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Friday, December 12, 2008

Reading and Watching

I know it has been a while since I have posted, but, it is near the end of the semester here at the U of Illinois (the state where we love our mobster guvs, right?--this makes all of the state mandated ethics testing look like a big joke) Most of you have been extra busy with projects and exams anyway, so I think I'm ok.

So, most of you know I have my youtube channel.  I have added a few videos here and there and some subscriptions to high quality science channels.  Let me preview a couple here.  Definitely go see "I want your Basal Body" which was created by a former medical student here.  He does some good dancing and the song has mixed in several histological terms that were clipped from the podcast of his med school biochemistry class.  This was taught by Professor Mintel.  I had him for biochem, oh, so many years ago and remember some of the things he taught because he had memorable tricks for remembering them. (Which way do hydrogen ions move across the mitochondrial membranes?  Easy, mitochondria can often be heard saying "Get the H outta here!!").  This video shows many scenes from the U of I campus, so is good if you are in a reminiscent mood.

If you are in a biochem class and need to learn about inhibitors, check out the song about inhibition put to the tune of Popular from Wicked.  Very clever, solid performance and good info, too!

One of my favorites from early this year is the commerical produced by Bio-Rad about PCR (Scientists for Better PCR).  This song is a spoof of "We are the World", but not the same tune.  Very clever!

If you have not yet seen the "epic" protein synthesis video from the 70s, you HAVE to watch it.  You will be left saying random things like "tRNA", "GTP", etc!  It's long, but they did a great job! Someone posted the comment: "Brilliant, troubling and oddly educational." and someone else said "So that's what happens when biologists drop acid".  Definitely a trip, and so worth it!

One more video worth watching is the story about the replacement of a tissue engineered trachea.  Basically they reseeded a cadaverous tracheal shell with the patients own cells and created one that her body would not reject.  Just a little peek at the current state of tissue engineering.  

What am I reading?  Like usual, I have a couple of books going.  One is called Chasing Science: Science as a Spectator Sport by Frederick Pohl, a science fiction writer, but also an avid fan of science.  His book describes a myriad of locales where one can visit to learn about technology and nature.  I hope to follow his lead and get to visit as many of these places and more if at all possible!

Another book that I am enjoying is called Great Physicists: The Life and Times of Leading Physicists from Galileo to Hawking by William H. Cropper.  A very nice history of physics with the science of their discoveries included in their biographies.  A painless way to review basic concepts and learn about these great scientists at the same time.

I also have on the side a couple of books called Candid Science I and III (II might be hard to come by).  by Istvan Hargittai.  These two books are Conversations with Famous Chemists and book II is Conversations with Famous Biomedical Scientists, which I truly hope they can find!

I am also reading Twilight.  I had to see what all the fuss is about.  It is actually a nice read.  I'll then go see the movie in order to say "The book was better" Wink which has always been true for me.

I'll try not to be such a stranger.  Good luck with your finals!

Kindly,  Joanne

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