Friday, February 17, 2017

Lignocelluose + cellulase


Friday, February 10, 2017

Untreated lignocellulose


Friday, February 3, 2017

Gorgeous pictures (of our simulations).

Thanks to Thomas Splettstoesser of scisstyle.com for doing these graphics. This one is lignocellulose with cellulase enzymes. More to follow....


Monday, January 30, 2017

The Trump Travel Ban

OK, here's a "drunk blog". I may regret it in the morning.

I don't like too many immigrants, even though I am one. The reason is I don't like them is that immigration is fueling the population explosion in the USA and this is leading to environmental stress.

And I don't like terrorists. 57 virgins? Good luck with that.

And I don't mind 'racial profiling'. Makes sense to me.

And I don't cow-tow to this 'welcoming refugees' soppiness (although I do think that, having been a major initiator of their distress, we should do a hell of a lot more to alleviate their problems wherever they happen to be right now).

But a blanket ban on LEGAL immigrants? On scholars? Entrepreneurs? SCIENTISTS?

An INDISCRIMINATE blanket ban?

The collateral damage is just too great from this one.

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Welcome back to the Dark Ages


Just finished watching Theresa May's "Brexit speech".  So a "hard Brexit" it is then. She claims Britain cannot remain in the single market because then it would be "just as if we hadn't left". Not true, Theresa. The UK voted to leave the EU, and that is exactly what a soft Brexit, in which the UK remains in the single market and accepts free movement of people, would do. The UK voted very narrowly to leave, by 51% to 48%. The narrowness of this victory should obviously be interpreted as a vote for a soft Brexit.

Now I agree with all who state that the EU has failed miserably in protecting its borders. Putting in place practical measures to strengthen this should be central to talks. But May's speech shows that the wingnut, Empire-harking  isolationists have taken over the Government, in a foretaste of  years of political uncertainty in the UK; years of efforts wasted in massive renegotiations that could have been avoided.

Welcome back, the Dark Ages.

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

My MRI Light Experience




I had an MRI recently. (Nothing serious). How many of you have had an MRI, then, huh?

Well, one has certain thoughts going into that tunnel. The first I had was  "Don't think about being buried alive".  And the second was "How do they get anyone to go in there at all?" I mean, your nose, your toes, and all the rest of you is an inch from bloody solid confinement. I thought that if they put in a UV source as well, it could double as a tanning machine, giving patients  extra incentive, "scan and tan". Then I thought "Oh my God I had iron-fortified breakfast cereal just before coming here".  But it was too late. They slid me in. The MRI sounds started, a kind of deafening dubstep, I believe. Has anyone made a No 1 hit out of that? Then I thought "Why am I in here?". Because conventional medicine would say "Take an aspirin" whereas in the absence of tort reform it says "MRI and CAT scan".  Of course, once in, and only once in, I got an uncontrollable and violent urge to scratch everywhere. But you mustn't move, not an inch. Aaaargh! Still, too late, wasn't it? Kept saying to myself "Too late".Then you realize they're going to see through you. Your insides.  I never wanted to know what has become of that stuff. But then you think someone might finally get to see your six-pack. Yes, its there, just  under a lot of protective coating. Not so bad then. I tried to look at my watch.  The bastards had stolen it. I counted sheep. But when I got to where they should pull me out the machine kept going for an eternity. No! No! They were torturing me. I could imagine their wicked grins.

Then it was over. Ahhhhh! And the result - well, I got a crummy MRI. Bad resolution. All because workers changed a lightbulb while no-one was looking and it screwed up the magnetic field. So all the Doc could say was, "Well, we proved you are capable of laying in a closed, confined space for two hours".

High-tech health care - you can't beat it.




Friday, November 25, 2016

Open Sesame?








When I visited Jerusalem for the second time,  in the late 1990s, although  the first Intifada had just ended peace in the Middle East seemed remote. For this reason I was astonished to learn of plans for SESAME, a Middle Eastern synchrotron which is a cooperation between Bahrain, Cyprus, Egypt, Iran, Israel, Jordan, Pakistan, the Palestinians and Turkey. What an idea! Mortal enemies cooperating in one scientific institution in Jordan.

Well, now,  in 2017 it appears that, despite 20 years of delays and the assassination of two directors, the thing will finally open.

Congratulations, and OPEN SESAME!