ellestra: (root and shaw)
It was another snowpocalypse up north but here it just rained all night. I know because I got the stomach bug that fell half of the lab Sunday afternoon and I spent the night between waking up to go to the bathroom. I only puked once and that was the best part (I felt better for a little bit but vomiting doesn't come easy to me). I also slept through most of the Monday while the wind howled and the weather rapidly switched between sun and rain. Or maybe that was just that my moments of conciousness were so far apart. But it rapidly got better today and I'm almost got to normal just in time to go to party to say farewell to half my lab friends who either change jobs or move back to their countries. The party was great but I'm already missing them. Especially the Swede as so many of our experiences were similar so we got the whole America experience together. And since HR is slower than glaciers we still don't have replacements for people who are leaving so we are going to be seriously understaffed for few next weeks.

So at least Person of Interest delivered some distraction. SHAW IS ALIVE!!1!! I never actually expected them to admit to that. At least not this year. After all Sarah Shahi is pregnant with twins and noone knows when she'll be able to come back. I was resigned to them just stringing this on until they know if she wants to come back. But they didn't. She's alive. I also loved the Machine breaking Root's heart. Her faith was to blind. She needed to have her goals crash against those of Machine to see who she really is. Now I can worry what Samaritan is going to do to Sameen. With it's brain implants and human experimentation.

Agent Carter however made a very little sense today. I hope that that Russian they brought back is a plant otherwise this whole thing with Leviathan inviting them to their lair only to have it empty and almost unsecured and letting their most important assets escape makes absolutely no sense. Also making sure we got Dottie was a Leviathan spy was a little heavy handed. We got it even without the handcuffs.
ellestra: (lightning)
I was supposed to fly to a conference today but my flight was cancelled. At least the first part of it as most flights here were cancelled. My boss was also supposed to fly out to a (different) conference and his flight was also cancelled. The sad part is that it only started snowing around 1 pm. It was only bitterly cold before that (as usually felt much colder then it really was). All the planes got stuck at other airports and that lead to all this mass transit disaster. I can't even get to the airline as their lines are permanently blocked by too many calls (most of the time I'm not even on hold - they just kick me out). They did this to themselves by sending emails saying one can only change the reservation by calling. Not that I'm planning to fly anywhere now - it's too late anyway as I'm not going to make it to any of the talks (I was just going for one symposium) - but I need this to get my refunds.

So when I finally gave up on any chance of flying out today I decided to go shopping as I had no food in the fridge because I was to be in San Francisco for the next couple of days. When I was leaving my apartment it was just starting to snow. When I was coming back half an hour later everything was already white. Few hours later there was about 20 cm of snow and then the snow turned into hail. Tiny ice balls were falling from the sky and it sounded like somebody was throwing sand at things.
See the begining and the end:


This time it was cold for two nights and a day before it started snowing so the snow didn't melt so much. It still caused that weird phenomenon that makes it feel warmer when the snow is falling then just before it does and it still melted a little bit by the ground but most of it was sticking. Because it was soft on the asphalt it clumped under tires and because the temperature was below freezing the whole day today it wasn't readily melting under the tires of cars. So all the roads are white and people abandoned their cars all over the place. Mostly on the sides of the roads but there was some genius who left his/hers in the middle of the street.


The forecast says more freezing rain, snow rain mix and then more snow again tomorrow. But, at least it's to be above 0, tomorrow and on Friday we are to start a big melt. At least I don't need to worry about floods.

And now, for a nice ending - birds in snow:


ellestra: (slingers)
Today, finally after two months of waiting we got our missing bench tables and finally have enough workspace not to sit on one another. But the guys bringing the tables came at 8am or rather just before it. We didn't expect it - we thought more like around 10 - so there was no one there. I got the call (because my phone is there as a contact in case no one's inside) just before 8 that said they are waiting at the door. My bus leaves at 8 and the next was in 15 minutes. I went from half dressed to bus stop in 4 minutes. I didn't even have time to brush my hair. Or eat. Or drink.

