Friday, May 4, 2012

FF - Will Using Superpaper Get You Into Harvard?

Friday Fragments is back to help you get through the last day of the week.... scissors it's kryptonite?
-Superpaper to the rescue!  It's magnetic, waterproof, antibacterial, and will do your taxes.  Well 3 out of 4 of those our true, I'll let you figure out which is false.

-For those of you who like video games, specifically Portal, this mini-golf course was made just for you. I got to be honest, the Portal hole looks incredible!

-The first time ever, am organ (kidney in this case) was transplanted TWICE.

-I absolutely love this take on trying to get into college. (Note, comical not serious).  I am curious what would happen if you used that superpaper to write your entrance essays?

-This is a little bit random but some Little Leaguers wore throw back jerseys recently. This throw back fad is becoming an epidemic (and how do I get to be a part of it???).

-Lastly, take a look at this video is total destruction of household stuff in super-slow motion!  Pure awesomeness!

Monday, April 30, 2012

You Play To Win The Game!

"You play to win the game!" - Herm Edwards

One of the most classic and iconic lines from a professional sports coach.  And it really sums up why we play sports and games.  Those of us who have that competitive nature instilled within us find ourselves playing to win at everything we do.

For those of you who know me, I enjoy playing sports (and games but this post is about sports specifically).  And you also know that I am a very competitive person.  I love to win and hate to lose.  For the past six years of my college career I have participated in intramural sports at Purdue but last night I finally won a championship and got my IM Champs t-shirt.  For those of you outside of Purdue you probably won't care.  But as you walk around campus you see the distinct IM Champs shirts and really the only emotion you get is jealousy.  I wanted a championship so bad and I have been close in the past but finally, Team IPPH won 4v4 Sand Volleyball last night.  Look at my past teams...

I have played intramural basketball every year since Junior year of high school.  Starting way back in high school when Team 4.0 (as in GPA) beat the "Dream Team" assembled by now MLB closer Drew Storen, I knew I wanted to win intramural championships.  It is the ultimate who wants it more playground.  And basketball has been elusive for me to this day.  I have been on teams where I was nothing but a bench player who scored one bucket a game, to this last season when I led the team in scoring 15 ppg. But every year something goes wrong.  One year we lost to a team called the "Backstreet Ballers" and every player had nicknames that were Backstreet Boys' songs. A couple years we had a guy named Stu who accounted for 90% of our offense and we thought we couldn't lose if we get him the ball.  Turns out Stu can only do so much when it feels like he is playing 1v5.  Another year we had to play 4 on 5 in the tourney because of exam conflicts.  It just never worked out.

Justin Siller - Purdue QB and WR.
Also, intramural QB and center fielder.
I have also played tablet tennis, walleyball, and ultimate frisbee.  I made it to the finals of the team table tennis championships my freshman year and this last year made it to the final 8 in men's open table tennis. And my overall record in the BPPL (Brownsburg Ping Pong League) was 93-27.  So I take my table tennis seriously but so do a lot of people around here.  Looking back, walleyball and frisbee were just for fun, but at the time I really wanted to win.  I played flag football for four years and had a couple good teams.  My Junior year, my floor team from McCutcheon made it to the semi-finals of the dorm league before being upset on the second to last play of the game.  And my Senior year I played center for a team that had a guy at quarterback named Justin Siller.  Yeah, the same guy who led Purdue to a win over Michigan in 2008 and finished his senior season this last year as the leading receiver for the Purdue football team.  Evidently that wasn't legal for him to play and they waited until the middle of the playoffs to tell us (we were 5-0 and if I remember correctly were beating people by an average of about 30 points).

That same football team with Siller got me the closest I had been to wining a championship in a while the following spring in softball.  I was by far the worst player on the team and currently 4-5 of those guys now play for the Purdue Club Baseball team.  We lost in extra innings of the semi-finals of the Men's Open league. Since then I have been playing more and more softball, and starting this summer I will play in an actual Men's league in Lafayette (read as much more serious with an 18+ game schedule and sponsors and such).

Team IPPH - GFS Champions
That brings me to last night.  Our rag-tag sand volleyball team went undefeated and played a team in the finals that hadn't won a match in 3 years until they won 3 straight to get to the finals last night.  Honestly, there wasn't much drama outside of a 2 hour rain delay.  We handled them from the start and took care of business.  But I finally got that IM Champs t-shirt!  I remember writing about my softball team one of the first posts in the blog.  Well, better late than never, right?

