Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The peaches are ripe

The kitchen is scented with the perfume of peaches.  Evidently, so are the hills above our house. The fawns, the bucks, the does, the turkeys, the jays and probably every other creature that lives here is visiting and pulling on the tree to get to the fruit.  Yes, the plums and apricots are also delicious, but it is the peaches that brings them flocking to the front yard.  I, too, cannot get enough of the peaches.  Yum.

Monday, July 16, 2012

One of life's obvious lessons (doh!)

My old balance ball bit the dust a few months ago.  I got a new one.  I like to sit on the ball during teleconferences and doing other office tasks.  While I can't sit on it all day - I get too stiff - it makes me feel just a teensy bit better about sitting all day.  So Kitty Guy was on my lap getting rubbed and purring, then something spooked him and BAM!  He was off like a shot.  Not only did he take several bits of my leg with him (nice bruise) but he shot himself off the side of the ball in several. places.  OK, buy a box of bike patches  Blow the ball back up, covering the holes with scotch tape.  Put on 6 patches.  Blow the ball up a little fuller.  Looked good, held the air overnight.  Sat on it awhile.  Got up for tea.  Came back to find my new ball all flabby and shriveled.

Note to self:  one should not hold cats, particularly skittish cats, while sitting on a balance ball.

Friday, July 13, 2012

and the hits on the 100K Genomes Project just keep coming

The e-mails overfloweth.  Congratulations all around, and gleeful lists of web hits are being updated.  There are almost 50 articles out there after the press releases went out yesterday, although some of them are re-prints posted to a different site.  The report posted to Genome Web News is the 2nd most viewed and the 3rd most e-mailed.    But the best result is that offers of isolates and other help are now flowing into UCD.  After the first 1500 isolates are sequenced and polished, it really will be like looking at pathogen genomes with the Hubble instead of binoculars, as the Director of the FDA suggested. 

Thursday, July 12, 2012

More on the genome alphabet soup

Our project to sequence the genomes of 100,000 pathogen bad boys and put them in the public domain has finally gone public.  Amazing how many months it took to put the press release out there.  100K Genome Project Access to these DNA sequences should allow us to construct molecular assays to identify food-borne pathogens.  That will be a significant advance from using the bunny antibody techniques for serovar identification that were developed early in the last century and still in use today.  If the identity of a food-borne pathogen can be determined in hours and not weeks, that will trim weeks off the time it takes to trace-back the source of the food poisoning to the farm or factory.  Our next meeting is in two weeks, and we will all be proud to have this out there.

It's a fine thing for my company to sponsor.  My manager offered me this position in the Food Team a couple of years ago.  A few months after that, his father sickened and died from food poisoning in a few days.  It's not always all about the corporate bottom line.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Batter fried onion rings

Yesterday I drove past Pleasanton CA over 80 east toward Davis.  I try to leave mid-morning when the commute traffic has calmed down, but there is still a hilly part where traffic is a bit slow.  I saw a few motor homes in the slow lane, then a SHAVE ICE vendor being pulled by a truck.  Another SHAVE ICE truck being pulled by a motor home.   A HOT DOG truck was ahead of that.   When I passed the Batter Fried Onion Rings truck, I realized that I had just passed the fair grounds in Pleasanton and the fair was over yesterday.