Wednesday, June 30, 2004

One Down Two To Go.

Well that's the Exam done (Molecular Genetics, Biol 330) now only two tests left todo. One tomorrow (Biological Data Analysis) and one on Saturday (Biochemistry).

Then Movie watching time I think who's interested in going to see Spiderman 2 on Saturday? Here's a review for it Spiderman 2. It sounds rather good! Then afterwards prehaps a big game of settlers. :)

The exam today wasn't to bad though I'd have liked abit more time to finish the last question. The exam format was a long answer type and required you to answer 4 out of the 6 questions.

1) Discuss the concepts of proto-oncogene and oncogene. Using the ras gene as an example, discuss how ras gene product functions in a normal cell. How can ras gene become oncogenic? Support your answer with experimental evidence.

A fairly nice question as I'd had a good look at that when studying. The support the answer with experimental evidence was annoying though.

2) The retinoblastoma (RB) gene is known to be an anti-cancer gene. Discuss how this gene was discovered. How does the RB product control the cell cycle.

Again reasonable I knew a lot more about the second part than the first though.

3) Discuss how some DNA and RNA viruses can induce tumors, using specific examples.

Nice easy question except for one thing Id forgotten any examples that had been covered in the lectures and couldn't remember any from the text book. So skipped that one.

4) Animal models are often used to study human diseases. Briefly describe two methods for producing such animal models. Discuss the pros and cons of using animal models to study human diseases, giving examples where available.

Another good question. Nice and general so did it. A good way to get any animal rights activists in a class upset. Didn't appear to be any though.

Then we have the second leacturer's two questions which happen to be as big as the previous 4.

5) Those who monitor the food supply for evidence of GE organisms using PCR worry about generating false positive and false negative results. To answer the following questions, you may use concrete examples from the case studies discussed in lecture or discuss them hypothetically.
a. Describe what is meant by a false negative and a false positive result.
b. How is PCR prone to producing false positive results? What are the most important controls to include to avoid such results?
c. How is PCR prone to producing false negative results? What are the most important controls to include to avoid such results?

Another easy question. Some basic biological stats principles with hypothetical examples or examples from case studies eg Corngate.

In its decision to "approve with controls" AgResearch application GMD02028 to genetically engineer the bovine genome, ERMA requires AgResearch to "monitor for HGT at the disposal sites", but did not specify how. According to ERMA, "The Committee's view is that every reasonable opportunity should be taken to monitor developments such as this for occurrence of adverse effects and for information on the significance of pathways such as HGT. As well as providing an assurance on the effectiveness of controls, the information is potentially valuable for future applications".

a. AgResearch has come to you for advice on how to monitor the paddocks. From your knowledge of how others have monitored HGT in the past, describe how you would approach this problem.
b. Assess how effective you believe that your approach might be for providing "an assurance on the effectiveness of the controls" to limit harms that might arise by HGT.

Not such a nice question at least based on what I'd studied I hadn't done that case study and so lacked information on it.

If your interested in such stuff more info can be found at these links.
- Genomics
Molecular Biology

And related courses here.

Saturday, June 26, 2004

One Week Togo.

Great this time next week I'll have finished my exams and tests. I'm not sure what's better having the exams at the beginning or the end of the the exam period. Sure the end means you have more time for study but it also means you spend more time with nothing to do but worry about them and that every body else finishes well before you do.
Which is a real rub when your studying, thinking about studying or trying to study and you know all your mates are enjoy them selves as their exams are done and gone (yes I know some of you still have a couple left but you'll still be finished before Saturday no doubt)!

Well conclusions from studying so far are BDA's boring but the stuffs easy and therefore hopefully the test will be.
BCHM is more interesting except for the Biokinetics junk and that one of the lecturers has said his exam won't be about the material he went over but the general principles and underlying concepts that make the stuff he taught work. While also being informed to concentrate on the Material for one of the other lecturers last two lectures yet remembering that those lectures had a lot of video stuff and discussion and not much stuff for notes, and as a result a Third lecturer sending out a review paper to read on the subject.
As for Molecular Genetics well I've still got 3 days to study that in.

Well I'm really going to have todo something next Saturday after this is all done. Perhaps a big game of Settlers or watching the second Spiderman movie seeing I think it'll be out then.

PS to those of you who saw the previous use of the word studding it was the spell checker that changed it to that!

Thursday, June 24, 2004

An Interesting Idea, But I Don't Think So.

Paul made a rather interesting comment yesterday pointing out that I'd got some of my links wrong and that the Full Frontal Nerdity link should be pointing to a certain one of the Randoms.
However I don't think that will be changed as if I started to use some what accurate descriptions for the Random's links I'd have to find one for you Paul. Which would no doubt have to involve women and imaginary relationship sort of stuff and I don't really have 25 lines of side bar to donate just to you :)

Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Testing 123...

