6/29 In which we grow cells, meet people and partake of Pliny the Elder

The cells in the lab didn’t grow, except for one tube. Norman’s going to be leaving us tomorrow, so here’s a picture to commemorate his stay, and wisdom. Went with Scott to get some chipotle, and then 


People I met today: 









Kevin the turtle







Sammy, again



Jen (239 jen)

Justine (omega)


learned that just as there is DHV social proof, there is also DLV social proof. Relax, be yourself. 

Pliny the Elder, apparently is the second best tasting beverage in the america, made by russian rivers. 


6/28 (for real)- in which we continue the trend of little graphic display despite sitting two feet away from Steve Wozniak and other celebrities

Woke up at 7 and lent my bike to the two Chinese students from ZhongKeDa to ride into town. Showed them the iGEM bike- one of them actually took it for the excursion. They are still not back yet..I hope it wasn’t the lack of brakes :3

Went to singU, got a guest badge by smiling and asking nicely. Listened to Jose’s panel of experts from the field of energy, and noticed one of the founders of apple a few feet away from me. Singularity is a crazy place, the close proximity of everyone you meet simply staggers the imagination. Walk up, shake hands, easy as pie. 

Evidence! you cry? Well, I dont have a pick of me shaking his hand, i felt that it was below me, that the picture does not mean anything except bragging rights and I don’t care to brag. I want to actually do something. So I sent him an email, asking for his support for BrownRISD decath. 

Met Pasha (pavlov) from Ukraine late at night. had a really good conversation. serendipity is nice. 


6/28 In which there is not always a picture to show, but plenty of life in the words

Eventful/less things that comprised today: 

1. awoke from a dream of being hunted by the government for various flagrant abuses of power

2. actually went and delivered biometrics to the big brother, in the form of fingerprints and photo id

3. made an od curve for pasteurii a weekend old- may not be too fresh

4. went to a singularity lecture on bioinformatics, and stayed for one more from peter diamandis and his theory of “abundance” . 

Abundance paradigm is very interesting- will have to write another post on that some other time not in the wee a.m/

5. took a business card from Raymond McCauley of biocurious, and scheduled a possible evening chat later

6. stayed with norman in the lab till 9 something, then went to eat in n out. hawaii college system is pretty corrupt- but then so it everywhere else i guess, i just haven’t seen it yet with me own eyes.

7. came back, met some chinese folks who just moved in next door.

not bad, not bad.


Idea to take away, rather than a picture: the use of contests to motivate paradigm shifts: the spirit of st. louis. the ____ x-prize (the ___ left for the rich people who wish to immortalize themselves as founders of the next paradigm shift). 

Two quotes:

1. if you want to predict the future, create it yourself.

2. nothing in the world cannot be fixed.


+ one more: of the people below the poverty line in the us,  99% have access to electricity. 95% to tv. 87% to telephone. standards of living are increasing (the king of france didn’t even have electricity 300 years ago). yet people are still about the same happy. why is that?


6/25-26 In which we are invited to google, pose in front of flowers and cross over to east germany several times

Weekend. Relocation time. Pack up all of my stuff in the morning, ride a bike to return key to stanford housing, lose key halfway during ride, search for key, return key, pack things in norman’s car. I’m incredibly skilled at dropping things, it turns out. 

12 noon we finally head out to the city, riding on the big silver bullet. Enroute are giants fans, accompanying merriment, and Anond (say almond. now remove l. now change m to n. good!), an intern working at google. 

Chinatown SF is enormous, a citadel unto itself, its boundaries demarcated by the effective barricades of language- and earsplitting festival music. Old men gathered around chinese pieces is a welcoming sight for my young eyes. When I grow old, that is how I want to spend my time. A chess board, pieces, a community in the park. 

There is Alcatrez, waiting in the distance. From here the waters don’t look too big to swim, but I am told there is a better chance of survival if you stay in the prison. Caged birds and flying, right? I would still swim with a broken wing. 

Tomorrow is the Gay Parade, but we catch little indicators. Occasional flashes of neon treads and pink hair disapparate in the vicinity. The Golden Gate Park. A wedding is hosted inside the plant conservation- outside a painted desert beholds the eye. We are bedazzled. 

Later, at UCSF, we meet with norman’s cuz, and frequent an east german restaurant. A sign on the door cheerfully reminds us that we are now leaving the american sector. Inside, trio portraits of Lenin, Marx and Engel usher in new guests, and assign them a place within the commune. There is no room for the new Americans. We pack our bags and deport to a Mayan restaurant (adj, as or relating to the civilization known as Maya, found in central america, overrun by conquistadors in the 15th century of our lord- revitalized to a boisterous bistro in SF). We are summoned on the telefone that the border is reopened, and our american dollars are welcome. We return, and settle for a delicious lunch of potatoes and steamed greens. 



6/24 In which we get excited, and then not excited, and then approximate happiness

We took photographs of cells, and saw wonderful crystals. We took pictures of blank media, and saw the same wonderful crystals.Some troubleshooting is required.

On the plus side, some rad pictures were taken before the dismantling of experimental results- at least we can still appreciate nature unbiased. Friday night, rode around Stanford at night, played charades with Russian comrades, made friends with a girl conducting a psych experiment. Interesting talks with Evan about the meaning of life. Not as esoteric as you would expect, but not so easy either. 


40x. Recombinant Escherichia coli under the beautiful gal from a previous post. 

Some of the pics look like shots from space. How metaphorically appropriate. 


6/23 In which the entrances through which you entered may not the be the closest way to exist

Central challenge of working in a team: people’s visions do not always match. How to solve? 

The obvious answer is synergy, or as Mike says: “Everyone walked away from the deal slightly unhappy, which is how you know that it was a fair deal.” Other considerations, especially for working a project in which the rules are defined by the participants, is how you deal with the massive amounts of psychic entropy, to steal a term from Mihaly. Rigorous planning is necessary.  

Or is it? 

Overworking is the pitfall of the tireless. The weekend is almost here; time to go play really hard. 



Caption: Basically, it’s pink 😀



6/22. In which we learn about eviction, contemplate same-sex marriage, and learn to use a giant microscope

Woke to receive an email from people in charge of housing- it turns out that someone has become privy to our housing arrangements, and decided to serve us papers. Regulation is so stupid- apts are okay for single people…and couples, but not two people who are not couples? This is the Bay area, they are crazy enough to deny housing to two guys who want to live together? Haha, but we don’t have an afternoon to burn in SF to look for domestic partnership papers to mess with them- back to Ames we go!

Figure 1. A machine that is at once more expensive and sexy than I can ever hope to be.