Pat Gunn (dachte) wrote,
Pat Gunn

Like a Clown in a Factory

In CompBio today, I almost nodded off -- I know this because my thoughts began to disintegrate into nonsense -- he was talking about an algorithm that converges on a solution, and I eventually came to be worried about avoiding that convergence because I thought that it would be dangerous to be caught. A moment later, I remembered in my haze that this did not make sense, and I managed to wake up a bit more. This all comes out of my failing to go to bed at a reasonable hour, which stems out of how much I prize having quiet time at home. I hate closing my eyes to the night.

Fortunately, I woke up the rest of the way in time to learn something really cool! An ongoing problem with analysing DNA is determining whether a given part of it is actually going to code for something or not. If it is coding for something, it has to be in phase (DNA pairs on a strand are sequentually grouped into sets of three, and reading them with the improper phase gives gibberish), going the right direction, and not an intron (that is, not between "comment" tags.. heh). Apparently, the needed protein synthesis mechanisms within any given organism do not favour the encoding of all encoding forms for redundantly reachable proteins, and this can be used during our analysis to help get the phase/direction right -- presumably introns and off-alignment reading produces encodings that are significantly more rare in the known diction of the organism than proper reading does. This strikes me as being very cool. Further, it has been suggested that organisms may have mechanisms to use this to notice foreign insertions of DNA (virii and similar), whereby the Virus DNA would stand out like a Circus tent in a factory (analogy mine).

I recently was stupid, jumping from the top step of a bus I was on down onto the street while carrying my laptop and all my heavy books. The equipment all survived without a scratch, but I injured my knee. It still hurts, and in talking with my mom last night, she told me that her side of the family has bad knees. Lucky me! It still hurts, but if I don't bend it much, it's ok, and hopefully it will heal soon. So naturally...

I'm planning to go hiking with some people for a few days over CMU's spring break. I don't know when that is, and unlike all of them, I'll be spending vacation days, but it sounds like an adventure, and I think I could use some because this semester is seriously beating me up. I haven't seen much of any of my friends/acquaintences/etc since classes started.

Sometimes I get crushes strong enough that it feels almost as bad as if I had broken up with them when nothing happens. Like most related depressions, for me it tends to end when I get attracted to someone else (even mildly, not even necessarily coming up to the crush level). Whether A causes B or B causes A here is yet to be seen, but I feel better than I have for awhile because I am now capable of finding other people attractive again. Some people have said that this makes me a great person to be involved with because from before the relationship begins until long after it is over, I am literally incapable of being attracted to anyone else. Unlike my father, may he suffer from his deeds and have noone to hold his hand when age eventually takes him.

I hope my current feeling of contentment stays.

Presently, I am rereading Zelazny's Amber series (Having reread the Betancourt prequel series recently). I wish that Betancourt had mixed more story elements into his works -- unlike most Zelazniacs, I think that Betancourt was not bold enough with introducing story arcs with a different flavour than the original -- continuation of a story from a different author should not feel derivative, rather it should be at least as bold as the original author was in establishing new elements and facts, if not bolder. Zelazny's actual writing style is not, in my opinion, that sophisticated or interesting (although it is by no means sub-par), rather, the universe that he has created in which the stories live is the interesting bit. If Zelazny were a DM/GM, he would be fantastic because of his overall vision, just as Lucas's creations are good because of his grand vision (although Lucas and his characters, especially Vader, are incredibly overrated). There are some authors who are a pleasure to read despite not going anywhere, and others who give a world that is a pleasure to think about despite the small-scale reading being poor. Zelazny is neither - he mixes adequate on one scale with greatness on another. Betancourt, i think, is decent on the first scale and good (but derivative) on the other.

My headaches have completely stopped since I stopped adding loads of sugar to my tea.


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