This summer our department here in the College of Pharmacy (IPPH) is going to be playing sand volleyball again, basketball, and softball.  So the opportunity to win is there, but I the pressure is finally off of my shoulders and hopefully that will lead to more wins (and of course more fun).

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

"Live Life to the Fullest"

Time flies when you're having fun! That is partially the reason for not keeping up with this blog. But mainly I have been dealing with a great bit on uncertainty with my grad career (nothing bad just uncertainty) and that has made it hard to focus on writing for this blog.  Also, I feel as though I need to walk the walk for how I say you should "Live life to the fullest!"  Thus I have been trying to live each day with gusto and that leads me to put some things on the back burner, like this blog.

Don't let obstacles get in the way of your goals!
You can overcome anything you put your mind to...
no matter how cold it is!

However, my school picture is clearing up (it looks as though I will be at Purdue for the summer) and my first seminar is in the fall (the day after my birthday, ugh).  My research projects are taking shape and personally, I'm moving into a new place in June which I hope to call hope for a few years while I finish up school. Thus I believe you will get to see a return of  your my favorites this summer (Friday Fragments, Behind the Bench, and Under the Hood).  I know I still have the 5 medical breakthrough articles, three of which are half-baked right now.  I really appreciate all the love and support through everything even when I cannot find the time (or motivation) to write a blog entry.  But if my blog continues to be empty as the days pass, please take that as a sign that I am out living life and you should come join me!!!

As each day passes I feel more and more blessed to have the opportunities that I have and to know the people around me. No matter what life throws at me, I feel as though I can tackle and overcome it!  The take home message for today is a huge thank you to my friends and family AND that you can achieve anything you set your mind to! Please go out and let the people you care about, know that you care about them.  Life is too short to leave things unsaid or to spend time thinking about what you want to do, rather GO DO IT!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Pseudo-Spring Break

The weather has finally turned for the better and spring is in the air.  People are outside running again and crack of baseball bats break the silence of winter. It is spring break here at Purdue and like it is for all students, it is a much needed break...kind of.  As a graduate student, it is pretty much an unwritten rule that you do not get to take spring break off.  That's not entirely true because we can take the week off but you have to get permission from your major professor and sometimes even the department head. So everyone sticks around and we all spend time in lab gathering data and running experiments.  But that doesn't mean I cannot enjoy the break from classes.  Actually, I have already had a great start to my pseudo-spring break and I have a full week of plans outside of the basement laboratory.  So below is a quick summary of my week and I hope you can find some inspiration for your own pseudo-spring break. Even if you aren't in school anymore you can designate a week as spring break and step outside the norm for a while.

Last weekend I made the trip up to Chicago to visit the Museum of Science and Industry.  And since I hadn't been since I was 10 or so I was really looking forward to it.  If you enjoy science even the slightest bit or just like hands on activities then this is the place for you.  I won't spoil anything in the actual museum but it is a great place to visit, discover your inner scientist, and spend the afternoon...especially with a friend!

This week, our department has planned a couple softball practices which is a great way to get outside and enjoy the nice weather finally.  We are going to try our hand at sand volleyball as well.  Outside of that, with the nice weather I am going to go on at least one "midnight run."  And that is exactly what it sounds like, going for a run around midnight to enjoy the nice weather and since I live out of town a little bit, the stars give the perfect motivation to dig out that extra mile.  There is also $1 bowling night this week.

And let's not forget that March Madness begins this week!  So I will be watching the games either in the office with a couple other grad students or making my way down to Harry's for an extended lunch.  And this weekend is St. Patrick's day so I will hopefully be meeting up with some friends to drink green beer and try not to get pinched too much.

Overall, I don't necessarily need the week off to have a Spring Break.  It is more of an attitude to just do what you want without reservations about the "work week."  One week of staying out past your bedtime and adventurous weekend excursions can be just what you need to keep you going strong this spring!

