331: Various

I’m currently in the middle of Madeline Drexler’s Secret Agents, a well-written book about emerging infectious diseases.    The second chapter described how the West Nile virus came to the Americas (sidenote: this happened in the recent past, in the summer of 1999).  One of the players in the story is Dr. Ian Lipkin, who came to our school today to give a talk about his pathogen/microbe discovery project, among others.  It was a wee bit strange that I would start reading this book on the week that Dr. Lipkin was on campus.  I knew he was the seminar speaker for this week, but I didn’t know that he will be mentioned in this book I’m reading.  Of course, I had to go to the student luncheon to meet him and ask him questions about what I read in the book.  It was an interesting discussion about the politics of science in general, and his past and present scientific endeavors.


This week has been jelly beans week.  Our lab administrative assistant brought in a couple of bags of Starburst jelly beans, which apparently are only available during the Easter season.  My only experience with jelly beans is eating the free Jelly Belly gourmet beans that they give away during road races.  I didn’t know that there are several brands, and they come out only during this time of the year.  Another lab mate also brought in a different jelly bean brand.  All these jelly beans inspired a jelly bean experiment, where I tried three different colors from each brand to see if they are any particular differences and to figure out which one tasted the best.  According to my taste buds, the Starburst jelly beans were the best, but I liked the Jelly Belly lime jelly bean better than the green apple flavor of the Starburst green jelly bean.  So, I was a bit “weirded out” (if there is such a term) that I would see this recent comic from xkcd.com yesterday!  Then today, the grad student who sends out the Thursday social hour email sends out his announcement with this comic strip attached!  Jelly bean extravaganza!


Pia Toscano, one of my favorite contestants in this season of American Idol, was voted out tonight.  I cried.  (I know, I’m crazy).


I didn’t get the travel grant I applied for to attend the annual meeting of the American Society for Virology.  However, my abstract was accepted for an oral presentation.  Thank goodness!


I did the plow pose for the first time tonight.  It was amazing!  It was the final pose I did before relaxation, so it wasn’t as difficult as it looked in the image above.  I was all warmed up and did all other poses before doing this one, so it didn’t feel like I had to exert effort.  The plow pose prepares your body for the shoulder stand and the head stand.  I’ve done an assisted head stand before (against the wall, with blankets for support and the instructor standing right next to me just in case I fall), and I am looking forward to doing a flow of the plow, shoulder and head stand in the near future.

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