Chris's bookshelf: read

Sandman SlimCodexThe Night CircusMiss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar ChildrenThe Dragon's ToothGraveminder

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If Sisyphus was a microbiologist...

As a microbiologist studying pathogenic bacteria, I'm all too aware of the cyclical arms race we are currently trapped in. For every novel antibiotic we produce, the microbes inevitably evolve mechanisms to degrade them, rendering them useless. Every time we seem reach the top of the hill (methicillin) the boulder slips down the other side (MRSA). We fight the good fight in the hopes that we can keep them on their toes until the day comes when we find our ever-ellusive magic bullet. Then the microbes sucker-punch us. It appears that they are no longer content to simply neutralize our weapons, but now feel to need to make us look silly in the process: by feeding on the very compounds we are trying to kill them with, no less.

Now, where the hell did my boulder go?

To be fair, the offending bacteria live in the soil and are not typically the targets of man-made antibiotics; but if the soil microbes can evolve these mechanisms, so can the pathogens...


I welcome our noodley master...

According to a recent Wired blog, the flying spaghetti monster has graced us with his presence. For those of you not in the know, get thee to the nearest Pastafarian congregation available. Maybe you, too, will be graced by a touch of His Noodley Appendage.


The brave few...

It would seem that more and more people are becoming inspired to don the regalia of the worthy and take to the streets to fight for their fellow (wo)man. These modern-day superheroes may lack super powers, but their hearts are in the right place. God speed Angle-grinder Man, Superbarrio, and Squeegeeman. May you and your growing legion of urban right-doers watch over us in our times of need.



Follow the money...

A few days ago, NASA announced that one of the media-darling Mars Rover, Spirit, was going to be shut down due to budget cut backs at NASA. Then much back-peddling ensued. While I'm glad that the agency is going to continue exploring the surface mars, I'm left wondering: what will NASA be cutting instead?

Although this is a win for the Mars Exploration Program, the fact remains that NASA still has to cut $4 million worth of fat.


The new face of media...

A couple of fine examples of artists (one actress/writer and one author) showing that the major networks do not need to result to strong-arm tactics when it comes to intellectual property:

Exhibit A - Harper Collins made American Gods by Neil Gaiman available for free. According to Mr. Gaiman this has resulted in a 300% increase in sales of a book that was published five years ago. For those of you reading this before March 31, 2008, the book can be found here.

Exhibit B - Webisodes (serially-produced content distributed on the web) has been gaining a foot hold in the minds of the public. Popularity of The Guild, penned by and starring Felicia Day of, has been climbing steadily since debuting last summer. They find themselves in the enviable position of having so much funding (for their immediate needs, at least) that they are no longer accepting donations.

A-list writer Joss Whedon is also getting in on the act with the forthcoming Dr. Horrible’s Sing-a-Long Blog, which will hopefully be appearing on the interweb soon.