I'm not used to going to work so early. And after all the moving and rearranging was done I almost crashed on my desk. One of my co-workers overslept so he almost missed the whole thing. I was practically alone for the first hour. Scientist - not very good with early mornings (except for the ones that wake up early anyway - I had a friend like that). I keep forgetting most of the working world doesn't work on the same schedule.

Now, I'm to tired to do anything so here's more scientist at work. Postdocs at LHC made a movie about zombies. 27 km of underground tunnels. I know people for whom that's scary enough even without the undead.


Oh, and Happy All Saints Day.

I'm tired

Aug. 17th, 2012 11:54 pm
ellestra: (Default)
My whole lab moved to a new building today. We've been packing for the whole past two days and then it just took a few hours for the movers to move everything. All our big, expensive equipment (not useful outside of our work and therefore expensive) that had to be packed by companies who sold it to us (to keep the warranty) for a lot of money went on separate ride because it had separate insurance. Everything else was moved together. Now, there's the horribly daunting task of unpacking everything.

I'm going to miss the old building. I will miss the sane colour scheme (new building uses super intense bright colour code). I will miss having computer space where we could all sit together (it's designed awfully in the new building). I will miss having toilets (there are only 3 stalls, not bathrooms - stalls, for the floor and one of them has a glass wall - it's milky glass but you still can see through it and people can see you). Most of all, however, I'm going to miss the view. We had awesome view in the old building - tree covered hills and sky. New building isn't awful but it just can't compare.

The nice thing about the new building is that we finally have enough space to keep all our stuff together in one place. No more borrowing benches from other people. No more running all over the floor to run experiments. But before that can become reality we still need to get all our benches and that's still few weeks. We also need to redo the office so it can house more then one person at the time (meeting with the guy on Monday 8am and I'm not used to getting up that early). We will settle and we will get used to the place because we don't really have a choice. However, the building's problems will haunt us for a long time (bathrooms!). At least we are closer to the centre of the campus and all it's features.
ellestra: (winged)
One of my American friends invited me to her family Thanksgiving this weekend so I will be able to see how real American Thanksgiving looks like. I'm kind of excited so I'm sorry to leave with sad news. I just learned that Lynn Margulis died on Tuesday. If you'd ask me to name women scientist I she would be one of the firsts. She was the one who formulated the endosymbiotic theory on the origin of eukaryotic organelles like mitochondria and chloroplasts. They have their own small genomes and these genomes are very similar to those of simple bacteria. The endosymbiotic theory states that the eucariotic cells turned the bacteria they sucked in into the power and photosynthesis organelles instead of digesting them. When she published this there was a lot of backlash but now it is generally accepted. She then went to live on the boundaries of science sometimes fallowing some crazy hypothesis many of which were wildly criticised - as the Gaia hypothesis but you cannot push the boundaries of science without getting it wrong sometimes. I also find it fascinating that she and Carl Sagan were married for a while before they got famous in their respective fields. And that she enrolled at the University of Chicago when she was 14. As I was working on mitochondrial genomes for a long time she was always my role model. It is as Richard Dawkins said:

I greatly admire Lynn Margulis's sheer courage and stamina in sticking by the endosymbiosis theory, and carrying it through from being an unorthodoxy to an orthodoxy. I'm referring to the theory that the eukaryotic cell is a symbiotic union of primitive prokaryotic cells. This is one of the great achievements of twentieth-century evolutionary biology, and I greatly admire her for it.
ellestra: (Default)
I saw the PHD Movie today and it truly is funny. One can tell it's not a professional production and sometime it feels like the people are just reciting the lines and it's feels like bunch of gags not one story but it just flew by before I realised. And everyone in a full, large auditorium was laughing and cheering so loudly I sometimes couldn't hear the dialogue. It was OK. I remembered most of it from the comic. And it was so true in so many ways. Especially about the fact that no matter how we complain it's what we want.

