RuBisCO_disco

Drawings, writings and the search for the sex appeal quark

Archive for February 2012

Mash up.

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– 0 –

PS I think I’ve found a way to cheat at this blogging and be able to write something even if I run out of ideas. Will post it maybe on the weekend. Fingers crossed, hope it works….

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Written by rubiscodisco

February 29, 2012 at 6:28 pm

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Bothered by rods

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So today I’m gonna talk about snakes and rods.

– o –

If you’re like most people, you probably recognize this symbol.

Of course you have seen it before. It’s the Caduceus. Hermes’ hot rod, carries it around in all those depictions of him in Ancient Greek statues and pottery? No?

Well, the thing is, if you are like most people who have seen this thing, you probably know the Caduceus as the symbol for medicine and the medical profession, not as the Greek messenger-god’s most recognizable fashion accessory (although I heard his scarves are divine, trololol). And sure enough, it’s in a lot of medical establishments, medical books, medical instruments, etc. But the problem with you recognizing the Caduceus in this perspective is that although it is practically correct, it’s also kinda-almost-sorta-technically wrong. I’ll explain that bit in a minute.

The Caduceus was thought to have originated from Mesopotamian mythologies, probably from an image of two snakes copulating and as a symbol of the messenger for the “Earth Mother”. As ideas got shuffled around between cultures, it so happened that Hermes, messenger god of the Olympians, was depicted with the staff. The staff, during that time, came to represent occupations and trades associated with the god.

However, Hermes was no patron of physicians. Far from it, he was the god of gamblers, liars, thieves, and worst of all, merchants! Not exactly the type of people you would trust to operate on your appendix, is it? I mean, for Zeussakes, almost the first thing that Hermes did after being born was to steal sheep from Apollo! The most positive myth for the Caduceus was that Hermes found two snakes fighting with each other, and put his staff between them, thus bringing peace between the two snakes, but it’s quite a jump between bringing peace between two squamates and healing the sick.

In fact, the original symbol for medicine was a similar looking staff called the Rod of Asclepius.

Single snake, no wings. Doesn't look as familiar, does it?

The origins of this rod are actually quite fascinating. You see, Ancient Greece, for all the glory of its art, philosophy, and mathematics, was just like any other community at that time in that its sanitary conditions were quite poor. Because of that, all sorts of nasty pathogens and parasites were common at that time, including the guinea worm. You don’t wanna know about the guinea worm, by the way, but I’m gonna tell you about it anyway.

Caution, horror ahead:

The guinea worm, Dracunculus medinensis, is a parasitic nematode that likes to lay its eggs in contaminated water, where it hatches into larvae that infect copepods, tiny invertebrates in the water. The copepods, however, are just its intermediate host. It hitches a ride in them as it waits for humans to drink the unclean water (remember, sanitary standards at that time), at which time it leaves the copepods to die, burrows itself out of the intestines, and breeds in your body cavity. The females leave the males to die there and further burrow out to live the rest of life literally crawling under your skin: long, wriggling, and as thick as a strand of spaghetti. It waits for a time when you come in contact with unclean water, at which time it pokes out of your skin to lay eggs into the water, completing the life cycle. No, it doesn’t swim out. After laying eggs it stays in your skin until it dies.

The way to remove guinea worm is to lure the female to poke out of your skin (presumably by dipping in water), grabbing on to its exposed part, and pulling it out. This can be tricky though, (not to mention very painful), because you run the risk of severing the worm, leaving the rest of its body inside your skin. You have to coil the exposed part on a stick and gently turn it to reel in the worm out of your skin, a process that could take days because it’s painful and dangerous to do it all at once. If you somehow find that difficult to imagine, I’ve put a picture here–> (No, don’t click it! It looks horrible. Aaaargh! Aaaargh! Aaaargh!)

Anyway, physicians at that time advertised that they also treat guinea worm infections by putting up a sign with the drawing of a guinea worm wrapped around the stick. This caught on, and then was modified into a snake wrapped around a stick. It’s called the Rod of Asclepius because it became the symbol for Asclepius, the greatest healer in greek myth. He was such a great doctor in fact that Zeus had to kill him because he was bringing people back to life. The change of the symbol into a snake is because snakes were associated with rejuvenation with their ability to molt out of their old skin. Asclepius was also quite fond of snakes, and his temple is filled with them. Besides, the skin-crawling parasite on a stick was probably becoming too yucky.

Anyway, the Rod of Asclepius became the symbol of medicine in western culture up until today. So how is it that most people associate medicine with the Caduceus rather than the more appropriate snake stick? Simple. They looked kind of the same, so people confused them with each other. In fact, the first people to muddle the Caduceus with the Rod of Asclepius were none other than the Americans.

ah, but of course

No really, I try not to bash Americans too much. “Ugh, Americans are so stupid” just loses its impact when you’re from a country that hasn’t even got the Reproductive Health Bill passed yet. I just wish the Americans would not make it so easy for me to mock them. Case in point, in the early 19th century, Army hospital stewards (hospital staff, not actual physicians) began wearing the Caduceus in their uniforms, presumably because they didn’t know the difference between that and the Rod of Asclepius. Eventually, it was deliberately adopted by US Army and the rest is history; the meme spread out from there, presumably because the Caduceus looked “pretty” compared to the other rod, and now only mythology geeks even know the difference between the two.

