I took part in the "Meet a Scientist" portion of the festivities. Carrying around my lion skull instead of a protest poster was a great conversation starter. I talked to a lot of people about conservation, lions, bones, genetics, graduate school, etc. I passed my card out to teachers who were interested in having scientists come talk to their students and ended up having a great conversation about Conservation Genetics with someone who said they had never heard of it before. It was exhausting but I had a lot of fun.
Once upon a time, scientists had faith in their president and government. They believed they were advocates of progress and defenders of the planet. These days, massive cuts to funding, freezes in government agencies employing scientists, and attacks on facts have caused a lot of doubt in our government and it's relationship with science.
Yesterday was Earth Day and thousands of scientists WORLDWIDE marched to show solidarity for the importance of science. I attended the Bryan/College Station March for Science which was small but did a great job of including the local community. As one of the largest research universities in the United States, Texas A&M University does a lot of ground breaking research but most of the community probably doesn't know much about it unless they are directly associated with it in some way. After the march we had a Science Town Hall. There were science demos, the opportunity to "Meet a Scientist" and talks on how science is a part of everyone's life.
I think our little event was a success. And, as for the marches around the globe, I don't know how much it will effect policy, but it got people excited about science. And support from the public is just as crucial to policy as support from politicians, as one can lead to the other.
Whatever the next four years hold for us (Americans AND the world) please remember to be kind. Be kind of each other, be kind to the environment, be kind to yourself.
David and I were playing Family Feud on Facebook today and the question was Name a real or fictional band that has a food in their name. We failed to guess all the answers wondering why the heck Cake wasn’t up there but some random band from the 70’s called Bread was! So, I decided, I’ll text my family to see if they know who this Bread is and if my mom (who isn’t the most musical) knows who they are, then they must have been huge. Well, here’s how the conversation went and my inevitable discovery that I unintentionally “know” who Bread is thanks to my favorite high school band…
The Good News:
While I have a 1 cm cyst on my thyroid, my blood work is normal. The ENT wants me to get it checked in 6 month just to keep an eye on it, but he says it's nothing to be concerned about.
Not much changed from my MRI in October 2015 to my MRI in May 2016. While I have some shotty lymph nodes and degenerated discs, "no significant cervical pathology" was identified.
The Frustrating News:
Not much changed from my MRI in October 2015 to my MRI in May 2016 so we still can't pinpoint what is causing my ear and head pain, which, yes, has gotten worse in the past month.
But, although the radiologist didn't deem it as "significant", he did find levoscoliosis of the thoracic spine and an area of different bone density which "could be" a benign bone tumor of some sort (which apparently were both present on my last MRI but weren't noted). I am currently tracking down all the images (MRIs, CTs, X-rays...) I have gotten of my spine in the past 6 years (which is surprisingly a lot) to determine when this bone density change occurred, if it's what's causing the scoliosis or if I've always had scoliosis but no one told me, and try to determine if its what's causing my problems. Without seeing the other images yet my primary doc says no, the chiro and ENT say maybe, and I still need to talk to the neurologist.
Basically, I'm frustrated and my head hurts every day. It's not pleasant. I can't wait for my vacation in July...
This month’s College of Veterinary Medicine Graduate Student Association Meeting had a very interesting guest speaker. Dr. Henry Musoma of the Mays Business School spoke to us about the Journey from Pathetic to Prophetic and, basically, how to be a good person, particularly in academic research. His speech took up almost the entire meeting time and was incredibly entertaining and meaningful.
Without rehashing his entire speech, he made some good points that I wanted to share:
He ended his speech by saying, “Don’t be impressed by me, be inspired by me.” I think the humility in this statement speaks wonders.
One step at a time I am adapting to all these changes and doing my best not to lose it (I've had a few close calls). So, what I hope will come from this shift in view of the lab while doing my work, will be a shift in successes toward my dissertation so as not to be for nothing.
Because PhD students don't do anything halfway, when the new Avengers movie came out (April 30, 2015 #tbtt), we not only saw the Double Feature to allow for a direct comparison of the two blockbusters, we dressed the part! We are what you might call true Marvel fans!
Crazy but true! A hilarious and informative expose on dog "breeds". I am rather fond of my mutt but I was also rather fond of my pure breeds - although Leah, Golden Retriever, did get cancer and Tucker, Australian Shepherd, had mental issues.
This month is a twofer! Throwback Third Thursday (#tbtt) looks back to last week when I reused my formal dress from my sophomore year of college (left) to dress up as pre-Fairy Godmother Cinderella for the opening of Disney's Cinderella (right)! Sometimes it totally pays off that I'm a pack rat that doesn't get rid of anything remotely costumey.
Tomorrow I am attending the International Plant and Animal Genome Conference XXIII (fondly referred to as PAG by those attending). And it's not only exciting because it's my first big conference and I will be there with a bunch of wonderful people from the Genetics program at Texas A&M but it is in San Diego and I am presenting my first graduate level poster! People are going to get their first official look at my research then I get to go home to mom and dad when I'm done. It's like the 1997 Greater San Diego Science & Engineering Fair all over again but instead of "The Color Attraction of Mice" I will be presenting on African lions in "Genetics and Genomics: Powerful Tools for Wildlife Conservation" (Oh how times have changed). It's a brand new year and I am starting it off with a bang. This poster represents the next big stage of my graduate career and the beginning of what I know is going to be a successful year. I am finished with my classes so now I can really focus on my research, prelims and making sure I don't get sick while doing it. I can't wait!
My level of excitement cannot be measured by conventional means....
Genetic modification along with their recurring theme of de-extinction.... CAN'T WAIT!
Remember that time when I was the asshole on crutches who's car died blocking the entrance to the parking garage. Oh wait, that was today!
Apparently I'm in the middle of a bit of a streak of bad luck. Along with my ASO titer rising, I hurt my foot having too much fun at a wedding putting me on crutches for the past two weeks. Then, this morning, I had a conveniently inconvenient inconvenience waiting to get into the Central Campus Garage.
To get into this garage, you have to go through a gate. When the garage is full (which it always is before my class which is located next door and, therefore, the most convenient place to park when you're on crutches and don't have a handicap parking pass) the gate will not open until a handful of cars have left, not as each vehicle leaves the garage opening a new spot. Well, I got to the gate in plenty of time to wait for the wave of students to leave from class which opens the gate at around 10:30am for approximately 20 cars (I've missed it the past few classes and had to park at the University Garage which means crutching half-way across campus, which is totally for the birds and I wasn't going to endure that again). It was just before 10am and I was third in line so I turned off my truck to wait. At 10:13am I went to turn my truck back on and..... nothing. Tried again..... NOTHING! Well, shit. I promptly called AAA and my wonderful bosses/fatherly-figures/saviors-during-my-compiling-ailments-in-CS and it was a race for who could get to me first to give me a jump before the gate opened and I became "the asshole." I got out of my truck and knocked on the windows of everyone behind me, telling them about my predicament and apologizing profusely. I got one "bless your heart" but mostly vacant stares. Luckily, there was just enough room between my truck and the pillar for people to squeak by once the gate opened and the AAA guy got there in just enough time to jump my car and get me through the gate before it closed again! Did I mention that I already had an appointment to take my truck in for an oil change and inspection tomorrow? Looks like I'll be adding a battery change to the list.
I am a biologist and my life is crap!