Archive for the 'Where I can be found' Category

Some weird science and a column

December 25th seems to be a very strange day to publish a column: that’s why I published the latest Not Scientific Science on Christmas day.  It’s always cool to do something out of the ordinary from time to time.  And as senior columnist over at backwash, I have the opportunity to share my geekiness with all those great people on the net.

The year’s last article on Not Scientific Science is “Artificial Meat.”  Basically it’s all about the mass production of cultured/artificial meat in laboratory for proper human consumption.

“With a single cell, you could theoretically produce the world’s annual meat supply. And you could do it in a a way that’s better for the environment and human health. In the long term, this is a feasible idea.”
– Jason Matheny, University of Maryland doctoral student.

[…]

Artificial meat is a decent idea; it clearly has its advantages. For one, the nutrients in the meat can be controlled. For example, most meats contain much Omega 6, which can cause high cholesterol. With artificial meat, the Omega 6 can be converted into Omega 3, which is a healthy fat. Another advantage of artificial meat is that it could reduce the pollution that results from raising livestock.

However the obvious benefit of artificial meat is that it can help match the ever-increasing demand of meat around the world. Along the same vein, one may even fantasise that artificial meat may, one day, help in alleviating famine in some countries.

When I wrote this article, I didn’t particularly enjoy the final product.  But after some editing, I have to say that I’m quite satisfied with it.

Concerning weird science again, I stumbled upon an article on the web about geckoes.  Apparently, femaly geckoes do not need sex to reproduce! The link is over here, posted at backwash.  And from a fellow columnist (and reader) over at backwash, I got to know that female komodo dragons are also doing the same thing.

Seems like the females really don’t need us, males, any longer.  Kind of frightening.  No sex though.  Umm… boring life?

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Google concedes defeat to Yahoo!

Google Answers will stop accepting accepting new questions this Monday and will ultimately stop accepting new answers by the end of the year.  The archive however will still be available.

Google Answers proved to be an unlimited source of information for my science column, Not Scientific Science, during the years.  The concept of the service is quite simple.  You’ve got a question so you just ask it and you pay a certain amount of money.  The more money you’re prepared to spend on the question, the better and more in depth the answer you’ll get.  And it should be noted that the questions are answered by a specialist employed (probably on a freelance basis) by Google.

When I discovered Yahoo! Answers some times back though, I got completely entangled in the community.  Community.  That was the exact thing that Google Answers could never achieve.  At Yahoo! Answers we are a community and everyone asks questions and answers other questions.  The main disadvantage of Yahoo! Answers is that you do sometimes get some very silly answers to your questions and during numerous occasions, the answers are completely erronous.  Also, more technical questions tend to be left unanswered.

Obviously I could list along all the problems with Yahoo! Answers as compared with the Google version but the fact remains that Yahoo!’s won the battle this time and I’m quite glad at Yahoo! Answers.

It’s funny how the mastermind behind this Answers service dies off while the one who copied lives on!

UPDATE: And Yahoo! is already inviting the reseachers of Google Answers (specialists, as I call them) to join the Yahoo! community.  I just love those fights amongst those big companies.  Awesome.

From Yahoo! blog:

Got Answers and Nowhere to Share Them?

Today we learned that Google Answers is closing. That’s a shame because some great knowledge was created on that service by the Google Answers Researchers.

The Yahoo! Answers community continues to thrive and grow. We believe in the power of community; in people helping people get answers to their questions.

So, this is an open invitation for those researchers to join us.
Please consider sharing your knowledge with millions of people on
Yahoo! Answers; connect with users with shared interests; get answers
to all your questions; and help build the world’s most vibrant and
trusted community.

The folks who are researchers and information specialists have been
at this longer than us, and there’s a lot we can learn from you. We’ve
set up a Yahoo! Group for former Google Answers Researchers and we’d prefer that one of the exGARs help moderate the group.

Finally, we’re also going to be meeting up with some of the most
prolific Yahoo! Answers users here at the Sunnyvale campus on
Wednesday, December 13. And we’d like Google Answers researchers to
join us, tell us what you think and get to know what we’re doing here.
Please drop us a line!

We look forward to seeing you on Yahoo! Answers!

Tomi Poutanen

Yahoo! Social Search

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The column revival

So after many many months, I’m finally going to publish an article over at my backwash column, Not Scientific Science.  There are no links whatsoever in this below version, but i’ll drop a link in here so that you can check the final version of the article when it’s published at backwash.

I was also thinking about writing on how I got the idea and how I proceeded to write it in the first place, as well.  We’ll see.



The WOW list
by Khalil A. Cassimally aka NotScientific.

In no particular order.

1.Your body produces about 80 million neutrophils per minute.  Neutrophils form about 60% of all white blood cells travelling in the blood-flow.  White blood cells are those cells which fight pathogens during an infection.  Now, that makes you wonder how many cells your body actually produces in one day, doesn’t it?

2.Next time you’re in the loo, do recall to take to take a long and good sniff before you flush.  No jokes! Then think how your body’s inside stinks.

3.Homosexual animals exist, in case you didn’t know.  Male big horn sheeps bond through anal intercourse and genital licking and yes, ejaculation does occur.  Other gay animals include giraffes, bottlenose dolphins, killer whales and gray whales amongst others.  With this, some scientists are starting to question Darwin’s sexual selection because the father of biology apparently neglected all gay animals.  Oh yeah, Japanese macaques are lesbians by the way.

