Pharmacophylogenomics

11/10/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Science

Now that is a heck of a mouthful of a word. It's the field of application of the theory of evolution to drug discovery.

Now it's not a matter of making things evolve, but rather taking advantage of the effects of common ancestry and the gene and protein data that comes from that analysis to help with drug discovery, disease modeling, and in some cases to find out the limits of working with other animals.

This article by David Searls is a fantastic, albeit necessarily jargon-filled, summary of the field.

The drug companies are most interested in orthologs, which are gene sequences that are essentially the same gene in two different species. They do not always retain the same functionality, but often they do, and this helps much in analysis.

Since testing in humans is the often the last step, it can be frustrating to bring a drug so far and have the different metabolism of the test animals be the real reason that the drug was failing in testing. From the article:

A strong motivation for the further study of orthology of drug targets is the fact that species differences of various kinds — for instance, in pathophysiology or drug metabolism — frequently hamper the progression of targets and compounds, often after quite significant investment. This indicates that even a marginally improved understanding of species differences could have a major impact on the cost of developing medicines.

This is the practical side of the theory of evolution.

 

Video Games Live in Calgary

11/10/07 | by Adam | Categories: Music, YouTube, Calgary

A few posts earlier, I referred to how computer-sourced music -- specifically game music -- was a rather transitory affair. It was therefore with great interest I saw that a roadshow called Video Games Live was making a stop in Calgary, using the Calgary Philharmonic as its orchestra.

The concept at its core is relatively simple: play some of the better tunes from various computer games and use a symphony orchestra to do it. Then you start adding in the extras: fancy light show, video screens, audience participation and so forth. It appears to have worked as according to the tour schedule, with very few exceptions, the shows have sold out. Certainly the two dates in Calgary have.

Full story »

 

Death Star Canteen

11/09/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly, YouTube

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Sv5iEK-IEzw

Little Lego animation to go along with an Eddie Izzard skit.

Given the teller, you may not want to play this in earshot of younger Star Wars fanatics.

 

Innumerate idjits

11/08/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://www.manchestereveningnews.co.uk/news/s/1022757_cool_cash_card_confusion

Link is to a failed lottery ticket theme in the UK.

Summary: people who can't do math can't do math. There's a shocker.

Full story »

 

Peahens Fan Too

11/07/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

Unless these are males of a different peafowl species, this is my first encounter of peahens, the female counterparts of peacocks, fanning their tales in much the same manner as the males do, only somewhat less spectacularly.

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Strange Bible Verses: Numbers 22:8-35

11/07/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Thoughts, Religion

(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 »

 

Evidence Based Scheduling

11/07/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.joelonsoftware.com/items/2007/10/26.html

Joel Spolsky on another of his smart ideas: a combined process and time tracking tool that allows better estimates for software development. This is pretty much the Holy Grail. Now if only I knew somewhere I could try this out on...

 

A seriously low MPG vehicle

11/06/07 | by Adam | Categories: YouTube

Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ewUSzAgJcgk&eurl=http://blog.wired.com/gadgets/2007/10/40-year-old-p50.html

It's been a while since I've done a Top Gear/YouTube related post, so here's one. I suspect the video will be gone in a day or two as those take-down notices seem to fly thick and fast, but this one's all about the Peel P50 from 1963. It does 100 MPG, it's small enough to be picked up and wheeled around, drive through the BBC offices, fit into normal elevators and generally let Jeremy Clarkson annoy everyone around him.

(Via Wired)

 

The Leopard has landed

11/05/07 | by Adam | Categories: Macintosh

Radio Adam, after a recent outage, is back on the air and has migrated platforms again. Initially on Linux, then on Windows XP, it has migrated over to Leopard on a refurbished Mac Mini (the older PPC version, rather than the newer MacIntel variant.)

But this isn't really about Radio Adam; this is about the newest OSX upgrade: OSX 10.5, aka "Leopard".

Full story »

 

Software development: five easy ways to fail

11/04/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology

Link: http://www.inc.com/magazine/20071101/how-hard-could-it-be-five-easy-ways-to-fail.html?partner=fogcreek

Good article from Inc.com by Joel Spolsky of "Joel On Software" about common ways that software projects crater. Some comments on it are below the fold.

Full story »

 

LolNimble

11/03/07 | by Adam | Categories: Silly

Link: http://lolinator.com/lol/blogs.nimblebrain.net

First we had gender-reversed NimbleBlog; now the the severely twisted minds behind teh internets bring you: LolNimble!

(Via XOverboard)

 

CD/45 RPM hybrid

11/02/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Music

Link: http://www.google.com/translate?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.optimal-online.de%2FCD.13.0.html&langpair=de%7Cen&hl=en&ie=UTF8

While I love the ingenuity that went into designing a gramophone-compatible CD, I don't think I would dare stick it into a CD player after the first time a needle had touched the top surface.

(Via BoingBoing)

 

George Lucas In Love

11/01/07 | by Adam | Categories: YouTube

Link: http://www.mininova.org/rss.xml?cat=8

I saw "George Lucas In Love" a few years ago and thought it was brilliant then. On watching it again, I think it still qualifies as brilliant now.

 

Stupid, stupid, stupid

10/31/07 | by Adam | Categories: Technology, Whining, Reviews

Link: http://www.consumer.philips.com/consumer/en/ca/consumer/cc/_productid_7FF1M4_37_CA_CONSUMER/PhotoFrame+7FF1M4-37

A year or so ago, I bought a Philips PhotoFrame (7FF1M4/37 model) as a present for a relative. It was well received and was used daily with no problems. That made it a great success in my eyes.

Until tonight when I bricked it.

Full story »

 

Dena and Beowulf

10/30/07 | by Nimble | Categories: Distractions

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!

 

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