Another glorious day in the Corps.

Every paycheck a fortune. Every formation a parade.

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Cornelius Snarlington, Business Deer.

Previously.

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DNA Lounge: Wherein the Empire Expands.

Hey, guess what, I just bought a pizza restaurant! You may have seen it. It's next door.

We just signed the escrow paperwork today. We should be taking over day-to-day operations some time in the next few weeks, once we're done inspecting the equipment and so on. It will take a quite a bit of time beyond that to get all of the permits transferred, but wheels are in motion.

Fear not: whatever else we do, we will always continue to sell pizza there, late into the night. Because not doing that would be crazy.

Initially, the pizza place and DNA Lounge will continue to be separate operations, but the long term goal (and, if you've been following along for any length of time, you know that anything involving permits is a "long term goal") is to do a lot merger so that the two rooms are technically one business. This will enable us to poke a door in the wall and operate the restaurant side of things as basically "room three" of DNA Lounge. To accomplish that, we'll need to alter our existing liquor license to cover both rooms. That will allow us to operate the pizza place as either a continuation of whatever event is happening in the big room, or as a bar with its own completely separate event in there.

One of the limitations of DNA Lounge has always been that it's hard to do small events here. It's a very big room, and hard to sub-divide, so it is hard to make it work for live music with fewer than a couple hundred attendees. Having a smaller room in which it is possible to do live music in the 40-60 attendance range will let us say "yes" to people a lot more often...

A close reading of the above will tell you that I'm going to be spending a lot of the next year talking to lawyers and sitting in hearing rooms.

I am reminded of the immortal words of Patrick Swayze in Point Break: "You're about to jump out of a perfectly good airplane. How do you feel about that?"

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DNA Lounge: Wherein we Blow Up.

Holy crap, what a weekend! Thursday got off to a relatively (only relatively!) mellow start with a packed room full of Black Metal Viking Enthusiasts for the Finntroll / Ensiferum show. We got an entertaining write-up: "The Finnish Metal Tour Brings a Hideous Therapy Session to DNA Lounge". (There are four photos in that article but I haven't seen any others.)

Then Friday was our first Blow Up, which was just crazy. I have rarely seen so universally enthusiastic an audience, especially at a dance party. Check out the photos and video!

Saturday: Bootie Valentine's Day. Not to be out-done, they had a line down to 10th Street by 10pm. Photos!

And tonight: the Parkway Drive show, which had already sold out by noon.

Not bad for early February!

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The Roundest Object in the World.

The Avogadro Project

In determining the Avogadro constant, the preferred method has been to use one of the high-precision spheres fabricated here at the ACPO. These come in the form of a highly polished 1 kg single crystal silicon sphere, fabricated with a roundness in range of 60 nm.

The nominal diameter of a 1 kg Si sphere is 93.6 mm. In order to obtain an accuracy of 0.01 ppm in volume, the diameter must be known to a range of 0.6 nm. In other words, within one atom spacing.

Such high accuracy requires specialised equipment and one such procedure is by optical interferometry using a precision etalon through a stabilised laser light. The measurements are sensitive to many parameters, particularly to those of temperature and pressure. An instability within the range of 2 mK would be sufficient to cause the silicon to expand by more than the allowable uncertainty. The refractive index of air (and hence the wavelength of the light) is sensitive to the surrounding air pressure. It is therefore necessary to carry out the measurements in a controlled environment.

Corrections must be applied for surface impurities such as oxides and absorbed water. Typically, silicon has an oxide layer 3 to 4 nm thick, which is a mixture of SiO and SiO2. It is also possible for the surface to absorb some monolayers of water. Since much of the absorbed water is removed in a vacuum, a number of the key measurements are made in a vacuum environment. A further correction must then be applied for the difference in bulk modulus between the air and vacuum.

Previously.

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Tumors of the Elder Gods

Cancer resembles life 1 billion years ago, say astrobiologists

"'Advanced' metazoan life of the form we now know, i.e. organisms with cell specialization and organ differentiation, was preceded by colonies of eukaryotic cells in which cellular cooperation was fairly rudimentary, consisting of networks of adhering cells exchanging information chemically, and forming self-organized assemblages with only a moderate division of labor," they write.

