Chris's bookshelf: read

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

More of Chris's books »
Book recommendations, book reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

Entries in media (7)


This makes me happy...

I can't wait:

Teaser from Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog on Vimeo

Maybe this will change how Hollywood sees online entertainment.


It's a surreal world...

Word has it that water ice has been found on the surface of Mars. How did I hear this? From a tweet posted by the Mars rover Phoenix.

We truly live in wondrous times...


Words fail me...

Came across this amazing graffiti animation over at Make blog (originally from

MUTO a wall-painted animation by BLU from blu on Vimeo

On another note, its been hellishly busy around here lately.  Hopefully my next post won't take me so long...but no promises.


What do you think when I say "scientist"?

I was crawling through one of my favorite sites at the moment, io9, and came across a recent story about a man recently cleared of a number of charges stemming from his possession of bacterial cultures in his home. Where did this "mad science" stigma come from, I wonder? Has the hollywood portrayal of the evil genius cooking up destruction in his private liar/lab become so ingrained into the public's mind? I'm a scientist. When someone asks me what I do I'm proud to tell them that I'm a microbiologist. But I have, on occasion, wondered what what impression that makes on the person I'm meeting. Do they imagine that I'm concocting potions with wild abandon? Running around my lab with wild hair in my stained lab coat, muttering to myself?

I'll admit to the bit about the hair and lab coat, even to muttering on occasion. But for the record, I suck at potions.


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...