I came back home and noticed that the first episode of The Dragon Age webseries is online. It's nice. Felicia Day, swords, fights, butchery. Here's embed but it's better to watch it in HD
ellestra: (Default)
I think I mentioned I like the phdcomics several times. I'm not sure I mentioned they made a movie out of it. It's amateur production but from the trailer it looked fun. Especially for the people who know the life of PhD students and post-docs. I just found a review that confirms it. My experience is also not identical but, the same as with the comics, I'm sure that there will be plenty of stuff I can relate to. I was so happy to learn that my problems and depressions are not unique. That what I feel is normal and that even in a far a way and much richer countries the science is basically the same.

As it is not a major production it's being shown as a single even at select places - mostly universities. However, it's actually being screened almost in every one of them (and not just in US) and here's a list and even a map so maybe it is somewhere near you. And here's a trailer - Cecilia and stapler are my OTP ever since I read that story.

PHD Movie Trailer from PHD Comics on Vimeo.

ellestra: (Default)
So I'm almost done with work - all that's left is tidying some computer stuff - and I moved - old stuff is out of the apartment and new is in (funny how I couldn't get myself to do it for half a year and now it's all done in a week but nothing forces you to action like a deadline). In last couple of months our lab suddenly expaned. It's so weird to think that half a year ago I was all alone and now there is a group of people I had to leave instructions for. Tell them what they should do while I'm gone. It's going to be fun when our boss will have to explain things to them (he's very nice but his explanations sometimes leave you more confused). And I wonder how he will do with sample tracking. Luckily among  all of them they should be able to get things done more or less properly. I hope. Well, at least I had someone to hand my yeast to, so the experiment will be almost ready when I come back (it takes 40 days to run).

Speaking of experimenting on yeast - they just turned into a proto-multicellular organism in lab. See, evolution of cooperation is just a matter of time and right selection pressure.

In another simulation of cooperation a swarm of robots is behaving socially - they do all kinds of stuff together: disperse to explore their surroundings, play "follow the leader", or even mimic foraging behaviour. Right now they are just Kilobots but just make them a little smaller and the gray goo will eat us all.

And now it's time for optical illusion
ellestra: (Default)
Everyone keeps sharing this and I've just overhear people talking at lab about this vid so here it is



BTW Is it sad that I know Lady Gaga's songs only from parodies?
ellestra: (Default)
Today is National Postdoc Appreciation Day.

The very few people who know what a postdoc is and care about our existence decided to try to celebrate this so I'll be off today to see how it turned out. And tomorrow too. This much socializing usually leaves me very tired so I write this before the whole thing.

For the majority of you who doesn't care:
Sir Terry Pratchett decided a knight needs to have a sword so he made himself one. From meteorites. Now you know you will never be that awesome. I think there should be an extra prize for that.
ellestra: (charlie jade)
This time next week I'll be on the plane to Poland. I just spent an hour talking to the customer service. It's because I just got email that my trip back will take one more stop and plane change then it was suppose to. This means that I get back at midnight instead of 10 pm. After being awake for 24 hours it is a big difference. It turned out that they are unable to do anything but maybe before my actual flight back they'll change it again. On the other hand I finally got my ticket number so 'yay' to small victories.

I still have a lot of stuff to do before I left because latest results forced us to rethink what we need to show. I want to make it as close as possible to the final data representation so that my PI can make final adjustments while I'm gone. I'm also preparing data to take back to Poland.

I learned yesterday that I somehow disappeared from the department mailing list. I just thought that the fact that I get less messages because of holidays. It turned out I missed some important announcements e.g. the department retreat registration. No I need to write poster abstract by the end of the week and I have no idea what it should be about (see last paragraph).

And I want to see Scott Pilgrim before I leave because it'll be gone before I come back.

Randomness

Jul. 29th, 2010 11:38 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
Someone put flowers in the bathroom where I work. These are just few purple flowers but they make me smile every time I'm there. Today I noticed someone put a thank you note saying something similar. Such a small thing and it makes life little better for everyone.

It's raining again. After the horrible heat and humidity last weekend the weather got better on Tuesday. By better I mean it rained the whole day. And it was almost cold. Now it's hot again but it's not as hot and, most importantly, the humidity is lower. After today's storm there is more dry air to come. And I breathe little better and sleep little longer.