Now, of course, the Caduceus is everywhere. Generally speaking, it’s more often seen in more commercialized establishments like drug stores and such, while more scholarly establishments maintain the proper Rod. I have to admit, to get medical services from an establishment that uses the symbol of thieves and scoundrels is quite annoying (although surprisingly appropriate in the case of some pharmaceutical companies and hospitals). I just have to live with the fact that, as a symbol of medicine, the Caduceus is here to stay. It’s even the name of the Medivac upgrade in Starcraft II. And I love watching Starcraft II. :(  I feel a surge of hipster anger when I see the Caduceus used this way, and I’m more likely to respect establishments that use the proper rod.

So maybe you should check the medical establishments near you next time. You never know, maybe you’re being treated by scoundrels and charlatans. Or worse, maybe you’re working for them…

…or maybe you are them.

– o –

This post is brought to you by being incredibly thirsty and there’s a cockroach on the floor.

Written by rubiscodisco

February 25, 2012 at 11:54 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , ,

Organic chem jokes! :D

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Oops. I was ill last weekend so I couldn’t make a new post. Now I’m just procrastinating, so I can’t be bothered to write the long post I’m planning to make. Anyway, here’s something to tide you over till the next post.

– o –

Q: What does a pirate sound like?

A: ARRRRRRRRR!

Q: What does an alcohol pirate sound like?

A: ARRRRRRRR….

..-OH!

 (get it? because R-OH? anyone?)

***

 Q: What do you call a troll?

A: A troll.

Q: What do you call an alcohol troll?

A: A trollol

– o –

Twice in a row na na na nigamit ko’g trollface. (Filipino languages using single sylable phrases FTW) This post is brought to you by Andrew Garfield as Spiderman.

PS: If I can think up of other jokes there might be a sequel post.

Written by rubiscodisco

February 23, 2012 at 8:57 am

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Tagged with , ,

The Empire Trolls Back

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The empire of teachers, that is.

Forest Gump would say that browsing 9gag is like going through a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get. Amid the really funny jokes, some very unpleasant pics pass through because of some sexist, homophobic, stupid, and/or immature people upvoting them.

To be fair, at first those jokes were quite funny. You know which ones. Students trolling their teachers by giving joke answers in their test papers. It gets old after the 100th pic with the same general concept though. Most of the time they’re fakes too, written on already graded papers returned back to the students. So I tried to simulate what would happen if a teacher got tired and trolled right back.

.

.

And to people who think education sucks, TROLOLOLOLOLOL

This post is brought to you by aching wrists.

Written by rubiscodisco

February 15, 2012 at 8:49 pm

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Happy Darwin Day! ♥

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Today is the birthday anniversary of Charles Darwin. It’s Darwin Day! And it’s also Valentines day on Tuesday. So I made this Darwin Day / Pre-Valentines Day tribute for y’all. It’s a bio novelty poem. Expect cheeziness. :3

Darwin

I’m sitting in the lab with my thoughts, all alone
And everything’s quiet except for the drone
Of the centrifuge on the side, which I paid no mind
‘Cause my thoughts were of you, there I sighed and pined

I should really get to work with testing this locus
But thinking of you, I just cannot focus
Don’t even get me started with collections from the field
The sample bags lie empty, still brand new and sealed

But what can I do when I’m thinking of you?
I have so much to tell you, if only you knew
I should drop this pipettor, out with it and say
That I’d rather be with you than do these assays

I mean, isn’t it obvious as plastids on a plant
That I love you my dear, if I could do what I want
I’d choose you to caress than this common thale cress
Oh – that’s Arabidopsis thaliana if you’re really clueless

It started out small like the opening of a gate
Which causes an action potential to propagate
Then the next thing I knew I was so into you
I’m down with the sickness, it ain’t avian flu

Maybe I have to check my otoliths’ performance
Cause when I’m with you I feel so out of balance
You’re growing on me, but not the parasitoid kind
Babe, like a Cordyceps, you’re messing with my mind

You make my heart wish to beat faster than it could meet
With this measly sinoatrial node’s average feat
Like a boa constrictor, you leave me out of breath
And I’m certain, baby, that I’ll love you to my death

Even to the next era, my love will endure
When I tell you I love you, believe me I’m sure
Sure as population separation causes allopatric speciation
Significant as hell, well over standard deviation

And if you’d say yes if I ask for a date
I’ll be yours, unchanging as a committed cell fate
I promise to always be faithful to you
Like nerves to a somite’s derivatives, true

So if I ask, dear, then with others don’t bother
I’m sure that you’ll see, we’re perfect for each other
Like Enzyme and substrate, Like cDNAs
Like SNAREs on a vacuole, a perfect embrace

Alas though, I pine in this room, still just one
My chances with my better half seem to have gone
You’ve chosen another, I was to slow
My regret running deep as a tap root can grow

But still my love for you will not die
Unlike a creationist, I’ll never deny
Because dear you’re the Darwin of my life
And nothing makes sense except in your light

-o-

Eat your heart out, “premature ventricular contractions”.

PS: Kadakong CHAR!

Written by rubiscodisco

February 12, 2012 at 10:45 am

Posted in Uncategorized

Tagged with , , , ,

Prove it.

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Written by rubiscodisco

February 3, 2012 at 8:25 pm

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Tagged with ,

Physics Physics

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Shoutout to the people in Physics 52 sa UP

Written by rubiscodisco

February 1, 2012 at 6:38 pm

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