30 December 2006


Y.A.R. = Yet Another Rejection. Another grant proposal has now officially bit the big one. Which, considering we're in the last few hours of 2006, is kind of representative of the year. I can't wait to see the back end of this year. I haven't enjoyed it much. While there have been some good points professionally (mainly, having three papers come out this year; working with my students and interns), it's been otherwise very dreary on many other notes.

Roll on 2007...

22 December 2006

Sad but important

I've written in this journal before about some of my excitement concerning the discovery of new species. (For example, here; here; here; here.)

Unfortunately, this time the news is about the reverse: the loss of a species instead of the discovery of one. Science reports that a rare Chinese river dolphin, the baiji, has not been sighted in a recent survey specifically intended to look for it. And none are alive in captivity. Which means that while it may not be formally extinct (there may be a few individuals left), it's so close to it that it's past the point of no return.

Douglas Adams wrote about the conservation efforts in his book Last Chance to See.... In the blog Another Chance to See, it's noted that the Chinese considered the dolphin a goddess of the river.

If we can't look after our gods, what hope for the rest of the life we share this planet with?

19 December 2006

Christmas comes early

The new issue of The Biological Bulletin is up! You can find my new research, "Loss of Escape-Related Giant Neurons in a Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus" here. Download it to your citation manager now! And don't forget about the journal's handy "Email this article to a friend" service.

This is good news, since some planned research I was going to do with my lead co-author on said paper, Sandra, got scuttled because of missing car keys. (Hers, not mine.)

Additional: A reprint request came in already, only three hours since the paper went onlint. Woo-hoo! That's the fastest response one of my papers has ever generated.

15 December 2006

Ooooh, look, we're gel jockeys

Agarose gelIt's but a small, modest thing, but it is our own. The picture shows an agarose gel with nine columns. The two bright sets of bands on the margins are standards. The fainter columns (two so faint as to effectively be invisible, really) show faint smears. Those faint smear are DNA. Genetic material. The double helix, baby! Those smudges, unimpressive looking as they are, show that my student Sakshi and I successfully extracted DNA from some tunicates.

This is stuff that they often teach in undergraduate classes now. Very standard procedures. But for various reasons, I'd never done anything like this before. This smudgy gray picture represents the first little baby steps into some new research capabilities for me.

Now that we know we have DNA, I just have to figure out what the heck we want to do with it next...

Only about five days until the publication of my newest research paper. It's like science Santa is coming early! In the next issue of The Biological Bulletin. Accept no substitutes.

11 December 2006

Delays, delays

The Biological Bulletin is now placing the arrival time of their next issue (with my next paper in it) as 20 December.

Just in time for you last minute Christmas shoppers! Because, when you think of it, doesn't a PDF of recent research on spiny lobster giant neurons just scream, "Happy holidays!"?

08 December 2006

Tying the bungee cord to the ankle

I have never bungee jumped. But this week has started to take on a feel of what I imagine the moments they're tying a bungee cord to your ankle must feel like. Then someone's asking, "Ready?" and you try to say, "Not re--" [Shove]

I wish I could talk about it in more detail, but I can't post about it quite yet.

The meeting I mentioned earlier this week went about as well as I could have hoped. All involved seemed to have no preconceived ideas, and was willing to listen, which is about as much as I could hope for.

Last day of class Wednesday.

And there's only two days until the publication of The Biological Bulletin paper, which I'm psyched about.

What Clan Are You?

What Clan are you?

Crab Clan Scholar.

04 December 2006

All the marbles

aIt's turning into a very eventful month. Tomorrow, for instance, may well be the most important meeting I've had in my time at this university. At least, it has the potential to be so. Myself, department chair, college dean, and two vice presidents. Yeah. No pressure.

And oh yes, less than a week until publication of the new paper.

02 December 2006


Just nine days to go until the publication of my new paper in The Biological Bulletin.

Meanwhile, I've had some very encouraging news yesterday. Unfortunately, I can't say more at this time because it's only encouraging and might not pan out. But I'll take it anyway.