Ted Chiang wrote something again. I expect him to get all the awards for novellas next year. And I haven't even read it yet. He's the only person I know that can compare with Jacek Dukaj's imagination.

blastr (the scifi wire replacement) has film and TV movie trailers from Comic-Con. I think I want to see Red. I laughed at laud just watching this. And it has Helen Mirren with guns having girl time with Mary-Louise Parker and John Malkovich with even more guns. And it's to be released on my birthday. The other Red looks interesting too. And despite myself I feel strangely drawn to Sucker Punch. It's dragons and steampunk I think. And girls with swords and guns.

And BTW Fiona was awesome tonight.
ellestra: (Default)
The winter is in full swing. It's -15 outside and temperatures have been dropping steadily since last post (it was -8 then). When I wrote it on Wednesday it just started snowing. It snowed for the whole night and then the whole day on Thursday. Warsaw was gridlocked and although I got to work on time (the superiority of train travel) it took me hour and half to get back because I did something as stupid as getting on a bus. Of course many people who live much closer then I but were crazy enough to take cars to work it took even longer to get home. The first attack of real winter weather is always the worse. After that people get used to it and start behaving normally but at first it's always disaster.

It stopped snowing on Friday but it got colder -13 and my train didn't come at all. Any other day I would stay at home but I had an appointment at the US embassy to talk to consul so I could get a visa and needed to get there on time. I went for another train. It was already on station so I thought I was lucky for a change. But no, of course not. The train stopped several times between stops and just stood there for something like 5 to 20 minutes. Last stop was the longest and I almost lost hope but the train finally started to move again. My mother called later and said another train broke down and blocked the tracks. The trains go through the centre of Warsaw underground. To add to the whole experience they forgot to turn the lights on (or maybe that got broken too). So cold, dark and almost all people left earlier - real ghost train. Anyway by the time I got out of train it was already appointment time. I went the rest of the way on foot and was only 15 minutes late at the embassy gate. There it turned out it doesn't matter because lots of other people was waiting there too and nobody cared I was late. I had to gave away my cell, went through the metal detector (I put on wrong sweater - with metal zippers - so it took few tries), got my documents checked, fingerprints taken and I was ready to see a consul. I waited for few more minutes - good I had a book with me both there and on the train. Anathem made it all bearable. The talk with consul lasted about a minute and I was out of embassy an hour and half after I arrived at the gate. Now, I just have to wait for my passport to get back to me. And hope I won't be turned around on the border. On my way back home the traffic was less awful then on Friday but learning from experience I walked on foot to the train station. That was a lot of walking through snow.

Whole week I had a lot of work at the lab and I also had to complete all the documents I needed before going to embassy and then there was the visit there. And all the running in cold and snow. I was planning to simply rest today. But no, somebody broken into our summer house and we needed to go there and see the damage and wait for the police. Another few hours in the low temperatures. At least it was sunny today but the sun disappears under, well maybe not horizon, but tree line about 3 p.m. and it gets dark fast after that. Shortest days now. And tomorrow is to be the coldest. And maybe I'll get some rest.
ellestra: (Default)
The good weather is at an end. For last couple of weeks it was pretty warm for this time of year (even over 10oC). I got used to wearing just light jacket over my blouse. But today the air felt colder even though the temperature hasn't dropped yet. There was hint of frost in it. Forecast says it'll be just 4 during day and -2 at night. It's December so it's not unusual still I enjoyed the warmth. Maybe it means I get used to the weather in North Carolina easier then I think.

I was busy lately. I have a lot of work to do before I leave. I want to make enough results for publication. And I'm to present preliminary results tomorrow so I was preparing the presentation. It's only month and half left. I'm starting to get nervous. Especially since I still didn't get the visa paperwork. But I got an e-mail threatening me with not letting me in if I don't come to the ISSS office within US immediately. Because according to them I was in US for more then 15 days. I was confused but luckily it turned out to be an error in automated messages system. Still it made me feel nervous again. The day is getting close.
ellestra: (Default)
I think I'm going to be sick again. The weather is still depressing. I have loads of work this week and I need to prepare a presentation on my visit to Prague (mostly photos :P).

