Tuesday, October 14, 2008

That was fast

No more autumn for you. Well, not today anyway.

We've had a couple of heavy frosts, but today it's snowing. We've got about an inch on the ground and it's still coming down.

It's also very misty, or there would be better pictures. In fact, these pictures are testament to my dreadful laziness - I took them out of the hallway windows in my building without even going outside. It's not even that cold - it's Boston style snow in that it's about 33 degrees out and it's not really sticking to the pavement. Yet.

Ordinarily there's a lovely view of W mountain as a backdrop to the parking lot. The other picture should have Signal Peak in it, but, again, the mistiness.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Random movie #2

In honor of the beginning of hunting season, here's another little movie from the archive. It's a dikdik, and the movie doesn't even begin to do justice to how adorable they are. What with the long legs and the huge eyes, they're essentially the Kate Moss of the antelope world.

They might also be the only antelope small enough for Mitt "Varmit" Romney's taste.
(Assuming he kept up his NRA membership after he dropped out of the presidential race.)

I should also point out that I have no idea if there's sound on this thing. I'm using my office computer which doesn't have a sound card. Hope I didn't swear.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Foliage, western style

Mr. Potatohead was here for a visit weekend before last, and we couldn't have planned the timing better - the aspens were at their peak.

Granted, we dont' get as much red as in Northern New England, but the aspens practically glow. The pictures don't quite do them justice.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Spud on skis!

Like most digital cameras, mine can take little movies. Hoever, I never got around to buying the special cable I need to connect the camera to my mac to take the pictures back off.

But lo and behold, when I hook the camera up to a windows machine, I can transfer the movies with just the normal cable that came with the camera! Hooray! So here is the first in a series of somewhat random movies that have been sitting on the camera for a while.

That's Mr. PotatoHead skiing on a sand dune in Namibia. I don't remember if he fell over after I stopped recording. Let's say he didn't.

If you look carefully at the beginning of the movie, you can see my tracks w/nice carved turns. And that is my shadow in the picture-taking pose at the end.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Southwestern Cell

One of the great things about my job is that I have an outlet for my lifelong interest in merging science with the creative arts. And I occasionally get paid to do things that are fun & silly but still science-y.

I'm teaching intro bio this semester, and one thing I really struggle with is helping students develop a mental 3D conception of a cell. So after lecturing at them about cells, quizzing them on cell structures & their functions, and having them use microscopes to locate various organelles, I offered them the opportunity to build their very own cell.

Two groups took me up on it - I'd provide the molds and 10 liters of gelatin, and they'd bring the "organelles." I encouraged them to choose items that both looked like the organelle in question and had some functional feature in common. Behold - the resultant animal cell:

There's a definite Southwestern theme here - jalapenos for the mitochondria, habeneros for the peroxisomes, tomatoes for the lysosomes, black beans for the ribosomes. And for desert - an orange nucleus.

I also really dig the snow peas linked together to make the Golgi complex.

Yes, it's not exactly in proportion. And the smooth and rough ER are made of totally different materials. And the sectioning is a little wierd. If you think you can do better, I want to see it.

(There was also a plant cell group, but 1) they were a lot less organized, and 2) we learned an object lesson in why plant cells have cell walls when we took the cell out of its mold.)