Evolution of Hox Genes

09/23/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Science

A commenter at one of the blogs I frequent pointed out in passing this one very cool paper from January 2006 called HOX GENES: Seductive Science, Mysterious Mechanisms in the Ulster Medical Journal.

I love the Hox, or homeobox genes. There aren't too many gene sequences laid out in any sort of order of a body plan, but the Hox genes are. Carroll's book Endless Forms Most Beautiful captures that really well, but this paper has the evolution of the genes in a nutshell.

Full story »


So where does that copyright levy go?

09/22/07 | by Adam | Categories: Copyright

Link: http://cpcc.ca/english/pdf/CPCCPressRelease-Distribution-25January2006.pdf

One of the questions about the levy placed on blank media is where does it go? In 2006, the proceeds of the levy were finally distributed amongst the allocated participants. In this case, it means over $60 million was divvied up amongst the following 65,000 eligible participants (breakdown from Neil Eton's website):

  • Authors - 66.0%
  • Performers - 18.9%
  • Makers - 15.1%

And I love the weasel word "small" in describing the levy in the CPCC announcement.

(Via CopyrightWatch)


Canadian Dollar Flirting With Parity

09/21/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

I never thought I'd see this in my lifetime. The Canadian dollar is so close to the U.S. dollar. It has actually traded just above the U.S. dollar during the day. From Reuters:

After pushing through the key 1-for-1 level on Thursday for the first time in more than three decades, the Canadian currency hit US$1.0061 overnight, but gave up those gains as the greenback rebounded from record lows against the euro.

Now if they could just change those dang US/Canadian book prices on the backs of book jackets, it would be even better ;)


Odd iTunes shortcoming

09/21/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music, Macintosh

Depending on the genre of music I want to listen to, I typically either want to listen to a random collection of individual tracks or a random selection of albums. For example, most rock and pop albums work best when excerpted so I like to use a song shuffle on them. Most classical or thematic -- let's say a film score -- albums do not work so well like that so I prefer to use an album shuffle. Apple's iTunes supports both of these modes of listening but buries the option to switch between them deep within the program's configuration menus.

Given that they've stuck the icon for shuffle play right on the main interface and that it's related to each playlist, I can't think of any good reason they opted to ignore the example non-binary state of the repeat button right next to it. All the pieces are present in the program but even after all the iTunes upgrades over the years, they're still not pulled together.


Posting frequency

09/20/07 | by Adam | Categories: Potpourri

Why, yes, I am trying to make sure there's a new blog post a day. Best way to encourage people to read regularly, right?

As an aside, there are some days where I do write a post but nothing appears on the main list. That's because there are some that are left flagged as "members only" and thus won't appear for public consumption or searchbot fodder. How do you read those? Easy: ask Ritchie for a Nimblebrain account!


Baby Axel Arrives!

09/19/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A], Distractions

Arrrrr! At 6:56 pm on September 16, 2007, Axel Duma Annand transitioned from the world of womb to the world of people.

Axel the Giant Has A Posse

To recap a little bit...

Full story »


Environmentalism in unlikely places

09/19/07 | by Adam | Categories: Calgary

Link: http://www.cbc.ca/world/story/2007/09/11/russian-bomb.html

The quote is from a Russian general describing his country's new mega-bomb:

Unlike a nuclear weapon, the bomb doesn't hurt the environment, he added.

Oh good, it's green. That makes all the difference when you're being blown up.


A Place to Gather Intelligence on 1-800 Callers

09/19/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Spamming

800notes.com is a simple site with but two purposes: letting people post information on persistent, unknown callers, and looking up such posted information.

It helped me look up our of our persistent nuisances, 1-800-566-8064, which seems to do cold calling as a business from the looks of the various different companies they say they represent when calling (often banks).

There were two posts for how to remove yourself from the list on the last page:

christina wrote:

if you do not want them calling press 1, then they will prompt you for you # area code + 7 digits, this is supposed to take you off their list within 72 hours...we'll see....