Friday, March 2, 2012

Friday Fragments - Breaking Barriers

So I am out of excuses other than I am busy.  My research projects are starting to take off and the couple classes I'm in are quite humbling because I really haven't felt this lost in a class since Mrs. Byrnes W131 high school English class.  Also, I have been choosing to have an active social life traversing around the local midwest, rather than spend time writing blog posts in my spare time (and I am currently watching The Wonder Years on Netflix and until I finish that my downtime is pretty full).  But, I will try and give you all a few fragments to get you through the afternoon, mainly because I am about as motivated to get stuff done this morning as a 90 year turtle at the zoo is to move for the little children.  My hope is that this will start some momentum for the afternoon. Enough rambling...

-Here is an excellent article explaining how close we are to a couple MAJOR physics breakthroughs.

The single atom transistor.
-Moore's Law, ha!  The single atom transistor breaks down that barrier without batting an electron (<--terrible joke, I know).

-If you are Windows user, like myself and 99% of the industrial and business world, you can get a "consumer preview" of Windows 8 right here!  Essentially, it is the Windows Phone 7 OS for PCs.  It looks great, and is getting good reviews thus far.  Let's just hope PC companies don't f*%$ it up...I'm looking at you Dell.

-Assassin's Creed III will be coming out in October and they have released the cover art...AMERICAN REVOLUTION!

-Lastly, John Mayer released his new single Shadow Days, for his upcoming album Born and Raised.  He is starting his Spring tour soon which just so happens to go through Purdue. 

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Flavors of the Month - February 2012

Again, the month as flown by me.  My other posts deserve more time to be polished but I can keep my Flavors of the Month going without too much trouble...

Personal Flavor of the Month - Drake

Although my mother does not consider this to be music I really like his Take Care album.  I once agreed with my mother in that rap wasn't really music. But as I have gotten older I have realized that music is any form of melodic expression of one's self.  So Drake is about as musical as it gets once you start listening to the lyrics.  [Warning Explicit at times, NSFW] I really enjoy Shot for Me and Headlines.  It doesn't compare with my all-time favorite Drake song Forever.  I mean can lyrics really get better than; "Last name EVER, first name GREATEST! Like a sprained ankle, boy I ain't nothing to play with!"

New Flavor for February - Ellie Goulding

So she isn't that new in that she is pretty big in the UK.  But her song Lights is just too catchy to warrant any other artist for this month.  The UK has been giving us some decent artist latest like Adele and The Script so Ellie could be the next one to big it big here in the states as well.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Friday Fragments - With Commercials

Well, 10 days of February have literally by as I was pretty sure today was only the 3rd of February until someone informed otherwise during class.  Anyway, being busy is not a bad thing unless you want to try and keep up with the writing of your blog.  Enough, here are a few fragments to get you through the last hour of the day.

-All the Superbowl Ads in one place...if you can't waste at least 15 minutes looking at these then maybe you need to stop and smell the roses.

Personal Favorite - Nissan NSX

-Self-guided bullets.  Like missiles only with bullets.  Now the AI of every first person shooter should have no excuse to miss you when you are shooting your way through some 3rd world country.

-SpaceX had a test of their rocket which could one day send people back to the moon, or even Mars.  Sign me up!

-This awesome website shows you the scale of the universe, enjoy!

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Flavors of the Month - January 2012

All-Time Favorite Album
I not only aspire to be a scientist one day but I will continually aspire to be a well-rounded individual.  And if you know me at all you know that I enjoy music, pretty much any kind of music. I played the saxophone for 7ish years between elementary, junior high, high school, and even a little in college.  Now I enjoy learning guitar and soon bass.  I also enjoy trying to pick out new artists before they hit it really big.  For example, I picked up the "Harder to Breathe" single by Maroon 5 back in 2002 and never put it down.  I think you may have heard of them. I also stumbled upon some European singles by some artist named Lady Gaga back in 2006.  A band by the name of Fall Out Boy released a weird concept video for "Sugar We're Going Down" which almost nobody remembers, and most recently my favorite artist to make it big has been Mike Posner, who's One Foot Out the Door mixtape is one of my all-time favorites.  So towards the end of every month I will present two Flavors of the Month.  My personal favorite for that month and an artist to keep your eye on to make it big.