My laptop is dieing (more precisely the hard drive). I was to buy a new one but I suppose there's no point now. I was to post some thoughts on Dollhouse and BSG The Plan and Dust of Dreams yesterday but I lost it. Now it'll have to wait till I have time to write it again and hopefully no hardware failure to thwart me.
ellestra: (sunrise)
There was no post yesterday because I spent my time going from excitement to panic and back. And then telling everyone.

I'm going for post-doc.

To USA. I know, not my favourite destination, especially since it's pretty far south. But they have such a cool equipment. Dazzle me with technology and I'll go anywhere. I'm happy I got chosen. I'm mortified by all the preparations I got to do. Documents, packing, leaving my cat - family I can talk to on Skype - but he won't understand. From Europe I could go home every few months - from US not really. But the lab has cutting edge technology and the place is pretty and I want and need new experiences.

So despite it being too warm and far away I'm decided. Too bad people in Europe take so much time to decide.

Birthday

Oct. 15th, 2009 11:18 pm
ellestra: (sunrise)
Today is my birthday and I was busy so all you get is me:

Photobucket

This is how I dress for work as the renovation still is not over :P

My month

Oct. 1st, 2009 08:21 pm
ellestra: (Default)
The weather went bad. From sunny and in mid-twenties to rain and teens. There were first night frost in some places and the heating was on on train this morning. The last remains of summer gone away.

I still can't stay in work for long. But at least I get to have somethings done during these few hours instead of pointlessly sitting at home.

The NewScientists has article about how Earth after humanity goes away. Are we enough to count as mass extinction event? Of course Earth will be OK, but we won't.

And an interview with the monogamy propagators - husband-and-wife writing team David Barash and Judith Eve Lipton about the latest book, Strange Bedfellows: The surprising connection between sex, evolution and monogamy.

And for those who prefer to learn from the pictures - The Manga Guide to Molecular Biology. Quick, call the Enzyme Man.


Bad Day

Sep. 15th, 2009 09:17 pm
ellestra: (Default)

September is beautiful this year - sunny and warm. But, they say, so it was 70 years ago when the WWII started.

This is surely a sign because my father is in a hospital1, my best friend might miss her wedding if her pregnancy problems get worse2 and work almost killed me today with cement dust3.
And Patrick Swayze died after 2 years of fighting pancreatic cancer4.

I seem to keep whining lately :(

1. My father is fine. He just had to have minor, although emergency, surgery. It was hernia. He went to get appointment for surgery and they decided they are doing it now. I’ve seen the wound dressing – very small indeed.

2. It is a planned child and he was the reason they finally get married after 2 years of postponing it because there were always more important things to do. But nerves and pregnancy are not the best combination and they wanted to keep her in hospital yesterday. Now she’s home resting.

3. I knew what I was risking but I had a crucial moment in my experiment today and I wanted to be done with it. However it meant hours near the renovation. I might’ve made it if the lack of air didn’t make me slower and if they didn’t decided to really get it on today. The corridor looked like in fog from all the dust.

4. This is tough form of cancer and he fought till he could. I’m glad he could die with his family near him.

Whining

Sep. 11th, 2009 09:18 pm
ellestra: (Default)
I can't stay at work because there's another renovation and if I stay there for more then few hours I start to suffocate. I can't take sick leave because I'm in the middle of two very long experiments and I don't want to all that hard work go to waste. It makes me tired and incoherent and my muscles hurt. I had plans to write something and interact with people but now I don't have the strength :(

My laptop is slowly dieing. There's something wrong with hard drive - it overheats and the system freezes frequently. Also power cord is breaking and I'm ending with just battery power at random moments. I need a new one but I'm hoping it'll live till Windows7. I don't want to be given Vista and I don't have the strength to fight for Linux.

As it's customary lately the nice weather ends today. It's rain for the weekend.

And there's another sad anniversary today.

May 2016

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