrary, the sickness may not go away AT ALL. A few days of 24/7 illness bring the feeling that it will never end (more for her than you).

Food: If your wife eats, or drinks, it's only what sounds good. Everything else will come back up (not exclusively). It doesn't matter what time, or what it is, if she wants it your going to find it....not because of cravings or a need for it, but because it's the only thing she will eat.

I'm not complaining. I'm not the one in pain all the time. Just a warning for those of you who may not know better.

In other news, I have my first two tests next week. Pathology and physiology. Yes, I've started background isn't conducive to understanding everything the first time I hear it. Instead, it usually goes like this:
Some guy in my pathology class: "Have you started studying for the test?"
Me: "YEAH, I study for this class like every day. I don't have much of a background in biology"
Some guy: "HOLY $$$$, what are you doing in this class?!?!"

Monday, February 07, 2005

I've realized the problem

OK, maybe not

In the world of irony: Cuba bands smoking

This study says a sweet tooth will calm with age. YEAH, tell that to my mom!!! (or me for that matter)

And, I think all XP comps should now be shipped in true Vanilla Ice style:

Saturday, February 05, 2005

Today is gone

It turns out Tuesday was Mindy and my 1.5 year anniversary - evidentially we both have other things on our mind. So, we went out to eat tonight. Normally you wouldn't go out on a Sat night, but the place we were at (La Parrilla) told us the wait would only be 35 minutes. Well, an hour and fifteen later, we actually got seated (I think another 10 minutes and Mindy would have passed out). We did get a free appetizer out of it.

So, this news might be a little old now: Two girls were sued for delivering cookies to a neighbor after the neighbor developed stomach cramps. I know what your thinking: "The plaintiff ate the cookies, got a stomach ache, and had to go to the hospital." WRONG. The girls knocked on the door, ran and left the cookies on the doorstep. The plaintiff was so nervous, evidentially, that she had to spend the night at a family members - the next morning she went to the hospital because she was still shaking and had an upset stomach. TO TOP IT ALL OFF, the parents of the girls offered to pay for the medical bills, but the offer was rejected and she decided to sue because the apologies were "not sincere".

Friday, February 04, 2005

Old Testament Law

This post is partially in response to Josh's religious rant (although it diverges from the original topic). In any sense, this is a topic I've been thinking about for a just seemed like a good time put it up.

I don't believe the Old Testament is simply a collection of old stories with good morals - myself being a Christian you should not be surprised by this. However, outside of my religious beliefs (or maybe because of them), I find some correlation between what "God" commanded in the OT and what is healthy for a person or the society. I'm not just talking about the 10 commandments, although those are certainly included, but even the seemingly random protocols and commands when it comes to eating, cleaning, etc.

Let me give a few examples:
Draining/cleaning all of the blood out of an animal and cooking it all the way through before eating it - removing pathogens and that might be present.

Washing hands before meals - prevent contamination or spread of bacteria and other items into your body.

Banning adultery - almost eliminating the spread of any STDs, unwanted pregancy, as well as reducing chances of uterine cancer.

Banning incest - preventing genetic defects that cause several diseases.

Removing yourself from contact with others when you've bled or been in contact with someone else's blood - preventing spread of disease.

While these make perfect sense to us now, much the science we have that confirms these good health habits were developed only recently (as in the last few centuries to decades). But we know the OT was written before any of this was available. In addition, many of the symptoms involved don't present themselves until days/months/even years until after the fact, making it impossible for whoever wrote the OT to trace the consequences to the original act.

In short, I think some kind of supernatural intervention is required. I know these examples may seem somewhat crude, but underneath lies a deep understanding of science and medicine - WELL beyond what was known for the time (as mentioned by Josh when discussing the Sumerian creation myth).

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

No news is good news

I'm finding I don't respond well to the macroscopic view of biology. The last few lectures we've had a prof who's main appointment is in neurology. Maybe I need more information or just don't like the area, but I have a hard time with statements like "and this part of the brain holds our memories." Why? How? PLEASE give me more information (I'm not talking to you Owen).

In other news, I'm going to try to end a blog without talking about news (does mentioning I'm not gonna talk about news constitute talking about news?) .

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Random is the new organized

Here are some random news articles for you to peruse:

New studies show exposure to the sun both cause and prevent cancer. Which means you should both avoid and schedule time to be in the sun...or just go on living your life.

I guess some colleges will now kick you out of school based upon your belief system. A student wrote a paper advocating corporal punishment in public schools because it worked on him in elementary school. That paper is now being used to keep him from enrolling in classes.

For you anti-Bush people, he's raising the military death benefit from $12,420 to eventually $250,000 including all soldiers who died in Afghanistan and Iraq. Lets can we turn this into a bad thing?

This man was the spokesperson for Taster's Choice for years without even knowing it. Which company would you wanna be the spokesperson for without knowing it?