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Friday, April 27, 2007


No work today. yet, I couldn't avoid waking up well before 7AM. Too much light around, I guess.

No cycling in the Ardennes either. My girlfriend had other plans, so I will tour this area, and stop-by the workplace to look for my mobile phone, who disappeared. last chance before going off to buy a new one. If I were to do, I'd try and get a smart one, with things such as real synchronising capabilities, and possibly a GPS, although this may make it quite heavy on the pocket. We'll see...

Since I'm free today, I'll try to finish off a post I started long time ago, on the reasons why I feel we need fundamental research. I don't even remember how and why it started, just came off some musing after reading something else.

On a side note, I may also try to read up the latest changes suggested by my supervisor to the never-ending thesis. And cntinue on reading my latest book, "The Wisdom of the Crowds" - may be I'll post about this one too, later on. Ciao!

Thursday, April 26, 2007

I am GOOD!!! (well, I feel so)

Yeay, I've just finished attending/giving my six-monthly update to the interested people in the company about my work. It went easier than I thought, I surprised myself for my confidence with a laser pointer in my hand. I guess the tireless fortnightly exercises paid off, at the end.

Now, it's mainly matter to finish off the ongoing studies, write up final conclusions (especially on the evaluations of pKa predictors), and possibly make the merry round of consociate companies, showing off my skills and fishing for opportunities.

But from tomorrow, and for the next five days, it's holiday time! If I can manage to, tonight itself I'll head off to Anthisnes, tomorrow I'll wake up later than usual, and possibly cycle around the place. I am gonna love it. Then, Saturday I don't know, just relax with my lady, sunday back to bxl possibly for some more sunny cycling with allochtonous friends, then monday and tuesday of rest before starting again.

What would I want more from life?

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

And one day, those corals will be up in the sky...

I wonder what Disney's Nemo may think of it. The fish, not the vernian pirate-submariners.

So, Chris Rowan reports that a recent earthquake in the solomon islands caused the whole island to rise, some 3m in certain points so that now some corals are exposed at the top of small reefs. I mean, elevated reefs. Duh!

the picture above is quite telling uh?

Seeing this and following Chris words':

I wonder if you can find the remnants of reefs stranded by earlier earthquakes on Ranongga? By dating them and measuring how far they've been raised above sea-level, you could have a go at reconstructing the past seismic history of the subduction thrust.

I wonder of my own: Is it possible that one day these corals will be embedded in some mountain side? I mean, I don't know much of geology, but do the Himalayas contain fish fossils and such? Or they're heavily metamorphosed beyond recognition? Mah?

Presentation is done. Now, learn it by heart...

Ok, I am done writing the presentation. Unfortunately, owing to proprietary structures being shown in it, I can't post it around the globe, so you'll have to wait for when I'll be bored enough to actually start writing papers about my work. Ouch!

Now, the only thing is to learn it properly, difficult to do in the few hours left before the presentation, especially when the sun is shining like now and you've been closed in a room for a full week, fighting viruses and unruly data.

Unfortunately, I am not a natural like one of my colleagues, who just jump in front of the blackboard and can discuss coherently his own thoughts and work without stumbling and such. May be it depends from the fact that he actually reads his literature (and eats his veggies too), but hey, nobody is perfect! He didn't know of the existence of Antactica... So how's that, is the choice really between being a slacker in Pharmacokinetics or missing a whole continent? Can't there be a middle way? why do I find so much of scientific literature boring and uninspiring? may be I am just not cut for science. Notwithstanding the fact that I am one of the best person I know at presenting data in a graphical, novel and understandable way. Just, not good with words. As you can see for this boring blog...

Time to go now... See you soon! Keep reading me - if, I mean, you really don't have anything better to do - that is - talking with friends - or walking the dog. washing the dishes - or the clothes - hanging them - ironing them - including your pants - and your socks... and so on and on and on...

So, I have been volunteered...

So, I'm just back from the Tiger Mosquito's Weekly PostDoc Lunch, the self-organising open initiative for postdoc (buit also not) here at J&J Beerse, and I discover that I have been volunteered not once, but twice, for the third PostDoc Carnival, a run-around of (many, if not all) blogs written by postdocs...

