Chibimagic's Weblog

Archive for January 2009

I started listening to the Stuff You Should Know podcast (iTunes link) from HowStuffWorks. The episode they’re doing this week is “How Hypoallergenic Cats Work”, except it’s not. Background: there’s this company called Allerca that makes “lifestyle pets” aka cats that are hypoallergenic because they don’t make the Fel d 1 protein that causes allergies in humans.

The podcast mentioned how this wasn’t genetic engineering like that famous mouse with the ear on its back (picture from their article), except that wasn’t genetic engineering either. Allerca’s cats are more genetic engineering than that mouse, because that ear was basically plastic surgery. They implanted some cow cartilage and let the mouse’s cells grow around it, which they were able to do without rejection because a natural mutation left this strain of mice with almost no immune system. You don’t need to change genes to effect a visually striking change. (Here’s a more in depth explanation of what happened with the mouse.)

According to the podcast, these cats came about from selective breeding, after the company used some fanshy pants “bioinformatics” wherein they plugged genetic data into a computer, and it told them which breed was most likely to lose that gene. Yeah, that’s about as bioinformatics as me looking up “cat” on Wikipedia. Maybe they actually did use advanced biology techniques to get these cats, but from the way the podcast described it, Allerca basically made an educated guess and started breeding cats.

Then the podcast started talking about how even though Allerca’s cats might look like a normal British shorthair, it was actually “a different species” because what Allerca did was a “speciation event” and they were “creating genetic divergence” and then I groaned and stopped being able to listen. Just like people who remain lactose tolerant into adulthood are a different species, right?

It hurts to listen to someone be so wrong about something, especially about something so pervasive and imperative to life as biology. I think I’ve accepted that most people are going to suck at computers, so computer-suckiness is simply an inherent property of people. I haven’t gotten around to accepting that biology-suckiness is an inherent property though.

This episode makes me question the accuracy of every other article and podcast they’ve ever done. I guess they’ll be one of the ones getting cut as I have less time for podcasts. Anyway, here’s the accompanying article so that you don’t have to listen to their podcast to get the full misinformation.

I spent the day at work today rearranging the icons on my iPhone. After work I downloaded a bunch of new apps and got addicted to reading BBC news and best of Craigslist. It was a productive day.

Tags:

My theory of cooking is to find a bunch of recipes of a particular thing and take the average of their ingredients. Thus, for meatloaf, I will attempt to make this recipe this weekend:

Meatloaf Mix

Loaf

  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 2 slices moist bread torn in pieces OR 1/2 cup dry cracker crumbs + 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 small onion
  • 1 1/2 stalks celery
  • 2 cloves garlic

Sauce

  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp mustard powder OR 2 tsp prepared mustard
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon barbeque sauce (optional)
  • 1 beef boullion cube (optional)
  • pepper to taste
  • salt to taste
  • spices to taste (optional): allspice, curry powder, sage

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 F.
  2. Mix loaf ingredients. Mix sauce ingredients separately.
  3. Shape loaf into loaf pan and cover with sauce.
  4. Bake for 1 hour.

I feel so untouched
And I want you so much
That I just can’t resist you
It’s not enough to say that I miss you

I feel so untouched
Right now need you so much
Somehow I can’t forget you
I’ve gone crazy from the moment I met you

Untouched
And I need you so much

I love the strings right around the chorus. Also, twin sister acts from non-American English-speaking nations are hot. See also: Tegan and Sara.

It started with mango mochi ice cream. When we broke up you said you would never be able to eat it again. But I guess that was a lie, because a month later I visited you in your new place and saw some in your freezer. That’s okay. I’ve betrayed you too. And you, and you, and you, and you, and you.

You: Those nights we stayed up talking about life, the universe, and everything, and then I went to a full day’s class on 30 minutes of sleep passing out with my eyes open but so happy, delirious at life. I’ve done that with other boys since you.

And you: The Apple store in Fashion Valley. I’ve gone there with other boys. Other Apple boys. And Windows boys. And Linux boys.

And you: I told you I loved you but I don’t think I really did. Yeah, I’ve done that with other boys too.

And you: When it was over we thought we’d never be able to make lasagna with anyone else again. I don’t know if you have, but I have. I made it for the boy after the boy after you, because god dammit I really like lasagna.

And you: I stretched out on your huge waist-high bed, so tall that I had to climb to get into it, the comfiest bed I’ve ever been in, and snuggled in among your blankets and pillows as your cat played with my feet. A year later I rolled around in another huge bed. No cat though.

And you: I went to that Ikea that I went to with you, with another boy, and we kissed to erase the memories of you, and some passerby called out “oh, the romance!” and I giggled to myself because he was not really one of my boys.

And right now I am eating mango mochi ice cream with a boy, thinking of you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And you. And it is tasty.

This is me typing on my iPhone and not twittering! Ha! Sneak attack!

The problem with learning Pimsleur is that your pronunciation of a foreign language becomes super good, and then people expect a degree of grammar and vocabulary from you that you just don’t have. And then you don’t even have the vocabulary and grammar to explain that no, your grasp of Japanese isn’t actually that good.

The problem with being smart is that people assume you’re also smart in other ways. And when you’re not, it’s a matter of pride not to admit it. Assuming you even have the vocabulary it takes to explain it. Assuming you have the self-insight it takes to realize it in the first place.