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11/07/07

  11:06:13 pm, by Nimble   , 847 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Religion

Strange Bible Verses: Numbers 22:8-35

(NOTE: Update about this story at the end of this post)

There are a number of odd tales in the Bible, but some of them are odder than others.

The tale of Balaam and the talking donkey is an odd one, but not just for the talking donkey. This is a tale of God getting mad when you do what he told you to do.

Full story »

10/30/07

  11:21:01 pm, by Nimble   , 89 words  
Categories: Distractions

Dena and Beowulf

Was poking through the Old English-plus-translation version of Beowulf I have, and was intrigued that the first line was:

Hwæt, we Gar-Dena in geardagum

There you go, Dena's in Beowulf!

(Even though it means the Danes, here: Gar-Dena = spear-Danes)

Not knowing where Tolkien got his inspiration, there's an awful lot of homage to Beowulf in Lord of the Rings. Beowulf refers to Middle Earth, ring-givers, and one of the Old English words for king, apart from "cyning" (kewningg) is "þeoden" (the "þ" giving a "th" sound). Theoden King indeed!

10/25/07

  09:14:11 pm, by Nimble   , 544 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Science

Common Proteins of Life

There is a site that summarizes many of the proteins that creatures have in common with one another. Most of the creatures listed are bacteria, but there are a few multicellular organisms with respective codes: Microsporidia [E], thale cress [A], a worm [C], the fruit fly [D], baker's yeast [Y], fission yeast [P], and humans [H]. "Coming soon", they have rice, the mosquito, chimpanzees, dogs, mice and rats.

Full story »

  12:03:47 pm, by Nimble   , 1837 words  
Categories: Thoughts, People

The Baby Experience

Dena and I haven't really been posting a ton, with the new baby in tow, but with five weeks and a bit of baby under our belts, I think I'm ready to share a bit of the whole experience :)

Full story »

10/16/07

  11:48:25 am, by Nimble   , 271 words  
Categories: Internet, Travel

British Airways Infant Booking Trouble

As of right now, their online booking system does not handle infants very well.

Full story »

10/04/07

  03:55:02 pm, by Nimble   , 62 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Internet

DRM-Free Resurrection?

Looks like there's been a small revival in the availability of DRM-free music. No major revolution, but you have the advent of Amazon's DRM-free MP3 collection, which contains quite a number of bands, and even the icon of DRM, iTunes, now has "iTunes Plus" with double the bit rate encoding and DRM-free with the option of upgrading previously-bought songs to this format.

10/02/07

  08:56:00 pm, by Nimble   , 953 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Science

A Little Of The Tree Of Life

So you want to see a little bit of the tree of life for yourself. Maybe use some of the bioinformatics tools on the Internet to see some of the relatedness of life on earth. Can you do that as a layman? Sure you can, and here's a little introduction as to how.

One protein that's a good one to try is the human hemoglobin alpha chain, a component of hemoglobin, the oxygen carrier in your blood.

Let's do this thing!

Full story »

09/23/07

  01:49:15 pm, by Nimble   , 52 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Internet, Spamming

Spammers Infiltrate Missouri-Columbia's Site

We got a small swack of spam comments today which point at pages on http://meta.missouri.edu/ serialize/tmp/@top/ (I've broken up the link here so the spammers don't get more traffic). I've sent the webmasters off a warning.

UPDATE: Yay, the pages are taken down! :) Take that, spam monkeys!

  01:17:23 pm, by Nimble   , 411 words  
Categories: Thoughts, Science

Evolution of Hox Genes

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 »

09/21/07

  05:08:06 pm, by Nimble   , 97 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

Canadian Dollar Flirting With Parity

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 ;)

09/19/07

  10:17:22 pm, by Nimble   , 1207 words  
Categories: Announcements [A], Distractions

Baby Axel Arrives!

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 »

  11:48:21 am, by Nimble   , 195 words  
Categories: Distractions, Thoughts, Spamming

A Place to Gather Intelligence on 1-800 Callers

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!

09/15/07

  12:01:28 am, by Nimble   , 164 words  
Categories: Programming

SQL Server 2000 Gotcha With Uniqueidentifiers

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.

09/13/07

  11:23:39 pm, by Nimble   , 280 words  
Categories: Announcements [A]

Isolated Big Baby Syndrome

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!

09/09/07

  03:13:43 am, by Nimble   , 86 words  
Categories: Distractions, Science

Peeing in The Colours of the Rainbow

Why must it always be the same colour, anyhow?

Well, different colours is usually a bad sign, but who knew there was such variety?

With appropriate health warning provisos, here is a list of things that can make your pee change colour. Doing it on purpose seems, for the most part, to be very nasty.

A few drops of methylene blue seems to be a favourite science prank from time to time, though.

Phenolphthalein... well, it's a laxative on top of everything else.

Safe peeing, everyone.

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