Featured twice, in one of my romantic moods, then in one of my searches for aesthetics in science...

Anyway, I'm not a real post-doc, as I have to defend my thesis. yet. Actually, I have to complete writing first.

May be in the next four days of holidays. If it ain't sunny, and windy, in which case trying the new 1.80m wide kite takes priority. Kind of like this one. prettier (I hope, haven't broken the bag's seal yet).

Watch and learn, kids, this is how you do NOT become a real scientist!!!

And now, I'll chain myself back to the table, I fixed some new data and must find a way to finish off a powerpoint presentation detailing what I have done in the last six months, before I head off to present it tomorrow. Ow!

And oh, thanks to whoever inserted me in the loop ;-)

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

YES!!! I have made it!!!

I have beaten the flu!!! (well, ok, the cold and a sore throat) One day without shivering!!! And at the same time, I've managed to almost complete my assessment of pKa prediction softwares. Getting the results I was hoping for too ;-).

Not only, thanks to a fortuitus encounter in the loo I may go on and present my work in a small, but up and coming pharma which I already put my eyes onto.

Isn't this the second best day of my life? (second 'cause I hope the next one still has to come!)

Ciao from an euphoric Owl!!!

My Most Favorite Comics (II)

Nausicaa in the Valley of the Wind, a post-apocalyptic novel set in a far-away future, (some) thousands of years after humans devastated the planet, and a toxic jungle of fungi and moulds has taken over most of the dry land. A princess finds herself and her own valley in the middle of the struggle between the two largest empire-states over the control of the last invincible soldier, one of the bio-engineered robots who battled in the ten days of fire.

quite simply, one of the best ecological tale I've ever read.

My most favorite comics (I)

here's a comics that has a special place in my heart:

Ushio & Tora, la storia di un ragazzo (Ushio) e del suo rapporto nemici/amici con un demone a forma di tigre (Tora) che lui stesso libera dai sotterranei del tempio buddista di cui il padre sacerdote si occupa. Questo e' stato il primo manga che acquistai con l'intenzione di seguire, quasi x sbaglio. O forse no, e spiego dopo perche'. Ero in viaggio coi Boy Scouts x il campo estivo, e annoiato decisi di comprare uno di questi manghi di cui i miei colleghi all'uni parlavano. ken il Guerriero usciva al tempo su Z Compact, e il caso volle che proprio quel mese finisse x lasciare il posto a questa nuova serie di mostri, combattimenti, umorismo. Nello spazio di quei dieci giorni di campest lessi e rilessi il volumetto almeno tre o quattro volte. E non appena rientrato a casa, compresi che ero stato infettato dal virus. Un mese dopo l'altro, questo fu uno dei miei fumetti preferiti, ma il sogno fu interrotto bruscamente dal fallimento di Granata Press, pioniere del manga in Italia, al numero 14. Di cui io fui uno dei fortunati possessori, insieme al trasognato numero 23 (l'ultimo) di Nausicaa, ma questa e' un'altra storia).

Ritornando a Ushio & Tora, avrei dovuto aspettare varii anni affinche' i Kappa Boys, transfughi di Granata, riportassero il fumetto in Italia, anche se le nuove traduzioni, non piu' basate sull'adattamento americano, persero buona parte della verve che me le faceva adorare. Una traduzione letterale dal giapponese non sempre e' la scelta migliore. Vorrei scrivere molto di piu' su questo fumetto, ma ora non ho rpoprio il tempo. magari piu' avanti. ciao.

Monday, April 23, 2007


Jackie Chan plays StreetFighter (from the movie City Hunter, inspired by the comics by the same name)

A Masterpiece of Asian Advertisement

If it weren't for the subtitles I wouldn't understand a jota, and even like this I don't know where they are from - Somewhere between India and Armenia, I'd say.

But Oh they're funny!!!

Is google in the hands of creationists?

I was cleaning up my inbox, when I noticed a very weird "sponsored link" on my gmail:

the line says: "Intelligent Design - - Controversy is Intensifying. Why is this issue so Divisive?"

you follow it, and find out that the piece is a somewhat ambiguous article about the Dover trial and a certain Behe. Nothing to worry about if it weren't for the undertones of the word, things such as:

"Why has this seemingly objective, measured disclaimer caused such a firestorm?" (referred to the Dover obligatory reading before teaching on evolution.

there's more:

"Predictably, some prominent media outlets are already framing this debate with a pro-evolution slant."

