Category Archives: Whimsy

A Big Bronx Cheer for the 2014 Jeep Cherokee!!

The makers of Jeep have resurrected the standard Jeep Cherokee in, well, how else can I say it … a very stupid way. They have abandoned the classic boxy utility vehicle lines of the old Cherokee in favor of the now popular fat and squat ellipsoidal lines of contemporary design. In other words, it looks like a jelly bean or rugby ball.  The classic 4.0 Liter Cherokee had power to spare and it had the fantastic visibility of an inverted fish tank. It had troubles too, namely bad electric connectors and perhaps an under-designed cooling system. But at least it had the classic squared-off Jeep lines and lots of traction.

But the greatest sin of all was abandoning the 4.0 L straight-6 engine for the 3.2 L engines. Jeep?? WTF!! What were you thinkin’? I would love to meet the committee of marketing pencil necks and constipated MBA’s responsible for this one. It’s a travesty.


Life with Anti-Matter

This video was produced at Pultroon Studios in Smoldering Forest, Colorado.

The subject had received 15.7 mCi of 18F-glucose 6 hours prior to filming. His current whereabouts are unknown.


The Squamous Chronicles, part deux: Into the beam we go.

My adventure with Head and Neck Squamous Cell Carcinoma, HNSCC, soon enters a third phase.  A week from this writing I’ll don my custom prepared plastic mesh mask and they’ll strap me onto an x-ray machine. Oh yes, one other thing. There’ll be a weekly dose of cis-platin coincident with irradiation. Turns out that there is a synergistic effect with radiation and platinum poisoning cis-platin chemotherapy. No doubt it is related to the fact that platinum is a heavy atom with a lot of electron density ripe for scattering. Platinum ligated to DNA during irradiation is a bonus as well I suppose. Your own DNA as a ligand for platinum. A funny thought for someone in the catalyst business.

The first phase was the identification of a swollen lymph node and its subsequent removal from its cozy perch on my right carotid artery. Here I learned first hand why cancer is destructive. Mutant squamous cells from some molecular-genetic train wreck are washed away from their birthplace to lodge in distant locations. In my case, the aloof cells got hung up in a lymph node. There, they invaded the node and proliferated to the point where much of the lymphatic tissue became necrotic, likely from blood starvation. The node was not especially painful. Well, until the biopsy needle went in. Then it became very, very angry. But I digress.

The second phase, post surgery, was the adventure of finding suitable oncologists. This is a little bewildering. It is easy to get overwhelmed by information. I went for a second opinion and soon thereafter chose the Anschutz Cancer Center at the University of Colorado in Aurora. I’ve already had medical students and residents sitting in on consultations and exams.  The medical oncologist is a research professor specializing in head and neck cancer. He sees patients on Fridays too. The radiation oncologist sees a lot of HNSCC and seems knowledgeable and confident.

More to follow.


Good science requires testing

I found this cartoon over at High Power Rocketry.

[There was no citation for the art work.]


Spectrum, Spectra, Spectre

I’m not feeling especially peevish just now, truly, but I will say that a linguistic habit I’m running into more frequently is beginning to rub me the wrong way. That habit is the misuse of the word “spectra”.

I hear many people using the word “spectra” as the singular form rather than the word “spectrum”.  Spectra is the plural form of the word spectrum.

The spectre of spectra as spectrum shines like a specular glare from a speculum mirror in the corner of my consciousness.


Plasma

Today I found myself peering at the lovely lavender glow of opaque argon plasma through the viewing screen of a gleaming new instrument. The light-emitting 8000 K plasma sits apparently still alongside the conical metal skimmer. Somewhere a Dewar was quietly releasing a stream of argon into a steel tube that was bent in crisp military angles into and through walls and across the busy spaces above the suspended ceiling. Another cylinder quietly blows a faint draught of helium into the collision cell. A chiller courses cooled water through the zones heated by the quiet but savage plasma. Inside a turbo pump labors to rush the sparse gases out of the mass analyzer and into the inlet of the rough pump and up the exhaust stack.

Up on the roof, the heavy and invisible argon spills along the cobbles of roofing stones until it rolls off the roof onto the ground where the rabbits scamper and prairie dogs yap. The helium atoms begin their random walk into space. The argon shuffles anonymously into the breeze and becomes part of the weather.

All of the delicate arrangements; all of the contrivances and computer controls in place to tune and play this 21st century marvel. And a wonderment it is. The ICPMS obliterates solutes into a plasma state and then taps a miniscule stream of the heavy incandescent argon breath that trickles into the vacuous electronic salsa dance hall of the quadrapole.  All the heat and rhythm for the sake of screening and counting atomic ions. What a exotic artifact of anthropology it is. And it all began in a rift zone in Africa millions of years ago.


Theories X and Y

Just for grins you should look up the Wikipedia page describing management Theory X and Theory Y. Anything look familiar?? This is what B-School faculty do. Which theory do you think Stalin subscribed to? Which theory does your organization follow?  Hey man. Sign me up for an MBA program.

Of course, these are book end theories. Most organizations are in between somewhere.  One organization up in Ft Collins has a slide for employees to zip to the bottom floor. This is Theory E for Elmo.


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