According to Lineweaver, this suggests that cancer is an atavism, or an evolutionary throwback.

“We think that the tumours that develop in cancer patients today take the same form as these simple cellular structures did more than a billion years ago,” he said.

In a way, the genes that controlled this early multi-cellular form of life are like a computer operating system's 'safe mode', and when there are failures or mutations in the more recent genes that manage the way cells specialise and interact to form the complex life of today, then the earlier level of programming takes over.

Their notion is in contrast to a prevailing theory that cancer cells are 'rogue' cells that evolve rapidly within the body, overcoming the normal slew of cellular defences.

However, Davies and Lineweaver point out that cancer cells are highly cooperative with each other, if competing with the host's cells. This suggests a pre-existing complexity that is reminiscent of early multicellular life.

They also point out that cancers' manifold survival mechanisms are predictable, and unlikely to emerge spontaneously through evolution within each individual in such a consistent way.

The good news is that this means combating cancer is not necessarily as complex as if the cancers were rogue cells evolving new and novel defence mechanisms within the body.

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It's our new fragrance line.

DNA Spray.

"The procedure is simple: during a holdup a nebula of invisible liquid with a sysnthetic DNA code is spread in the space. the liquid attaches itself to the clothes and skin of the perpetrator and cannot simply be washed off. DNA-spray is practically invisible to the human eye, but lights up under UV-light. Suspects with traces of DNA-spray are easily traceble to the scene of the crime for the police."
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Teacher suspended for blogging about her students

Worst Insults the Teacher Made About Her Students

High school English teacher Natalie Munroe has been suspended after writing insulting comments about students, parents and other teachers on her public blog.

In January Munroe wrote a long post describing the comments she wished she could enter on her students' evaluations, noting at the outset that she was "being a renegade" and blogging at work.

Among the 39 barbs she listed:

  • I hear the trash company is hiring.
  • I called out sick a couple of days just to avoid your son.
  • Rude, beligerent [sic], argumentative fuck.
  • Just as bad as his sibling. Don't you know how to raise kids?
  • Asked too many questions and took too long to ask them. The bell means it's time to leave!
  • Nowhere near as good as her sibling. Are you sure they're related?
  • Shy isn't cute in 11th grade; it's annoying. Must learn to advocate for himself instead of having Mommy do it.
  • Am concerned that your kid is going to come in one day and open fire on the school. (Wish I was kidding.)

Munroe concluded: "These comments, I think, would serve me well when filling out the cards. Only, I don't think parents want to hear these truths. Thus, the old addage [sic] ... if you don't have anything nice to say ... say 'cooperative in class.' "

The cache of her (deleted) blog is here. Note the comment where one of her former students shows up and says she was the worst teacher he's ever had!

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Blood wars

Blood wars

Blood Wars is an art-science installation that will pit white blood cells from two different people against each other in a "tournament" that aims to see which person has the strongest immune system.

In order to create the blood duel, High gets a phlebotomist to take blood samples from two different people. She then separates the white blood cells from the rest of the blood and stains them using different colours. They are then placed in a Petri dish and their interactions are filmed under a microscope using time-lapse microscopy. The cellular "winner" of each round will go onto fight another participant.

"Please use this M&M for breeding purposes."

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Stabbed to death by cock.

Among the other animals you should not give knives:

A 35-year-old Lamont man died Sunday after being stabbed in the leg by a sharp blade that was attached to a fighting bird, authorities said. An autopsy Wednesday revealed that the accidental death was caused by an injury to Ochoa's right calf.

"I have never seen this type of incident," said Sgt. Martin King, a 24-year veteran who noted the major arteries that could have been severed. "People have been known to bleed out from those injuries if medical attention is not obtained immediately."

King said Ochoa and others fled when deputies arrived at the alleged cockfight, a gambling event in which birds armed with razor-like knives fight each other -- often to the death. [...] "It's pretty rare, but I'm surprised it doesn't happen more often considering the knives they put on those birds," he said. "It's not a surprise that somebody got killed."

In addition, a man in India was killed last month when his fighting rooster slashed his throat, the London-based Daily Mail reported.

Previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously, previously.

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