Friday, December 23, 2011

Fa la la la ~

My house is now all Chrismassy with all the deco up (thanks to little bro) and carols on full blast from either my room or my sister's. Tween carollers were over last night as well, clearing the house of snacks and juices! Just as well I suppose, since I requested pretty hard songs from them after remembering my own apprehension of such songs when I was in their shoes many years ago. *Evil grin*

There were more, but this picture of the girls is the nicest.

I thought that the kids did pretty well, considering the amount of time they had to practice. "Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas" was especially well done, definitely waaay better than whats-his-name Bieber. :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

A merry fungi Christmas

Original post here.

Thought that my agar contamination one looked pretty Christmassy as well! (Though not on this level... *points to above picture*)

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Keep moving forward

I think Van watches the coolest movies, although most of them are discovered belatedly. :)

Meet The Robinsons is definitely all heart! You get an orphaned boy, who loves inventing, fails but KEEPS MOVING FORWARD. That was the message that strikes me the most because if one stops after failing, then things will never get done, nothing will ever be discovered and the world will be a much sadder place.

Anyway, in the movie, said boy got transported into the future, gets to meet a really wacky family who treats failure as a cause of celebration, got introduced to a bad guy and had to save the day (and this is where the twist in the story is).

I guess this movie might also be a tribute to Walt Disney as there was a quote from him at the end which I really really like:
"Around here, however, we don't look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious... and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths."
And with that, I leave you with a song from the movie soundtrack which will probably be playing on a loop for the next few days:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Monday blues

I was first introduced to Sylvia Earle when I was working at Reef Guardian. My boss is a big fan and I still remember feeling a bit dumb for not knowing who she is. A few weeks and google searches later, I found out that she was chosen as a TED Prize winner, where her wish was to, "...use all means at your disposal — films! expeditions! the web! more! — to ignite public support for a global network of marine protected areas, hope spots large enough to save and restore the ocean, the blue heart of the planet,".

Reasons why you should listen to her (especially if you're a budding marine biologist):
  • Sylvia Earle is an oceanographer, explorer, author, and lecturer with experience as a field research scientist.
  • She was the former chief scientist of NOAA, founder of the Mission Blue Foundation and chair of the Advisory Council for the Harte Research Institute for Gulf of Mexico Studies.
  • She also is executive director for corporate and non-profit organizations, including the Aspen Institute, the Conservation Fund, American Rivers, Mote Marine Laboratory, Duke University Marine Laboratory, Rutgers Institute for Marine Science, the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, National Marine Sanctuary Foundation, and Ocean Conservancy.
  • She has authored more than 150 scientific, technical, and popular publications, lectured in more than 60 countries, and appeared in hundreds of television productions.
  • She has led more than 60 expeditions and logged more than 6,000 hours underwater, including leading the first team of women aquanauts during the Tektite Project in 1970 and setting a record for solo diving to a depth of 1,000 meters (3,300 feet).
  • Honors include the Netherlands Order of the Golden Ark, inclusion in the National Women's Hall of Fame and the American Academy of Achievement, and medals from the Explorers Club, the Philadelphia Academy of Sciences, the Lindbergh Foundation, the National Wildlife Federation, Sigma Xi, Barnard College, the New England Aquarium, the Seattle Aquarium, the Society of Women Geographers, and the National Parks Conservation Association.
Needless to say, she was my (then) new idol. If I can live up to her age, I hope to be doing what she's doing and inspire more young people. 

After a long weekend of much play and no work, this was REALLY a cure for a bad case of Monday blues! No matter how many time I've watched this, I still get very pumped up after listening to her. :)

Sunday, December 4, 2011

"Pop!" Goes the bacteria (and worms)!

Half the SHIVA samples have been spread on agar but they still emit some sort of gas (probably sulfur, yucks) that actually made the petri dish pop open when I tried to re-streak them again. I actually sort of foresee many streaking before I get to isolate single colonies. The bacteria growth is so thick!

Bacteria gasses aren't the only things that go "pop!" this week. Emma was back in Kuching for the first leg of her holiday post-SHIVA, and one of the things she tried was sago worms. After almost an hour's worth of hunting at the weekend market, we managed to spot a man selling them for 50 cents each. We were just in time too! Right after we approached him, someone else came along and bought ALL the worms for dinner. I told Emma that the worms can be eaten raw, and so she wanted to try them on the spot. (>_<) You can't imagine my disgust...or maybe you can. Anyway, my reaction and everyone else's nearby gave her pause and she finally decided to bring them home to cook. My mom suggested that we coat them with butter and roast them in the oven. Mind you, the worms were alive and wiggling when the coating was being done! If this isn't animal cruelty, I don't know what is...

I think they took about five minutes to cook. The worms rolled around in the heat for a while then sort of contracted and fattened toward their middle, looking like they would pop like popcorn.

Emma's verdict: "They taste like creamy mushroom...and insect,".

Well. Bravo, Ems! I'll probably never try them while they look like that. They seem more appetizing when they're well fried and brown. What I was thinking when I saw the grubs:

Hakuna matata!