Well it says you can update this via email so how about email via text from a cell phone. If your seeing this it would appear 2 have worked.


Well it seems to work alright it also proves that I'm procrastinating like crazy.

Looks like The fridge may gain a new method of being updated, if the others see this, decide it's useful, that it isn't to geeky and they haven't already discovered it.

BDA = Biological Boring Data Analysis.

Exams and tests soon and all I'll say is BDA (Biological Boring Data Analysis) lives upto it's name when studing, though at least the math is real easy.

Tuesday, June 22, 2004

Mozilla Tips and Tricks.

Reading through Brehauts blog saw his little Mozilla tip with regards to "Find as you type" so thought I might as well point out a few more nice little things that Mozilla and Mozilla firefox have, if your not using Firefox or another Mozilla based browser you should see the Link on the side bar to get it (~5MB for Windows)!

This is most about Mozilla Firefox but some of the tricks can also be done in Mozilla.


This is Mozilla and Firefox's advanced configuration tool. Type about:config in the Address bar and hit enter and the configuration options load in the main window, for easy editing this allows full control over how Mozilla works. Allowing you to change any setting that exists. A word of warning though I'd suggest using google to check what a setting does before changing it.


Similar to about:config and accessed the same way. Type about:plugins into the address bar and hit enter.
This lists all the plugins that are currently installed with the browser. It's of no real use except to tell you what types of special content your webbrowser can deal with.

Plugins and extensions

Firefox is designed to be easily extended allowing users to add extra features to it. With this in mind it has a strong plugin frame work and a large number of plugins have been developed for it allowing it to do quite a few cool things. These extensions can be found at this location. They allow Firefox todo all sorts of cool things such as, controlling it with Mouse gestures, blocking the annoying Flash ad's many sites use, block banner ad's, reload your previous session when you open the browser (ie any pages that you had not closed in tabs last time you quit it) and many other things.

Ones that I recommend are.

Flashblock Which replaces shockwave and Flash items with a small icon that can be clicked to view them. Really good for getting rid of the big flashing Flash/Shockwave ad's some sites use.

Adblock a plugin which hides or removes banner ad's from web pages when you view them.

The extensions can be configured, disabled or installed via "Tools > extensions" in Firefox 0.9 or greater. In the older versions they could be configured under one of the tabs in the Tool>Options dialog box.

Ad Blocking CSS

Another trick that can be done with Firefox is the use of an Ad blocking style sheet. One of which can be found here. By copying and pasting the code from that page into the example file, userContent-example.css, in Firefox's profile directory for which you can find the location of here and then renaming that file "userContent.css". Firefox will examine webpages you look at and remove an ad's it finds generally making the pages load abit faster and much easier to read.

Ad blocking host file

This is another some what more powerful way of block various types of ad's on the internet and has the effect of speeding up page loading and reducing the amount of bandwidth used. It prevents the ad's ever being sent to you. It works by telling the computer that it is the ad server. Your computer then asks it's self for the ads when a web page try's to load one and seeing it isn't really the ad server it can't find them and so the web browser just ignores them and loads the page.

This is done by creating whats called a host file which contains a list of internet address's such as and the ip address that web address points to eg On most computers a host file is not present so the computer is forced to ask a DNS sever on the internet what IP address goes with what web address (url). If there is a host file though the computer checks that first and if it finds the url there then it doesn't ask the DNS server for the IP. Using the one in the host file instead. To block ad's what is done is a list of the special computers on the internet that host internet ad's is created and added to the host file. Then for each server the IP address is set (a special address that always points to your own computer not to one on the internet).

Any way enough tech stuff. You can find an installer for Windows and instructions for MacOSX and Linux at this Site.

Any way that's enough junk for now from me, time to study :-(.

Hmm must be Exam time.

Well it must be exam time again. All the clues point at it.
Staying up late reading Sci-Fi rather than text books, recompiling the kernel (Linux 2.6.6) when the current one works pretty blasted well, finishing computer games that where started 6 months ago in the Christmas holidays, going out to watch movies and play settlers, not getting out of bed till 2pm and then still only having had 8 hours sleep, Starting random things on the internet that I'd never ever do if I had anything other than study todo (i.e. this) and baking Bread.

Well any way seeing this is becoming abit of a trend and I was bored thought might as well stick something up.
Not that I usually follow such trends or see any real point in it.
Unless your traveling and want a good way for people to find out what your doing, or the subject of your blog is your area of expertise. Especially after remembering some articles I've read about Blogging e.g. Blogosphere to reach 10 million and Most Bloggers are Teenage Girls, not that I have any thing against Teenage girls :-P.

Well I guess it's a good way to waste abit of time now and then instead of studing.