Personal Flavor for January 2012 - Mutemath
Having just released their third studio album, "Odd Soul,"  I have dusted off their old stuff too and been listening to them a lot this month. Their self-title debut album is still my favorite but their newest album offers a synthesized take on rock/pop. It's definitely worth a listen if you haven't heard them before. And I'm pretty sure you've heard their best song Typical before...

Co-New Flavor for January 2012 - Cady Groves
She is very unknown and I have only heard her songs on XM radio for now but I first caught wind of her in a duet with Plug-in Stereo (Oh Darling), when I was looking for good songs to practice finger-picking on the guitar.  She has since released a song called "This Little Girl" and it is getting a ton of playing time on the pop stations on XM.  I originally thought this girl was about 16 years old but her bio says she is 21.

Co-New Flavor for January 2012 - Cher Lloyd
A huge success in England she is coming stateside with her song "With ur Love" ft. Mike Posner (hence how I came across her).  Classified as "Swag Pop," whatever in the world that is, it is similar to Mike Posner's style.  She is young but has a great voice (youtube her).

Only time will tell if either of the new flavors will have the same fate as some of the other people I have found on the brink of stardom. 

Friday, January 27, 2012

Friday Fragments - Quantum Lasers using Teamwork?

After about a month hiatus the Friday Fragments are back.  For those of you who are new to my site, the Friday Fragments are just a collection of interesting stories and links that usually are centered around science but can offer a wide arrange of info.  Enjoy!

-First, my shameless "Plug of the Week."  The Bucket List is a new blog that my friend Rob started to document his experiences trying to complete his baseball bucket list. It's the off-season now but head on over, slap a bookmark on it, and check it out from time to time if you're a baseball/sports fan.  It may inspire you do check off a few items on your bucket list as well.

-Fun with Lasers and Balloons!  Always love a good laser video, but wait and see what happens when they pull out the white balloon!

-Now while the jury is still out on the whole breaking the speed of light theory, scientists have recently published a paper about the quantum speed limit (which I thought would be the same as the speed light but once again quantum mechanics throws me a curve ball).  If you like physics, read this quick summary of their findings.

-This kid got lost inside a computer....granted it was in the 1950's when computers took up the size of whole rooms but still.

-This week I came across a small article about pharmacies and the controversial Plan B birth control.  A new study has found that some pharmacists are taking the moral issue into their own hands and not allowing girls of legal age to buy the emergency contraceptive (17 years or older) even when they have some in stock.  Now whether or not you agree with Plan B and whether it is morally and ethically alright, pharmacists do NOT have the right to deny someone of a medicine if they are legally allowed to purchase it.  I'm just saying!

-I hope you're all ready for the massive solar storm coming our way.  Wait, it's happening as we speak.  That's right, one of the largest solar storms in the last decade is bombarding our planet right now and fortunately nothing major has been affected.  Unless you are traveling in space or use precision GPS (down to the foot) for your job, you probably wouldn't notice the effects at all.

-I'll leave you with one of the best displays of teamwork...

All this work just to play the Demo of Mario Kart 7?  Worth it!

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Five Medical Breakthroughs that Could Change the World - Introduction

Each day I spend a little time reading about the latest news in medicine and health. So I felt compelled to make a list of five medical breakthroughs that I believe not only are going to happen in the near future, but would also have the largest impact on humanity.  Instead of writing one really long post I have decided to reveal the list below (for those you like spoilers or don’t like reading much at all).  I will give a brief overview of each and then in the next five weeks I will address each one of these in a more in depth post with links so you can scour the internet yourself.  So I present my “Five Medical Breakthroughs that Could Change the World!”

5) Artificial Organs and Blood without Rejection – The first artificial organs were invented back roughly in 1885, so this is not a new concept.  However, every organ transplant (artificial or not) is essentially rejected by the host because of immunology issues.  The newest trick would be to make new organs and blood using the patient’s own cells thus eliminating the rejection and donor aspects of medical transplants.  We already have some of this technology with synthetic blood and spray on skin on the horizon. (Warning this involves stem cell research so be prepared.)

4) Systematic Streamlining of Medical Information – More of a political viewpoint, I have heard and read about this concept many times but it never seems to get enough steam to become a reality.  However, with the growing number of drug interactions and how small the world is becoming between travel and technology, this database may become a necessity.  I’ll look at both the pros and cons, but this will inevitably always become more of a political debate than a medical one.