4.According to de Broglie’s wave-particle duality theory, any wave can also be treated as particles and consequently one can also expect a particle to act like a wave, in some circumstances.  But when does a wave actually behave as a particle or vice-versa? Bring on the next Einstein, I say!

5.Einstein’s theory of relativity.  Don’t worry it’s in simple terms.  I mean, it is in plain English all right.

6.A vaccine is in fact an injection of antigenic material, which may be dead pathogens or some living one themselves.  This results in an immune response.  The immune system is, in this way, prepared for any “natural” attacks by this same pathogen that may occur in the future.

7.HIV is short for Human Immunodeficiency Virus while AIDS is Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome.  As you see, the causative agent is HIV while the disease is AIDS and not vice-versa. Not to be confused, people.

8.Bind two amino acids together and you’ll end up with a dipeptide.  Bind three of them and you’ll obtain a tripeptide.  Now, bind many hyundreds of them and you’ll get a protein.  Now same thing with nucleotides: bind two of them to get a dinucleotide, three of them and you get a trinucleotide and a multitude of them so you get a nucleic acid.  Yep, RNA and DNA and stuff.

9.Biology + Chemistry = Biochemistry, Physics + Chemistry = Physical Chemistry, Biology + Physics = Biophysics!

Nomore drama?

Last year I went on stage for the second time in my life, ironically taking part in the very same play of my first steps on stage, namely Shakespeare‘s Macbeth.  Being on stage is a magical moment.  When you’re playing a certain character, you completely forget about your own life.  This life isn’t part of you during those hours that the play is on and the lights are out.  Indeed, drama is a way of escaping from reality and all of its associated pressures.

This year, I was contacted again by the production team (Atelier Theatre de Pierre Poivre) to join in the fun.  This year they’re staging Femmes Savantes, from Moliere and I was short-listed.  I was thrilled.  I was relishing to get back under the spotlights and be part of the team.  Unfortunately this year also marks the year of my A level’s.

Femmes Savantes will be on stage during the beginning of October for a period of two days.  Two days only! When the production told me about this, I thought it was all so stupid to play during only two days.  All these nights of rehearsals for two days only, you’ll agree with me, seems to be a little weird.  However, a plan was forming in my mind: when I’ll tell my mum about the play and ask for permission to be part of it, I’ll have to put emphasis on the fact that we’ll only be at the MGI theatre for two days and how it won’t probably disturb my revision plans or anything.  Yeah, mum was sure to give me the green lights, I thought.

Wrong! Mum refused instantly.  And when I tried to emphasise on the two days, she sarcastically asked whether the hours of rehearsals which have to be respected will not on their part affect my revision plans.  I was beaten.  If I told her that no, the rehearsals will not affect my revision plans, she’d have refuted and it’d have been a moral talk for me, killing the following 20 minutes minimum.  Obviously, if I said this:

“It might disturb my revision plans but…”
“No buts, it will disturb your revision, you just said so yourself.”

“I said it might!”
“Well, you definitely won’t take the risk then.”

“But…”
“You can go on stage next year, no prob.  Discussion closed.”

So, instead of risking a moral class or a lost-in-advance war of the worlds, I just shut up and never mentioned it again.  Guess, I’ll be in the seats watching the guys perform then.

Ah well, maybe next year, as my mum said… maybe next year.

Exams and sky media

Pretty hectic combination if you ask me.  I'm in exams and I've got a hectic week ahead:3 biology papers, 2 chemistry papers and 2 maths papers.

And I'm also working on The Clown's Graveyard which is due to be released imminently now.  But working on publishing feels so great, so I don't mind.

Nor will I complain. 

Special: Help needed for new indie publishing

My previous post, gives a big hint that I'm behind the new indie publishing company out there, sky media. Well, it's still all brand new and we're just getting a hang of things around here. However our very first publication, from J. Daniel Janzen, is scheduled to be released for free as ebook, during the week of May 15. Name of the masterpiece? The Clown's Graveyard.

However working in publishing is hard work (what isn't?), especially when you're not involved full-time with the project. Ok, I admit that I'm not too sure about that! Actually sky media is more like a hobby to me.

sky media logo

Anyway, if you're a designer/artist and you are interested in getting some experience in publishing, let me know. And don't worry if you don't know anything about publishing. The team's knowledge is limited as well. However we're eager to learn. Oh, one more thing: we're a team and that means that everybody, irrespective of their positions within, has a word on anything being done. This includes a say in the layout or the actual publications we are accepting.

Remember only one email address and you'll be in the fun. I personally cannot wait to meet new people eager to enter the publishing world.

P.S. If there's any other way in which you think you can help sky media, just fire an email to that same email address above and I'll be real happy. I usually reply fast (max. 48h in general, unless it's the weekend).

P.P.S. Well I'm crossing fingers. LOL. Hope to read from you soon.

There’s big news coming…

Ever thought about starting your very own company? That would be a cool thing, euh? Check this out. More later…


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What’s up in my life?

1. Best friends: I love you people.
2. My own company: sky media
3. Science is so very cool
4. 6 month sabbatical.

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Khalil A. Cassimally’s blog