"Dr. Behe believes that he has faced considerable bias against his theory."

What a load of crud...

I tried to get rid of the websites in the settings of my webclips, but can't find it. Apparently Google, let me customise only my own addition, and the rest is for them to choose. depending on who shell out the money to be read, I guess. Well, as long as they don't start doing it on Google News. Not that I visit there very often. It's already rare that I finish what's to read for free on The NY Times.

Farm Bill is coming...

and Coturnix beat me to it. For those of you that, like me, didn't know how this US legal document influences the state of the whole world, have a read at the latest piece from Michael Pollan.

Must force my GF to stop night watches

Apparently, people who do night shifts live shorter than day-workers.

I caught the news from Coturnix.

Original is from an indian newspaper.

I am already pissed by the fact that Marie has to work during the weekend sometimes. On a very selfish basis, it completely ruins it for me too. 'cause I am fusional as she says, so I don't want to go out on my own. And even if I do so, I try to fit to her times, and this makes life very complicated. Without counting the fact that the following days are often sub-optimal too, since she's tired or else.

Aww, life sucks! Stop ranting and back to work now.

Bloody fever won't go down.

So, here I am, forced to work under the effect of paracetamol and stuff... my head feel stuffed, and I am envious of everybody else breathing freely and dressing liberally, whereas I am forced to wear wool, a scarf and still feel midly uncomfortable...

Yesterday fever spiked in the early afternoon, after some four hours spent in the office trying to advance this impossible pKa study.

Went home and ate some fruit salad and ice cream, all the while watching movies until my neck was to painful to stand there. Only then i relaised my fever was far too high, and had to force myself to the bed.

I finished watching "Deja Vu", which was quite OK for me. Excessively moral may be, with the whole "If you could change awful things that happened in the past, what would you do?" that Denzel washington hammer down the (sore) throat of the spectators. Whether they like it or not. The scientists, as usual, are portrayed as whimp, thnk god there's the good ol' cop to save the world and show them the right way to use the tools they created.

Other than that, the action is pretty solid. although why every american movie must end with a fist fight between the good and the bad guy is beyond me. pah.

I've also seen Lyrics and Musics, or the other way around, with hugh Grant and Drew Barrymore: Nice and warm, just right for a feverish guy watching movies on saturday night with his lady.

Sunday, April 22, 2007

Wii would like to play...

Wii vs PS3

The GREAT cinema, as seen from Luna&Sole

So rude, yet so brilliantly comical...

I was afraid to post it for fear of being labeled as 'racist', but then I said, what the hell, I work every day with people from all over the world, my best colleague/friend is an indian, and I am pretty sure that if he could understand our dialect he would luagh at this too. Therefore, enjoy the mystical figure of the indian guru as seen from the low-thinking people of my city, Sassari.

I am in PAIN!!!

Two days spent fighting this awful sore throat, coughing congealed blood and whatever it is that clog my aerial ways, under blanket bombing of paracetamol and ibuprofene by Lt. Marie. Still, my neck pain hasn't gone away, and it's stopping me from working... well, not really, but it is making it more difficult, and it already is hard knowing that everybody in Belgium is out in the gorgeous sun... and I am stuck here, at work.

pants! hate it!!! Hopefully it will be gone by tomorrow... yeah, hopefully.

In the most powerful nation on Earth...

there's places where 11 out of a thousand babies die. And if you restrict to blacks, it's 17 out of 1000. This is to be compared with an US average of 6.9. Still, markedly higher than in Western Europe or the developed chunks of Asia.

check the table at to get an idea.

I am sorry, but have nothing else meaningful to say.

YouTube anch'io!!!

I subscribed too.

username is gufodotto, as usual. will start voting, and uploading if I find anything interesting. see you there.

Li sindaci di sassari

Wonderful voice-over of my city council, where the phrases uttered have been modified to include previous mayors' names. It quickly escalates in a reenactment of a famous local song about the mayors of sassari and surrounding communes and their misfits.