Our understanding of genetics
grows every day!
3) Personalized Medicine (Genetics) – Using our DNA to find a predisposition to a disease is nothing new but using your DNA to actually make a drug that caters to your needs is a very real possibility.  A very expensive but real possibility.  Imagine being sick, going into the doctor to give a blood sample and walking out of the doctor’s office a few hours later with a drug that only works for your genetic make-up.  Awesome right?

2) Cure for Cancer – I have a caveat for this one.  Cancer inherently cannot be “cured” because of the nature of how cancer works.  That doesn’t mean that our treatments aren’t getting close to essentially curing many types of cancer.  I promise I will explain, if you’re patient.

The most detailed model of the HIV model to date.
1) HIV Cure – The Holy Grail of 21st century medicine is hiding somewhere right around the corner.  And what’s even more promising is that the research into an HIV cure seems to be leading us to a cure for almost all viral infections such as the common cold (quick example).  Yes, developing both a vaccine and a treatment for HIV is becoming more and more possible and hopefully scholars in the future will write textbooks about the great HIV outbreak much like the Black Plague; meaning it is over!

There you have it.  I will giving a more in depth look at each of these with the possibility for a few bonus breakthroughs along the way.  

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year!  Wait, January almost over already?! Well, time just flies when [fill in your own lame metaphor here].  Anyway, I'm back and have some cool posts coming up soon.  Friday Fragments, Ask a Scientist, and Under the Hood are all coming back along with some new perspectives on both pharmaceutics and life in general.  I have no excuses for why I have not written anything lately other than I have been busy.  Honestly it goes with one of my New Year Resolutions (number 2 below).  To kick off the new year I am going to give a few of my resolutions, give a little incite behind why make resolutions, and maybe inspire someone to commit to their own resolution.  Let's get started...

Let's do it!!!
The reason I want to share my resolutions is because I believe telling someone else of your goals is one of the best ways to stay true to them.

Matt's 2012 New Year Resolutions

1) Go Skydiving - Yes, I want to jump out of a plane and free fall back to earth.  It is way out of my comfort zone and I will probably piss myself once that airplane door opens, but I want to do it because you only live once!

2) "Carpe diem" - Or "seize the day" for those of you who weren't cool like me and took Latin as a foreign language in high school.  Basically this boils down to living each day as though it was your last.  Don't hold back and don't put something off to tomorrow if you can do it now.  Be spontaneous and adventurous and life will come to you!

3) No more pop - That's right, I have completely given up pop, soda, coke, whatever you want to call it. It's a great place to start to try and get you diet in order if you have been struggling to eat better.  I actually started giving up pop back in August of last year, but it took a while to completely give it up.  Now, this doesn't mean you will never see me drink a Dr. Pepper again.  It just means that pop has become a special "treat" to celebrate the good times.

I believe this is the exact watch I had in Jr. High.
4) Wear a watch - Another small change but I have tried to wear a watch daily since I was 12 years old and it has never lasted more than a few weeks.  Granted it was a Mickey Mouse watch followed by a cheesy Purdue watch.  Well, we are three weeks into 2012 and I am still wearing a watch like an adult, and it looks like an adult watch too.

5) Commit to my blog - Self explanatory!

There is a small sampling of my resolutions that I made at the beginning of 2012.  Now let's discuss why resolutions are important. The new year, however arbitrary it may be, is a great time to commit to new things.  Why? Because we are creatures of habit and until something pulls us out of our ruts we will continue on the same path.  Does that mean that if you fall off the resolution or didn't make any resolutions that you have to wait until 2013.  Absolutely not!  Do it today!  Write the resolutions down with the date and call it "Dan's New Year" or "Cathy's New Year."  (Obviously use your name instead of Dan).  And much like a Chinese New Year which doesn't coincide with the calendar year, commit to your new ideals for an entire year.  It's unique and creative which will in itself allow you to mature as a person. Plus you just made up a holiday for yourself, so I will be doing this sometime soon for myself!

All in all, resolutions come down to one fact; only you can make them happen.  Do it for your family, do it for your friends, but most importantly do it for yourself.  Each and every one of us is worth putting effort into ourselves!  Best of luck and Happy New Year!

(Also, anyone wanting to go skydiving hit me up!)