UPDATE: I can tell you for sure that christina's method did not work for me - I pressed 1 and someone immediately started into asking for Dena. Mleah.

Rob wrote:

Teresa Engle / COO / TEL 1-800-207-1983 x4500 calling this number will have u removed from this list.

I may look into this, because I'm fed up getting woken up by these people after late nights at the hospital.

P.S. Yes, I will get into details of the new baby and mom - looks like they might get to come home TODAY!


"Geeks In Love"

09/18/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.albinoblacksheep.com/flash/geeks

Link is to a rather wonderful Flash music video. Truly, this is serious Dena and Ritchie territory!

(Via Pharyngula)



09/17/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.clavius.org/techdefect.html

A few days ago, Ritchie posted a link to a conspiracy-debunking site related to the Apollo and Gemini space missions. On one of the pages, there's a discussion about the huge number of outstanding defect reports when the various missions launched. The writers of the site have to say about that:

Full story »


Play games much?

09/16/07 | by Adam | Categories: Games

"Internet People"

09/15/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Silly

Link: http://www.channelfrederator.com/methminute39/episode/TMM_20070906

As the original linker said:

I recognize most of the people in this video, which might be a surefire sign that it is time to disconnect ;).


(Via Amber Mac)


SQL Server 2000 Gotcha With Uniqueidentifiers

09/15/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Programming

If you're considering using uniqueidentifiers on your tables, particularly as primary keys, then you might want to upgrade your SQL Server or just check your SQL carefully if you're still running SQL Server 2000.

In particular, doing a COUNT(field) on a uniqueidentifier comes up with a bizarre error on SQL Server 2000:

Msg 409, Level 16, State 2, Line 1

The count aggregate operation cannot take a uniqueidentifier data type as an argument.

It's truly a weird error. Why on earth would there be difficulties in counting any field?

Now you can go COUNT(*) without difficulty, or use a different field. COUNT(field) is useful when you're doing cross-database SQL, since it's actually faster than COUNT(*) on some databases, but if you can tune your SQL to the particular database, it helps. SQL Server 2005 also combats this silliness, but this only helps if you can deprecate support for SQL Server 2000.

Just wanted to post this, since there really wasn't anything helpful around the 'Net on that particular error message.


Wurlitzer iPod dock

09/14/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music, iPhone

Link: http://www.designforiphone.com/minijukebox.htm

Although the illustration has an iPhone rather than an iPod, this is quite a novel dock for the system. If I had the money (or an iPod for that matter) I could be tempted... :)

(Via Gizmodo UK)


Isolated Big Baby Syndrome

09/13/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Announcements [A]

This baby has still not arrived, but it is getting huge! At the ultrasound this morning, we got an median estimate of 11 pounds 7 ounces plus or minus a pound and a half... so basically, anything from 10 to 13 pounds is what we're expecting.

(As to why it's so much more satisfying to get baby weights in pounds than in kilograms, I don't know. Maybe it's the magical number 10?)

The technician this morning noticed something about the placenta, which I am surmising may help figure out why this baby is so big despite there being no diabetes or gestational diabetes involved, or even any family history of big babies.

She was taking some sort of measurement of the blood flow from the placenta to the baby, and indicated its value was 1.6, which she found very unusual, since at this point in the pregnancy, it is supposed to be down to 0.8. 1.6 is a more typical value from 30 weeks, not from the 40+ weeks we are at.

I'm not sure if giving the baby so much more blood is actually the reason the baby is so big, but we lack other reasons why this baby is so much over the 90th percentile in growth rate.

Armed with such a weight estimate, the maternity clinic has moved up our induction date to this upcoming Sunday, a mere eight days after our due date. I'm not entirely sure what to expect... will they keep us all day, will they send us home for a while, will they keep checking on us... but I'm glad it's sooner rather than later - it was going to be next Wednesday!

We will keep you posted right here on Monster Baby TV!


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